News & Updates

BRA Adopts New Greenway District Guidelines

Aug 18, 2010

The BRA Board concluded the Greenway District Planning Study process by adopting the new use and development guidelines that were created through a public planning process. The planning process was conducted by BRA staff in conjunction with Utile, a consultant team that the BRA hired. The process included seven public meetings that were well attended. The final program and use guidelines encourage residential, hotel and mixed-use development, active ground-floor and streetscape designs, ground-floor retail programming with the goal of animating park edges and contributing new populations to the Greenway and the Downtown. Additionally, dozens of massing alternatives for more than 20 key parcels of land or redevelopment sites along the Greenway edges were explored and studied. A careful examination of nearby or historic heights were used for context and to establish appropriate relationships between the existing built environment and potential new construction.

To ensure that no one building or collection of buildings dominates the Greenway in terms of its scale, orientation, or architecture, the team examined potential massing studies from the perspective of the park user. Heights were also carefully analyzed for their potential to cast large or lengthy new shadows on the park parcels. Final height recommendations range from buildings between 175-200 feet along the waterfront to buildings ranging as tall as 400-600 feet on the city side of the Greenway.

The objective of the study was to create a set of guidelines specifically for the parcels adjoining the Greenway, with the following goals:

  • preserve the newly created open spaces (environmentally, aesthetically, and economically) by identifying densities, height, and other building massing criteria compatible with the recreational activities and horticultural life that are being encouraged to grow there;
  • Activate the broader public realm in and surrounding the parks by identifying and strategically locating desired uses, particularly at the ground plane, that will contribute positively to the Greenway;
  • Ensure the long-term value of the public’s investment in creating the Greenway by shaping development to maximize the quality of the parks and extend their impact beyond its edges to the Downtown neighborhoods;
  • Balance the development pressures within the Greenway District and with other growth areas and development opportunities in the City as a whole.
The guidelines will be implemented in conjunction with the BRA’s development review process, until such time that a set of zoning controls can be enacted. The next step to codifying these guidelines will be to develop zoning controls, which will be presented to the BRA Board at a later date.

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