Category: West End

Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge Across Storrow Opens to the Public

 

The $12.5 million Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge – a 230-foot-long, steel arch span that links Beacon Hill/Charles Circle to the Charles River Esplanade – is now open to the public.

The 14-foot-wide, 750-foot-long, multi-use bridge was constructed as part of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) $300-million renovation of the Longfellow Bridge, which links Charles Circle in Boston to Central Square in Cambridge via the Charles Circle. The Appleton is a signature bridge in the City of Boston with its elegant steel arch span, as well as the first fully accessible, ADA pedestrian bridge over Storrow Drive.

The old, existing footbridge is slated for demolition within the next two weeks, according to Miguel Rosales, the architect for both the Appleton and Longfellow bridges, as well as president and founder of Boston-based Rosales  Partners.

 

“As the designer of the Appleton Pedestrian Bridge, I was thrilled to recently cross it for the first time,” Rosales wrote. “The beautiful bridge floats over the park with stunning views of the Charles River.   It is very light, visually pleasing and the first ADA accessible 14-feet wide link in the area.  The main arch soars over Storrow Drive with a single, elegant gesture, which is inspired by the historic arches of the adjacent Longfellow Bridge.

“I am looking forward to having the bridge fully completed including walking surface treatments, hardscape elements and landscaping including the addition of new shade trees in the next few months.  I am confident that Bostonians and visitors alike will enjoy using the innovative bridge for generations to come,” Rosales wrote.

Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association, said, “We are excited that this breathtaking new footbridge has opened to make the Esplanade more accessible to visitors. Representatives from our organization advocated for this vital new connection from the early stages of the Longfellow Bridge restoration and we are so grateful to MassDOT, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, former State Rep. Marty Walz, current Rep. Jay Livingstone, Miguel Rosales of Rosales + Partners, and many other partners for their hard work to finally make the Fanny Appleton bridge a reality.”

DCR Commissioner Leo Roy said, “The Baker-Polito administration remains committed to providing residents and visitors with opportunities to safely visit the Commonwealth’s state parks system. With the completion of the Frances Appleton Bridge, [DCR] is thrilled that pedestrians and bicyclists will have increased access to the Charles River Esplanade. Furthermore, the completion of the Frances Appleton Bridge serves as a major accomplishment, and is a welcome addition to the metro Boston area.”

The bridge is named after the wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the most widely known and best-loved American poets of his lifetime. He used to cross the Charles River from Cambridge to Beacon Hill in the 1840s while he was courting “Fanny” Appleton, and the new bridge complements the historic Longfellow Bridge as a symbol of their union.

Boston Voters Back Pressley; Hill Voters Support Zakim

Like voters throughout the Commonwealth, Boston showed its support for Ayanna Pressley who unseated 10-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano to represent the 7th Congressional District in an upset victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

According to the city’s unofficial election results, 64 percent of Boston voters cast their ballots for Pressley, compared with Capuano’s 36 percent. Throughout the district, Pressley captured 59 percent of the ballots cast while Capuano garnered 41 percent, according to AP Data.

Pressley, age 44, will become the first woman of color to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. House. In 2010, she made history when she was elected as the first woman of color to the Boston City Council, where she continues to serve as an at-large representative.

 

Meanwhile, long-serving Secretary of State Bill Galvin defeated Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim by a margin of 36 percent throughout the Commonwealth. (Galvin captured 68 percent of the ballot statewide, compared with Zakim at 32 percent, according to AP data).

In contrast, around 52 percent of Beacon Hill voters Ward 3, Precinct 6 and Ward 5, Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 11 supported Zakim in the election as opposed to Galvin, who garnered 48 percent of the ballots cast.

Throughout Boston, 57 percent of voters supported Galvin, compared with Zakim at 42 percent, according to the city’s unofficial election results.

Upon learning the results of the Democratic primary, State Rep. Jay Livingstone wrote, “Ayanna Pressley and Josh Zakim ran great races, and their challenges brought issues to the forefront of political discussion. I look forward to Ayanna Pressley serving in her new role. I’m disappointed Josh Zakim did not succeed, but am pleased I can continue to work with him in his current role.”

Kenzie Bok, chair of the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee, wrote, “I’m thrilled Ayanna is going to be our next congresswoman – she is a role model to so many, ran an amazing campaign, and has already changed local politics just by running.

“Even though Josh lost, he and Ayanna both achieved a major shift: they showed that we can have a contest of ideas to choose the best candidate every cycle here in Massachusetts, regardless of incumbency.

“In an overwhelmingly Democratic state like ours, having real primary races like this is key to making our government the best it can be.

“I’m disappointed Josh won’t be our Secretary of State, but I’m proud of him for throwing his hat in the ring, and I think his candidacy alone has been good for voter access in Massachusetts.”

Rachael Rollins wins Suffolk County D.A. Rachael Rollins won the election for Suffolk County District Attorney Tuesday in the five person race to fill the seat left by outgoing D.A. Dan Conley. Rollins defeated Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe, Evandro Carvalho and Linda Champion. With her win Rollins will be the first female-candidate of color to hold the position in the history of the Commonwealth.

“I am honored and humbled.  But I also need to say – for all of us – that this is earned. As a 47-year old Black Woman, I have earned this,” she said Tuesday night. :We have earned this.  This is the time for us to claim our power and make good on our promises to make true criminal justice reform for the people in Suffolk County.  Reform that is progressive – that decriminalizes poverty, substance use disorder, and mental illness.  This is the time to create a system that puts fairness and equity first – as a model for the Commonwealth and the nation.”

In Boston Rollins received just over 40 percent of the vote followed by Henning who finished the night with 22 percent of the vote. Carvalho finished with 17 percent followed by McAuliffe who got 10 percent and Champion who ended the night with 9 percent.

In Beacon Hill Rollins received 633 votes and topped the ticket in the D.A. race here.

The district also includes Winthrop, Chelsea and Revere.

From The Director’s Desk: Reducing Hunger Among Neighborhood Seniors

February letter from Maria Stella Gulla, Director of ABCD North End / West End Neighborhood Service Center.

This month I would like to focus on senior hunger and the ways in which ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center (NE/WE NSC) works in the community as well as with its neighborhood partners and elected officials to reduce hunger among North End, West End, and Beacon Hill seniors. The NE/WE NSC envisions a community in which everyone has access to sufficient nutritious food. Through the support that we leverage from cash and in-kind donations, we create new ways to fight hunger and provide food to seniors in a fun and creative way.

For example, our community partner, Lovin’ Spoonfuls, has conducted food demonstrations onsite at our center. Their food rescue coordinator set up a food demonstration station and cooked a mouthwatering meal of crisp vegetables and pasta, all with spices that are easy on the waistline and low in sodium! Meanwhile, Head Cook Franco Palopoli duplicated the meal in our kitchen, and dished it up to NE/WE NSC seniors, volunteers, and staff. Guests at lunch took home bags of fresh produce, also from the Lovin’ Spoonful donation and Greater Boston Food Bank, to make the meal at home, also enabling them to stretch their food and food dollars further until they dine with us again.

We deliver direct services in the form of weekly congregate meals; two food pantries in the North End and West End neighborhoods; and application assistance for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

1. Congregate meals: The NE/WE NSC prepares hot meals on Mondays and Fridays in the North End at 1:00PM, with monthly holiday celebrations, including Thanksgiving, the December holidays, Mother’s and Father’s Day, and so forth. We offer a meal one Wednesday a month in the West End, alternating between the Amy Lowell Apartments and Blackstone Apartments. The center includes the seniors’ elected officials – our friends Senator Joe Boncore, Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Representative Jay Livingstone, City Councilor Lydia Edwards, Senator Sal Di Domenico, and City Councilor Josh Zakim – in these gatherings and the celebration serves as an opportunity for them to see their constituents and speak to and address issues that are of importance to our clients. The meals serve as a welcoming, nurturing environment for seniors to socialize with their peers; speak one another’s native languages; and disclose to staff problems that they are having (lack of heat or medical insurance, for instance).

2. Food pantries: The NE/WE NSC operates two food pantries, one in the North End open Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Thursdays 12:30PM-3:00PM and one in the West End, thanks to our collaboration with the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library and Head Librarian Helen Bender. The West End Pantry has hours Mondays and Wednesdays 11:30AM-1:30PM and Tuesdays 4:00PM-5:45PM. Our North End and West End pantries combined have given out over 32,000 lb. of food. Last year we gave over 130 turkeys during the Thanksgiving season.

3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP provides nutrition education and monthly monetary benefits for designated food items. A senior or caregiver can find out if they might be eligible by calling the NE/WE NSC at 617-523-8125. A lot of seniors are missing out on SNAP right now. NE/WE NSC staff is available to help connect and enroll any eligible person in need for this program.

How can all of us make sure that older adults do not go hungry? Advocate, donate, and volunteer! The NE/WE NSC and your local community organizations are always in need of donated time, resources, and new friends! We especially need volunteers to cook for our twice-weekly hot meal program.

Until next month!

Maria Stella Gulla, Director
ABCD North End / West End Neighborhood Service Center

ABCD’s mission is to empower disadvantaged people by providing them with the tools to overcome poverty, live with dignity, and achieve their full potential. The North End / West End NSC offers a wide-range services to our community. To learn more, read the February 2018 Newsletter ABCD North End West End NSC.

Livingstone Seeking Regulations for Local Airbnbs

February 2, 2018

By 

State Rep. Jay Livingstone of Beacon Hill will be focusing his legislative efforts on a number of bills this year, including the regulation of Airbnbs in the city.

Airbnb, which began in 2008, is a company that helps people rent short-term lodging in apartments, homes, and other residences through an online service.

“What’s happening, particularly in Beacon Hill, is some people have started to buy buildings and turn them in to Airbnbs that can be short-term rentals,” said Livingstone. “So basically those buildings can act as a hotel without any of the permits of a business operating in a residential district.”

Livingstone said at the state level, officials hope to enact a regulatory scheme to allow cities to have options on how they’re going to treat Airbnb rentals.

He believes that for densely populated areas like Beacon Hill, “people should need the permits of a hotel operating in a residential district before they can buy a building and basically act as a hotel.”

Livingstone said that he knows there are two properties on Beacon Hill where this type of rental operation has begun.

“I know of at least two, one on Chestnut Street and one on West Cedar Street,” he said.

Livingstone said the goal is to pass a state law that gives municipalities such as the city of Boston options on how to regulate Airbnbs.

“I would like to see Boston have the regulatory authority to require businesses that are going to act as hotels to get the permits that hotels need,” said Livingstone. “There is a full zoning process that they need to go through in order to do that, and it’s not happening with respect to these Airbnb buildings in Beacon Hill.”

He said his colleague in the House of Representatives, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, has filed a bill on the regulation of Airbnbs. Livingstone expects the bill will be debated in the House of Representatives next month.

“I’ve worked with Aaron on this bill,” said Livingstone. “He’s worked hard to build consensus on this issue and I think a lot of people see issues that have arisen because there is no regulatory scheme in place.”

Livingstone said he will also be focusing on legislation pertaining to Paid Family Leave income.

“The United States is one of three countries in the world not to offer Paid Family Leave to families,” he noted. “Especially as a father of a young child, I know that my wife and I were able to get by and stay home for a time at the start of our son’s life and how crucial that was for his development. So many families don’t have that option because they have to return to work for financial reasons and their children will miss out on that crucial early development with the parents. Many states have adopted Paid Family Leave policy, so I’ve been working the past couple of years to get Paid Family Leave legislation here. My colleague, Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Bedford), has filed a bill on Paid Family Leave.”

 

DCR Unveils Final Design for Esplanade Riverfront Pavilion

By Beacon Hill Times Staff

By Dan Murphy

The Department of Conservation and Recreation and its development team unveiled the design for the proposed Esplanade Riverfront Pavilion at the third and final public meeting on the matter at the State Transportation Building Wednesday while proposing a unique, public-private partnership for underwriting the project.

Watertown-based architect Maryann Thompson said the first level of the two-story building would accommodate office space for Hill House and other partnering organizations while the second story would feature a “multi-purpose” space that could accommodate various sports, theatre and other programming.

An outdoor space on the building’s second floor, which Thompson described as a “giant New England-style porch,” would provide terraced landscaping that would allow for seating, and could accommodate shuffleboard and other activities, as well as offer unobstructed views of the Charles River.

Sitting atop the second level would be a “green-roof” that would also be occupiable, Thompson said.

DCR Commissioner Leo Roy said since the project presently has no funding, the state would issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking an entity or entities to enter into a 10-agreemnt to finance construction of the building and eventually operate it. The RFP is expected to go out for bidding next month, with responses due in February of next year. Afterwards, Roy anticipates at least a two-year construction process.

Roy expects the annual budget of operating the facility would be between $750,000 and $1 million, and that it would be made available for private, special events to help underwrite this cost.

State Rep. Jay Livingstone said, “The project has evolved tremendously. It’s great to see all the public comments and viewpoints come together, and I think it’s going to be great.”

Duane Lucca, a project stakeholder and representative for the West End Museum, said he hoped that the pavilion wouldn’t be “controlled by a small contingent of groups, but rather open to the wide community.”

Meanwhile, Thompson said the development team had conceived three concepts for repurposing the Upper Gates Lock House on the Esplanade, all of which would “keep the fabric of the building.”

One option involved a year-round “interpretive center”; a café with outdoor seating that would be open in the spring, summer and fall; and a space for Nordic ski-rentals during the winter months, she said.

Public comments on the pavilion are due on Friday, Nov. 17, and can be submitted online to http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/public-outreach/submit-public- comments/ or
in writing to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, Office of Public Outreach, 251 Causeway St., sixth floor, Boston, MA 02114.