As Boston prepares for yet another Fourth of July celebration along the Esplanade, a few words of warning: Leave the backpacks and drones at home, take public transportation, stay safe, and beware the road closures.
That was the message again this year as officials prepped the public for the Independence Day celebration, expected to bring a swarm of visitors to the city to celebrate.
Want to avoid the giant mass of humanity for the holiday? You can always head to less crowded digs at these Fourth of July celebrations outside the city. But if you insist on staying, here’s what you should know:
This year’s Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular at the Hatch Shell, featuring headliner Queen Latifah, kicks off at 8 p.m., with fireworks going from 10:30-11 p.m. on Thursday. Checkpoints en route to the Esplanade open at 9 a.m. A fireworks-free rehearsal, which is open to the public, begins at 8:30 on Wednesday. Esplanade checkpoints open Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Be sure not to bring any banned items, which according to State Police include backpacks, rolling coolers (over-the-shoulder coolers are fine), alcohol, weapons (including pepper spray), glass, cans, grills, and, obviously, fireworks. Bicycles will not be allowed through checkpoints.
Those hoping to view the festivities from a boat in the Charles are asked to anchor at least 100 feet away from shore and 1,000 feet away from the fireworks barge. The New Charles River Dam will be closed from 7:45 p.m Thursday to 2 a.m. Friday, and the Craigie Drawbridge will close from the start of fireworks until 1 a.m. Don’t have the budget for a motorboat? Kayaks, canoes, and rowboats are also welcome on the Charles, so long as they have “a white all-around light, a sound signaling device” and lifejackets, police say.
Drones are once again a no go for July 3 and 4. State Police say anyone caught flying any unmanned aerial devices could be charged with a felony.
Attendees have been asked to report anything suspicious by calling 911 or using the text-a-tip line at 67283. Texts sent to that number should begin with the characters “B4,” and then the tip.
The MBTA will be running fare-free after 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, and will operate a rush-hour schedule after 2 p.m. An express shuttle will run between Boylston and Riverside stations after the fireworks. Otherwise buses will be on a Sunday schedule. The Commuter Rail will run on a Saturday schedule. More info can be found on the T’s website.
Drivers should also heed the planned road closures, which State Police outlined in a release:
1. NO parking on Mugar Way from Arlington Street to Charles Street until 6:00 a.m. on July
5th. All vehicles remaining will be removed.
1. Right hand travel lane on Storrow Drive westbound will be closed.
1. Esplanade walkway adjacent to the Charles River closed to pedestrians and bicyclists from
the area of Community Boat Club to the front of the Concession Stand. All pedestrians and
bicyclists will be directed to the sidewalk adjacent to Storrow Drive until approximately
2. Oval area closed to public for Pops rehearsal (Will re-open at approximately 4:00 p.m., or
as determined by Boston 4 Productions and the Incident Commander.)
3. The exit to Arlington Street from the Storrow Tunnel (eastbound) will be closed until 6:00
a.m. July 5th.
1. Right hand travel lane on Storrow Drive westbound will be closed.
2. Esplanade curbside reserved for permitted bus parking, from the Longfellow Bridge
westbound to the Fielder Footbridge.
3. Traffic will continue west bound on Storrow Drive.
4. There will be NO public parking along Storrow Drive for either the rehearsals or the
3:00 p.m. (Or At A Time To Be Determined By The Incident Commander):
1. Storrow Drive will be closed to westbound traffic from the Charles Circle to the Bowker
Overpass. All westbound traffic will be diverted to Charles Circle. Westbound traffic may
re-enter Storrow Drive westbound by heading down Charles Street, to Beacon Street, to the
westbound entrance at the Bowker Overpass.
2. Mugar Way at Beacon Street closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This will remain
closed until the early morning hours of July 5th. Pedestrians will be directed to Berkeley
Street for entrance to the Esplanade.
3. Berkeley Street at Beacon Street closed to vehicular traffic.
4. Storrow Drive eastbound will be closed and detoured at the Bowker Overpass. It will
remain closed until July 5.
1. No parking on Memorial Drive (either side) from #450 Massachusetts Avenue to the
Longfellow Bridge. All vehicles remaining after this time will be removed.
2. No parking on Cambridge Parkway.
1. Access to Storrow Drive westbound from Leverett Circle to Kenmore Square (Bowker
Overpass) will be closed to traffic.
2. The Storrow Drive Exit Ramp in the Tip O’Neil Tunnel will be closed to all traffic except
3. The Leverett Circle entrance to Storrow Drive westbound will be closed. Traffic will be
allowed to travel on Msgr. O’Brien Highway to Cambridge and Martha Road to Boston.
4. The following Storrow Drive on and off ramp closures will remain in effect from July 3rd:
• Berkeley Street
• Charlesgate Area (heading eastbound)
• Bowker Overpass from Park Drive and the Fenway
• Charles Street Circle (heading westbound)
5. No Parking at Magazine Beach and Magazine Pool, Riverside Boat Club, and the MWRA
pumping station (Cottage Farm). No boat launching in this area.
6. Pedestrian Footbridge at Charles Circle going to the Esplanade is closed.
7. Fiedler Footbridge from Beacon Street going to the Esplanade is closed.
1. Lane Closure Boston to Cambridge on the Mass Ave Bridge.
1. No access to Storrow Drive westbound from the Kenmore Square (Bowker Overpass).
2. No access to Storrow Drive westbound from the Beacon Street on-ramp under the Bowker
3. Storrow Drive eastbound will be detoured at University Avenue.
1. Memorial Drive in both directions from Massachusetts Avenue to the Longfellow Bridge
closed to vehicular traffic.
2. Main Street, Cambridge from Third Street to the Longfellow Bridge closed to vehicular
3. Ames Street from Main Street to Memorial Drive, Cambridge, closed to vehicular traffic.
4. Wadsworth and Amherst Streets, Cambridge, closed to vehicular traffic.
5. Land Boulevard from Binney Street to Longfellow Bridge closed to vehicular traffic.
6. Hayward, Carlton, Charlotte’s Way and Dock Streets in Cambridge, closed to vehicular
7. Access allowed to 1 Memorial Drive only with issued permit.
8. Longfellow Bridge closed to vehicular traffic. Pedestrians will be allowed on the
9. The Longfellow Bridge will be closed to pedestrian traffic from approximately 9:00 p.m.
until the end of the fireworks. NO fireworks viewing from the Longfellow Bridge will be
10. Massachusetts Avenue Bridge closed in both directions to vehicular and pedestrian traffic
from Beacon Street in Boston to Vassar Street in Cambridge.
11. Memorial Drive from Massachusetts Avenue to the BU Bridge closed to vehicular traffic.
Vehicular access will be allowed for patrons going to the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Hyatt
patrons will be directed to the Vassar Street road closure.
12. Vassar Street in Cambridge from Massachusetts Avenue to Memorial Drive closed to
vehicular traffic. Access will be allowed for residents and Hyatt patrons.
13. Cambridge Parkway closed to vehicular traffic (except: it will remain open to vehicles with
handicapped placards/plates only). All vehicles must be removed from Cambridge
Parkway by 1:00 a.m. on July 5th.
14. The right lane of the Gilmore Bridge, westbound will be closed until approximately 9:00
p.m. to assist the DCR with Event Operations.
Approximately 10:30 p.m.:
1. Third Street in Cambridge becomes one way from Main Street to Msgr. O’Brien Highway.
2. The Craigie Bridge by the Museum of Science will be down from approximately 10:30
p.m. on July 4th until 1:00 a.m. on July 5th to allow uninterrupted motor vehicle traffic.
3. Smaller boats that can pass under the bridge while in the down position will be allowed to
All closures subject to change at the discretion of the Incident Commander
Handicapped Parking- July 4th:
1. 12:00 p.m. Mass Eye & Ear LAZ Parking Lot opens for vehicles displaying handicapped
placards/plates. HP placards/plates are needed for entry to the lot. (Entrance for LAZ
parking lot is through Charles Circle.).
2. The Mass Eye & Ear LAZ Parking Lot will close when the allotted parking area at the
Mass Eye & Ear LAZ Parking Lot is filled, or at 6:00 p.m., whichever occurs first .
3. Handicapped parking will also be accommodated on Cambridge Parkway.
1. Clean-up begins 30 minutes after the fireworks display has concluded.
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