Boston, MA - The city of Boston consistently shows up as one of the best places to run in the world. Because of this record, the city hosts the annual Boston Marathon and constructs many running routes. But after years of having such a reputation, and after years of hosting so many races, the city council members have come to the conclusion that there may be too many road races in the neighborhoods of Boston. What’s more is that many of the races are reportedly disruptive in Boston residents’ lives.
Specifically speaking, Boston City Counselor Josh Zakim stated that over the past few years, many permits have been granted to races without notifying the residents of surrounding areas. This disrupts their lives by making it difficult to get to and from work and to and from important appointments and leisure activities. The races seem to be a problem even on the weekends, namely in areas surrounding Fenway Park, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay. Many streets are typically closed with detours and traffic delays throughout the day, and it’s just not convenient anymore; technically, it never was.
On the other side of the spectrum, a marathoner known as Tom Ranucci came forward to say he doesn’t know what the problem is. According to him, road races are very easy to plan around. Typically, all races are on the weekends, leaving the work problem to be dismissed; many residents don’t have to worry about getting to and from work.
But it’s not just road races that raise an issue stated Zakim. It’s also charity walks and parades that are closing roads, constructing detours, and delaying traffic.
To help the issues, Zakim proposed a new idea: Limit the amount of permits allowed per neighborhood to minimize congestion. Another suggestion, brought to city council member’s attention through Martyn Roetter, was to move some of these events to other areas of Boston. This could potentially bring revenue to other areas and increase tourism, especially considering many of the runners go out to eat after the races.
Even still, another suggestion would be to open parks for running, stated runner Anthony Loui. New York City has Central Park for their runners; why not create a similar, yet smaller, park here. Loui also stated that there could be a standard implemented for all races, as in they are to start and end between certain times, so that residents are prepared.
The Boston City Council is now in the process of scheduling a hearing to tackle the issue at hand. Zakim stated he would like to come up with a solution before spring gets any closer.