Project Overview

Location: Boston, MA
Client: Mass Bay Transportation Authority
Prime Consultant: WSP
Cost: N/A
Date Completed: N/A

Blue Hill Avenue Transit Priority Project

As part of the Blue Hill Avenue Transit Priority Project team, Urban Idea Lab is providing urban design services to the MBTA for this re-envisioning of Blue Hill Avenue from a high-speed, auto-focused arterial street to a multi-modal boulevard that places transit, bicyclists, and pedestrians in priority over cars—particularly single-occupant vehicles. The MBTA is working closely with numerous departments within the City of Boston to gain public acceptance for this project by involving the affected communities in the decision-making process. The project stretches from Grove Hall in the north to Mattapan Square in the south and the character of the corridor changes along its length.

Although the project is in the early stages, Urban Idea Lab is working with a multi-disciplinary team and analyzing the three-mile corridor to identify issues that could have a negative effect on the surrounding community and opportunities that can strengthen the boulevard character of the corridor and neighborhood. The preservation of trees in the corridor—in the median, at the curb, and along private property—is a critical element, and opportunities for additional tree planting are being identified. Crossing the corridor today can be a hazardous undertaking and feedback from the community shows that many of the corridor’s biggest assets—Franklin Park and Harambee Park—are not being used because neighbors don’t feel comfortable crossing a busy roadway. UIL is looking for opportunities to break-up crosswalks by using the transitway as a refuge area. Franklin Park is in the process of developing a Master Plan and Mattapan Square is looking at multiple projects. All of these must be closely coordinated so that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. UIL is working to develop maps and other materials that identify the numerous overlapping projects in the corridor to look for win-win opportunities.

Analysis and mapping has identified several areas that will be the focus of more in-depth design and provide community members hands-on opportunities to participate in the planning and design of their neighborhood.