125 Lincoln Street, Boston Comment Letter

125 Lincoln Street, Boston Comment Letter

March 2, 2021

Michael Sinatra, Project Manager
Boston Planning and Development Agency
Boston City Hall
100 City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA  02201

RE: 125 Lincoln Street proposal

Dear Mr. Sinatra,

WalkBoston periodically reviews projects proposed in the city and has done so for over 3 decades. This proposal, located at 125 Lincoln Street in the Leather District, has been underway for several years and has been modified to meet many objections that were raised about prior proposals for the site and the building. We are pleased that so many of the changes will improve the pedestrian experience in approaching and using the proposed building and the surrounding streets and sidewalks.

Reduction of building square footage and parking

The potential impact of the 125 Lincoln Street project has been somewhat reduced by the smaller floor space now included in the proposed structure of 14 stories. The number of parking spaces has been reduced as well, lowering the number of potential conflicts between cars and walkers on the adjacent sidewalks.

We have reviewed the new plan to ascertain the ways in which it enhances space and safety for pedestrians using the site and building.

Public realm expansion and projected uses

The proposal expands the open space around the proposed building by 60% and uses the open space to improve the attractiveness of the site and to augment the space used by pedestrians. The site will have two significant areas of passive open space. One (the Lincoln Street Plaza) is located at the apex of the triangular-shaped site – the corner of Essex and Lincoln Streets and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. This area will be landscaped and provided with seating for users of the building and the public.

The second new open space (the Beach Street Plaza) is a 70’ long “Lid” atop the on-ramp that hugs the Greenway side of the parcel. This new air rights area will add to the outdoor space on the site, and will be rimmed by landscape buffering along both the ramp and the Greenway. In addition, the new space adds room for seats for passive use of the park.

We hope that both of these plan elements will be carried through into construction and will receive long-term landscape maintenance.

Curb extensions and widened sidewalks

Curb extensions are used extensively at intersections adjacent to the site to provide visibility for pedestrians to improve their safety in crossing the street, and also slightly enlarging the space allotted for public use. In addition, sidewalks have been widened along both Beach and Lincoln Streets to make the setting more attractive and safe for pedestrians. The widened sidewalk space provides room for planting of trees that will give shade for pedestrians, a very good amenity for the neighborhood.

Delivery and parking access for the building

The proponent has made significant efforts to remove loading and parking access from Beach Street, the principal connection between this site and Boston’s Chinatown. Along Beach Street the plan no longer includes a parking ramp and a site for deliveries to tenants in the building. The additional safety measures are to be applauded.

The intersection of Essex and Lincoln Streets with the Greenway

A troubling aspect of the site planning is that a proposal for improving this intersection is deferred and not included in the plan. This intersection is very difficult for pedestrians to navigate because of street angles and the major entrance to the southbound Artery that brings significant traffic and many hazards for people who choose to cross vehicular traffic at this location. We hope that additional study will come quickly to rationalize and define what the precise plan for the intersection is likely to be.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the plan for 125 Lincoln Street.  We would be pleased to discuss any of these items further with you.


Stacey Beuttell                                                            Bob Sloane
Executive Director                                                      Senior Planner

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