Last Tuesday the Boston Planning and Development and Agency (BPDA) held the second in a series of community workshops at Kelly’s Pub on Bennington Street as part of the city’s PLAN: East Boston Neighborhood Planning Initiative.
The well attended event dubbed “Pizza and a Plan” was another opportunity for residents to remain engaged in the process as Boston begins shaping a new Master Plan for the neighborhood.
Over the summer Mayor Martin Walsh announced Eastie was chosen as one of five neighborhoods that will be part of the BPDA’s planning initiative as part of an Imagine Boston 2030-guided effort to ‘preserve, enhance and grow’ the neighborhood.
The city plans to work closely with Eastie community groups, community leaders and other stakeholders to ensure decisions made by the city are following the guiding principles of “preserves wisely, enhances equitably, and grows inclusively”.
“We just want to basically talk to you to hear what’s important to you the residents of East Boston,” said the BPDA’s Jason Ruggiero. “Maybe zoning is an issue for you. Maybe it’s traffic or transportation. Maybe it’s the productivity of the area you live in or issues with open space, the waterfront or climate resiliency. Whatever it is we want to hear about it and hear your thoughts, ideas and opinions.”
On each table the BPDA provided maps of Eastie where residents could comment on the theme of ‘preserve, enhance and grow’ in the different areas of the neighborhood.
“These are the areas we want to know about and now if Boston is doing a good job, needs to do a better job or needs to focus on other issues,” said Ruggiero. “This is all your personal opinion so there are no wrong answers, no wrong comment and no wrong question for us at the BPDA.”
As part of the initiative in Eastie a comprehensive planning will include a focus on balancing contextually-sensitive development alongside preservation. There will also be a focus on supporting existing residents and businesses through increased access to opportunity, affordability strategies, and anti-displacement policies.
One of the highlights in Eastie will be improving the public realm and access to open space and neighborhood-serving amenities, addressing mobility challenges, and supporting neighborhood resiliency and preparing for climate change.
The city will work with the community in Eastie’s half dozen enclaves with a focus on the the neighborhoods here that are facing increased development pressures. Working with the community the city will determine a shared vision for the future of the neighborhood. Community discussion will focus on preservation of the existing residential fabric, enhancement of the vitality of existing residential communities and businesses, anti-displacement strategies for residents and businesses, connectivity along the waterfront, mobility, and flood protection and climate resiliency.