The Dorchester Avenue Project is a comprehensive effort dedicated to the overall improvement of Dorchester Avenue, one of our city's greatest boulevards. The Avenue Project addresses four miles of Dorchester Avenue, focusing on issues regarding transportation, neighborhood businesses, neighborhood housing, and streetscapes between Lower Mills and the intersection of Columbia Road and Dorchester Avenue. With the multitude of infrastructure projects and issues affecting the street, it was clear that the Avenue needed a proactive, concerted plan. In February 2005, Mayor Thomas Menino called together an interagency team comprising all the related City departments that have a hand in Dorchester Avenue's future. This specialized approach will tap into the expertise of the City agencies as well as the vision and voice of Dorchester's businesses and residents.
The Mayor officially kicked off the Dorchester Avenue Project with a community meeting in March 2005. Three community workshops were held in April 2005 to solicit input on transportation, neighborhood business, neighborhood housing and streetscape quality of life. In June, the Mayor appointed a 13-member task force to assist in the creation of an action plan for improvements along the Avenue. In addition, two task force positions were reserved for youth representatives. The task force is comprised of representatives from area civic groups, neighborhood businesses, institutions, neighborhood residents, and youth representatives.
In August 2005, the Avenue Project was introduced to business/property owners along the Avenue through a series of workshops. As follow up to the successful business workshops, the BRA, along with the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) and the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) collaborated on a series of signage workshops in April and May of 2006. The workshops provided an opportunity for business owners and property owners along Dorchester Avenue to become informed regarding signage and permitting on the Avenue and learn about city resources.
Furthermore, one of the main goals of the Dot Ave Project is the creation of an Action Plan for enhancing Dorchester Avenue’s unique districts and nodes, while establishing the Avenue as a distinct arterial in the city. In May 2006, the BRA, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), and DND selected The Louis Berger Group to work with the Task Force and city agencies to determine the best way to allocate the $5 million Mayor Menino has set aside to enhance Dorchester Avenue’s unique districts and nodes.
The specific goals of the action plan are to:
- Enhance the pedestrian environment
- Improve traffic flow
- Support existing neighborhood housing and businesses on Dorchester Avenue
- Develop preliminary designs for streetscape and transportation improvements
In addition to the development of the Action Plan, the BRA and DND released The Dorchester Avenue Business Analysis Report Summary. The intent of the report is to provide a baseline to those interested in the business and economic development as it pertains to Dorchester Avenue. In addition to providing current data that can be shared and coordinated among interested parties, the report can be updated yearly with the assistance of Boston’s Main Streets program to provide ongoing, up-to-date information.