Open Space | Turnpike Parcel 21 | Chinatown

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Boston Plans New Parkland to Bridge the Turnpike’s Scar Through Chinatown

The “Reconnecting Chinatown” Project (Project) will develop a plan to connect across the open-cut highway by building over Parcel 21 to create open space for the community and prepare design guidelines for Parcels 19, 20, and 22 to link the surrounding streets and facilities. The Project is intended to directly address the longstanding physical division in Boston’s historic Chinatown and to repair and enrich the public realm for Parcel 21, located between Shawmut Avenue and Washington Street, a disadvantaged community that has been marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

RECONNECTING CHINATOWN

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This wouldn’t pass muster in Podunk, USA. Have some self respect! Hire a graphic designer!
 

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Build housing? No. More parks!

Chinatown is literally diagonal to one of the nicest parks in the city.

Chinatown has the single worst air quality in the entire city, owing largely to institutional racism that led to the neighborhood being treated as an on-ramp (which came after decades of the city forcing the red light industry onto the neighborhood whether the people living there wanted it or not). The only actual park in the neighborhood right now is entirely hardscape. Parks and housing are both good things. In this case, when we're talking about expensive and complex air rights construction in what is already one of the densest parts of the city, a park is an excellent idea.
 
Plus over time if they build parks over the gash it would eventually be able to link up to the greenway on one end and the southwest corridor park on the other end creating a continuous park/walking/bike path from mass ave in the back bay all the way to the new triangle park in front of the merano by north station.
 
I'm on the side of more housing. Boston doesnt need any more superfluous, haphazardly placed parks--especially astronomically expensive ones like these would be. What a terrible idea.
 
I'm on the side of more housing. Boston doesnt need any more superfluous, haphazardly placed parks--especially astronomically expensive ones like these would be. What a terrible idea.

What exactly makes a park located in a neighborhood that is both (1) one of the densest in the city, and (2) completely lacking in green space, "superfluous?"
 
What exactly makes a park located in a neighborhood that is both (1) one of the densest in the city, and (2) completely lacking in green space, "superfluous?"
What neighborhood are you talking about? Chinatown? The South End? Bay Village? I wouldn't say these parcels are in any of them, but isolated on the periphery of all 3, in no man's land. How about bringing some vitality and desperately needed housing to the place before mindlessly plopping down parks over hugely expensive highway decks?
 
What neighborhood are you talking about? Chinatown? The South End? Bay Village? I wouldn't say these parcels are in any of them, but isolated on the periphery of all 3, in no man's land. How about bringing some vitality and desperately needed housing to the place before mindlessly plopping down parks over hugely expensive highway decks?

In this instance, housing and parklands are not mutually exclusive. I don't see why it would be an issue to include both housing and a new park, especially if you consider the limited amount of green space in Chinatown.
 
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Honest question, is this even financially realistic? Seems like it there is no return on investment, except maybe property values going up and then maybe that turns into a gentrification concern. It would probably be more realistic to tear down some non special building turn that into a park and build something on the turnpike parcels.
 
I have lived in the neighborhood for 20+ years. We don’t need any more parks that the city can’t afford to maintain, that no one really goes to except to walk their dogs (plenty of places to do that already) Best use for this space is a football/track/baseball/soccer field for the new high school in Chinatown and mixed income housing, plus one park. That would be a huge plus for all 3 neighborhoods. Just my 2 cents. However if the only solution to cover over the pike is a park, I’ll take it.
 
Honest question, is this even financially realistic? Seems like it there is no return on investment, except maybe property values going up and then maybe that turns into a gentrification concern. It would probably be more realistic to tear down some non special building turn that into a park and build something on the turnpike parcels.

It's a public park; it's not supposed to have a return on investment. What's the return on investment of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall? Plenty of space for some TOD in the heart of the Back Bay there!
 
Is the idea to dedicate ALL the parcels for parks, or just Parcel 21? The former would be an incredible waste, but the latter would make sense. I believe that the original Pike Air Rights documents called for towers in this area.
 
Is the idea to dedicate ALL the parcels for parks, or just Parcel 21? The former would be an incredible waste, but the latter would make sense. I believe that the original Pike Air Rights documents called for towers in this area.
I believe only parcel 21 would be a park.
 
It's a public park; it's not supposed to have a return on investment. What's the return on investment of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall? Plenty of space for some TOD in the heart of the Back Bay there!
False equivalent. It would cost a whole lot to put in. It’s not like it’s a parking lot, if it was then you’d have a comparison.
 
I'm not against some of this space being used for parks, but given the housing crisis and increasing lack of developable land in the downtown area, I think that a lot of space should be used for buildings. A mix of buildings and open space would be terrific, but I don't think we need another Rose Kennedy Greenway. As much as I love the Greenway, it still feels like a barrier between neighborhoods.
 
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False equivalent. It would cost a whole lot to put in. It’s not like it’s a parking lot, if it was then you’d have a comparison.

No, it's not a false equivalence, because all public parks cost a lot -- if not in their actual construction, then in the opportunity cost of what is not being built in its place. Almost every park in almost every single urban environment in the world produces a lower "return on investment" than selling the land to a developer would -- which is precisely why ROI has no place in a discussion about building a public park.
 
East Milton just recently renovated this type of park spanning over rt 93. The park is in the middle of two lanes of major traffic on all sides so it does not look too inviting but it is better than an open canyon. 7 million to water proof, set new curbs and plantings, new signal system, paving and sidewalks.
This project has a twist because when the public involvement started in 2017 the adjacent businesses and the public were asking for more parking and less park. It turned out that once design started someone found a state law that does not allow parkland to become parking so the entire site remained a park. Plus an intersecting street was also turned into a plaza as part of the the project further resulting in more lost parking spaces! In addition to a fewer parking spaces and a new traffic pattern to provide safer park access, a lot of folks are not happy with the results. There are some that say the renovated park is used and welcomed while others say it is useless due to the exhaust fumes and will continue attract vagrants. Reading up on this project there are a number of stories that popped up in google regarding this area being targeted for new 40B housing development causing further uproar in the community beyond the new park.

patriot ledger Link
project pdf

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