Long Wharf is an iconic public destination and part of Boston’s identity. This historic pier is a bustling marine transit hub for passenger ferries, harbor cruise ships, and sightseeing boats connecting pedestrians, passengers, tourists, and residents coming to and from the Downtown area of Boston. It is also the gateway to the Boston Harbor Islands. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, Long Wharf hosts significant public open space, famous historic structures, and Harborwalk access with expansive views of the Harbor.

Today, high tides routinely impact Long Wharf, and the area sustained significant damage from coastal storm surge during recent Nor’Easters. Climate Ready Boston (2016) and Coastal Resilience Solutions for Downtown and North End (2020) identified Long Wharf as one of the most vulnerable flood pathways affecting the city for current and future storm events, and proposed a set of comprehensive district-level strategies to protect the area from coastal flooding and sea-level rise.

Building on this important work, the BPDA has launched the Long Wharf Flood Mitigation Planning & Feasibility study. The project aims to develop a feasible, stakeholder supported solution for Long Wharf that protects the pier itself, its public uses and infrastructure as well as the neighborhoods around it, against current and future coastal flooding and sea-level rise. The study scope focuses on the BPDA-owned land reaching from the edge of Waterfront Park (Christopher Columbus) in the north to the southern edge of Old Atlantic Avenue in the south.

The Study began in the spring of 2023 and is being conducted with technical support from a team of consultants led by Kleinfelder and Stoss Landscape Urbanism. This project will create a recommended solution to current and near term flooding, guidelines to retrofit and protect individual structures and a set of alternative designs that will contribute to planning and delivering a comprehensive coastal flood protection system in Downtown and North End in the long run. The study will also serve as a foundation for the agency to apply for further state and federal grants that can help to advance later stages of design and engineering, and ultimately construction.

The Study will be informed by the multilayered resilience planning context in Downtown Boston and beyond. It will refine and advance the coastal protection options developed through Climate Ready Boston, Climate Ready Downtown and the North End and Resilient Boston Harbor Vision. It will take into account community-driven resilience planning initiatives, such as the Wharf District Council’s Climate Resilience Plan. The Study team will ensure ongoing coordination with resilience and capital planning initiatives and projects by the various local and state agencies, including the MBTA, MassDOT, Boston Water and Sewer Commission, the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, as well as abutting properties. This work will also be informed by other layers of planning dating back to the Long Wharf Master plan. The project will reflect recommendations of the Downtown Waterfront Planning Initiative, including Public Realm and draft Design and Use guidelines.

The Project will provide ample space for community stakeholder engagement throughout the planning and design process. For example, the Study team will facilitate focused stakeholder discussions on marine use, operations, and public realm, to make sure that planned flood resilience measures enhance the capacity of Long Wharf to function as a vibrant public space and accommodate increasing demand for water transit and other types of maritime uses. The team is already in dialogue with Long Wharf tenants and abutters, such as the MBTA, New England Aquarium, Marriott Hotel, Boston Harbor City Cruises, Boston Waterboat Marina, and will include a broader range of community stakeholders in this process.

Government Partners

  • City of Boston, Environment Department
  • City of Boston, Parks and Recreation Department
  • Boston Water & Sewer Commission
  • Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Introductory Community Workshop Information

Introductory Community Workshop - Long Wharf Coastal Flood Resilience Planning & Feasibility

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 | 6:00 PM–8:00 PM

This community workshop will introduce the project goals, timeline, and context; seek community feedback on the risks and vulnerabilities that were identified in the project area; and present considerations that inform conceptual design options and early design ideas.

Workshop - Slides | Workshop - Slides (Spanish) | Workshop - Slides (Traditional Chinese) | Workshop - Slides (Simplified Chinese) | Meeting - Recording

[Learn more and register]

Project Documents

Resources

Documents All Documents »