S. Huntington ‘vision’ draft presented

March 8, 2013
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By Ryan Deto/Special to the Gazette

S. HUNTINGTON—The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) presented a first draft of its “corridor vision” for S. Huntington Avenue to a generally accepting community on Feb. 27 at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain.

The BRA is conducting a “corridor study” to assess the future of the stretch of S. Huntington Avenue from Huntington Avenue to Perkins Street, part of which includes the Mission Hill/JP border. The area has the opportunity for multiple developments, including the “Serenity” project at 105A, which is currently under review, and the former Goddard House at 201, which just went up for sale.

The 30 residents attending the meeting expressed happiness to see a plan that would help beautify the corridor that some residents have described to BRA Jamaica Plain neighborhood planner Marie Mercurio as “bleak.” Also, most of the residents’ concerns about future projects were addressed, including six-story building height restrictions; access points to the Jamaicaway from S. Huntington; new parking restrictions; and implementing the City’s “Complete Streets” model to the road, which would redesign the street to have fair access to bikes, pedestrians and cars.

BRA chief planner Kairos Shen spoke optimistically at the meeting about carrying out those improvements due to money the BRA would negotiate from future developers.

“These projects usually just sit in the queue of public projects,” said Shen. “If we can get some private funding, it can make a lot happen.”

However, some requests will be more challenging for the BRA to accomplish.

Multiple residents spoke up to advocate for a Green Line extension of the E Line to Hyde Square, an idea recently pitched by the JP group the Arborway Committee.

BRA transportation manager Jim Fitzgerald listened intently, but stayed non-committal, especially with an MBTA official sitting in the audience.

“[The Green line extension] is certainly a clear recommendation, but there would have to be trade-offs,” said Fitzgerald. “There is only so much you can fit”

Fitzgerald added that even if a Green line extension to Hyde Square was accepted by the MBTA, it would take around a decade and a billion dollars to complete.

The BRA expects to complete one more draft of the study which will be shown to the community at another meeting tentatively planned for March 22 and then present the study to the BRA board in April.

The BRA’s website for the study can be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/corridorstudy.

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