8/11/14 Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation Hearing on Partners Healthcare Project 1

8/11/14 Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation Hearing on Partners Healthcare Project

Mon. Aug. 11 10:30 – 11:30 AM

State Transportation Building
Suite 4160
10 Park Plaza
Boston MA (map)

Comments via e-mail to:
aisha.reed@state.ma.us

Written comments should reference:

40:54A File #14A – 17

The Massachusetts Office of Transportation is holding a hearing on whether Partners Healthcare should build upon railway right of way formerly part of the Boston & Maine Railroad.

Railroad rights of way are intended to be devoted to projects that will benefit the community as well as the developer. One community benefit of the Partners plan that should be retained is the bicycle path alongside the Orange Line.

For more information, see Partners Healthcare in Assembly Square

WITI?

One comment

  1. August 11, 2014

    Office of the Rail Unit
    Executive Office of Transportation
    State Transportation Building
    10 Park Plaza
    Boston MA 02114
    via: aisha.reed@state.ma.us

    Ref: 40:54A File #14A – 17

    Dear Aisha Reed:

    This note is with regard to the project 40:54A File #14A – 17. Partners Healthcare at Assembly Square, Somerville. While I am excited that Partners Healthcare is moving its administrative offices to Assembly Square, I have some concerns about how the Boston & Maine Railroad right-of-way, specifically “Yard 21”, is being used.

    As you know, railroad rights-of-way are intended to be devoted to projects that will benefit the community as well as the developer. The Partners Healthcare project consists of extremely large buildings that break up the street grid that has been established by Federal Realty in the Assembly Row part of the site. The main building, over 200 feet high, blocks the sight lines from the river toward the Boston skyline. Alongside the Orange Line tracks is a 2-block long, 7-story high parking garage without ground-floor retail or other amenities.

    Currently there is a straight mixed-use path along the track side of the parking garage. This path should be preserved in the plans, and should be landscaped, lighted, and provided with the security cameras and alarm boxes necessary to keep it safe at all hours of the day and night.

    The parking garage should be designed to vent up and away from travelers along the mixed-use path. In particular, the first floor should be designed with solid walls on the track side.

    To provide a connection between the path and the street, one or more connections should be provided through this garage to the street side, perhaps in the form of one or more large, lighted, secure tunnels featuring amenities such as vending machines suitable for travelers.

    Finally, part of the parking garage roof should be devoted to a green roof, publicly accessible via an elevator on the path side as well as via a stairway. This area would provide stunning views of the river, Somerville, and the Boston skyline for the benefit of both Partners Healthcare employees and citizens of Somerville.

    With good design, the garage and community path could provide a model for healthy mixed-use developments worldwide. Thank you for your attention.

    David Dahlbacka

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