Making Morrissey Boulevard All It Can And Should Be

Is Morrissey Boulevard a parkway (featuring a waterfront park with recreational activities), a highway (for commuters living outside the city), or a street (with park access for neighborhood residents)? It matters. The Livable Streets site provided a historical perspective why the highway era is over:

“During the early years of automobile ascendancy, New York’s Robert Moses perfected the strategy of using the public desire for parks as a wedge for the creation of “parkways” that were actually an early version of a regional highway system.  In Massachusetts, the Olmsted-derived Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) — previously solely focused on preserving water-shed forests, beaches, and parks — saw this as an opportunity to turn the narrow corridors between its “reservations” into a similar network of higher-capacity roads… By the 1960s, the state Highway Department was able to tap into the open spigot of federal Interstate funding and eventually usurped the MDC growth strategy… But it has only been in the past few years, as the last of the highway-focused staff fade into retirement, that the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR, the new agency into which the increasingly discredited MDC was merged in 2003) has begun exploring ways to turn its parkways and boulevards back into linear parks that allow leisurely walking, bicycling, and driving while increasing public access and enjoyment of nearby natural resources… In 1953 the MDC widened Morrissey Boulevard into a six-to-ten lane, high-volume, fast-moving highway.  But even though the creation of the Southeast Expressway (today’s I-93) in 1959 eliminated Morrissey’s role as the main gateway to the south shore, nothing was done to restore the adjacent community’s former access to the Harbor or to end the unspeakably unsafe conditions for walkers or bike riders.  This was allowed partly because Massachusetts was still ignoring its rivers and coast…”

Mayor Walsh Skeptical About Proposed Morrissey Boulevard Changes

According to the Dorchester Reporter:

“Mayor Martin Walsh has reservations about a controversial proposal by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to remove a lane on oft-jammed and oft-flooded Morrissey Boulevard as part of its ongoing redesign. The mayor was briefed by DCR officials last week on overall design plans for the boulevard that are still in the design phase and not yet funded for construction.”

Concerns focus upon potential impacts from the proposed land drop, which could force more commuter traffic onto local streets:

“DCR hopes to transform the boulevard into a urban parkway from just below Kosciuszko Circle to Neponset, eliminating a lane to add protected bike and pedestrian lanes and greenery, and shoring up the road against increasing incidents of flooding. Walsh theorized that the boulevard should have enough space to add non-automotive infrastructure without losing a lane.”

Morrissey Blvd Redesign: Deadline For Feedback Is Tomorrow

Scope. Morrissey Blvd Redesign Plans. DCR. June 27.

Morrissey Boulevard Design Project Scope

Reminder: Wednesday, July 18, is the deadline to submit feedback about the redesign plans for the Morrissey Boulevard Reconstruction project. According to the Dorchester Reporter on June 29:

“What we’re trying to do throughout the project is maintain capacity where it’s needed, at the intersections… which are typically the most constrained and challenging locations,” said Gary McNaughton, a traffic engineer with McMahon Associates. “And then in the areas where we can repurpose some of that pavement over to provide better accommodations for bikes and [pedestrians] and better landscaping features, we’re making sure we’re able to do that.”

Two of the project’s main design goals are to elevate the roadway to minimize coastal flooding, and to better connect neighborhoods to the park and shore.

The last public meeting was held June 27, when an updated 25-percent design plan was presented. According to the timeline presented in June, the DCR expects to present 75-percent design plans at an upcoming meeting in October. The DCR expects to present final design plans at a public meeting in January 2018, followed by a pre-construction final meeting in the fall of 2018.

The June 27 redesign presentation is available online (Adobe PDF). Residents can submit feedback online at the DCR website.

Former WLVI-TV Property On Morrissey Boulevard Sold

Auto-sales businessman Herb Chambers has sold the former WLVI-TV property at 75 Morrissey Boulevard for $14.5 million. According to the Dorchester Reporter:

“Chambers sold the parcel to POB CC 75 MORRISSEY LLC, a subsidiary of the Center Court, a New York-based firm that pulled out of an agreement to buy the Globe property earlier this year… Civic leaders who reviewed the new Chambers plan last summer asked that he postpone it amid uncertainty surrounding the future of the 16.5-acre Globe property next door at 135 Morrissey Blvd.

David Ridini of Center Court Properties reportedly had a deal with the Globe to purchase the site for more than $80 million. The agreement fell apart in May 2017. The newspaper’s staff relocated to new offices on State Street last week.”

Read the entire news article.

Morrissey Boulevard Redesign Meeting Today

This evening at 6:30 pm will be the Public Meeting #3 for the reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard The meeting will be held at the Leahy Holloran Community Center.

The Department of Conservation & Recreation announced:

“PUBLIC MEETING #3
Morrissey Boulevard Redesign for Reconstruction
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
The Leahy Holloran Community Center

1 Worrell Street, Dorchester, MA 02122

At this public meeting, DCR will present, and obtain feedback on, 25% design plans for reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard. These plans will address the full length of the project. The presentation will be viewable after the meeting on DCR’s website at

http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/public-meetings/. The public will be invited to submit comments after the public meeting, with a deadline for receipt by DCR of of Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

Comments may be submitted online at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/submit-public-comments/ or by writing to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.”