City and Massport to partner on key projects to enhance East Boston neighborhoods
BOSTON - Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced new commitments to the residents of East Boston, including Phase II of Piers Park on Boston Harbor, additional funding for the East Boston Foundation, operational funding for a new senior center for East Boston residents, and a traffic study to help mitigate congestion on Neptune Road. These commitments were identified as high impact projects by both the City of Boston and the community members and organizations of the Logan Impact Advisory Group (LIAG) through their review process for both the Terminal E modernization and the addition of 5,000 new parking spaces.
"I am proud to partner with Massport to enhance the thriving neighborhood of East Boston. These projects build on our commitment to provide new and additional pathways for economic mobility and avenues to improve quality of life for residents," said Mayor Walsh. "From improving and building upon our green spaces, to enhancing our streetscape, to providing members of our communities a new place to gather, when we invest in and improve our neighborhoods together, great things happen."
Mayor Walsh announced a new Orient Heights Senior Center to serve the senior residents of East Boston, with Massport providing operational funding for this important project. The City of Boston will help facilitate this plan, with vital input from the community incorporated into all aspects of the project.
"Community spaces and engaging programming create meaningful connections in our neighborhoods that are important for older adults," said Emily Shea, Commissioner on Affairs of the Elderly. "We look forward to continuing to build supports and services here in East Boston."
"As one of Logan Airport's host communities, East Boston has been impacted by the airport in many ways, and today, I'm proud to join my colleagues from the City of Boston and Massport to announce these new commitments which will, no doubt, have positive impacts on East Boston for many years to come," said State Senator Joseph Boncore.
The award-winning Piers Park is an active community center in East Boston with lush greenscapes, playground equipment, exercise equipment and a pier extending into Boston Harbor with gazebos highlighting the neighborhoods of East Boston. The park features some of the most spectacular views of the Boston skyline. Opened in 1995, the park won the 2014 "Best of Boston" Award for "Best Green Space" in the city. Several local organizations offer programming in the park, such as free concerts from Zumix, exercise offerings such as tai chi and yoga and the annual Eastie Pride Day.
"These commitments present exciting opportunities for East Boston and are the result of a collaborative, community-driven dialogue among local stakeholders," said State Representative Adrian Madaro. "A ten-year extension and increased funding for the East Boston Foundation, a new senior center, and an expanded Piers Park will have lasting impacts on our neighborhood that residents will enjoy for generations."
The extensive planning process for the highly anticipated Piers Park II is already underway as a collaborative effort between Massport and the residents of East Boston. The Piers Park Advisory Committee, an advisory group made up of East Boston residents, will work with Massport and its design and construction consultants to oversee the development of the park. The design, bid and construction process of Piers Park II will boast 4.5 acres of active green space and be located adjacent to the existing Piers Park. When added together, both parks will boast over ten acres of greenspace for the East Boston community.
"The partnership between the City of Boston and Massport on these important promises to the East Boston community will lead to improvements in the lives of a wide range of residents and I am looking forward to seeing these commitments come to life in the coming years," said Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina.
In addition, Massport will also allocate funds toward the East Boston Foundation to enhance the community of East Boston and the organizations that contribute to the betterment of the neighborhoods within it. Created by Massport in 1997, the East Boston Foundation has provided more than $10 million in financial support to 95 community programs that benefit children, adults and seniors- from sports and recreation to education, training and childcare.
"As both a lifelong resident of East Boston and a member of the Massport Board, today is particularly special as we celebrate these significant commitments to the community," said Massport Board Member John Nucci. "I look forward to seeing Piers Park II grow alongside Piers Park I, one of the centerpieces of community life in East Boston, as well as continued support of the East Boston Foundation including funding regarding a senior center for our elders, and the commitment to a study of Neptune Road's traffic impacts."
In partnership with the Boston Transportation Department, Massport will also fund a traffic study to help mitigate congestion on Neptune Road extending to Day Square. Nitsch Engineering is working to complete the study, which includes traffic counts at eight intersections and five road segments, completed GIS maps of study area, including identification of land uses, and the building of a digital traffic analysis for the study area.
"We are proud to stand here with the community of East Boston and the leadership of the Mayor and the City of Boston as we celebrate four major commitments that Massport has made to the people of East Boston," said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. "Piers Park II, the traffic study for Neptune Road, funding to the East Boston Foundation and the Orient Heights Senior Center will contribute to the already vibrant community of East Boston."
Neptune Road is challenging for pedestrians as well as for drivers of large trucks who frequently have difficulty navigating the u-turn from the northbound off-ramp to 1A southbound due to an inadequate turning radius. This problem for oversized vehicles contributes to traffic delays on Neptune Road, a key connection for access to Route 1A, to Logan International Airport, for shuttle buses and other motor vehicles traveling between East Boston and Chelsea, and for local traffic.
"BTD is pleased to have this opportunity to partner with Massport on this transportation study as it is an opportunity to create a 'complete street' design for Neptune Road that is in keeping with our Go Boston 2030 and Vision Zero goals to provide safe and efficient access for all users of Boston's roadways," said Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca. "Through this process, we will take a forward-thinking approach to transportation management, looking at evolving transportation needs, changing roadway use and capacity on Neptune Road. Our focus will be on creating a comprehensive design that will work to mitigate current and future traffic impacts and enhance the surrounding East Boston community."
Massport and the community of East Boston have worked to build a strong partnership over the years. Through supporting youth employment at Piers Park Sailing Center, providing scholarship funds to students of East Boston High School, and creating safe and inviting green space for residents to enjoy, Massport and East Boston are continuing to work to make the community one of the most desirable urban areas to live in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field, and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $15 billion annually and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. For more information, please visit massport.com.
Source: Mayor's Press Office 10/17