Momentum is growing to improve the barren concrete strip under the I-93 South East Expressway overpass between South Boston and the South End.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation issued a Request for Information Wednesday seeking proposals from businesses, non-profits, and real estate developers interested in using 10 or more of the parking spaces that are under construction in the area.
The DOT is currently in the process of developing a multi-use parking facility under the overpass, which was previously used to store construction equipment. Once completed, 432 new parking spaces in addition to a number of improvements will be added to the approximately eight-acre area.
Phase 1 of the parking project, which is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in December 2013, includes the construction of 235 parking spaces accessible from Albany Street. The project also includes improved pedestrian connections and added lighting.
Phase 2 of the project, expected to be completed by December 2014, will include the construction of 192 parking spaces, which will be accessible from Traveler Street. The second phase also includes a multi-modal path connecting the South Bay Harbor Trail to Kneeland Street and a transportation-themed public space, which will connect to the Boston Harborwalk.
The DOT, however, is not the only organization interested in bringing new life to the stretch of asphalt often described as dark, cold, and dangerous.
Last month neighbors and advocates from both the South End and South Boston gathered to create a community vision for the space.
“For us it’s an opportunity to connect these two neighborhoods and take a no-man’s land and make it into a place you not only feel safe in, but are drawn to,” Jennifer Effron, the executive director of the South End-based Washington Gateway Main Street, explained in October.
Possible uses suggested for the area included public art, festivals, and food trucks.
Another community meeting on the proposed improvements has been set for November 12 at 6 p.m. Sponsored by the DOT, the meeting will take place at Project Place, located at 1145 Washington St.
To download the DOT's Request for Information, click here.
RFI responses are due by November 26.