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Deadline for Mt. Vernon Street designers nears

Posted by Patrick Rosso  November 25, 2013 05:07 PM

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The deadline is approaching for the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s search for designers to help create a new look for Mt. Vernon Street on Columbia Point in Dorchester.

The project, which will analyze the roadway from Old Colony Avenue to its connection to the University of Massachusetts Boston, is a partnership between the BRA, the Department of Public Works, and Boston Transportation Department.

Born out of the Columbia Point Master Plan, which was developed in 2011, and an initiative by The American City Coalition, the BRA project aims to use the momentum of developments already happening in the neighborhood.

“There’s really a lot happening [in the area], so this is a good time to think about the future of transit on Columbia Point,” explained Tad Read, a senior planner for the BRA.

The design will provide the BRA with a “concept plan” or 25-percent design” to help the department organize for future capital construction projects along the road. The design is anticipated to take 12-months to complete.

The four-lane street, which could soon be home to the city’s newest cycle track, connects the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the expanding UMass campus, the recently expanded Boston College High School, and Harbor Point residential development to the greater neighborhood.

The street is also the site of a new, large residential development project.

A Request for Proposals was issued by the BRA in early-November for an organization or group of designers to create a “25-percent design” for the roadway.

Along with resident input, the design is expected to incorporate city’s Complete Streets guidelines, which call for accommodations for cyclists as well as pedestrians and public transit users.

“The neighborhood and the organizations in it really rely on access to the T, so we want to create an environment that is attractive to walk and bike in,” said Read. “We also want to calm the street down. There’s a lot of asphalt out there and it’s not all needed for the automobile.”

Once a design team has been selected by the BRA, planners will go to the community to gather input. The first of several community meetings is expected to be held in the winter/early-spring of 2014.

“This will be a two-way dialogue,” said Read. “We really want to hear what vision the community has for the street.”

The deadline for RFP submissions is December 3 and more information about the initiative can be found here.

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