Hyde Square reconstruction happening; more improvements to Centre/South streets possible

The long-awaited Hyde Square reconstruction is expected to finally get underway soon, while further improvements along Centre Street and South Street might be in the pipeline.

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

The Hyde Square renovation, which is one phase of the overall project, is expected to begin the week of Aug. 14., according to Katie Choe of the Public Works Department. She said that the project will be “substantially completed” by Dec. 1. Choe also said that there will be parking restrictions because of the construction and there might be lane restrictions, but the flow of traffic will be maintained.

Zach Wassmouth of the Public Works Department said that improvements to Hyde Square will include bump-out sidewalks, modernizing the roundabout, shorter street crossings, and landscaping. He also the project will leave spaces for the art installation by Spanish artist Cristina Parreño Alonso, who was chosen earlier this year for the project.

When asked about the lowering the wall bordering the square owned by the MSPCA-Angell Medical Center, which was a concern expressed during the community process, Wassmouth said conversations continue between the City and the center.

Meanwhile, Vineet Gupta of Boston Transportation Department said that discussions have begun with local neighborhood groups on improving Centre and South streets from Hyde Square to the Forest Hills T Station. He said he hopes to have some more information for the community in October about conceptual designs.

That is good news for the head of one local civic group.

“[I am] pleased that this project (from Hyde Square to Forest Hills) at last is beginning to move,” said Kevin Moloney, chair of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, said in an email. “It is something that the JPNC, the Jamaica Pond Association, JP Centre/South Main Streets, the JP Business & Professional Association, and the Sumner Hill Association have been working together on.”

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