Open Letter to Boston Redevelopment Authority (V6)
The development of One Channel Center is a major project comprising an 11 story office building, an 8 story 970 space above-ground parking garage, and a 1.7 acre park along with significant street enhancements. It will have a sizeable impact on our neighborhood. According to the Developer, over 4,000 people will be working there.
The scale and complexity of the project require significantly more time for community review than allowed by the June 8th deadline announced on May 14. The project includes the convergence of 2 PDA’s and 2 major streets, but has not been vetted publicly.
We welcome this new development in the neighborhood, and would like to support it, but the review process has to be transparent and open, in dialogue with the neighborhood, and the deadline needs to be extended to address and resolve important issues, such as those listed below, with input from the community.
1. Traffic and Pedestrian Circulation:
• How will 4,000 new workers and approximately 1,000 cars get in and out of the neighborhood without causing unacceptable traffic levels on A Street, which is already backed up during rush hour?
• How will the Haul Road and Richards Street, originally designed for commercial traffic to bypass South Boston, be used to alleviate the traffic congestion?
• How does the plan affect traffic flow, pedestrian safety and circulation on the walkways and streets within and abutting the Channel Center community?
2. Site Plan: Locating the site of the 150-foot high One Channel Center:
• The proposed building in its current location constitutes a massive wall at the end of Channel Center Street.
What is the rationale for the site plan development including the building on the north side of the site?
• The history of the project development needs to be explained to the community.
• The western exposure of 7, 9, and 15 Midway will be in the buildings shadow. How will this be alleviated?
3. Creating a vibrant neighborhood and ground level street activation:
• The Channel Center Master Plan requires 62,000 square feet of retail space. The plan for ground floor service/retail amenities is significantly under that level. One Channel Center and the garage offer an opportunity for retail space to close the gap, and increase street level activity.
• One Channel Center appears to turn its back on the Channel Center community. Additional retail space in the Office Building could reinforce the focus on existing Channel Center street retail development.
• Will the atrium, part of the pedestrian spine of the community be open 24/7?
• Ground-level retail space should be set aside for arts/cultural/civic uses including galleries and arts-related businesses.
4. Impact of an above-ground garage for 970 vehicles:
• Underground parking was required by the Channel Center Master Plan. We recognize it is more expensive. Where are the modifications to address the impact of an above-grade garage?
5. Park/Open Space:
• We look forward to a joint community city and developer to program the park, including a dog park and children’s playground.
We welcome the development of One Channel Center in our neighborhood, and would like to support it, but the review process has to be transparent and open, inclusive of a dialogue with the neighborhood, and the deadline has to be extended to adequately address and resolve the issues important to the community with our input. Please help us by adding your address in the comments field.
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