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News & Updates

Boston Harbor Now and BPDA partner, launch new public amenities web tool to navigate the Harborwalk

Jul 13, 2018

Having partnered with the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Boston Harbor Now officially launched, a mobile-friendly, interactive web tool for harbor visitors to discover and navigate privately-owned public spaces (known as “POPS”) along the Harborwalk. The tool includes restrooms, green lawns, seating areas, fishing docks and observation decks. In addition, the tool aims to promote greater usage of spaces open to the public under Chapter 91 law – the Massachusetts law that protects the public’s right to the Harbor – bringing more residents and visitors to the waterfront to enjoy the benefits of Boston Harbor.

“Boston offers an array of unique public spaces created through private development, including nearly 40 miles of accessible Harborwalk along our waterfront, and it is important that these spaces are accessible for Boston’s residents and visitors,” said Brian Golden, Director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. “We thank Boston Harbor Now for their commitment and partnership in helping open up Boston’s waterfront for all to enjoy.”

“The Harborwalk and the public spaces around it belong to everyone, and in today’s tech age, having a mobile-responsive, user-friendly tool is critical to people from all neighborhoods enjoying them,” said Kathy Abbott, President and CEO of Boston Harbor Now. “We are grateful to our partners for recognizing the potential of a Harborwalk web tool in promoting broader access to these public assets. As residents and visitors to Boston begin to explore the web tool, we welcome continued feedback on how we can make the tool as beneficial as possible.”

“The Harborwalk web tool is a welcome digital-age innovation,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “Public access is the backbone of our Chapter 91 program and we are pleased to support Boston Harbor Now and its partners in this effort.”

This first-of-its-kind tool was created after identifying a lack of common knowledge among the public, properties, and other waterfront stakeholders regarding POPS along the harbor. Along with identifying harbor spaces and amenities, the tool also links to draft management plans that detail the commitments each property owner has made under Chapter 91 law. Greater transparency around individual plans will help create clarity about what activities (including private events) are allowed or prohibited under DEP rules.

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