JP civic groups want answers on Centre/South project

February 24, 2017
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Five Jamaica Plain civic groups have signed a letter requesting a meeting with Mayor Martin Walsh and asking that the City fully fund the Centre/South streets improvement project.

Asked for comment on the letter and whether the mayor will meet with the groups, the Mayor’s Office replied, “The City values community input and feedback and looks forward to meeting with civic groups in the coming weeks to discuss plans.”

The Centre/South streets improvement project, which is officially named the Jamaica Plain/South/Hyde/Jackson Design Projects, would stretch along Centre Street from Jackson Square to Hyde Square to Monument Square, then down South Street to Forest Hills. The project is intended to make sidewalks and crosswalks more pedestrian-friendly, improve traffic flow, and add green space. The planning for the project first started in 2009.

The Hyde Square renovation, which is one phase of the overall project, would include increased sidewalk widths, traffic and pedestrian safety improvements, new lighting, and landscaping. According to the City, the Public Works Department opened bids earlier this month for the Hyde Square reconstruction and expects to begin construction in the spring. The City recently chose Spanish artist Cristina Parreño Alonso to create a public art project as part of the Hyde Square reconstruction.

Five neighborhood groups—the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, the Jamaica Pond Association, Sumner Hill Association, the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association, and Centre/South Main Streets—signed a Feb. 7 letter requesting a meeting with the mayor and asking the City to fund the whole Centre/South streets project.

“The Transportation Department has told us that there is sufficient funding for actual streetscape improvements (sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting, street furniture, etc.) from Jackson Square to Hyde Square,” the letter states. “But we also are told that the City has not provided any funding for any design work for the project on Centre Street from Hyde Square to the Soldier’s Monument and on South Street from the Soldier’s Monument to Forest Hills.”

The letter adds, “This is an important issue for us and completion of the design work for the whole of the project has support throughout the entire Jamaica Plain community.”

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