‘Avenue of the Arts’ guidelines project continues

May 1, 2015
By

The second meeting hosted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) aimed at creating a new set of design guidelines for the “Avenue of the Arts” section of Huntington Avenue focused on covering existing conditions, including landscape, streetscape, mobility, and public uses.

David Grissino, the BRA planner in charge of the study, told the Gazette that the meeting covered “a pretty comprehensive analysis of what’s out there today, plus existing underlying zoning.”

“It was the grounding work. Here are the issues and patterns we see today,” he said, citing a community-provided example of the low number of pedestrian crossings on Huntington Avenue.

“This is to set the stage for what they’re doing now, which is coming up with alternatives,” he said.

Grissino said community feedback, while limited, was good, as the community “clearly has an interest in establishing consistency.”

Grissino also told the Gazette that there were comments concerned that Ruggles MBTA station might be “left behind.”

“While it is beyond our project scope,” Grissino said, “we talked about understanding how pedestrian and bicycle [connections] can be improved long-term.”

The next public meeting is scheduled for May 6 at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Grissino said that meeting is expected to cover how existing and potential zoning could be “rearranged” to accommodate different building massing, shadow and wind guidelines.

That will result in future projects being looked at more holistically, he said.

The guidelines would be an add-on to existing zoning codes in the stretch of Huntington between Massachusetts and Longwood avenues. The guidelines would suggest such aspects as the mass of buildings, pedestrian facilities, and the materials and colors used in construction. The study’s first draft is expected to be completed by the end of the month.