Dudley Vision Advisory Task Force Meeting September 27, 2012

The meeting began with Maureen Anderson, Senior PM of the City’s Public Facilities Department bringing the audience up to date with the project’s progress since August.  She highlighted the recent completion of selective demolition on the Ferdinand Building, and the ongoing selective demolition of the Curtis Block and Waterman Buildings.  Ms. Anderson announced that the project will be presented to the Boston Landmarks Commission on October 23rd for review of the exterior envelope of the “new” portions of the facility that are to be constructed.  The project is currently on budget and on schedule.  At the January 2013 meeting, the team will return to discuss efforts on the street-level retail portion of the new facility.

Next, Ms. Anderson discussed a slide showing the multiple project schedules for construction in the Dudley Square area, including the Boston Water & Sewer Commission’s (BWSC) Sewer Separation project, as well as the MBTA’s Dudley Station Improvement project.  A link to her slide presentation is here.

Nick Brooks of Sasaki, the project designers, followed Ms. Anderson, and introduced Sasaki team members Mauricio Gomez, a Landscape Architect and Steve Engler, a Civil Engineer.  Mr. Gomez then presented the concepts for the new facility’s perimeter including generous, pedestrian friendly sidewalks, crosswalks, and curbs.  The sidewalk widths are proposed to increase, allowing opportunity for possible outdoor dining seating.  There were questions from the DVATF and community about resulting affects on driving lanes, parking lanes, and traffic impacts.  It was explained that the two driving lanes would remain, some parking spaces would remain, and the travel distance for pedestrians crossing the street would be reduced for increased safety.  Also, due to elevation changes around the facility, the sidewalks were designed to accommodate handicapped access throughout.

The next presenter was Tom Leahy, Senior Project Manager at the City’s Public Facilities Dept.  Mr. Leahy confirmed that demolition work on the Ferdinand was 100% complete, along with 80% of the Curtis and Waterman Buildings demolition. Mr. Leahy highlighted recent efforts by the project team to involve local businesses.  After the second networking event in a few months hosted by the project’s construction manager, it was noted that sitework was being performed by a joint venture composed of A. A. Will and Centaur Construction.  Mr. Leahy reported that the air quality and vibration monitoring had indicated no adverse readings, and that the project team intends to remain vigilant about causing minimal adverse impact to Dudley Square.  He explained that upcoming activities would include erection of a crane on-site expected in early November.

Questions were raised by DVATF and Community members about the opportunity to involve students in real time, in a learning program related to the site’s development.  Ms. Jumaada Smith of the DVATF noted that she would be interested in helping with the effort.  The project team agreed to pursue the idea and report back at a future meeting.

The next presenter was Irene McSweeney, Director of Construction for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, who gave a status report on the ongoing Stormwater and Sewer Separation Project.  She presented and discussed an informative handout that provided information on locations and dates of upcoming underground work.  Ms. McSweeney noted the ongoing efforts with the contractor, Albanese, to reduce noise, day and night, by restricting movements of contractor vehicles at sensitive hours. Link to the BWSC website info. here.

Mary Ainslie, Director of Design & Construction for the MBTA followed with a briefing and a presentation on the ongoing Dudley Station Improvement project that includes installation of heated and drafted bus shelters, enhanced ADA compliance, upgraded busway surfaces and improved signage and bicycle parking.  Daniel Van Nierop, a Rail Engineer at Jacobs Engineering, an MBTA consultant, assisted with explanations of the proposed work at the site.  A number of questions about safety and the contractor, McCourt Construction’s efforts to maintain a safe environment were raised by DVATF members, and a request was made for the MBTA to continue providing updates as the project continues.  There were questions about minority workforce participation, and it was suggested that the MBTA research the issue and report again at a future meeting.

The final presenter of the evening was Pat Hoey, Senior Transportation Planner  for BTD who provided updates for two BTD led design projects in the greater Dudley area, Melnea Cass Boulevard and Dudley Square. Both projects are at various stages of design with Melnea Cass progressing toward 25% design and Dudley Square ramping up for an initial public meeting planned for October 15th. Early efforts have included coordinating site planning with the Ferdinand design team while also pressing ahead with initial survey work and traffic counts in the Square. Mr. Hoey introduced a couple of members of the design consultant team that are assisting with the Dudley project,  Rachel Burckhardt, Senior Project Manager of Parsons Brinckerhoff, a transportation planning and engineering firm and  Kelley Chunn for public outreach, of Kelley Chunn Associates in Roxbury.  Other firms on the design team include Toole Design Group (transportation consultants) and Copley Wolff Design Group (Landscape Architects and Planners).  Mr. Hoey explained that the design project would involve certain intersection enhancements to improve pedestrian safety and improve traffic flow.  The design phase has just begun, and there will be more to report at upcoming meetings.  Please click here to learn more about the BTD design projects at Melnea Cass Boulevard and Dudley Square.  More info. on Mr. Hoey’s Dudley presentation will be here on Monday, Oct. 1, so please stay tuned.




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