Second meeting set to review Bayside plans

A lack of community interest or the impact of summer holidays could have been what limited the number of attendees at the first community meeting for the proposed Bayside development on Columbia Point.

Less than 50 people showed up on Monday evening at the Boston Redevelopment Authority Article 80 meeting that will help decide the direction a local developer will take the massive shopping, office and residential development in terms of design, density, and mitigation for increased traffic.

Those sitting in the large conference room at the Bayside Office Center included at least a dozen employed by the developer Corcoran Jennison Cos. and another dozen or so representing local unions from the building trades.

Community members who did make it listened to presentations that gave a general idea of what the project could become. Elkus Manfredi Architects, a firm that was chosen to lead the Corcoran Jennison design team less than a month ago, showed examples of previous projects and described the "diversity of architecture" in mind for this project.

Another more detailed report came from traffic consultant Rick Bryant, who likened the potential traffic to what a typical show at the Bayside Expo Center drew.

"These might get massaged as we go forward in the BRA process," said Bryant of the between $1.4 and $1.5 million in traffic mitigations.

Paul Nutting, a member of the project's Impact Advisory Group was the only one to ask about the impact to Kosciuszko Circle, an area the mitigations address only indirectly. It was represented by a green circle in the presentation, indicating an intersection without significant delays.

"Anyone who drives through the circle would agree that it's a red or maybe a tick above it, it's certainly not a green," said Nutting.

Bryant answered that the traffic analysis he did for Corcoran showed that the real problem was backed-up traffic from the onramps to I-93, and constituted a larger problem than would need to be addressed by more than just one developer.

Nutting indicated the neighborhood would like to see the traffic study and mitigation extend south on Morrissey Boulevard to the intersection with Freeport, past the entrance to UMass where it currently ends.

"For the IAG, or the people in this area, we'd like to see the level of service increase rather than decrease," he said.

A resident of Crescent Street, on the other side of the highway and Red Line tracks from the development, asked whether Corcoran Jennison would be improving the connections from her neighborhood to the new development.

"I would like to know how handicapped individuals would get over there to do their shopping," she said.

"A lot of that would be more forthcoming in the master planning process than what we're doing," answered Corcoran Jennison's Jim Gribaudo.

Corcoran Jennison's mitigation plan so far only addresses pedestrian connections from the JFK/UMass station to the proposed shopping mall, also adding crosswalks and signals at direct entrances to the project site.

A second meeting, previously undisclosed to the Reporter due to an internal communication problem at the BRA, is scheduled for Aug. 4, 6 p.m., at the Bayside Office Center, 150 Mt. Vernon St.