North End/Waterfront Construction Updated Public Meeting

By Phil Orlandella

In response to a number of concerns relating to various North End/Waterfront city projects, a public meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, June 15 in the Nazzaro Community Center, 30 North Bennet Street from 6 PM to 7 PM.

The meeting is being conducted as a result of residents complaining at several public community meetings NEWRA and NEWNC, a letter to the Mayor and articles published in the Regional Review and North End Waterfront.com related what residents claim is a lack of communication about local projects.

One of the main issues deals with the construction of bicycle lanes. Residents have claimed there is poor signage around the curves and driveways, the narrowing of vehicle lanes, loss of residential parking spaces, inadequate drainage, ponding, traffic signalization, the displacement of brick sidewalks with cement and the lack of communication relating to the project.

A total of seven community organizations signed a letter to the Mayor expressing that, “Too often residents are ignored or not completely informed about projects in the North End.”

The letter also said, “It is unacceptable that the city, which claims to value community input, would not fully inform residents about plans and seek our views and council…”

Apparently, the city has reviewed questions about the design of driveways at Union Wharf raised by residents who believe the bump outs are incorrectly installed.

They plan to address this issue and others at the public meeting. They have also sent all the local groups numerous pages explaining every aspect of the project.

The Connect Historic Boston project is a joint effort between the City and the National Parks Service with 14 cities and towns part of the project that includes the North End/Waterfront area.

The project was geared to improve sidewalk conditions, lighting and way finding around the City with the priority being public safety and to that and a dedicated cycle track separating cyclists from vehicles, and sidewalks are replaced to meet assessable guidelines particularly for those impaired, disabled or infirm.

            The community process for this initiative started in 2011, according to the project manager Kay Barned Smith. Through meetings, working sessions and community input, the concerns noted in discussions and emails were addressed during the design phase of the project.