BOSTON – Wednesday, June 6, 2018 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), with stakeholders from across the City, will launch planning initiatives this year in Downtown, East Boston, Mattapan, Newmarket, and a mobility-focused planning initiative in Allston-Brighton. Guided by Imagine Boston 2030, Mayor Walsh looks to continue working in partnership with communities across the City to ensure Boston preserves wisely, enhances equitably, and grows inclusively. Through these three principles of “preserve, enhance, and grow,” the planning initiatives will work with the community to create a comprehensive vision for each of the planning areas and guide future growth and investment.
“Over the last four years, we have set strong foundations in our planning efforts that will guide our growth as a city in a way that is responsible and inclusive, for many years into the future,” said Mayor Walsh. “These five new planning processes represent a continuation of our commitment to fulfill the individual needs of each neighborhood that both preserve the distinct historic character, and allow for us as a community to plan together for our bright future ahead.”
The planning initiatives build on the strategies outlined in Imagine Boston 2030, Boston’s first citywide plan in 50 years aimed at guiding growth and those of Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030, Mayor Walsh’s plan to create housing at a variety of income levels across the City. The goals outlined in the Mayor’s housing plan are currently being reviewed to ensure that they continue to reflect current conditions.
Imagine Boston 2030 prioritizes inclusionary growth and puts forth a comprehensive vision to boost quality of life, equity and resilience in every neighborhood across the City. To achieve this vision, Imagine Boston identifies places for growth and enhancement that will help the city achieve its goals of becoming more equitable, improving quality of life, and preparing for climate change. This includes:
• Enhance Neighborhoods: In some residential neighborhoods – such as East Boston and Mattapan – comprehensive planning will include a focus on balancing contextually-sensitive development alongside preservation; supporting existing residents and businesses through increased access to opportunity, affordability strategies, and anti-displacement policies; improving the public realm and access to open space and neighborhood-serving amenities; addressing mobility challenges; and supporting neighborhood resiliency and preparing for climate change. In other neighborhoods – such as Allston-Brighton, mobility planning will help to address the challenges presented by the increased pace of development projects.
• Encourage a Mixed-Use Downtown: Continued dense, mixed-use development and public realm improvements in Boston’s commercial core – such as Downtown – will support job growth and new housing opportunities, add amenities, and create active centers for residents, workers and visitors.
• Expand Neighborhoods: Significant new job growth in transit-accessible areas at the edges of neighborhoods – like Newmarket – will expand access to opportunity and stitch together the physical fabric of the city.
“We are looking forward to working closely with the BPDA on this initiative,” said Sue Sullivan, Executive Director of the Newmarket Business Association. “Newmarket has historically been Boston’s industrial job engine and it will be incredibly exciting to plan the expansion of this job base to include new commercial, transit-oriented, and innovative industrial businesses that will employ local residents.”
“I applaud the Mayor for following through on his commitment to East Boston regarding development planning,” said Ernani Jose DeAraujo, Vice President of the Eagle Hill Civic Association. “While residents have benefited from the strong economy and many jobs created in the past few years and as home prices have increased, we need a comprehensive plan for development to make sure all families can stay in East Boston and continue to thrive, regardless of their income.”
“As a resident of East Boston and a Board Member with the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association, I’ve seen many changes in the neighborhood,” said Renee Scalfani. “Thank you to Mayor Walsh and the BPDA for listening to residents and business-owners and establishing this PLAN: East Boston initiative. This is something that will help the neighborhood tremendously and working with the City on this issue will be beneficial for all the residents of East Boston.”
“Mattapan is in need of significant revitalization and we welcome it” said Cynthia Lewis, Vice-President of the Mattapan Homeowners and Neighborhood Association. “Historically, efforts have inadvertently caused displacement amongst Mattapan residents and it is our hope that this plan reflects the voice of the community and support the long-term equitable growth and sustainability that the existing residents of this neighborhood Mattapan deserve. Thank you to Mayor Walsh and the BPDA for this opportunity.”
Downtown Planning Study
Over the last decade, Boston’s Downtown has transformed from primarily a business district into a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood. A Downtown Planning Study is in the initial phases of being launched after it was identified in Imagine Boston 2030 and through the community process for the 115 Winthrop Square project.
The primary goal of the study will be to develop a new framework for the preservation, enhancement, and growth of the Downtown area, while balancing the importance of livability, daylight, walkability, climate change, access to open space, affordability, and a dynamic mix of uses.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released on Tuesday, May 29 for a consultant to assist with the study. Applicants must demonstrate excellence in urban design and land use planning, historic preservation, engineering services to study environmental impacts, market and financial feasibility analysis, multi-modal transportation policy, and sustainability and climate resiliency. Proposals are due by Friday, July 13.
The formal community planning process is expected to start early this fall.
PLAN: East Boston
PLAN: East Boston will work with the community in the existing neighborhoods in East Boston that are facing increased development pressures to determine a shared vision for the future of the neighborhood. Community discussion will focus on preservation of the existing residential fabric, enhancement of the vitality of existing residential communities and businesses, anti-displacement strategies for residents and businesses, connectivity along the waterfront, mobility, and flood protection and climate resiliency.
The BPDA is exploring moving forward with an East Boston Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) for East Boston’s existing residential neighborhoods, an interim zoning tool that is used to maintain increased public review and community voice in the evaluation of proposed new development during a planning process.
PLAN: Mattapan will work with the community to identify needs and opportunities for improvements to support the long-term equitable growth and sustainability of the neighborhood. Focuses will include economic development, access to opportunity and the creation of transit-oriented market-rate and affordable housing growth in the neighborhood, while preserving the neighborhood’s character.
As identified in Imagine Boston 2030, the Newmarket area, located on the Fairmont line, offers opportunities for the preservation and strengthening of critical industrial uses alongside transit-oriented growth that increases job density and strengthens connections to Downtown and adjacent neighborhoods.
PLAN: Newmarket will build on the historic industrial use of the neighborhood while exploring the potential to encourage commercial job growth and creates opportunities for local residents. The plan will work to ensure that future growth is climate ready and enhances area resiliency.
Allston-Brighton Mobility Study
Partly in response to the increased pace of development in recent years, the BPDA, in collaboration with the Boston Transportation Department, will commence a mobility study focused on strategies to improve the multi-modal transportation network, with a particular emphasis on establishing a list of measures that may be implemented through mitigation by future development.
These planning initiatives build on the comprehensive community planning that has taken place under the Walsh Administration. Planning guidelines have been passed for PLAN: JP/Rox and PLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue, and planning efforts are ongoing in Roxbury’s Dudley Square and Dorchester’s Upham’s Corner and Glover’s Corner. Additional details about the planning initiatives announced today will be made available in the coming months.