Tag: D Street

Comments on South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center EEA 8505

Comments on South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center EEA 8505

September 12, 2016

Matthew Beaton, Secretary
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office Analyst: Page Czepiga EEA 8505 and 13367
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Re: South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center EEA 8505 and 13367

Dear Mr. Beaton,

WalkBoston appreciates the opportunity to comment on the current proposal for the South Boston Waterfront Transportation Center. We have focused on pedestrian issues associated with this project.

This proposal is quite forward-looking for pedestrians who will be using the facility and/or passing through the site. Users of the Center will be served by pedestrian paths through the site, by the adjacent MBTA Silver Line World Trade Center station and by parking on 9 levels with pedestrian access via elevators and stairs to both D Street and the World Trade Center Avenue Viaduct. As the nine parking levels will be partly located below and partly above the principal level of the Center, the principal pedestrian movements will be centralized at a midway garage floor that corresponds to the level of the World Trade Center Avenue Viaduct. Pedestrian access between transportation modes and exits into the surrounding area will take place primarily at the level of the viaduct.

Several significant pedestrian facilities have been proposed at the viaduct level to integrate the Center into the Seaport and provide connections to business centers and activities in the area, as well as transportation modes that are focused in the area. These viaduct level facilities include:

1. A garage floor that also serves a concentration of a large number of pedestrian movements made at this level.

  • Pedestrian paths could be marked or painted for walkers on the garage floor or developed with imaginative lighting. These walkways would make walking through this large garage safer for walkers by providing a clear path and a physical reminder and warning to drivers. The viaduct level in particular will have many pedestrians.
  • It would be helpful to begin the proposed wayfinding system within the garage with emphasis on information at the elevators and at the viaduct level of the garage. A substantial installation of signs could direct arriving patrons from parking locations toward appropriate exits and show the multiplicity of potential destinations that can be reached by each of the major exits.
  • Smart phone apps could be developed to provide detailed information for pedestrians to use on their phones or pads to find specific routes to desired destinations.

2. A proposed pedestrian bridge between the Transportation Center and the existing Waterside Place building for residents who will be using the garage. The bridge will be connected into the pedestrian network provided for the viaduct level of the Center.

  • Although the bridge will not be used for access between the Center and Congress Street by non-residents, it should be integrated with the wayfinding and pathway system devised by the proponent.

3. A midblock pedestrian walkway between D Street and the World Trade Center Avenue Viaduct on the south side of the Center structure is proposed to aid pedestrians in reaching the variety of destinations around the Center. The walkway provides pedestrian connections from the World Trade Center Avenue Viaduct and the John Hancock and other buildings along D Street. The walkway, to be built primarily at viaduct level (although it slopes down to meet the grade of D Street), will be approximately 18’ wide, well-lighted and roofed for the majority of the distance between the streets that act as a boundary of the Center.

  • This long (xxx) walkway does not seem to be overlooked by any people other than those on the walk itself. We request that MassPort provide some details about how the security of walkers will be assured.
  • This walkway should be weather-protected on the side facing the MassPort Haul Road.
  • The walkway should be signed to guide pedestrians to destinations on either side of the Center. Signage should be integrated into the overall wayfinding network for the Center and proposed networks for the surrounding area.
  • The walkway could be enhanced by the addition of facilities such as benches for walkers and intervening electronic posters or interactive displays to enliven the area.

4. Pedestrian plaza facing D Street. The D Street (east) side of the Center will include a generous landscaped plaza as a major contribution to upgrading the current appearance and softening the edges of the structure.

  • This plaza should also be signed and designed with paths to guide pedestrians to destinations on either side of the Center. Signage should be integrated into the overall wayfinding network for the Center and the district.

5. Pedestrian plaza facing World Trade Center Avenue Viaduct. A large public open space will be provided on the viaduct (west) side of the Center. It will provide space for direct access from the viaduct into the Transportation Center, with connections into the adjacent MBTA World Trade Center Station, a shuttle bus drop-off location on the street, landscaping, bicycle parking (and possibly repair) and information kiosks. Significantly, it will include a covered walkway between the viaduct and the Center. This covered walkway will become part of an extended covered pedestrian facility that will extend between Congress and Summer Streets.

  • The new covered walkway will be a major feature of this project and a harbinger of the future pedestrian network that will extend beyond this location and connect between both the World Trade Center and the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. It should protect pedestrians in all weather conditions.
  • The covered walkway should also be an integral portion of the wayfinding network for the Seaport area. A central focus could be an interactive display that helps walkers find their desired destinations, and tells each how long the walk will be for them in the minutes 3 required to make the connection. The proposal calls for displays of real-time modal availability and schedule information, interactive kiosks and bicycle parking and possibly the availability of pedi-cabs.
  • This large setback seems to set the stage for a future land use that faces World Trade Center Avenue. We think that lively uses along the Avenue would be a good addition to the area’s pedestrian environment.

WalkBoston is excited about the generous additions of elements in this project that will enhance and encourage pedestrian movement throughout the area. Thank you for your consideration of our comments.


Bob Sloane
Senior Planner