"Midtown"/Widett Circle in a non-Olympics Boston

Scalziand

Active Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2012
Messages
463
Reaction score
0
That said, the particular issue I would have especially with 1a would be how it would interface with the waterfront... basically it would be a 30 foot or so drop to the water, which might be good for Global Warming, but it would be a pretty far drop to make any River/Harbor Walk work out.
It could be the harbor "cliff" walk.
Chicago has a couple projects in the works that do exactly that, with plazas decked over rail/railyards that step down to a water level river walk; 150 North Riverside and 444 West Lake(River Pointe).

Here's the before:
150N Riverside

harryc

River Pointe

harryc

Current(150N Riverside on left and River Pointe on right):


Both Chicago parcels have somewhat more solid ground to work with than parcels 1a+b, but still necessitated dramatic cantilevers. The River Pointe project addresses the river walk poorly imho, giving it a lovely blank beige wall as a backdrop. The 150N Riverside river walk will be much more activated.


http://150northriverside.com/building/facts/

Draw what inspiration ye may from these projects.
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,719
Reaction score
18
I think the reason at least some of those other developments would have to happen first is not any direct dependencies, but rather they extend the downtown towards these 1a and 1b parcels and would help justify the cost of decking. Also if you consider how long it has taken to get the Mass Pike parcels decked I think you'll see many more less challenging parcels redeveloped first.
 

Shepard

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
3,476
Reaction score
0
Serious questions -

- Aside from the "Access Road" off the 93N frontage road, how will Widett be accessed? Clearly, "Access Road" is completely inadequate

- How could this site be even remotely large enough to be "the next big neighborhood" ...?
 

Proposition Joe

Active Member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
307
Reaction score
0
If the BTD site got sold off, like Kraft was pretending to do with the revs stadium feint, you might be able to access Widett through that redevelopment. If the North South Rail Link happened and Amtrak used that opportunity to move their rail yard up to Woburn, then you could redevelop that site and the lot next to Andrew Station to connect Widett to South Boston.

The site has shit connectivity right now and if it got redeveloped the only thing you can do with just the Access Road is a suburban style apartment block where you have one or two parking spaces per unit. Which would be a huge shame, obviously.

Also, calling Widett Circle "Midtown" is a crime. I will literally come and citizen arrest you if you call it Midtown.
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,719
Reaction score
18
A much better long term plan would be to realign I93 along the tracks similar to the plan for Beacon Yards in Alston. Instead of 50 isolated acres in need of major infrastructure and in need of being raised up 10 or 20 feet due to flooding concerns you could have 50 acres integrated with the South End without a highway in between. State should just buy the land now and head off bad development.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,404
Reaction score
5
I'd like to see a light rail urban ring go through the Widett Circe area, with a station there to support TOD. Here'e my idea to connect an urban ring light rail line from Ruggles Station to the Red Line using the abandoned trolley tunnel at the Broadway station. Red is surface line, yellow is elevated, and green is tunnel (using the abandoned trolley tunnel).

 

sm89

Active Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
848
Reaction score
2
Also, calling Widett Circle "Midtown" is a crime. I will literally come and citizen arrest you if you call it Midtown.
What makes this more annoying is that they're also referring to Chinatown as Midtown, so at least make up your mind!!
 

JohnAKeith

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2008
Messages
4,267
Reaction score
2
Should this be in the soccer stadium thread?

The authors of this opinion piece from Commonwealth Magazine want the areas near Rt 93 and South Boston / South End turned into wetlands and opening up the buried Bass River.

Join me in being amused/angered by the errors that I found too egregious to ignore, therefore being unable to give their proposal any respect.

Developing Widett Circle is short-sighted
We should instead use the area to bolster climate resilience
By EMILY NORTON and DWAIGN TYNDAL
Dec 30, 2018

BOSTON MAYOR MARTY WALSH is urging [the Boston City Council to declare surplus several parcels of city property along Frontage Road, including Widett Circle. This would allow the land to be sold off for development, perhaps for a soccer stadium.

With the memory of the Winthrop Square garage process still fresh, we say slow down. This is public property, owned by all residents of Boston, and a rigorous, thorough, and transparent process must be followed so that Bostonians can be confident that the benefits from the parcels’ development accrue to the public and to future generations, not to the private profits of connected developers.

Widett Circle is one of the lowest-lying parcels in the city, and it already floods regularly. During last winter’s extreme storms anyone unlucky enough to have their cars in the city’s tow lot, which sits on the site today, found them partially underwater when they went to collect them. Frontage Road and Widett Circle, like much of Boston, is built on fill. Historically, it was open water, literally “South Bay” – yes, that’s where the shopping center’s name comes from.

And the water is coming back. In November the federal government released the National Climate Report, and its predictions for the Northeast were stark: increased storms, heavier rainfalls, hotter summers, more heat-related deaths, all exacerbated by our aging infrastructure including water, sewer, and storm water systems.

Maintaining low-lying parcels as impermeable surface – i.e. buildings, roads – is risky, and will grow more so. When it rains, water that would have soaked into the ground instead runs off into storm drains. Aging storm drains get overwhelmed, leading to flooding. Even new storm drains cannot handle the volume of the heavier rains in our future, leading to flooding. A built environment means fewer trees and vegetation to absorb water, leading to flooding.
Continues: https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/developing-widett-circle-is-short-sighted/
 

Rover

Active Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2016
Messages
718
Reaction score
11
I've never understood the "slow down" edict from the anti-development crowd? Like the 10 years it takes for anything to get done around here is too speedy a process for them??? I don't mind somebody BS'ing me, but at least put some effort into it. Everybody knows "slow down" from NIMBY's = delay until the project misses the development cycle. Problem is we saw the effect of this policy in action during the Filene's site debacle where we got to stare at a beautiful hole in the ground for eons. Now perhaps the tow lot in Widett circle qualifies as a national historical area ;) but if we go through 20 years of fighting over unrealistic proposals we're all going to be staring at that tow lot for a long, looong time.
 

tangent

Senior Member
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,719
Reaction score
18
The city has just barely gotten finished filling all those wetlands in... like twenty or thirty years ago much of that area was still a muddy polluted ditch. Might as well un-fill in the Back Bay while we are at it if we are restoring the old coastline or half of Boston which was originally all part of the ocean.

If they didn't fill it in enough to deal with climate change... then add more fill.
 

SeamusMcFly

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
2,018
Reaction score
0
but if we go through 20 years of fighting over unrealistic proposals we're all going to be staring at that tow lot for a long, looong time.
That impervious tow lot that will be contributing to the heat island effect for a loooong time.
 

CSTH

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2009
Messages
1,792
Reaction score
0
The city has just barely gotten finished filling all those wetlands in... like twenty or thirty years ago much of that area was still a muddy polluted ditch. Might as well un-fill in the Back Bay while we are at it if we are restoring the old coastline or half of Boston which was originally all part of the ocean.

If they didn't fill it in enough to deal with climate change... then add more fill.
Right on.

But the good news is that we can do both.

Add a couple feet of dirt and podium on most of the footprint here, to support dense development.

And also cut out a system of low-elevation wetland swales, draining down to the Channel, and with some high-intensity ecosystem services delivered by a bunch of mud and plants and snails.

This is what has been done with the former Miller's River at NorthPoint (Cambridge Crossing?) and is also what is proposed at Suffolk Downs.

And - as a matter of fact - it's also what was done 150 years ago with the Back Bay / Fens system (with a recent wetland engineering upgrade, as we know).

It's not an either-or question. In fact - doing both development & engineered wetlands is probably the only feasible way forward...
 

underground

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
2,392
Reaction score
1
Can't imagine anything more environmentally crazy than taking a large area that's walkable to major urban center and making it off limits to development.
 

DBM

Active Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2012
Messages
677
Reaction score
2
Everybody knows "slow down" from NIMBY's = delay until the project misses the development cycle. Problem is we saw the effect of this policy in action during the Filene's site debacle where we got to stare at a beautiful hole in the ground for eons.
I actually don't recall there being any NIMBY issues whatsoever that negatively impacted the Filene's site project.

1.) As far as I know, the Hynes/Vornado proposal sailed through the permitting/regulatory process in 2006-2007 without zero community opposition. And why would there have been pushback? They were rescuing a property that was on the verge of going blighted, what with the Filene's bankruptcy.

2.) In 2008, the development cycle went wildly astray, Hynes/Vornado lost their financing. The project stalled. A hole took shape. The community fretted and fumed. The mayor had steam coming out of his ears, a la a Warner Bros. cartoon. Drama and tragic-comedy ensued.

3.) In 2012, Millennium bought the development rights--just as a new, highly favorable development cycle was blooming.

4.) During their 2012-2013 premitting/regulatory process, an overjoyed community voiced not a peep of opposition. And why would it have? The white knight had charged to the rescue to salvage the forlorn Filene's dame!

5.) Millennium started the Filene's building (10 Summer St.) renovation in summer 2013, then shifted over to pouring the foundation (1 Franklin St.) in the pit in spring 2014. Tower was finished in fall 2016.

Again, a remarkably NIMBY-free process, considering the uberprominence of the site location and the massive size of the project.
 

odurandina

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
4,802
Reaction score
16
The Downtown nimby's woke up out of their long slumber

asking htf this outrage could have happened.....
 

Hubman

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
636
Reaction score
2
A large urban wild next to downtown would be beautiful and unusual (apart from maybe crime in a large trafficked space) but Boston can't afford to lose anymore building land.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
1,404
Reaction score
5
A large urban wild next to downtown would be beautiful and unusual (apart from maybe crime in a large trafficked space) but Boston can't afford to lose anymore building land.
As CSTH said above, there can be both. Have large linear areas of wetlands/waterways/wilds amidst the high density development. It adds flood resistance as well as aesthetics.
 

Hubman

Active Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Messages
636
Reaction score
2
As CSTH said above, there can be both. Have large linear areas of wetlands/waterways/wilds amidst the high density development. It adds flood resistance as well as aesthetics.
Very true, but they would have to be careful not to end up with a tower in the park vibe.
 

Top