The Coalition for a Resilient and Inclusive Waterfront — an alliance of nearly 50 organizations from across Boston like the East Boston Main Streets, East Boston Social Centers, Eastie Farm, GreenRoots, the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association, Harborkeepers and Piers Park Sailing Center—recently released the results of a second poll gauging Boston voters’ sentiments on pressing topics related to the waterfront following the last month’s Boston municipal election.
The Coalition has been focused on the important challenges and opportunities facing Boston’s waterfront neighborhoods, harbor, islands, and rivers.
Prior to the November election a pre-election poll reflected that Eastie and Boston voters showed strong support for the development and execution of a bold vision for the future of the city’s waterfront that prioritizes accessibility, inclusivity, resilience, and economic vitality.
Notably, the poll found significant support for the creation of a cabinet-level position in the new Wu Administration to oversee the advancement of waterfront issues — an opportunity that could lead to a more integrated and holistic approach to planning by creating opportunities for better collaboration across the many city agencies that touch the waterfront in different ways, from transportation to climate, housing, public works, arts and culture.
“The poll also found continued support for the creation and preservation of open spaces on the waterfront and the essential public health role they play for the city, as well as broad support for increased accessibility on the waterfront, and neighborhood efforts to address and prepare for the challenges brought by climate change,” said spokesman Alex Goldstein.
The poll, conducted by the MassINC Polling Group, surveyed 622 registered voters in Boston from November 8 to November 15.
The poll showed significant support for the mayor to appoint a cabinet-level official to focus on waterfront issues, with 69 percent of voters supporting the creation of the new position.
Seventy-five percent of voters support additional city funding for creating a set of community benefit standards for developers.
Seventy percent of voters call it “very important” that the waterfront “improves the public health of the City by providing open spaces for exercise and enjoyment.”
The poll also found that climate change continues to stand out as a leading issue of concern for voters with 34 percent of open-ended comments name flooding, sea level rise, and climate change as the top issue facing the waterfront, and two-thirds of voters say it is “very important” that the waterfront protects the city from the impacts of climate change and sea level rise.
“At least two-thirds of voters call each of the climate change proposals for the waterfront a “major priority”, and three-quarters call building energy standards, training and jobs in green industries, building coastal barriers, and creating a comprehensive plan to reduce carbon pollution a “major priority,” said Goldstein.
In terms of funding, roughly two-thirds of voters say it’s a major priority to reinforce existing structures against sea level rise, restore shoreline to control sea level rise, and develop renewable energy sources like offshore wind, and 78 percent of voters support additional city funding for climate change protections in certain neighborhoods.
The waterfront is also understood to be an important economic driver for the City — two-thirds of voters say it is “very important” the waterfront provides economic opportunities for local businesses and residents, while 55 percent each say it’s “very important” the waterfront promotes tourism and serves as a working port.
Voters are also supportive of promoting greater accessibility on the waterfront with 65 percent calling it a “major priority” to create more affordable activities for families.