By Beth Treffisen
The Fenway community came together at the Fenway Civic Associations 55th Annual meeting this past Wednesday, January 11 at the Massachusetts Historical Society to swear in their leadership team and learn more about the transportation projects happening in their neighborhood.
Neighbors and friends joined for a reception and social time and later tuned in to a presentation by Boston’s Chief of Streets, Chris Osgood.
“We’ve been trying to build a better neighborhood advocacy four our parks, open spaces and criteria for smart development,” said Tim Horn the president of the FCA. “It needs to be planned and executed right where everyone in the community is working and engaging with results that makes everyone happy.”
Horn said that it is only when the community works together that they can make positive future changes.
“I’m here in my usual role to say how important this organization is to the Fenway,” said State Representative Byron Rushing. “Over the years it has been so helpful to have such an active group of citizens to keep us up to date to all the good things and threats that sometimes happen today.”
During the meeting, long-time resident Ed Burke was honored for his long-time advocacy work in the neighborhood. Some of his work included fighting to re-design parts of Park Drive that sent traffic straight through the center of the Back Bay Fens. He later worked to increase green space, safety and repair park bridges throughout the Fens.
Other work included transforming the FCA from more of a social program to an advocacy group and making the annual Rose Garden Picnic a popular event amongst residents.
“He is one of the leaders in rejuvenating the area,” said Rushing. “He has done incredible advocacy for the City of Boston and takes the time to work on things not most directly in Fenway but influences it.”
Kathleen Brill a board member of the FCA said Burke often said, “If you take care of your neighbors – they will take care of you.”
The topic of transportation also was brought up when representatives from the city highlighted major projects happening in the Fenway.
Those included Audubon Circle reconstruction that will have sidewalk improvements, new bike lanes, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, and other landscape improvements along Beacon Street in order to improve the safety and comfort this crash prone intersection.
Others include updating sidewalks along Boylston Street from Park Drive to Ipswich Street to prioritize the pedestrian environment by creating safer crossings and wider sidewalks. They will create on-street bike lanes to make local and regional connections along with preserving access to on-street parking to support retail.
Lastly, the Fenway-Yawkey multi-use path was brought up after securing funding in the states 2019 budget. This will allow for walkers and bikers to travel from Yawkey Station and connect with the paths that run along the Fens.
“We want to create city streets that engage residents on what they want to see,” said Chris Osgood the Chief of Streets at the City of Boston. “One goal is to create more safe, clean and beautiful streets that have great public spaces.”
Horn ended the meeting by saying that he hopes the FCA will continue to interact with the City of Boston. He said, “We are lucky in that if we say something we will get a response. You may not get what you want but at least you get someone who hears you.”
You can learn more about the FCA by visiting www.fenwaycivic.org.