Copley Square Revamp | Back Bay

stefal

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
1,262
Reaction score
1,315
Sasaki is working with the City of Boston and Parks Department to, again, reimagine Copley Square. Here's a Globe article.

The current budget is penciled in at around $4 million, but could grow depending on the programming and design. At $4 million, we can likely expect only some minor changes. Several design concepts will be presented early 2021, and construction will begin in 2022. Public input is being taken now before concepts are fully produced.

Personally, I feel not much needs to be changed. I really like the plaza as is, but new and refreshed pavers and basic infrastructure/maintenance would surely be welcomed. I wonder if the plaza's interface with the streets, or rather, the streets themselves, could be altered somehow. Sasaki is considering what they could do with Dartmouth Street, and the BPL stated they are considering some renovations on the McKim Building, so hopefully something nice can emerge there. Boylston could use some softening/pedestrian enhancements, and nothing too crazy with St. James, in my experience, but it never hurts to add more pedestrian enhancements around a plaza.
 

cburns

Active Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2013
Messages
106
Reaction score
41
Sasaki is working with the City of Boston and Parks Department to, again, reimagine Copley Square. Here's a Globe article.

The current budget is penciled in at around $4 million, but could grow depending on the programming and design. At $4 million, we can likely expect only some minor changes. Several design concepts will be presented early 2021, and construction will begin in 2022. Public input is being taken now before concepts are fully produced.

Personally, I feel not much needs to be changed. I really like the plaza as is, but new and refreshed pavers and basic infrastructure/maintenance would surely be welcomed. I wonder if the plaza's interface with the streets, or rather, the streets themselves, could be altered somehow. Sasaki is considering what they could do with Dartmouth Street, and the BPL stated they are considering some renovations on the McKim Building, so hopefully something nice can emerge there. Boylston could use some softening/pedestrian enhancements, and nothing too crazy with St. James, in my experience, but it never hurts to add more pedestrian enhancements around a plaza.
Whacky idea.... could they close Dartmouth Street between St James and Boylston? We temporarily do it ever April for the medical tents at the finish line... imagine a unified and cohesive pedestrian plaza between Trinity Church and the McKim entrance....
 

393b40

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Messages
1,725
Reaction score
503
Whacky idea.... could they close Dartmouth Street between St James and Boylston? We temporarily do it ever April for the medical tents at the finish line... imagine a unified and cohesive pedestrian plaza between Trinity Church and the McKim entrance....
I don't think that's viable... Dartmouth is simply too import of a road.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,412
Reaction score
703
Whacky idea.... could they close Dartmouth Street between St James and Boylston? We temporarily do it ever April for the medical tents at the finish line... imagine a unified and cohesive pedestrian plaza between Trinity Church and the McKim entrance....
Dartmouth provides pretty critical traffic flow from the Mass Pike exit ramp into Back Bay.
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
992
Reaction score
1,420
I agree that Dartmouth probably carries just too much traffic to be diverted. That being said, I'd love to see a rework of St. James Ave and the bus stops there to make that function better.

(and I mean well outside the parks department and copley square, I'd love to see them fix Huntington between Copley Sq and Copley Place, what a horrible mess)
 

Life Coach Mike

Active Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
157
Reaction score
185
A few issues need addressing that were problems from the very beginning. First, they used slate as part of the paving pattern. Slate flakes with the water and cold and creates tripping hazards. Second, the plane trees were a disaster....they got infected with something and most had to be chopped up or chopped down. They've got to decide what kind of tree will do well long term. Third, the farmers' market is crowded onto a narrow sidewalk....they need more space. Fourth, the plaza to the north of Trinity is a no-man's land. Not enough benches and trees to make it inviting or feeling like part of the whole. Fifth, why not place more benches facing the lawn? Sixth, are all parts of the fountain working? I hope they don't end up redesigning it altogether. This one is the third or fourth iteration in my lifetime. And Dartmouth has already been narrowed to give a nice big plaza in front of the Library. Maybe it needs a few benches and maybe low planters filled with flowers to extend the entire Copley setting. Just some thoughts. Comments?
 

Shepard

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
3,518
Reaction score
54
The southwest corner needs the most help. It’s poorly defined and autocentric. I detest the NEW YORK CITY highway sign and the huge number of crosswalks that pedestrians need to navigate to get anywhere.
 

Cortes

Active Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2013
Messages
258
Reaction score
119
This has been a neighborhood park for me, so I have lots of opinions, but

The grass is ridiculous. Typically it is roped off till mid summer. It gets destroyed EVERY New Years and is more weeds than grass by fall no matter what they do. They re planted the whole thing last year. Can you tell?! We all love grass, but please no. That will be a hard sell.

Among other things, the reality is that very few people go "in" it. Benches that look inward are a great easy fix. Skematicly, though, I would reintroduce the Huntington diagonal through it. Perhaps the triangle facing Dartmouth could be made into a permanent market.
 

George_Apley

Not a Brahmin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
1,602
One of the big things I made hay of in the survey was that the plaza needs to be more inward facing, rather than outward facing. Shopping/food stalls that face inward. Benches that face inward. Especially along Dartmouth and Boylston.
 

lexicon506

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
515
Reaction score
73
The southwest corner needs the most help. It’s poorly defined and autocentric. I detest the NEW YORK CITY highway sign and the huge number of crosswalks that pedestrians need to navigate to get anywhere.
I would personally love it if they replaced that sign with 90 WEST - SEATTLE. Tip of the hat to the longest interstate in the country.
 

Bananarama

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
317
Reaction score
473
Agree wholeheartedly about the grass and the outward-facing nature of the plaza. It's always looked muddy and gross when I come by during the warmer months. And the west edge lacks enough tree coverage to make sitting in the benches a more pleasant experience.

That was one of the strengths of the old hardscaped version, I'd argue. The terracing inwards gave the plaza a natural directionality and focus to inhabit. Maybe if the stairs weren't so relentless and integrated some seating elements, it would have been more successful. Break down the monumental scale with some pockets of tables, benches, planters, etc.
 

Shepard

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
3,518
Reaction score
54
I would personally love it if they replaced that sign with 90 WEST - SEATTLE. Tip of the hat to the longest interstate in the country.
I have nothing against NYC but I agree that would be an improvement!
 

stefal

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
1,262
Reaction score
1,315
I'm a big fan of the water feature. I worry any changes they make to it will sterilize the space.
 

stefal

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
1,262
Reaction score
1,315
Missed the public comment period on the visioning, but here are glimpses of what they're currently considering. Can't say I'm psyched with any of them.
1614732400786.png

1614732424184.png
1614732453176.png
 

Bananarama

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
317
Reaction score
473
Those perspective views are really unhelpful in showing each scheme. 3 loosely similar but different views towards the church. Are there plans available?

I agree. They're pretty uninspiring.
 

stefal

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2015
Messages
1,262
Reaction score
1,315
Those perspective views are really unhelpful in showing each scheme. 3 loosely similar but different views towards the church. Are there plans available?

I agree. They're pretty uninspiring.
I couldn't find anything - they were just thumbnails for a now expired request for public comments.
 

Blackbird

Active Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2014
Messages
451
Reaction score
482
Wish I'd remembered to comment. I thought it'd be really cool to create a grove of cherry blossom trees on Copley.
 

Top