Centre/South redesign plan to resume in fall

The City’s long-stalled redesign plan for Centre and South streets—including major changes to Hyde and Monument Squares—is slated to resume this fall, nearly two years after the last community meeting.

The Centre and South Streets Streetscape and Transportation Action Plan, led by the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), aims to set general standards for the look and feel of any future street work in the corridor. It also plans specific redesigns of traffic trouble spots.

Since planning began in 2009, one part has already been carried out: the installation of bike lanes. Still pending are plans to shrink the Hyde Square rotary at Centre and Perkins streets to make more green space, and various sidewalk improvements in Jackson Square.

Dueling plans for Monument Square, where Centre and South intersect, were left unresolved for a later part of planning. One plan would enlarge the traffic island containing the Soldier’s Monument, while the other would connect the island to the First Church in Jamaica Plain Unitarian Universalist property to create a new park.

A long public input process wrapped up in late 2010, resulting in a rough draft of the Action Plan. City officials said that a consultant team would be hired to create formal design plans and run more community meetings in early to mid-2011, but that did not happen. A rough draft of the plan was produced by the City and posted without fanfare to the BRA website last September.

“We’re waiting to move into the next phase,” Vineet Gupta, BTD’s director of policy and planning, told the Gazette earlier this month. He said the new consultant team likely will be hired this fall.

Whenever that team is hired, its design work and community meetings related to it will last 12 to 18 months, Gupta said. That work will include making a decision on what to do with Monument Square.

There is no funding in place for any of the redesign plans. The idea is to get blueprints on file for when funding and political willpower arise.

Officials have given varying versions of the plan’s lengthy name, sometimes switching the positions of “transportation” and “streetscape.” The 2011 draft report has it as “Streetscape and Transportation” in its title, though the document uses various versions. The report is available on the BRA website under “Planning Initiatives” at bostonredevelopmentauthority.org.

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