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Tag: Dorchester

Event: Roxbury Safe Streets for Kids: What if streets were designed with children as the focus? 

Event: Roxbury Safe Streets for Kids: What if streets were designed with children as the focus? 

Roxbury Safe Streets for Kids:
What if streets were designed with children as the focus? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 6:30-8PM
Crispus Attucks Children’s Center, 105 Crawford St, Dorchester, MA

Join the Roxbury Slow Streets-Safe Schools Coalition to learn how to make streets more walkable and friendly for children walking to school. Presentation by Northeastern University Civil Engineering Capstone as they help to mitigate safety concerns around walkability in the Garrison Trotter Neighborhood focusing on Safe Routes to Schools. Schools included: Ellis, Higginson, Higginson-Lewis, Trotter, BLA, Bridge Boston & Crispus Attucks Children’s Center. Comments, question and answer session will follow.

Download a flyer

Light snacks & refreshments provided. Questions, please contact:
roxburyslowstreetssafeschools@gmail.com

Comments on 24 Ericsson Street Development (Neponset Wharf)

Comments on 24 Ericsson Street Development (Neponset Wharf)

September 29, 2017

Tim Czerwienski
Boston Planning and Development Agency
One City Hall, Ninth Floor
Boston, MA 02201

RE: WalkBoston comments on 24 Ericsson Street development (Neponset Wharf)

Dear Tim:

WalkBoston appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed Neponset Wharf development at 24 Ericsson Street in the Port Norfolk neighborhood of Dorchester, Boston. This project has the potential to advance walkable community goals by promoting active outdoor uses and enhancing pedestrian access to the waterfront. At the same time the project site remains highly inaccessible without a motor vehicle, which raises broader concerns about pedestrian safety and connectivity. Significant Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and mitigation measures would be necessary to address these issues.

The project proponent’s goals of creating two acres of new landscaped outdoor space on the site, including 28,000 square feet of continuous publicly accessible Harborwalk, will significantly enhance the local public realm, while also promoting active living and outdoor recreation. We are intrigued by the proponent’s consideration of a bicycle and pedestrian bridge to connect the project site with Tenean Beach. While such a bridge would certainly improve public access to the Harborwalk, we have also heard resident concerns about the bridge’s potential impacts on the local ecology and its potential to put excess demand on the availability of parking for Tenean Beach if users of the new development use the public parking lot park at the Beach.

Relatedly, the proponent has stated their intention to “provide pedestrian and bicycle transportation infrastructure that is consistent with Boston Transportation Department’s Complete Streets guidelines.” Creating streets, sidewalks and paths that accommodate road users of all abilities and travel modes is critical to developing more livable and walkable communities, so WalkBoston is pleased to see a commitment to these issues reflected in the project’s Environmental Notification Form. However actually implementing these concepts in a heavily car-dependent neighborhood and project site means that significant challenges must be addressed.

High proportion and number of motor vehicle trips: Given poor transit access and limited street connectivity to the Port Norfolk neighborhood and the proposed Neponset Wharf site, the proponent estimates that only five percent of trips generated by the project will be bicycle and walking trips. The remaining 95 percent of project-generated trips will be in motor vehicles, for a total of 1,440 new vehicular trips on an average weekday. To accommodate this traffic, the proponent has proposed 185 parking spaces on the project site. We are concerned that the number of trips and the number of parking spaces do not seem to be aligned, as these figures would suggest nearly eight trips per day per parking space. This suggests a need to more fully explore appropriate transportation options for the development of this site.

In addition, the increased volume of motor vehicles this project would generate in Port Norfolk will increase risks to people walking and biking on the neighborhood’s narrow streets and sidewalks. The project proponent has stated their intention to develop a TDM plan for the project in the forthcoming Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). This plan should include a full accounting of how proposed TDM measures would reduce the overall number of motor vehicle trips and increase the overall percentage of trips using walking, biking and transit modes.

Neighborhood access and pedestrian safety: Redfield Street, Tenean Street/Conley Street, and Woodworth Street/Walnut Street are the primary routes for motor vehicles to enter and exit the Port Norfolk neighborhood. The proposed project will significantly increase the number of motor vehicles traveling these streets, so the proponent should explore ways to implement traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures along these streets as mitigation. Given that much of this increased traffic will come from Neponset Circle/Morrissey Boulevard, the intersections of Redfield, Walnut, Conley and Tenean Streets at these locations should also be assessed for safety improvements in coordination with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

Site access and pedestrian safety: The project site abuts Ericsson Street, with a one-way entry to the site to be aligned with Port Norfolk Street and a one-way exit from the site to be aligned with Lawley Street. The proposed project will significantly increase the number of motor vehicles traveling these streets as well, so the proponent should also explore ways to implement traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures along these streets as further mitigation.

The proponent should also clarify how pedestrians will safely enter and exit the project site at Port Norfolk and Lawley Streets. The current site access/egress points at these locations lack sidewalks and are relatively narrow for motor vehicles even in the absence of sidewalks. These access/egress points also abut existing buildings, so while the proponent “envision[s] multiple accessible sidewalks along the entry points into the site,” it is unclear where the space for safe pedestrian accommodations will actually come from. Increasing the number of motor vehicles traveling through this area will pose additional safety risks to pedestrians, so the proponent should explore plans for mitigation here as well.

Thank you for considering these issues and please feel free to contact us with any questions.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Wayfinding report

Wayfinding report

Our experience shows that wayfinding projects can be adapted to meet the needs of diverse communities at different scales. Follow-up evaluation surveys we conducted in Turners Falls and Fall River suggest that wayfinding signs are a highly visible and tangible measure that can catalyze community interest in walking.

Codman Square (Dorchester/Boston)
Downtown Boston
Springfield
Fall River
Montague (Turners Falls)
Northampton
Belchertown

To learn more about these projects and our methodology for implementation, download our summary wayfinding report.

Read the full report:
WalkBoston-WayfindingSummaryReport

Comments on Dorchester Ave Planning Study

Comments on Dorchester Ave Planning Study

June 22, 2016

Lara Merida

Director of Neighborhood Planning

Boston Redevelopment Authority

Boston City Hall

1 City Hall Square

Boston, MA 02201

Re: The South Boston Dorchester Ave Planning Study

As the city and state’s principal advocate for pedestrian safety, access, and utility in improving individuals’ health, WalkBoston thanks you for the opportunity to comment on this planning study.

It is unusual when a municipality is able to consider preparation for so massive a prospective change for an existing neighborhood. The area served by Dorchester and Old Colony Avenues appears to be a prime candidate for such change. This corridor has direct links to Downtown Boston and to the close-knit neighborhood of South Boston, where the market for new housing is strong.

The plan will form the basis for proposed rezoning of the 144-acre site between Dorchester Avenue and Old Colony Avenue, reaching nearly a mile between the Broadway and Andrews MBTA stations, and could prepare for an influx of between 14,000 and 16,000 new residents. Because there are few existing streets within the study area other than the two well-known arteries, it is critical that the plan address the movement needs of drivers, bicyclists and walkers to prevent the crowding of streets and sidewalks.

Circulation planning

• The plan proposes creation of a network of streets with sidewalks, midblock walkways, bike lanes, and vehicular ways that may double the amount of space currently provided for all kinds of circulation. Except for the existing streets, the network will be created through a zoning process that requires developers to include streets, sidewalks and midblock walkways as parts of their proposed developments. With the exception of the midblock walkways, the new circulation facilities may be required through zoning to be primarily on the periphery of a site that is proposed for development. With small block frontage this may be adequate for walkers. With larger sites, it may not suffice, as pedestrians may be faced with longer, perhaps inconvenient walking routes.

• The historical nature of this space as industrial has created a layout that is not conducive to walking. Distances are relatively long for access to the subway. In addition, walkers are confronted by four intersections that pose a major barrier to pedestrian access to and from the redevelopment zone:

1. Old Colony Avenue and Columbia Road

2. Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester St, Preble St, and Boston St.

3. Dorchester Avenue, Damrell St, and D Street

4. Dorchester Avenue, Old Colony Avenue, W. 7th St, and B St.

The use of Complete Streets circulation principles

Boston and the state agencies both espouse Complete Streets principles in designs for streets. Application of these principles to existing facilities may bring challenges. For example, the principles applied to Dorchester Avenue may change the character of the street considerably. As a two-lane facility with parking on both sides of the street, change may be essential to incorporate safe bicycle lanes and sidewalks, along with landscaping treatment that may involve a row of new street trees within the study area.

However, the street’s right-of-way may not be sufficient to incorporate all of these competing uses unless care is taken in the design. To maintain continuity of design and treatment, this suggests a very strong role for the city in overseeing or providing facilities for private landowners.

By contrast, with 4 lanes, Old Colony Avenue provides more space for incorporation of changes in movement patterns and in redesign to add amenities that can support the extensive development anticipated here.

Park planning

• The thoroughfare called Ellery Street is planned to be extended as a street with a contiguous greenway through much of the study area. The greenway would be constructed on land adjacent to a street and to buildable parcels created in specific locations. There are several questions that come from this proposal: Will the greenway be designed and constructed by the businesses? What role will the city play? Who will be responsible for maintenance of the greenway?

• For the proposed pedestrian/bike way running along the frontage road/train tracks, where will the funds for construction and maintenance come from? Can this path and bikeway be constructed as part of the street proposed for the edge of parcels that abut the rail yards?

• The plan calls for the creation of a 1-2 acre park by asking developers to consolidate their open space requirements into a single area. We are concerned that businesses may not want to consolidate their open space requirements. In that instance, where would the funds come for the construction and maintenance of this space?

• The creation of a park and pedestrian greenway requires the commitment of businesses willing to participate in density bonus measures that provide the city with open space. If businesses opt out of those density bonus plans then this area is reduced to 45-foot tall buildings with no parks, no open spaces, and no network of connectivity.

The pedestrian experience

• Retail amenities encourage walking. Much of the frontage of both Old Colony and Dorchester Avenue is planned to be retail – a very good idea if the demand for the space remains solid. However, there are clear indications that sales of goods in massive quantities on the internet are drying up many of the opportunities for brick-and-mortar sites for retail activities. It seems doubtful that the current market for goods will change significantly.

• Services such as dry cleaners, restaurants, banks, etc. are, of course, likely to require physical operating space. It is possible that projections of space needs specifically for services may be required to more closely balance space allocations with likely demand. However, many services do not require physical space adjacent to a sidewalk. To the extent that proposed zoning can be tailored, services might be used to occupy the space that may be zoned for retail activities. Restaurants immediately come to mind as an opportunity area. Perhaps a focus on food services may be an appropriate alternative that should be nurtured.

• It is important to note that a positive pedestrian experience requires a seamless network of spaces and attractions. If in the process of constructing on sites in this large area, businesses are filing commercial spaces at large physical intervals, it deters walking, while simultaneously promoting driving and crime by creating dead zones of activity.

While there are many admirable aspects of this plan including potential pedestrian networks and implementation of Boston’s Complete Streets Guidelines, much remains vague. Rezoning can allow for certain types of redevelopment, but in no way ensures the creation of those possibilities. If rezoning does occur as planned, we suggest that the developer guidelines and site plan review process be rigorous and keep walkability at the forefront of the development goals.

This rezoning plan allows for the creation of many great things for pedestrians, but in no way ensures those aspects of the plan will be implemented in the long run.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this emerging plan.

Sincerely,

Robert Sloane

Senior Planner

Comments on Morrissey Boulevard Reconstruction Proposal

Comments on Morrissey Boulevard Reconstruction Proposal

April 22, 2016

Re: Proposal for reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester

WalkBoston appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposal for the reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard. The proposal is very timely and demonstrates a commitment to deal with long-range issues resulting from potentially higher sea levels and the need for sustainable development along the ocean.

We are commenting because of concern about pedestrian issues associated with this project.

We are concerned about the potential speed of vehicles on Morrissey Boulevard, and believe that the designs for the roadway should incorporate deliberate methods of slowing vehicles. These include the consideration of narrowing the lane widths in both directions on the facility. Elimination of a lane in each direction would substantially reduce speeds and make the roadway safer for all users. With extra space along both sides of the roadway, safer pedestrian and bicycle facilities could be provided.

The cross-section of the proposed facility seems cramped by the need to incorporate space for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Facilities for pedestrians and bicycles should be wider than minimum standards, as this is a place for not just movement, but also enjoyment of the surroundings. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities should be constructed on separate alignments, perhaps with vertical separation or with landscaping and path surfacing that directs traffic into the appropriate facility. Pedestrian walkways should definitely be located directly on the water on the ocean and the Malibu Beach sides of the corridor, with the biking facility separated and located nearer the roadway. Where possible, there should be outlooks for pedestrians, and seating for walkers to use for resting and enjoying the site.

The roadway should also be designed to protect crosswalks that are included in the design. These roads need signed, and perhaps painted, warnings on approaches to crosswalks, as the current crosswalks seem randomly located, with some having minimal signals, and may not be noticed by drivers until the very last moment. The crosswalks should connect directly to local streets and their sidewalks where possible, including the walkways lining Malibu Beach. Some of the existing sidewalks are in need of physical widening and upgrading to provide for safe passage between local streets and the crosswalks.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this very important project.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman

Executive Director