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WalkBoston comments on 819 Beacon Street

WalkBoston comments on 819 Beacon Street

October 16, 2020
Director Brian Golden
Boston Planning and Development Agency
Attn via email: Edward Carmody
Re: 819 Beacon Street

Dear Director Golden,

The proposal for 819 Beacon Street is admirable for its attention to the many uses of the site by people on foot. WalkBoston commends the proponent, Boston Children’s Hospital, for its focus on developing pedestrian facilities at three edges of its site in addition to a significant amount of open space with walkways as a focus of the development.

The proponent has outlined the development of a large residential building to provide temporary housing for families of patients in Children’s Hospital in about 50 units and provide 499 small units with kitchenettes for students or nurses to use for either long or short term rentals. The site of the building is a large parking lot over the MBTA’s underground Green Line D branch which leaves the main underground Green line at the boundary of the site.  The D line occupies space under much of the site’s north and west sides, resulting in a proposed building which skirts the subway and occupies the east and south sides of the property. The portion of the property not occupied by the building will be largely landscaped open space.

The pathway proposed by the city to connect the Emerald Necklace to Kenmore Square runs directly along the south side of the site. This path is entirely off-road, and will connect the T’s Fenway Station and provide an option to pass under Park Drive to the Landmark Center and the Green Line Fenway Station. The path continues to Maitland Street, the east boundary of the 819 Beacon Street site. At Maitland Street, the path reaches David Ortiz Way, which connects to the new Lansdowne commuter rail station, to Brookline Avenue and the gates of the Red Sox Fenway stadium.

The proponent has indicated considerable enthusiasm about the connection to the proposed path, by including the path layout in its drawings and by showing landscaping of a long row of trees along the path for shade. The proponent also proposes path and sidewalk connections between the Necklace-to-Kenmore path and Beacon Street along the east side of the parcel. We hope and trust that the proponent will commit to its proposed landscaping along the path, and also commit to the permanent maintenance of the portion of the path along its southern boundary.

Access between the site and other Children’s Hospital locations – several less than a mile away from this site – will be enhanced by the path which makes the walk pleasant and safe. Access will also be provided by shuttle vans or buses that will pick up riders at the corner of David Ortiz Way and Maitland Street. The street crossing here will need additional study to make certain that crossings are protected and safe for walkers seeking wheeled access.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important project. Please feel free to contact us for further explanation of our comments and suggestions.

Sincerely,

Stacey Beuttell

Executive Director

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