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April, 1973,





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C. Visual Characteristics

Generally speaking, the Dorchester Bay area is experienced visually in two
ways, by the motorist passing through the area or as a pedestrian or

Dorchest e r as Perceived by the People passing through

Transients passing through the Study Area into Boston see Dorchester as
a series of events along the way, strung together by the road, the hills,
and the residential areas which extend along one side of the path and the
expanse of water on the other providing a continuity of background even
when not visable. The viewers attention is specifically drawn to dominant
near-range landmarks as the motorist drives from south to north, beginning
with the neon "Keystone" sign, the Neponset Drive-In screen, Minot School,
then extending to the Boston Gas tanks, the Meeting House Hill area, and
reaching a preliminary terminus at Savin Hill. These points provide
orientation, but, with the exception of the schools and Savin Hill, the
orientation is not an indication of the real character and use of the
larger neighborhood it marks. Continuing along the water's edge, ones
focus moves on to U. Mass., Columbia Point, and the park-like edges of
South Boston and concludes with the dominant form of Telegraph Hill and
Castle Island.

Some of these landmarks are neighborhood concentrations in themselves, like
Savin Hill, but few of the others reflect the real neighborhoods in which
they exist. The points of orientation are unrelated to the activities
around them and serve poorly as focus points.

Dorchester as Perceived by the Pedestrian and Area Residents

In contrast to the overview experienced by the transient from the express-
way, the individual who experiences coastal Dorchester at a neighborhood
level has little visual sense of the surrounding neighborhoods and relates
even less to the Bay itself. Most of the neighborhoods that are physically
near the Bay are isolated from it and are organized around principle centers
of activities with limited visual orientation beyond their own boundaries.
The visual character at street scale has a clear identity within each area,
but the visual connections of one neighborhood to another are destroyed by
barriers such as those created by the Southeast Expressway, Morrissey
Boulevard, Gallivan Boulevard and secondary arterials. However, while the
Expressway and other major movement systems create a barrier, they also
provide large scale structures of continuity, working as orienting elements
between neighborhoods.

The non-human scale imposed by the Expressway, however, has created a visual
and psychological barrier along its perimeter. Further, neighborhoods such
as Port Norfolk and Savin Hill, while they retain their identity with the
water's edge, have been cut off from the rest of Dorchester by the Express-
way and railroad embankment. Columbia Point, which has the potential for
a direct physical viaual link to the water, has not utilized it.

At the broad scale of the traveller's perception, Dorchester should pro-
vide a coherent visual experience through views to the harbor and hills on
either side. However, the effect of highway systems on the local environ-
ment indicates that design modifications are necessary, particularly for
noise abatment and visual buffering of the embankments with structures
and/or planting. At the more limited scale of the pedestrian it is
essential that the coherence of this visual attachment to the water be
supplemented with an integrated functional pattern of use orientation
and availability which does not exist now. The land use policies
discussed in this study and design guidelines being developed supplementally
detail how this can be effectuated.

D. Existing Regional and Local Developments

There are a number of existing or proposed projects which will have an
imoact on the study area; the University of Massachusetts, the Harbor
Islands Development, The State Street South Project (which is located just
south of the study area in Quincy), the School Boy Track proposed by the
MDC on the Neponset dump and the potential development of the O.G. Kelley

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Online LibraryBoston Redevelopment AuthorityDorchester bay study → online text (page 1 of 3)