The following SAND Comments were distributed and discussed at a presentation of Seaport Planning ideas sponsored by the BRA, at the Fish Pier on July 25, 1998.
[NOTE to readers: This presentation occured after the BRA's publication of a "DRAFT South Boston Seaport Master Plan" in November 1997, and during the year-long period in which the BRA "South Boston Seaport Public Realm Plan" was being crafted for final publication in early 1999. In the comments below, references to "Master Plan" are referring to the original DRAFT plan.]
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The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND) represents local residents, business owners, artists and concerned individuals from the Boston area with a mandate to positively modify the Boston Redevelopment Authority's proposed South Boston Seaport Master Plan, incorporating a vision of the seaport as a vibrant diverse community with a distinctive character and sense of place.
SAND is in consensus that the following points must form the basis for revisions to the Master Plan. SAND also supports the design and policy concepts of the Boston Society of Architects Seaport Task Force and the Harbor Conference National Panel recommendations.
Community and Housing
- Develop the Seaport District as a 24-hour neighborhood.
- Provide significant new residential community development consisting of mixed income and innovative live/work units.
- Protect, strengthen and link existing South Boston and Fort Point communities and businesses, including the residential communities, artist communities, and the local maritime-related industry.
- Monitor the South Boston Community Development Fund to ensure job-training, long-term employment opportunities and affordable housing for South Boston residents.
- Develop small-scale city blocks, drawing from the existing Fort Point and South Boston districts.
- Create a mix of narrower streets and lush boulevards.
- Integrate all edges of the Convention Center with abutting neighborhoods.
- Plan for a variety of vibrant street-level activity throughout the district including both retail/commercial and significant institutional/cultural/community enterprises such as community centers, music performance, public art and museums.
- Concentrate tallest buildings between the Convention Center and the World Trade Center, gracefully transitioning to existing neighborhoods.
- Scale building heights down towards the waterfront.
- Design massing of buildings to reduce undesirable wind and shadow.
- Create a sequence of places throughout the district that are inspiring and give people a sense of belonging.
- Provide a signature landmark park within the seaport neighborhood.
- Establish significant green space on Fan Pier.
- Design a system of neighborhood parks, playgrounds, recreational spaces and boulevards.
- Link this system to existing open spaces such as Castle Island, the Harborwalk, Boston Commons, and the South Boston neighborhood parks.
- Knit together the Seaport District and its surroundings with a convenient, environmentally-responsible and comprehensive transportation system.
- Establish effective and thorough public transportation to de-emphasize the use of automobiles.
- Create comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle networks.
- Preserve the Old Northern Avenue Bridge as a pedestrian crossing.
- Utilize A, D, L and Summer Streets as important pedestrian links to connect different neighborhoods and activity areas.
- Support water-based transit and provide public boat landings.
- Safeguard truck and rail routes for existing and future industrial uses.
- Provide a plan for adequate visitor and residential parking.
- Incorporate meaningful public comment in planning, continuing to solicit input in a variety of well-publicized ways.
- Monitor linkage agreements and the overall development of the Seaport neighborhood to prevent undermining of the Master Plan.
- Require adherence to the Master Plan by all landowners and public agencies.
- Recognize that the public taxpayers are the largest investors in the Seaport District, and ensure that the Seaport Master Plan not be speculative but rather guarantee a long-term return on that investment.