Plans to cover the highway ramps on the Rose Kennedy Greenway parcels are moving forward to the environmental review stage, after a fifth public meeting this week. The Central Artery Ramp Parcels Cover Study was presented by officials at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).
The conceptual designs include covering the ramps with elevated pedestrian pathways transversing Greenway Parcel 6 (across from the Haymarket T) and Parcel 12 (across from Quincy Market) along Cross Street in the North End. No major changes were proposed for Parcel 18, the Greenway’s urban arboretum across from Rowes Wharf, other than some additional screening options.
As shown in the slides below, view angles were presented with a focus on street edges and connections to the surrounding areas. To allow for vehicle entry/exits from the highway, the ramp covers will be elevated to as much as 18 feet above Surface Road and Cross Street. These will provide public viewing corridors and platforms, but also create walls that will need to be screened with appropriate greenery or other materials. At the meeting, comments were made regarding keeping open access to surrounding areas, such as from Commercial Street to the Quincy Market area.
Comments were reviewed from previous meetings with a general consensus to move forward on a Notice of Project Change and State review under the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act (MEPA). The NPC Filing and MEPA review/comment period is expected to extend through the Summer into the Fall of 2015. Assuming MEPA certification by year-end 2015, the detailed design and public process will resume in early 2016.
Given the review and design time necessary, the actual installation of the ramp parcel covers and platforms would be in the 2018 time frame pending State funding. A notable result of this process is the three Greenway parcels will no longer be designated for development, but remain open space areas under Mass. Article 97.
The video above shows the presentation and discussion at the April 15, 2015 meeting held at Boston City Hall. Additional information can be found at the project’s website:http://tiny.cc/RampParcelStudy. For comments and questions, contact John Romano, Legislative Liaison, MassDOT email:John.Romano@state.ma.us or Lauren N. Shurtleff, Senior Planner, BRA email:Lauren.Shurtleff@boston.gov.