Friday, January 18, 2019

Experiencing Boston's Waterfront Through The Lens Of An Artist

If you walk around the neighborhood, odds are you go along the Harborwalk during some part of your daily travels. The Harborwalk isn't just in our neighborhood. It extends over forty miles from Dorchester to East Boston and offers a variety of experiences along narrow paths and wide open spaces with varying degrees of what my mother would have called southern hospitality (even though she was born in Connecticut and worked in Boston).  

This summer photographer Leonardo March went exploring throughout the Boston Harbor capturing how people interact or don't interact with the waterfront. Who feels welcome. Who does not. Through his art, Leo challenges us to think of the potential, the vision, required to create spaces that feel "like another room in your house."

Join the Barr Foundation, Fort Point Arts Community, and photographer Leonardo March for an opening reception of "Another Room in the House" on:

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Gallery at Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St. 

The reception will feature opening remarks from Barr Foundation President Jim Canales as well as a a conversation between exhibit artist Leonardo March and curator Lucy Rosenburgh of Kate Chertavian Fine Art. Attendees will be able to network, enjoy refreshments, and view the exhibit.  Register
here to reserve your spot. 

In closing, I must express gratitude to the Massachusetts Public Waterfront Act, commonly referred to as Chapter 91, for protecting and guaranteeing public access to the water and honoring our maritime history, especially in an era of rapid growth and development of #ourwaterfront.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Conversation in Civic Innovation: Libraries as Drivers of Civic Engagement

What is missing in the neighborhood? An anchor civic building or in other words, a library. 

Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center New England is hosting a Conversation in Civic Innovation: Libraries as Drivers of Civic Engagement on Wednesday, January 16th at District Hall, thought to be a prime future location for a local library by many in the neighborhood. 

The evening event (5:30 pm - 7:30 pm) will be moderated by Kim Lucas, City of Boston Department of Information Technology. The panelists are: David Leonard, Boston Public Library; Dan Cohen, Northeastern Library; Chris Colbert, Harvard Innovation Labs and Elizabeth Soeiro, Cambridgeport School librarian.

The discussion will address libraries as drivers of civic engagement in the following areas:
  • The role of space and place;
  • The role of data and technology;
  • The shift of offerings;
  • The role of libraries in maintaining equitable access to key resources.

For more details and to be part of this important conversation, register for this free event.

originally published 01.08.19

Saturday, January 12, 2019

GE Innovation Point January 2019 Construction Update

Ever wonder what is going on along the Harborwalk, with the green pedestrian bridge and the historic Necco buildings? Be in the know with the GE Innovation Point construction update for January 2019.

·         Pedestrian traffic has been relocated onto the first phase of the Harborwalk sidewalk.  The balance of the Harborwalk reconstruction, Phase 2, from the trailers to Necco Ct. is continuing.  Foundations for overlook decks are complete.  Deck construction will continue into February.  Light foundations and light poles have been installed.  Electrical wiring installation is underway.  The Phase 2 harborwalk sidewalk will be placed as weather conditions permit.  Temporary access to the dock is maintained daily.  Landscaping and certain plantings will be completed in the early spring of 2019 to meet planting season requirements. 

·         Temporary heating units have been installed and are providing heat through temporary ducts from both the west face and the east face of the buildings.  These units will remain in operation throughout the winter months.  Certain portions of the building are being wrapped or tented to allow masonry, concrete, and other construction to continue.  The openings in the building are being closed up on a permanent basis as work progresses.

·         Structural steel for the glass enclosure connecting the two buildings has been erected.  Concrete has been placed on the 2nd through 5th floor.  The 6th floor and roof steel of the glass enclosure has been erected and will be completed with the west building 6th floor and roof steel in January.  A temporary roof membrane has been placed on the 5th floor concrete slab to keep the balance of the west building dry while the new roof is constructed.  Once the high roof and 6th floor roof steel are complete, the concrete deck slab will be placed and construction of the permanent roof will commence.

·         The steel and concrete deck for the mezzanine level inside of the east building has been completed.  Interior partitions and MEP equipment rough-in has begun on the mezzanine level. 

·         The placement of timber beams, girders and deck around the passenger elevator and freight elevator in the east building is now complete.  Temporary steel bracing will be removed once the balance of the concrete slabs in the northwest corner of the east building are placed on each floor.  The new concrete block stair shaft masonry work in the northwest corner of the building is complete to the 5th floor and will be completed through the final roof elevation by early February. 

·         The concrete decks on the 2nd through 5th floors of the east building have been completed, except for the northwest corner at the freight elevator.  Interior partitions and rough in has begun on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.  A temporary roof membrane has been placed on the 5th floor concrete slab to protect the building.  Placement of structural steel for the columns supporting the roof steel is underway.  Roof structural steel will continue into early February.  Once the roof steel is complete the concrete deck slab will be placed and construction of the permanent roof will commence.

·         Cutting and repointing of the exterior masonry fa├žades is one of the activities that is temperature sensitive and will be performed as conditions permit.   Winter weather measures are being implemented to allow this work to continue around the building.   Cutting and repointing is continuing in the area that has been tented and heated between the buildings.  Cutting and repointing of masonry from mast climbers will continue in the southwest corner and northeast corner of the west building as weather permits.  Washing of the facades has been postponed until temperatures permit completion of this work. 

·         The construction of the new large openings in the south and west faces of the first floor of the west building and on the south face of the east building continues.   Once the opening is made, steel framing is placed supporting the existing masonry wall, then the masonry is reconstructed around the steel frame.  The work on the large openings will continue. 

·         Masonry restoration, blocking and waterproofing around the window openings is complete.  Window installation is continuing in both buildings.  Caulking and sealing around the new windows as well as placement of window trim is in progress. 

·         The crane is supporting the erection of the structural steel for the roof and the new 6th floor on the west building.  The crane also continues to support placement of timber beams and girders and to support placement of the mechanical and plumbing risers and equipment.  The crane will remain on site into the 2019 construction season.

·         Rough-in of interior walls and interior masonry restoration is underway in the west building.  Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection rough-in is continuing on the first 4 floors of the west building.  This will continue and include the 5th floor over the next couple of months.  Rough in of the ductwork and piping risers in the west building core is complete.

·         Rough-in of interior walls and interior masonry restoration is underway in the east building.  Electrical, mechanical and plumbing rough-in is continuing in the first 3 floors of the east building.  Rough in of the ductwork and piping risers continues in the core of east building. 

·         The new column for the Necco Ct. bridge has been placed.  The base of the column will be encased in concrete to protect it from vehicles.   Scaffolding is being erected on both sides of the Necco Ct. bridge to the full height of the bridge to support the reconstruction of the bridge structure and skin.  Scaffolding erection will take the balance of January.  The scaffolding will span Necco. Ct to allow vehicle and pedestrian traffic to be maintained below during rehabilitation of the bridge.  Fabrication of structural steel, curtainwall and metal panels for the bridge reconstruction is underway.  Abatement of lead-based paint from structural members inside the bridge has commenced in order to prepare the surfaces for welding.  Structural steel improvements to the bridge will follow abatement.  GE and its contractors will continue to coordinate the work in Necco Ct. with Synergy. 

·         The final transformer has been placed in the transformer yard by Eversource.  Work on the main electrical room inside the building is underway to prepare for the electrical gear and permanent power.  Electrical gear installation will occur in early February.  Once electrical gear is in place, Eversource will energize the permanent power to the building.  

GE Innovation Point Construction updates occur about monthly in frequency or when there are major transitions in the construction process. Visit GE Reports to sign up for updates and to find the latest information or contact GE at

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Mayor Walsh 2019 Environment &Transportation Legislative Agenda

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced his environment and transportation legislative package, the second of four legislative packages the City of Boston will be submitting to the Massachusetts Legislature. The six-bill package will strengthen the Commonwealth's commitment to the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and the City's goals to be carbon neutral by 2050. Mayor Walsh's legislative agenda builds upon the work of the Administration to ensure equity, opportunity and resilience for all residents by strengthening current systems and creating new tools to adapt, mitigate and invest in local transportation and the environment.

"Addressing the threat of climate change and making sure we keep up with our transportation needs goes beyond city limits. That's why we must work together with the Massachusetts Legislature on issues of climate mitigation and adaptation, and do everything we can to address congestion and increase safety in our streets," said Mayor Walsh. "I'm proud to propose legislation that will explore incentives to reduce pollution and create a statewide vehicle to work on resiliency projects, as well as proposals that would provide investment in transportation infrastructure."

Mayor Walsh's second legislative package of the year focuses on Boston's shared commitment and leadership with the Commonwealth to be robust environmental stewards, strengthening our ability to address climate change and its impacts. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to be in line with the Paris Agreement while preparing for rising sea levels and extreme weather events is a shared responsibility that requires immediate legislative action. To that end, the environmental bills proposed seek to create a statewide vehicle to work on resiliency projects and explore market incentives to reduce pollution.

This work builds on Mayor Walsh's recent vision plan for a Resilient Boston Harbor. This comprehensive and transformative vision calls for investing in Boston's waterfront to protect against the impacts of rising sea level and climate change. The Mayor's plan lays out strategies along Boston's 47-mile shoreline that will increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event.  
The City has already completed segments of the Resilient Boston Harbor plan through district-level projects in East BostonCharlestown, and South Boston. These projects led to immediate action along the East Boston Greenway where a deployable flood wall was installed last year, an elevated section of Main St. in Charlestown was added to the design of the City's Rutherford Ave. and Sullivan Square project, the ongoing planning for Moakley Park in South Boston to prepare it for coastal and stormwater flooding, and the construction of Martin's Park in the Seaport, which is expected to be completed this year.
Most recently the City, in partnership with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), submitted its proposal for a $10 million FEMA pre-mitigation grant to begin resilience work along the Fort Point Channel. As the City continues to make strides towards building a more climate-ready Boston, it will begin its next district-level planning project for the Downtown and North End neighborhoods early this year and begin the same work in Dorchester later this year.  

Furthering strengthening Mayor Walsh's commitment to protecting Boston against rising sea levels and climate change, the City is accelerating its progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The City of Boston is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. Early this year the City will begin the process to update its Climate Action Plan. The update will provide an implementation roadmap to achieve carbon neutrality in Boston, identifying the immediate next steps Boston must take to reach its goals. Most recently the City rolled out its regulation of single-use plastic bags, encouraging all customers to switch to reusable bags when shopping in Boston and help move the City toward zero waste. The City also took a big step forward in implementation of Community Choice Energy by seeking proposals from qualified consultants to develop a municipal energy aggregation program and by convening a community-led working group to inform the program design.  
As a leading city on climate action, the City was named a winner of the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge as Boston works to strengthen and accelerate its progress toward reducing carbon emissions. The City will receive a support package, valued at up to $2.5 million, to increase low-carbon mobility choices and improve energy performance of Boston's building sector.

"Massachusetts residents are already feeling the impacts of climate change, from hotter summers to increased coastal flooding and heavier rainfall. Our research has shown that to address these challenges and protect vulnerable communities, we need partnership among local, regional and state government," said Rebecca Herst, Executive Director of the Sustainable Solutions Lab at UMass Boston. "We applaud Mayor Walsh for proposing a comprehensive approach to protect communities throughout the Commonwealth and encourage better governance for all."

"We applaud the Mayor's Regional Commission for a Climate Ready Commonwealth that will tackle the very tough issues of how to organize, finance and prioritize our critical responses to climate change. Mayor Walsh continues to recognize that the time is now and we need to work together to meet the challenge," said Kathy Abbott, President and CEO of Boston Harbor Now.


An Act to Establish a Commission for a Climate Ready Commonwealth: would create a regional commission to determine which entity should lead major coastal and inland resiliency projects, how such projects might be funded and how those projects should be prioritized. Boston is not alone in facing the threat of climate change, and all communities are experiencing the reality of extreme heat, snow, rain, and flooding. As the impacts increase and intensify, it's more important now than ever before to coordinate investments to adapt infrastructure and our natural and built environment to future climate conditions.

An Act to Modernize our Natural Gas Infrastructure: would impose a fine on natural gas providers for the total volume of all gas leaks, incentivizing the utility companies to update their infrastructure and providing revenue for climate-ready municipal projects. Natural gas is a powerful greenhouse gas and significant contributor to climate change. The City of Boston and all other cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth have outdated and aging natural gas infrastructure. Gas leaks not only harm the environment but are a public safety issue, public health concern, and financial burden to ratepayers.
For more information on the City's environmental work, please visit the Environment Department's website.


As Boston's population continues to grow, with projected growth to reach almost 760,000 people by the year 2030, Mayor Walsh is proposing four transportation bills aimed at efficiently supporting residents by providing investment in transportation infrastructure, reducing carbon emissions from motor vehicles, and providing for safer streets.

The bills further goals established in Go Boston 2030, the City of Boston's comprehensive transportation plan. Execution of the plan is well underway with action being taken on more than half of the 58 projects and policies identified. These initiatives work to reduce traffic, encourage travel by transit, bike and on foot, and ensure safety and access equitably for all users of Boston's streets.

Examples include partnering with the MBTA to promote the use of public transit by establishing a dedicated bus lane on a section of Washington Street in Roslindale that serves eight different bus lines carrying thousands of passengers daily; incorporating new techniques and upgraded equipment into roadway projects to advance our Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries in Boston by 2030; and working to build a network of low stress, strategically placed, separated or buffered bike lanes to allow for safe travel by bike throughout Downtown and Boston's neighborhoods.

"Mayor Walsh's legislative agenda is comprehensive and future-oriented," said Marc Draisen, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. "It includes incentives to address climate and transportation issues, as well as penalties for behavior that stands in the way of progress. We are particularly pleased that the City of Boston will support Regional Ballot Initiatives to generate revenue for critical improvements in our transportation infrastructure. This is a major source of revenue for roads and transit around the country, and we need this tool in Massachusetts too."


An Act to Allow Regional Ballot Initiatives: would allow cities and towns in Massachusetts to work together to pass taxes that would be used to fund specific transportation projects.

An Act to Promote Safe Streets and Reduce Congestion: would allow photo enforcement for school buses with cameras to capture violations when the STOP arm is deployed and for addressing Blocking the Box traffic violations. This bill is part of a broader road safety legislative agenda, which includes support of previously-filed bills related to sideguards on trucks and cell phone use while driving.

An Act to Allow Parking Assessments for Infrastructure Investment: would allow cities and towns to add an assessment to spaces in private parking garages, to be used to build and maintain roads and bridges, as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.

An Act to Update Transportation Network Company Assessments: would update the existing TNC legislation to better align it with the State's and City's climate and mobility goals.  In particular, it would create a lower assessment for shared trips, a higher assessment for solo trips, and encourage walking, biking and transit as primary modes of travel.

For more information on the City's transportation work, please visit the Transportation Department's website.


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Fort Point Channel Operations Board Annual Meeting This Friday

The Fort Point Channel Operations Board will be holding their annual meeting on Friday, January 11, 2019 at 10 AM in the Fort Point Room at Atlantic Wharf. The agenda includes:

The public is welcome to attend. 

What is the Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan? To determine how to take better advantage of the Fort Point Channel's potential, the BPDA initiated a watersheet planning process with the Fort Point Channel Working Group and Fort Point Channel Abutters Group, which involved area residents, business owners and stakeholders. The resulting Fort Point Channel Watersheet Activation Plan envisions the channel as a location for a wide range of water’s edge and floating public uses, including piers, docks and landings for cultural attractions, recreational boating and sightseeing. The Plan also endeavors to seamlessly balance these public uses with the existing water-dependent uses along the Channel, including the Gillette Company, Barking Crab and Hook Lobster, as well as advancing water transportation initiatives. The activation goals and elements of the Plan have informed Municipal Harbor Plans specific to the area as well as state Chapter 91 Waterways licensing of projects along the Channel.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Start The New Year Off Green

Boston Public Works Department will pick up your Christmas tree for free on recycling day during the first two full weeks of January (weeks of Jan 7 and Jan 14, 2019). The trees will be shredded for compost and will give new life to park plantings in the spring.  

What to do: Remove all ornaments and decorations. Place your tree on the curb by 7 am. If you have twice weekly recycling, trees will be picked up on the first recycling day. 

Find out your trash recycling schedule