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Tag: South Boston

Boston Globe – Chain-reaction crash that killed toddler in South Boston leaves residents reeling

Boston Globe – Chain-reaction crash that killed toddler in South Boston leaves residents reeling

Boston Globe: “Chain-reaction crash that killed toddler in South Boston leaves residents reeling

[Six] pedestrians including the toddler in South Boston, have been struck and killed in Boston this year, according to WalkBoston, a pedestrian advocacy group that uses news reports to track such crashes.

Wendy Landman, the group’s executive director, said people pushing strollers are “certainly are one of the groups we think about when we think of sidewalk accessibility.”

Posted July 27, 2018

WalkBoston’s statewide crash tracker can be accessed on this page under “Crash Monitoring”

Seaport Square Expanded NPC Comment Letter 11/1/17

Seaport Square Expanded NPC Comment Letter 11/1/17

November 1, 2017

Matthew Beaton, Secretary
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Analyst Alex Strysky
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Gary Uter
Boston Planning and Development Agency
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Comments on the Seaport Square Expanded NPC, MEPA 14255

Dear Secretary Beaton and Mr. Uter:

Roughly 13 acres of the Seaport Square project remains to be developed. The remaining parcels primarily sit behind the major frontage of the project on Seaport Boulevard, are sandwiched between off-­ramps to the Harbor Tunnel approaches and reach from Summer Street to the water’s edge at Fan Pier. The expanded Notice of Project Change describes a project that is framed around the north-­south local streets that flank “Harbor Way,” a new and wide interior pedestrian street that will extend 5-­6 blocks between the Harbor and Summer Street.

1. The concept for Harbor Way is very strong. The major and continuous pedestrian street is planned and designed to encourage its use by large numbers of people. Harbor Way is intended to create the focus for a sort of ‘downtown’ for the Seaport District that will serve commuters, visitors and tourists. The success of Harbor Way is critical to attracting and retaining tenants and users of the corridor.

2. Generally, mid-­block crossings are provided for pedestrians.

  • At Congress Street the proposed mid-­block pedestrian crossing is protected by signalization, bump-­outs to narrow the crossing distance, and a refuge median.
  • At Autumn Lane, a privately owned minor street designated primarily for service vehicle access, the possibility of a platform or raised crossing has been mentioned.
  •  At Seaport Boulevard the pedestrian crossing is mid-­block and will be a fully signalized crossing.

3. At this time a mid-­block crossing of Summer Street seems to be missing from the plan and needs to be addressed.

  • We ask that the proponent work closely with the City and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) to plan for a major mid-­block pedestrian crossing at the end of Harbor Way, where it would logically cross Summer Street. We hope that the MCCA will be able to take on some of the responsibility for helping to plan and fund this mid-­block crossing, as its main entrance is only a long city block away and the Harbor Way is likely to form a major attraction for the visitors to BCEC events in the future.
  •  The City should be involved, as it is already programming a major reconstruction of the cross-­section of Summer Street from the Fort Point Channel up to Boston Wharf Road, a mere half-­block away from this proposed crossing. Continuing this improvement to the BCEC should be a major objective for development of the area. The Summer Steps at the terminus of Harbor Way should not be constructed until the mid-­block pedestrian crossing is laid out and programmed for construction.
  • A disappointing aspect of development along Boston Wharf Road is the existence of the very large Park Lot C owned by the U.S. Post Office Department, which abuts Summer Street, where Boston Wharf Road passes under it. This particular site, with difficult roadway access, is unfortunately situated so that improvements in connection with the construction of Harbor Way are unlikely, even though the mid-­block crossing that is so essential for the future success of Harbor Way at its terminus with Summer Street. Ownership and physical configuration of the site mean that the proponent, the City and the Convention Center Authority will need to work together to plan and build the mid-­block crossing at this location.

4. The anchor for the south end of Harbor Way has been left partially undefined. The proponent has designed the Summer Steps to take advantage of a 24’ grade change between the site and the level of Summer Street. A supplementary elevator is provided, and the steps have a ramp to be used by cyclists. A portion of the steps could also become the seating in a performance facility, aided by electronic connections and lighting to encourage its use. A generous setback between the bottom of the stairs and Congress Street will allow for staged performances. The two sites that flank the steps are loosely defined as office and a possible hotel, and include the possibility of a 650-­seat public performance space. Without development of the two sites, the Steps may not be feasible.

5. A strong anchor for the north end of Harbor Way appears somewhat elusive. Harbor Way ends at a pavilion that would mirror District Hall across the park known as Seaport Common. The building will house a stairway and elevator leading to its roof, which will be open to the public. The two lower floors will house the Mass. Fallen Heroes Mourning Room and perhaps a restaurant. Access to the waterfront will continue along the side of the building, leading to a street to the ICA building and the harbor’s edge. Thus the ICA and its waterfront area is the true anchor at the north end of Harbor Way. Access to the large, nearby Fan Pier Public Green (another possible anchor on the north end of Harbor Way) is indirect, and a diagonal trip across the proponent’s Common Park would complete a slightly different connection between Harbor Way and the waterfront. However, this kind of connectivity to the Fan Pier Public Green appears infeasible with the present plan for the Seaport Common pavilion.

6. Preservation of the pedestrian way between Seaport Boulevard and Northern Avenue should be central to planning of the north end of Harbor Way. The proponent has proposed that service and parking access to Parcel G will be via Northern Avenue which WalkBoston believes is an appropriate location. We believe that an alternative location for this access on Harbor Way (as proposed by others) would introduce very unfortunately add parking entrances and loading docks along this quiet and pleasant pedestrian way and transform it’s character. Harbor Way is designed as a special pedestrian space and parking and loading should not occur in the space, especially since reasonably convenient and accessible alternatives are easily available. We concur with the developer’s plan to keep Harbor Way free of these vehicular functions.

7. The streets flanking Harbor Way may pose challenges for successful pedestrian-­focused development. The proponent is committed to expanding the Harbor Way walking focus by lining two parallel streets with retail uses designed to appeal to pedestrians. Boston Wharf Road and the East Service road, parallel to Harbor Way, are proposed to be lined with retail and other public attractions. As the Harbor Way development blocks come on line, retail will be a major element to attract walkers into the district. It seems likely that retail will be somewhat slow to locate on either of the parallel streets until Harbor Way is successfully launched, a challenge in today’s low energy retail environment.

  • The East Service Road in particular may be difficult to develop as a retail spine. It will provide access to and from the Third Harbor Tunnel and I-­90 with connections into and through the Seaport District. Bicycle facilities have already been eliminated from the street because they were precluded by the many highway ramp links into the Interstate system. At the same time, pedestrian connections have been expanded with wider sidewalks, leading to an expanded retail area. Given the anticipated vehicular traffic on the street, retail activities seem unlikely in the near term, especially with the competition of the nearby Harbor Way with its robust pedestrian environment.
  • Pedestrian crossings should be explored at a mid-­‐block crossing of the East Service Road at Autumn Way to connect between Harbor Way and the so-­called M-­block development on the south side of East Service Road.
  •  Boston Wharf Road may attract retail uses, but will need to contend with the fact that this two-­way street provides major roadway access to the Seaport District and is likely to become a major access route for vehicles coming to the Harbor Way pedestrian spine. Sidewalks have been widened in anticipation of this evolution of the area.
  • Special attention may be needed at two locations on Boston Wharf Road. The first is the connection to Seagreen Park – Site Q – a park on the north side of the street, where a mid-­block pedestrian crossing is likely to be needed. Second, attention is being given to a through-­building connection further south to provide additional connections with Harbor Way, and it would be appropriate to evaluate whether a mid-­block crossing is warranted at this location.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the pedestrian environment at Seaport Square. We are happy to answer any questions you have about our comments.

Best regards,

Wendy Landman                                 Bob Sloane
Executive Director                               Senior Planner

Cc Yanni Tsipis, WS Development Jim Fitzgerald, BPDA Fred Peterson, MCCA Pat Sullivan, Seaport TMA

Comments on L Street Power Station Redevelopment South Boston ENF/Expanded PNF

Comments on L Street Power Station Redevelopment South Boston ENF/Expanded PNF

July 7, 2017

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew A. Beaton
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
Attn: MEPA Office, Alex Strysky
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston MA 02114

Brian Golden, Director
Boston Planning and Development Agency
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201

Re: EEA No. 15692, L Street Power Station Redevelopment, South Boston
ENF/Expanded PNF

Dear Secretary Beaton and Director Golden:

WalkBoston is pleased to see the proposal for a mixed use development of the large South Boston waterfront site that will include the re-use of the historically and architecturally interesting L Street Power Station. Putting this portion of the City back into a productive use that invites public access is a positive change for the City and for South Boston.

The overall site design will help to integrate this large parcel into the neighborhood, and create new opportunities for people to walk from East 1st Street to the waterfront and help to link the residential portions of South Boston into the site which was long cut off from the community by fences and other obstructions. The partial extension of the local street network onto the site and between and around new buildings proposed for the site seems appropriate in scale. With sidewalks that are sufficiently wide and landscaped, both community residents and people living on-site will be served by the new connections.

Our comments below are focused on questions that we hope the proponent will respond to in subsequent filings about the project.

1. Waterside Pedestrian and Open Space Environment
We understand that the new dedicated harborside freight corridor that will connect Summer Street to Massport’s Conley Terminal and remove heavy truck traffic from East 1st Street will provide very important, and long-desired improvements to the South Boston neighborhood. But this shift will also present challenges; the new harborside route will place an access barrier and significant truck traffic (with its accompanying noise and air pollution) between the development site’s primary open space and the harbor.
We urge the developer to consider creative ways to mitigate the truck route’s impact on the
open space. This could include grade changes that place the open space higher than the truck route (Figure 3.5b may hint at this); landscaping that both masks and frames views,
soundscapes to mask truck noise, and the addition of viewing platforms that allow open space users to gain unimpeded views of the water. There may also be ways to capitalize on the site’s industrial past and on-going use through interpretive elements. WalkBoston is concerned that without such special treatment the open space will not be very attractive to the public.
If possible, the proponent might also explore with Massport whether it would be possible to
schedule truck traffic so that is interferes less with daytime and weekend use of the open space.

2. Encouragement of walking and walking-transit trips
At the direction of the City, the proponent has used South Boston adjusted trip generation rates to develop trip tables for walking/biking, transit and vehicles. However, the site is at a
significant distance from other land uses that would seem to justify such significant numbers of walking trips, and to suffer from overused bus lines and significant distances to the Red and Silver Lines. Figure 5-1 illustrate the 5 and 10-minute walking zones, neither of which include a great many retail, job and civic land uses.
We urge the proponent to develop mitigation measures to make the development a more
realistically mixed mode project. These could include such things as: subsidies to the MBTA to provide more frequent bus service, or creation or partnering with other South Boston
developments to provide shuttle services to the Silver and/or Red Lines.

3. Bicycle facilities
The proponent mentions that Boston has flagged both East 1st Street and Summer Street for
protected bicycle facilities, however Figure 3.5a shows an on-street bike lane.
We urge the proponent to work with the City, and perhaps provide funding for, separated
bicycle facilities on both East 1st Street and Summer Street. The distance of the site from transit and a mix of retail, job and civic facilities will make bicycling a more likely mode of off-site trips than walking.

We look forward to working with the City and Redgate as the project plans are developed in greater detail.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Cc Ralph Cox, Greg Bialecki, Megha Vadula, Redgate
Elizabeth Grob, VHB

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Comments on the Seaport Square NPC, MEPA 14255-3/24/17

Comments on the Seaport Square NPC, MEPA 14255-3/24/17

March 24, 2017

Matthew Beaton, Secretary
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office Analyst: Alex Strysky
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Gary Uter
Boston Planning and Development Agency
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Comments on the Seaport Square NPC, MEPA 14255

Dear Mr. Beaton and Mr. Uter:

WalkBoston is pleased to submit comments on the revised Seaport Square project in the South Boston Seaport District.

We applaud the developer’s broad and thoughtful approach to creating a walkable and pedestrian focused sense of place. In particular, the new walking connection to Summer Street; the extensive, interesting and continuous connection to the harbor via Harbor Way; and the fact that the development is at the same grade with the rest of the Seaport District provide great opportunities to help transform the district into a lively part of the City.

Our comments are focused on several detailed design and management issues that we believe should be further considered as the project moves toward final development and implementation.

  1. We are very pleased that the proponent is providing an additional entrance to the Courthouse Silver Line station. This will provide weather-­protected access to transit and provide very convenient transit access for people walking in the area. We urge the developer to ensure that safe crosswalks are provided to the Silver Line station on Northern Avenue and on the nearby intersecting streets -­ Marina Park Drive and Boston Wharf Road -­ two cross streets that are not precisely aligned with one another. The crosswalks should serve desire lines for walkers going to or from the station.
  2. Several of the key pedestrian crosswalks that will serve the project require further attention to pedestrian safety.
  • The lane widths shown on Figures 1-­35 and 1-­36 show that Congress Street and East Service Road will have overly wide 12’ and 15’ travel lanes. The un-­‐signalized pedestrian crosswalk on Congress Street is 70’ wide and we believe that substantial safety measures are needed to make this a safe place for pedestrians, in particular because many of the vehicles using this street will be coming from or heading toward I-­90, a situation that causes drivers to think that they are in a higher speed situation. Among the measures that should be considered are: addition of a traffic signal, narrowing the lanes and the crossing distance, and addition of a raised crossing.
  • The diagrams of other streets show 10.5 – 11’ foot lanes. We urge the proponent to work with the City to shrink all lanes to 10’ or 10.5,’ which the City’s Complete Streets Guidelines suggest as a reasonable width for an urban street.
  • At the edge of the project, a crossing of Summer Street to connect Seaport Square with the BCEC is absolutely essential. This crosswalk must be fully protected by a traffic signal. We believe that a gracious and safe pedestrian crossing of Summer Street will be important to the financial success of Seaport Square in addition to fulfilling the needs for a walker-­‐centric design.
  • No signals are provided for five pedestrian crossings of Northern Avenue. While this may be viewed as a slow-­‐moving street, great care should be taken with the design to ensure that all the crossings are safe for pedestrians, with minimal crossing distances and street designs and parking management that ensure that pedestrians waiting to cross can be seen by approaching motorists.
  • It is noteworthy that signalized crossings are added along Seaport Boulevard at pedestrian crossings between Farnsworth Street and the Harbor Shore Drive pedestrian way, between Thompson Street and Fan Pier Boulevard, and at the important pedestrian crossing where the Summer Street–to-­‐harbor pedestrian way intersects the Seaport Boulevard and also leads to the new entrance to Courthouse Station on the Silver Line.
  1. The shadow conditions in the project area suggest that the proponent will need to make special provisions to make the pedestrian zones comfortable during colder parts of the year. The developer might look to some of the work highlighted by WinterCities (http://wintercities.com/home/about/) for ideas on this topic.
  2. The proposed design for Seaport Boulevard as shown in Figure 1-­6 does not yet accomplish the goals for a truly walkable urban district. Except for a partially widened median strip, the roadway appears to have few distinctions from the existing conditions. Among the measures that should be considered for Seaport Boulevard are:
  • Narrow lanes and frequent raised crossings to slow traffic
  • Pedestrian scale lighting
  • Activated ground floor uses to give a sense of place for people walking along the street •  Pedestrian wayfinding
  • We also urge the proponent to consider whether a widened median is a desirable design feature to be continued throughout the project area. The landscaping with rocks, grasses and sculptures might truly make the boulevard distinctive. Landscaping features could also be added on the sidewalks, making the walking experience more pleasant.

All of the design features noted above could help shift the street from its existing character as an auto-­centric roadway to one that is attractive and safe for pedestrians.

  1. The proponent should consider walking conditions and amenities on the edges of the project as well as the center – people will be walking everywhere and the NPC is focused very heavily on the central Harbor Way. We urge that the many other streets be carefully planned as well.
  2. Because the project is so large and will create a significant portion of the Seaport District’s character, it seems to have the potential to provide a pedestrian and land use environment that can serve a diverse and multi-­‐generational population. We urge the developer to pay attention to the mix of uses, shops and restaurants and their pricing so that they are attractive to all members of the greater Boston community.
  3. Bicycle accommodations shown in the NPC do not seem to represent Boston’s current thinking about the need to provide low stress bicycle facilities. While this is not WalkBoston’s area of expertise, we believe that it is very important for the Seaport District to accommodate bicycles as well as possible.
  • For example, Figure 3-­13, Transportation Circulation Plan, shows bicycle lanes on Northern Avenue, Seaport Boulevard and Boston Wharf Road, without indicating connections to the City’s planned bicycle routes on Congress Street, Summer Street, the Northern Avenue Bridge, the Evelyn Moakley Bridge, and Seaport Boulevard east of East Service Road. Potential north-­‐south connections between these main routes are ignored. Possible bicycle lanes on Sleeper Street, Fan Pier Boulevard, Marina Park Drive or other connecting streets are not indicated.
  • Bicycle lanes on Seaport Boulevard are shown in ways the City is no longer supporting. Figure 1-­6 shows bicycle lanes adjacent to moving traffic, while the City is now working to provide protected bicycle lanes (between parked cars and the sidewalk) on arterials.
  • The crosswalk on Summer Street will also be used by cyclists on the Summer Street cycle tracks. Cyclists will be interested in crossing the street as they access the proposed development – particularly the critical and focal pedestrian path between Summer Street and the harbor. Special provision for cyclists should be included to preserve the safety of pedestrians throughout this potentially densely used walkway.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the project, and would be pleased to answer any questions that our comments raise.

 

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

 

Cc Yanni Tsipis, WS Development
Jonathan Greeley, BPDA
Vineet Gupta, Boston Transportation Department
Patrick Sullivan, Seaport TMA

 

Comments on the Marine Wharf Project ENF 95585

Comments on the Marine Wharf Project ENF 95585

September 23, 2016

Matthew Beaton, Secretary
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office Analyst: Alex Strysky
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Re: Marine Wharf ENF 95585

Dear Mr. Beaton,

WalkBoston appreciates the opportunity to comment on this project and the pedestrian services it provides. The project is very interesting as it occupies a key site in the South Boston Seaport District.

The site is proposed to be developed as a 245 room hotel, which will be able to take advantage of the good and direct walking access to major sites nearby: within a radius of about 2-3 city blocks (1/4 mile) are the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the Black Falcon Pier and Cruise Terminal, and the Boston Design Center. In addition the site is about 300 feet from a direct view of the Reserved Channel and its port activities – an exciting area of the Seaport District.

Other sites in the Seaport District are more difficult to access from the development site. Although both the performance space at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion on the waterfront and the Harpoon Brewery and Beer Hall are within ¼ mile of the site, they are accessible only via Harbor Street, through a heavily industrial district dominated by truck traffic – not uninteresting, but somewhat unpleasant as a walking route.

Bus service along Summer Street is excellent, connecting both to South Boston and Downtown. An adjacent transit service that is somewhat complex is the Silver Line, which runs a branch along Black Falcon Avenue that connects into the main tunnel to the World Trade Center Pier and South Station. To reach the airport via the Silver Line, riders must transfer at Silver Line Way Station, not far from this site, but difficult to access because there is no direct walking route leading to it. The proponent may want to work with public agencies to secure more direct and safe pedestrian access to Silver Line Station, which is nearby – slightly more than 500 feet away as the crow flies.

Waterfront walks in the area surrounding the site are not encouraged, despite the location adjacent to the Reserved Channel. The Boston Harborwalk will someday pass directly through the Raymond Flynn Marine Park adjacent to the site, because it is a major land connection between the Seaport District and South Boston. However, at the moment the Harborwalk route is not completely signed between Northern Avenue and the South Boston parks and historic sites, leaving this area without a designated portion of its route.

Wayfinding signs would help hotel patrons find the many attractions of the South Boston Seaport more easily. The proponent should work closely with the group of organizations that have been planning and experimenting with wayfinding networks throughout the Seaport over the last year.

Sidewalks surround the proposed development on both Summer Street and Drydock Avenue. The lovely Raymond Flynn Marine Park, immediately adjacent to the site, affords additional open space for hotel patrons, but has not been incorporated into plans for the building and service areas.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to submit these comments.

Sincerely

Robert Sloane
Senior Planner