By Seth Daniel
The Rutherford Avenue/Sullivan Square planning initiative will drive on next week with a workshop-style meeting with urban design planners – a meeting that is for residents to give input on the small details within the current hybrid plan.
The meeting will take place at the Knights of Columbus from 6:30-9 p.m. on Jan. 24, and it will be the latest installment in a revamped process that began 18 months ago. The meeting next week will focus on streetscape design within the urban design envelope.
The last meeting took place last November and had everything to do with taking a very close and careful look at the park system that is proposed on either side of the new roadway configuration.
At that meeting, Jim Gillooly of the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) indicated that preliminary design for the project – which is slated to have funding waiting for it – is due in June 2018. The final design must be done and submitted by July 2020. Advertising for construction bids on the project is to be in August 2020.
At that meeting Gillooly re-affirmed that the hybrid plan – which contains a mixture of underpasses and new surface roads – has been decided upon. That isn’t popular with a segment of the Charlestown audience, which is still fervently in favor of eliminating any underpasses.
“That decision doesn’t make you happy, but it is the decision that has been made here,” he said.
That concluded a big decision on the project, and allowed for a more detailed look at the park system and urban design aspects.
In November, the Cecil Group related some details about the park system – which is a second piece to the overall urban design. In that meeting, the big decision was to look at treating the park system as several different segments with different characteristics within each. Some segments were very thin passageways, while other segments were quite generous green spaces shielding the neighborhood from the current roadway issues.
Two notable pieces of the park system were designs at City Square and at Ryan Field – on either ends of the roadway.
At City Square, the landscaping and traffic lanes met with some approval from Friends of City Square’s Annette Tecce. However, many would like to know who will be maintaining much of the landscaping that is introduced.
“I want to know with all this wonderful new landscaping, and design at City Square, how you will build a constituency and how you will maintain it,” she said.
The Cecil Group said they aren’t that far into the process, but they did say discussing such agreements with the Friends and other groups would come in the future.
A new tweak in the design of Sullivan Square allowed the group to be able to enlarge and extend Ryan Playground due to a new signalized turning configuration for cars coming up from the underpass. It would give an additional 65 feet of green space for Ryan Playground.
“Ryan Playground and the bike path can expand all the way to the road,” said a representative from Cecil Group. “Extending Ryan Playground and creating a bike path that goes along the Mystic is very, very promising.”
The process will continue next week, on Jan. 24, at 6:30 p.m.