Washington St. ‘livability’ discussed

December 16, 2011
By

STONYBROOK—Residents and businesses are coming together to brainstorm a plan to revitalize lower Washington Street.

Members of the Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) and other nearby residents are brewing a plan to improve the half-mile stretch of Washington Street between Green Street and Forest Hills by implementing traffic-calming measures and brainstorming for a “21st century vision” for the area.

Following a “livability” workshop in the spring, a community meeting held at English High School on Dec. 7 brought together residents, representatives from Egleston Square Main Streets (ESMS), the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

“I don’t walk down Washington Street, but I’d like to,” resident Jenn DeSutter said at the meeting, succinctly making the group’s point.

“It was a productive follow-up, a second step in what will undoubtedly be a process,” meeting organizer Bill Reyelt told the Gazette.

While none of the organizations presented, everyone was involved in the discussion. Along with agreeing to come up with a greater vision for the area, the 15 attendees discussed possible traffic-calming measures as a first step in slowing Washington Street down, figuratively and literally.

“We’re absolutely open to doing them, provided there’s a real need,” BTD Director of Planning Vineet Gupta said at the meeting.

Reyelt said he was “excited and appreciative” at ESMS’s participation and willingness to engage despite not technically being part of the covered area.

ESMS Executive Director Betsy Cowan said she is excited to participate, since what would help Washington Street would also help Egleston Square.

The group at the meeting did not include any business owners, a shortcoming that was noted by those present.

“We have a lot of residential representation” but no merchants from lower Washington Street, Reyelt said.

“There isn’t a business out there that won’t do better if it’s a nicer place to be,” said BRA representative John Dalzell.

Reyelt said he hoped this meeting would be an early step to a complete revitalization.

“I’d like to establish a regular forum for this Washington Street discussion,” he said.