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News & Updates

City and state agencies announce Kosciuszko Circle/Morrissey Boulevard planning study to improve mobility and climate resiliency

Mar 04, 2021

The City of Boston, Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) today announced a joint planning effort that will evaluate and recommend transportation and infrastructure improvements intended to improve mobility for pedestrians, transit users, cyclists, and motorists, and strengthen climate resiliency at Dorchester’s Kosciuszko Circle and along Morrissey Boulevard. The study will launch its public process in the coming months and will include significant engagement with the community, stakeholders and local elected officials. The study will review active Article 80 development projects recently approved and under review by the BPDA, to ensure that the local transportation infrastructure is designed to meet future capacity needs while simultaneously addressing shared sustainability, equity, and climate resiliency goals. The study will not only develop a comprehensive plan for the Morrissey Boulevard corridor, but also identify short term investments that can deliver immediate benefits to the neighborhood.

"I thank our partners at the Commonwealth for their shared commitment to improve mobility and increase resiliency along Morrissey Boulevard and at Kosciuszko Circle," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "The results of this study will lead to near-term improvements and long-lasting solutions that will protect and support this neighborhood, its residents, and its businesses for generations to come."

“MassDOT is proud to jointly evaluate and recommend improvements to the Morrissey Boulevard corridor,” said MassDOT Acting Secretary of Transportation and CEO Jamey Tesler. “This study is the first step towards improved multi-modal travel within the corridor and to address current needs and future growth within the corridor while maintaining the essential nature of the parkway.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration remains committed to the redesign and reconstruction of this important corridor, and looks forward to working with the City of Boston, state agencies, and stakeholders on this needed study,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “This study represents a critical milestone towards a Kosciuszko Circle and Morrissey Boulevard that meets the needs of the community while protecting critical infrastructure from the impacts of climate change.”

The study area is likely to extend to Preble Street on the north and Neponset Circle on the South and be bound by Dorchester Bay and Dorchester Avenue. While the study will be informed by roadway design work for Morrissey Boulevard carried out by DCR over the last several years, its geography will extend further north to include Kosciuszko Circle. It will also include a greater focus on the issues of long-term climate resiliency, taking stock of the sea-level rise modeling and risks to vulnerable communities, and will incorporate mobility, equity, and resiliency goals of the Climate Ready Dorchester planning conducted by the Boston Environment Department and BPDA. The study is expected to last about a year.

The study will prioritize infrastructure designs that meet the City and Commonwealth’s net-zero emissions targets, including maximizing opportunities for sustainable transportation such as walking, bicycling, and transit use, and public realm designs that serve open space needs as well, such as streets and roadways that could be repurposed for open space and recreation.

“Morrissey Boulevard is a historic parkway and critical multi-modal transportation corridor for residents, businesses, and commuters,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery. “We are pleased to work with MassDOT and the City of Boston to further study the Morrissey Boulevard corridor in an effort to improve multi-modal access and recreational opportunities while addressing the current and future impacts of climate change.”

In conjunction with the study, DCR plans to complete short-term work on Morrissey Boulevard to improve public safety, accessibility and resilience to flooding impacts. This work will include:

  • The installation of six inline tide gates to address stormwater and flooding,
  • Sidewalk repairs and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades,
  • Guardrail and fence replacement at the approaches to Beede’s Bridge,
  • Replacement or repair of the fence from Malibu Beach to the Beede’s Bridge,
  • Road resurfacing, and
  • Tree pruning and removal.

The BPDA and MassDOT will both contribute $500,000 each to begin the planning effort. The planning initiative will build on the strategies outlined in Imagine Boston 2030, Boston's first citywide plan in 50 years aimed at guiding growth, Climate Ready Boston and Coastal Resilience Solutions for Dorchester, and Go Boston 2030. As part of the implementation of Imagine Boston 2030, there are currently 29 full-scale and smaller-scale planning studies currently underway at the BPDA.

Climate Ready Boston, the City of Boston’s initiative to develop solutions to prepare Boston for the impacts of climate change, is led by the City of Boston’s Environment Department and the BPDA, and are part of and strengthen the strategies outlined in Resilient Boston Harbor to increase access and open space throughout Boston’s 47-mile shoreline while better protecting the vulnerable communities to sea-level rise, extreme heat, and intense participation. The Coastal Resilience Solutions for Dorchester Report is part of eight vulnerable areas identified in the 2016 Climate Ready Boston report and follows studies for East Boston, Charlestown, South Boston, and the Moakley Park Vision Plan to incorporate climate resiliency design to address the threat of coastal flooding and storm surge.

The study also builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s work with Massachusetts communities to plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change, and investment of over $365 million on climate resiliency since 2015. Almost 90 percent of cities and towns in Massachusetts have joined the Administration’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, which helps communities identify vulnerabilities to climate change and implement projects that promote strong local economies while reducing risks, increasing safety, and avoiding future costs.

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