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BOSTON
PUBLIC
LlBl^RY







EAST BOSTON
GENERAL NEIGHBORHOOD RENEWAL PLAN

MAY 1965

"BOSTOn PliBLlC LlBRARr



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^.iO'^^"^



EAST BOSTON

GENERAL NEIGHBORHOOD RENB'ttL PLAN

PROJECT NO. MASS. R-iiU



Property Of

BOSTM REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Library




The J. reparation of this plan
was financed in pi rt through
a Federal advance frora the
Urban Renewal Administration
of the Housing and 'lone
Finance Agency under the pro-
visions of Title I of the
Housing Act of 19U9, as
amended.



Boston Redevelopment Authority
Boston, Massachusetts
May 1965



GENERAL NEIGHBORHOOD REInJEWAL PLAN
PROJECT NO. MASS. R-44

East Boston Urban Renewal Area
Boston Redevelopment Authority-
Boston, Massachusetts



BINDER NO.



SUBMISSION DATE!



Code No.



Checklist of Documents



Section/Page



GN 201



GN 202



GN 203
GN 211
GN 212



General neighborhood renewal plan

(a) Description of perimeter boundary

(b) Land Use plan

Population densities
Building requirements
Other land use provisions

(c) Plan for community facilities
and public improvements

(d) Delineation of clearance areas

(e) Property rehabilitation require-
ments

(f ) Identification of Title I projects
Supplementary data to GN Plan



(a)

(b)
(c)

(d)



Anticipated market absorption
capacity for cleared land

Estimates of project financing

Analysis of relocation program

Identification of required actions



1-1
2-1



3-1
4-1

5-1
6-1



7-1
8-1

9-1
10-1



Zoning changes

Modification of housing codes

Provision of community facilities



Conformance with the general plan

Resolution of LPA approving GN plan

Opinion of LPA counsel respecting
approval



11-1

12-1

13-1



■2-



(.>.- checklist continued from preceding page)



Code No.



Checklist of Documents



Section/Page



E.xhihits

Map 1 of 9

Map 2 of 9

Map 3 of 9

Map 4 of 9

Map 5 of 9

Map 6 of 9

Map 7 of 9

Map 8 of 9

Map 9 of 9

Exhibit A



Exhibit C

Exhibit D

Exhibit E
Exhibit P



Existing Land Use

Building Conditions

Proposed Land Use

Existing and Proposed Public Facilities

Existing Circulation

Proposed Circulation

Proposed Treatment and Title I Project

Existing Zoning

Proposed Zoning

Boston Redevelopment Authority, 1965/1975
Ge neral Plan for the City of Boston ,
Xpreviously submitted)



Exhibit B Boston Redevelopment Authority, Renewing
Boston's Municipal Facilities 1963/1975
(previously submitted)



Exhibit G



Larry Smith and Associates^ East Boston Land
Utilization and Marketability Study , 1964
(attached herewith")

Harvard University, Boston Schools - 1962
A Report on the Schools of Boston , 1962.

(previously submitted)

Wilbur Smith and Associates, Traffic and
Circulation Plan 1965 (Previously submitted)

Charles A. Maguire and Associates, Report
on Preliminary Studies of Existing Utility
Systems , 1964.

(previously subm.itted)

Survey and Planning Application, East Boston
Urban Renewal Area, (attached herewith)



GENERAL NEIGHBORHOOD REWE'JAL PLAN
PROJECT NO. MSS. R-iil;

East Boston Urban Renewal Area
Boston Redevelopment Authority-
Boston, Massachusetts



DESCRIPTION OF PiRD-IETER BOUNDARY CODE NO. GN 201(a)



A key map of the East Boston General Neighborhood Renewal Plan (GNRP) Areaj
located in the City of Boston, County of Suffolk, Commonwealth of Massachu-
setts, is attached herewith. The project is bounded generally as follows:

Beginning at a point located at the intersection of the northern right-of-
way line of Ilaverick Street and the eastern right-of-way line of Geneva
Street;

Northerly by the eastern right-of-way line of Geneva Street to the northern
right-of-way line of Porter Street;

Northwesterly along the northern right-of-way line of Porter Street to the
southeastern right-of-way line of the Boston and Albany Railroad;

Northerly along the southeastern right-of-way line of the Boston and Albany
Railroad to the centerline of Curtis Street;

Northwesterly along the centerline of Curtis Street to the northwestern right-
of-way line of the Boston and Albany Railroad;

Northwesterly along the northwestern right-of-way line of the Boston and Albany
Railroad to the East Boston Pierhead Line of Chelsea River;

Westerly along the East Boston Pierhead Line of Chelsea River to the East Boston
Pierhead Line of Boston Harbor;

Southerly and Southeasterly along the East Boston Pierhead Line of Boston
Harbor to the point of intersection with a line drawn parallel to the east
right-of-way line of Jeffries Street and 700 feet to the east of the afore-
said east right-of-way line;

Northeasterly along the line draim parallel to the east right-Df-way line of
Jeffries Street and 700 feet east of the aforesaid east line to the north
line of i'iaverick Street extended;

Northwesterly along the north right-of-way line of Ilaverick Street and its
extension to the point of beginning.



^




CHARLESTOWN



PARKER-HILL
FENWAY



JAMAICA
PL^IN




EAST
BOSTON



ROXBURY
NORTH DO'RCHESTER




DOWNTOWN NORTH




DOWNTOWN



SOUTH BOSTON



SOUTH END



GENERAL NEIGHBORHOOD RENEV/AL PLAN
PROJECT NO. MASS. R-44

East Boston Urban Renewal Area
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Boston, Massachusetts



BINDER NO.



SUBMISSION DATE!



LAND USE PLAN



CODE NO. GN- 201(b)



East Boston is located to the northeast of Boston Proper on what
was originally five islands in Massachusetts Bay. Through land
filling these islands are now a peninsula attached to the mainland
at Revere. The East Boston GNRP area is the southwesterly portion
of this peninsula and includes some seventy-five percent of the
area's population. Other sections of East Boston not included in
the GNRP area are Orient Heights and Logan International Airport.
The GNRP area is linked to Boston Proper by a rapid transit tunnel
and two highway tunnels; to Chelsea by two bridges; and to Revere
and points north by expressway, transit, railroad, and local
streets.

The proposed land use plan, together with the community facilities
plan which follows as Code No. GN-20l(c), is based on analysis of
land use surveys, building condition surveys, and other studies
undertaken by the Authority and consultants and listed as exhibits
in the checklist of documents at the beginning of this report.

Proposed changes in land use are summarized in the table below.
The table shows an increase in residential and community facility
land area, and a decrease in industrial and commercial area-



Existing and Proposed Land Uses
(all figures in acres)





Existing


Existing


Proposed


New Land




Land Use


To Be


New


Use Totals




Totals
104.9


Acquired
15.3


Development
62.7




Residential


152.3


Commercial


68.7


22.1


0.9


47.5


Industrial


103.5


57.3


-0-


46.2


Institutional


61.5


7.2


29.5


83.8


Parking


5.9


0.2


-0-


5.7


Streets, Alleys


241.0


10.9


19.9


250.0


Under V/ater


162.0


-0-


-0-


162.0


Total


747.5


113.0


3.13.0


747.5



Boston R-44 / GN 201(b)



2-1



IMPACT OP LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ON THE GNRP AREA

Logan International Airport, located to the east of the GNRP area,
is the principal air terminal for Greater Boston and much of New
England. Its rapid growth in recent years is documented by the
following figures:



Traffic Growth - Logan International Airport 1962-64



Flights
Passengers
Mail (lbs.)
Cargo (lbs. )



1^64

13^,501

4,578,872

15,709,404

98,676,140



12§1

122,668
3,838,124

13,774,917
88,390,261



1962

121,181

3,457,339
12,722,031
83,420,439



Source: 1964 Annual Report, Massachusetts Port Authority

The 1964 National Airport plan, prepared by the Federal Aviation
Agency, covers the fiscal years I965-I969 and recommends many im-
provements to the existing airport. These improvements can,
however, be accommodated on the approximately 1,500 acres that the
airport already occupies, or on land fill outside the GNRP area.

It is anticipated that noise levels will increase somewhat as air
traffic continues to grow. However, new construction in adjacent
areas such as Orient Heights, where aircraft noise levels are even
higher, indicates the adverse effects of aircraft operations can
be overcome under favorable marketing conditions.



Growth of c
related to
pated these
in the imme
transportat
stantially.
Land now oc
sites propo
to satisfy



ommercial and industrial activities within the GNRP
airport activity has been slight, and it is not antici-

activities will create an extensive demand for land
diate future. Over the longer term, however, air
ion of people and goods is expected to increase sub-
thereby creating a demand for airport-oriented uses,
cupied by rail yards, and underutilized industrial
sed for continued non-residential use could be utilized
much of this demand.



Perhaps the major impact of the airport on surrounding areas has
been the airport's gradual encroachment on the tidal flats, park
areas and beaches along the eastern shore. At one time much of
this frontage was accessible to East Boston residents, but today
nearly all of it has been filled in and taken over for airport use,



Boston R-44 / GN 201(b)



2-2



DECLINE OF SEAPORT ACTIVITY

The East Boston waterfront has been in decline for many years.
Once active with the construction of Clipper ships, as an immigrant
port to the Mew World, and as a transportation terminal for many
products, large areas in some sections of the waterfront are now
vacant.

Conditions vary - most of the under-utilized sections are on the
western shore which, at one time, was occupied primarily by ship-
yards, coal terminals, and lumber yards. Today nearly half the
land in this area is vacant.

Although a few sites have been developed along the western water-
front for non-water oriented uses such as a shopping center, there
has been little interest in land development. As an example, re-
cent attempts to auction city-owned land were unsuccessful. (1)
Given the present industrial character of this area, attempts to
market the land thus far have been for industrial purposes. But,
the sites lack rail access; and some are on tidelands so that clear
title to the property is difficult to obtain. The surrounding
environment, of blight and deterioration, has also effectively
curtailed development.

DECLINE OF THE RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY

Several problems of physical and economic deterioration have been
cited above in relation to the waterfront industrial areas. Other
symptoms of decline which apply more specifically to the residen-
tial' sections of the project are summarized below.

Loss of Population : Large numbers of persons have been leaving
East Boston since World War II in search of better housing. Over
10,000 persons, or one-fourth of the total population, has left
in the past fifteen years.

Population of East Boston GNRP Area

Population

1950 39,626
i960 31,729
1965 29,335

Source: U. S. Census: State Census.



JT) Public Auction held June 30, 1964, of 260,3^1 square feet of
land on New Street.

Boston R-44 / GN-20l(b) 2-3



While a loss In population is not in Itself undesirable, and could.
In fact, be considered desirable in some of the more congested
areas, there is ample evidence to suggest the decline is in large
part caused by widespread dissatisfaction with housing and envir-
onmental conditions. The greatest losses in population have taken
place among young families with children. There was a net loss of
over ^0 percent of those persons between the ages of 20 and 30
between 1950 and i960. As a result, an increasing proportion of
those remaining were older, less mobile persons.

Lack of New Housing Construction ; The lack of new housing in
East Boston has undoubtedly influenced families with sufficient
means to leave the community. Except for a public housing project,
there has been virtually no new construction for over 25 years.



Age of Dwelling Units in East Boston GNRP Area, I96O



Construction Date

1950 - i960
1940 - 1949
1939 or earlier



No. of Dwelling Units

20
436 (4l4 public housing)
11.4Q0
11,946



Source; U. S. Census of Housing



Deteriorated Housing Conditions ;-^ BRA surveys of the exterior
conditions of residential structures undertaken during the summer
of 1961 showed nearly one-half required major repairs or were in
dilapidated condition.



Condition of Residential No. of Residential



Structures



A condition
B condition
C condition
D condition



satisfactory
minor repairs
major repairs
dilapidated

Total



Structures


Percent


82


2.1


; 1855


48.3


I 1518


39.6


398


10.0



3853



100



(1) Definition of Building Conditions;

A condition - Building in good repair

B condition - Buildings need minor repair, and are in a

deteriorating condition because of a defect
not corrected by normal maintenance.

C condition - Buildings require major rehabilitation to put
them in sound condition. Major repairs' or
extensive minor repairs make feasibility of
rehabilitation subject to more detailed Interior
and exterior analysis.



Boston R-44 / GN-20l(b)



2-4



D condition - Buildings determined to be infeasible of re-
habilitation, and containing defects to a point
warranting clearance.

FLAN PROPOSALS FOR RESIDENTIAL REHABILITATION

A primary objective of the proposed renewal program is the rehab-
ilitation and revitalization of the existing residential community
for the families now living there. To accomplish this, clearance
of residential buildings would be kept to a minimum and emphasis
placed on a program of property rehabilitation.

Prom the preliminary land use and building condition surveys under-
taken by the Authority and summarized previously in this report,
it is estimated that approximately 9*000 of the existing 9,500
(1965 estimate) occupied housing units should be considered for
rehabilitation treatment. This is nearly 95^ of all occupied
dwelling units in the East Boston GNRP Area.

These homes are located in sections of the GNRP Area which are con-
sidered suitable for continued residential use. However, many
properties will require extensive repairs, the financing of which
would, under current conditions, be available only if coordinated
with a renewal program.

PROPOSED "WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT" - AN OPPORTUNITY FOR
NEW HOUSING CONSTRUCTION

The western waterfront provides the major opportunity for new
development within the East Boston GNRP Area Through a program
of Urban Renewal more than 82 acres of blighted and under-utilized
land could be developed, and, if it proved feasible, additional
land could be created by land filling.

As there are few areas within the City of Boston of this size
suitable for new development, several re-use possibilities or
combinations should be considered during project planning. For
example, a site for a portion of the proposed 1975 World's Fair
would be an appropriate temporary use.

In the long run, however, it is proposed that most of the site be
utilized for new housing and related community uses, including
schools, playgrounds and water-oriented recreation facilities.

No specific site planning studies have been made for this area,
but if it were to be developed for new housing and supporting
community facilities, the estimate below indicates the land use
acreage that could provide a balanced development. (These figures
have been used elsewhere in this report to compute acreages and
new constxnAction estimates. )



Boston R-44 / GN-20l(b) 2-5



Proposed Land Use - Waterfront Development District



Proposed Development Acres

Residential 1100 units - town houses,

garden apartments 44

Schools and Playgrounds (l) intermediate school 12

(l) elementary school 5

Streets (20^ of total area) 16

Recreation 5

Total Acres 8?. Acres



Boston R-44 / GN-20l(b) 2-6



In addition to the new housing construction proposed for the "VJaterfront Devel-
opment District, there are opportunities for some 100 new housing units within
the existing residential community on small sites now vacant or occupied by-
dilapidated buildings infeasible of repair.

The overall estimated change in housing units if the plan is carried out is
estimated below:



Estimated Change in Housing Units I96O-I97O



i960 Total Housing Units 11,9U6

i960 Occupied Housing Units 9,890

1965 Total Housing Units (estimated) 11,800

1965 Occupied Housing Units (estimated) 9,550

Proposed Clearance of Occupied Units 575

Proposed New Units (Waterfront Dev. District) 1,100

Proposed New Units (Other) 100

fffiT INCREASE IN HOUSING UNITS 1960-1970 625



PROPOSALS FOR COMTiERCIAL AREAS

The majority of commercial uses in East Boston consist of retail and consumer
service establishments scattered throughout the residential area. Most non-
consumer oriented commercial uses, (wholesaling and business services) are
located in the peripheral industrial belt.

There vrere an estimated 56,000 square feet of empty store space in East Boston
in 1963, indicating the presence of some physical-economic blight. Many stores
are functionally obsolete; and traffic congestion and inadequate parking are
also a problem at some locations.

Exterior surveys carried out by the BRA in I96I showed that nearly one in every
five commercial structures was in dilapidated condition.



Exterior Condition of Commercial Buildines-'-



Structures

A - condition (satisfactory) 33

B - condition (minor repairs required) 1U3

C - condition (major repairs required) 121

D - condition (dilapidated) 70

■'-Building conditions defined in the section on housing.



The plan proposes the clearance of dilapidated commercial structures and many
vacant stores, (which tend to be in the dilapidated structures) so that a
closer balance will result between the space available and the space required.

New construction would be limited so that existing stores are not forced out
of business. Additional off-street parking and improved traffic flow would
be planned to help the existing shopping areas function more smoothly.

INDUSTRIAL LAND USE PROPOSALS

With the decline in waterfront activity (already discussed elsewhere in this
report) there has been no corresponding increase in land development for air-
port use within the GNRP area. Airport needs have been met by additional
land filling to the east of the project area.

Economic studies undertaken for the East Boston area indicate that the short-
term demand for industrial land will continue to be quite limited. Sites
appropriate for continued industrial use have already been developed, and
those that are under-utilized have little potential because of poor road and
rail access, and the large surplus of waterfront sites in the Boston area,

BRA surveys of buildings used for industrial and wholesale purposes showed
that over one building in every four was in dilapidated condition.



Exterior Condition of Industrial Buildings ■'-



A - condition (satisfactory)
B - condition (minor repairs required)
C - condition (major repairs required)
D - condition (dilapidated)



No. of


No. of


Wholesale


Industrial


Buildings


Buildings





6


25


III


12


h9


8


37
133



The plan proposes continued industrial use along the northern and southern
shores of the GNRP area, and along I'lcClellan Highway, and conversion of the
western waterfront to other uses. This clear separation of waterfront area
will free the central residential district of conflicting industrial uses
and provide much-needed space for new housing and community uses.



Building conditions defined in the section on housing.



PROPOSED LAND USE PLAN (Continued) CODE GN 201(b) 1,2,3

(1) Population Densities

New housing densities would be similar to those in family-oriented neighbor-
hoods in other parts of the city. Row house units would be constructed at
roughly 20 units per net acre, and garden apartments at between 25 and 30
units per acre. Overall densities for new development would be approximately
25 units per acre.

Residential densities of areas slated for rehabilitation would remain about the
same, or decrease slightly.

(2) Building Coverage and Other Building Requirements

Building coverage and other building requirements in areas of new development
would be consistent with the new Boston Zoning Code, the Boston Building Code,
and Project Rehabilitation Standards. No other building requirements are
anticipated.

(3) Other Land Use Provisions

Setback controls are proposed along both sides of Porter St, between the tun-
nels and Bremen St. to provide a scenic gateway into East Boston and Logan
Airport. No other land use provisions are proposed at this time for specific
land use projects in order to achieve land use objectives.



GENERAL NEIGHBORHOOD RENEWAL PLAN
PROJECT NO. MASS. R-i|l;

East Boston Urban Renewal Area
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Boston, Massachusetts



PLAN FOR COMMUI'UTY FACILITIES AND PUBLIC BiPROVEMENTS



CODE NO. GN-20l(c)



SCHOOLS

Proposals for school abandonments and new school construction follow the
Harvard University ''Sargent Report", Boston Schools - I962.

ISro of the proposed new schools have been increased in capacity in order to
accommodate pupils from the new housing construction in the "Waterfront
Development District".



Summary 8e Recommendations for
Existing Schools









Year




Schools to be Retained


Capacity


Built


Recommendations


S Adams




1;25


1910
1913


Retain as K-5


D Alighieri




250


192ii


Retain as K-3


P . J . Kennedy




380


1933


Retain as K-5


H R O'Donnell




350


1932


Retain as K-5


J. Otis




kko


1905
1917


Retain as K-5


D McKay




990


1926


Retain as K-5; 6-8


East Boston High


School


1,590


1925
1936


Retain as 9-12


Daniel Webster






1922
Year


Retain as "special"
for job retrainins


Schools to be Abe


:ndoned


Capacity


Built


Recommendations


Chapman




U90


1901


Abandon


T Lyman




350


1870


Abandon


P. H Sheridan




315


191^


Abandon


J H. Barnes




1,000


1901
1935


Abandon



Boston R-4VGN-201(c)



3-1



New Schools:



Barnes Replacement
Chcpman-Sheridan Replacement



Grades

6-8
K-5



Pupil
Cnpaclty

800
TOO



COMMUNITY CENTER

A new indoor -outdoor community recreation center is proposed for construction
as part of the new Barnes Intermediate School.

The Paris Street Baths and Gymnasium, an obsolete facility, which provides
some community recreation functions, could be demolished after the new
center was completed.

PARKS. FLAYGROTOTDS, PLAYFIELDS

Tlie most extensive public open spaces serving Esst Boston are outside the
GDIRP Area. Orient Heights Beach and the East Boston athletic field and
stadium are separated from the GN by major traffic barriers and are, there-
fore, difficult for young children to reach safely.

There are few attractive public open spaces i/ithin the residential district.
Only one playground is larger than three acres and it is located in a corner
of the residential area .

The Plan proposes substantial additions of park and recreation space primar-
ily in conjunction mth the proposed "Waterfront Development District"

Other, smaller improvements are also possible. For example, the park at
Prescott Square could be enlarged when the Sheridan School is replaced and a
new park developed on the Chapman School site when the replacement school is
complete .

Existing playgrounds could be retained and developed with new play equipment
for small children. The playground on Paris Street could be enlarged after
razing the Lyman School, giving the Alighieri School one large contiguous
playground

At the eastern end of the GNRP Area (Jeffries Point) a four acre park is
proposed on a site now largely vacant to give that neighborhood its o^ra
waterfront recreation facility.

During project planning the possibilities for enlarging existing school
playgrounds and creating small open spaces ^ri.11 be further defined



Boston R-1|U/GN-201(c)



3-2



Summary of Park and Recreation Proposals



Parks

Central Square

Belmont Square

Prescott Square

Putnam Square

Jeffries Point

Butaw Street

Waterfront Development District

Sub -Total



Playgrounds

(not attached to schools)

American Legion
Paris Street



Lamson and Sumner Streets
Sub -Total



Ibci sting

Size
(acres)



3.h
1.3



Proposed

Size
(acres)


1 3

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