Crossroads Initiative

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Last Updated 09/28/2013
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  • Neighborhood:

    Downtown

  • Planning Type:

    Community Planning

Description:

The Crossroads Initiative selects a handful of streets that, with the creation of the Greenway, have the potential to form vital connections between districts—districts such as the West End and the North End, as well as South Boston and Chinatown. At the same time, the network these improved streets and the Greenway will form, will create new ways of looking at and understanding the City. Targeted improvements to these Crossroads streets will:

• Make inviting connections between the Greenway parks, neighborhoods, and cultural destinations,
• Celebrate gateways—at the water’s edge, at South Bay, North Station, South Station and Long Wharf, and
• Introduce the Greenway as a new “Common Ground”—another, year-round center for Boston’s social life that highlights the distinctive character of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and its districts.

The first three Crossroads projects are: Broad Street in the Financial District, Causeway Street at North Station, and Summer and Congress Streets in the Ft. Point section of the South Boston Waterfront. Like all of the Crossroads, each of these streets has a unique character to its neighborhood as well as an important place among Downtown streets and thoroughfares,

The recently completed Broad Street project has created a tree- and café-lined street, building on existing landscaped areas along the street and in the Wharf District area of downtown Boston and the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Even prior to construction, Broad Street had begun to serve as a “main street”, along with State Street for the emerging mixed-use Wharf District neighborhood. The design has helped to establish a pedestrian-friendly environment and improve the function of this important street for multi-modal transportation including improved Accessibility and bicycle accommodations including new bike racks.

Summer and Congress Street, running through the historic Fort Point Channel District will respond to the fabric of this neighborhood of former warehouse and light industrial buildings dating to the turn-of-the-last century. Summer Street, is the primary boulevard connecting Downtown Boston to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. New street lighting, street trees and other landscaping, improved pedestrian accessibility and a 2-way cycle track will create a comfortable transition between South Station and the Rose Kennedy Greenway to the South Boston Waterfront. Congress Street, also in the Fort Point Channel, has a slightly different character and scale to that of Summer Street and will continue to serve as a neighborhood commercial center. Improvements will focus on accessibility and consistency of materials including pavement, crosswalks, and lighting as well as providing better vehicular access and signalization on this important connection between South Boston, the interstate highway system, truck routes, and Downtown.

Causeway Street, the gateway to downtown Boston from the north of the City has a critical place among the Crossroads. As the northernmost of the Crossroads and the primary connection between Beacon Hill and the West End to Boston’s waterfront, Causeway Street presents an opportunity to re-knit these neighborhoods through the historic Bulfinch Triangle. Because significant development is planned for both sides of Causeway Street, the design will respond to this historic architectural fabric and street pattern of the Triangle to the south as well as the more contemporary expressions on the northern side of the street. The design will complement both sides of the street while unifying the whole as a gateway from the Charles River crossings including the Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge.

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