- Mr. Mark Maloney, Director
- Boston Redevelopment Authority
- Boston City Hall
- Boston, MA
- attn: Ms Susan Hannon
- re: D Street Residences DPIR
Dear Mr. Maloney,
The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND) is heartened to see this project continuing to evolve and improve, and we support those design changes. There are, however, areas where greater specificity should be require prior to approval, continued design improvements, and other areas where change is indicated. We would also appreciate having specific responses to each of the questions and areas of concern which we raised in our earlier response letter.
The primary benefits have been to more thoroughly link the project to the surrounding neighborhood and streetscape. The addition of interior streets, the bringing of multiple entries directly to the street, the open space giving directly onto the street are all significant improvements. There remains the issue of the project not reconnecting with the existing and potential area street network on the Eastern side of the project. The continuing lack of access to E Street/Butler Street should be remedied. Doing so could add additional rental units to the project.
The parking number should continue to be reduced until a limit of one space per dwelling unit is achieved for residents beneath grade. The efforts to provide better transit access and the anticipated proliferation of employment in the area should be able to accommodate the additional ridership. The parking spaces above ground should be intensively managed for short term parking uses such as parcel delivery, taxi and shuttles, visitor parking and the like. This would improve the level of activity on the street, and quite likely improve the security of the parking garage.
Bicycles should be more thoroughly accommodated at the surface with dedicated racks throughout the site, possibly substituting for vehicle parking areas. The amount, location and type of bicycle amenities should be specified.
Pedestrians should be able to enjoy sidewalks which have no less than an eight foot clear cross section, with street furniture and appurtenances gathered along the curb or against the building faces. Lighting on the face of the buildings might be employed to better illuminate the sidewalks to encourage additional walking. There should be marked, and pedestrian controlled signals for crossing D Street to enjoy the open space adjacent to the Convention Center.
SAND is concerned, and disputes the characterization of the site as currently impermeable. The site is currently unpaved and surfaced with rubble, which permits a maximum amount of ground water recharge. The proponent should document any knowledge of impermeability. Our concern with groundwater recharge and the level of the water table has more to do with the continuing condition of nearby pile founded structures, which may be subject to settlement or pile decay if groundwater levels are permitted to fluctuate. We ask that the proponent be required to investigate and propose a methodology to provide for a recharge of storm water to the subsoil on site, and provide an estimated annual volume of storm water to be diverted.
We are also opposed to any plan to provide for the entire amount of affordable housing required to be constructed by this project to be build adjacent or off of this site. SAND has called consistently for a great variety of housing to be provided in a rich and dense manner at all levels of affordability. We have seen far too many examples where subsidized housing has been created, even in Boston in the recent past, and has been stigmatized and rapidly experience declining levels of maintenance, public safety, and neighborhood self respect. It is imperative that subsidized housing be indistinguishable from market rate units and provided in the same buildings as part of the same construction phasing.
Thank you for you diligent, continuing attention to this matter. We are available to discuss any matter, or to meet with you at your convenience.
Jon Seward, on behalf of
Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design
Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.