Could this be the right time to finally heal the remaining gashes to the Boston cityscape caused 45 years ago by the construction of the Mass Turnpike? I am optimistic that the answer is yes. The Boston Redevelopment Authority has reopened the process to review certain air rights project proposals. Although the focus is on the sites at the corner of Boylston Street and Massachusetts Avenue, there are also two other major development sites that could and should move forward: the Kenmore Square project proposed by John Rosenthal and the former Columbus Center project.
There are no redeeming features to having a highway canyon in the middle of one of the most historic and architecturally vibrant cities in the country. The neighborhoods that were split by this chasm deserve better and the city certainly could use some new, exciting, revenue enhancing developments.
There is no question that residents should have input into the process. However, the city needs to be a strong advocate for these complex and costly developments to become realities. Set guidelines that offer sufficient density to allow these projects to work financially and give investors sufficient confidence that they will get through the approval process in a timely fashion.
It’s time to heal the traffic wound and create a thriving community.