Fenway Park Works to Mitigate Impacts to the Surrounding Neighborhood

Having a baseball stadium in the heart of a residential neighborhood can be a hard balancing act, as some residents love all the new activity surrounding the park, and others just want some free weekends to relax in their homes without the fuss of the traffic and noise.

Elizabeth Bertolozzi, president of the Fenway Garden Society waves to the crowd as she prepares to throw out the first pitch.

At a Red Sox community meeting at Fenway Park, on Tuesday, May 15, residents came out to enjoy complimentary snacks as they discussed the upcoming events and how the neighborhood will be impacted by them.

“We want to make sure we provide an astounding entertainment experience for the more than 3 million people who come through Fenway Park each year,” said David Friedman, senior vice president, legal and government affairs for the Boston Red Sox. “At the same time we want to enable neighborhood residents and businesses access to Fenway Park.”

During the off-season, Friedman said, they hit a re-set button and started to work more closely with neighborhood groups by creating a new Neighborhood Advisory Committee.

Representatives from various business and neighborhood groups sent a liaison to talk things out with the Red Sox and come up with solutions.

This neighborhood meeting was conducted a bit differently than those in years past. After a short presentation of upcoming events in Fenway Park, residents were broken up into groups to discuss their biggest concerns surrounding activity that emanates from the ballpark.

After the small groups discussed, the room came back together to share what they talked about.

One of the biggest continuing concerns from residents is how there is noone tracking the sound decibels during concerts at Fenway Park.

“It is disturbing to me that we are not talking about things that really impact our community such noise and the number of concerts,” said Marie Fukuda of the Fenway Civic Association. “What’s being done to address it? There are a number of acts and different noise levels each night – there needs to be a study.”

This year, the City of Boston granted the Red Sox 12 concert dates but, they only have 10 booked so far. All of the concerts will be let out by 10:30 p.m. The Red Sox have also committed to cleaning up more surrounding areas of Fenway Park of trash, directly after each concert.

The Boston Police Department has not committed to doing a noise-level study and neither has Live Nation, which runs the concerts out of Fenway Park.

“The sound monitoring is frustrating,” said Friedman. “We are not just trying to blow by our limits. We do want to keep things under control. and that’s why we have sound checks. and it really doesn’t matter what the sound decibels are, but are we too loud?”

Friedman added that it is up to the City’s licensing board to monitor the sound levels.

One resident said it is really based on the wind, direction and speed during the evening of the concert.

“It is hard to predict on a day when it’s going to be loud,” said Lauren Dewey Platt of the Fenway Community Center. “But, there are times when it is incredibly loud.”

Friedman responded. saying, “The most important thing to us is the complaints. If it is too loud, it’s too loud.”

Earlier in the meeting new D-4 Captain Steven Sweeney gave an update on what he has been working on in the neighborhood and answered questions from residents.

Sweeney has been on the job for two months, meeting with neighborhood groups and working out the problems.

“It is a big district but after speaking to a number of community groups, two big issues arose; one is over the street with the [Fenway Victory Gardens] and the second is people coming in for the concerts,” said Sweeney.

Sweeney said he has been sending more crews down to the gardens after he noticed an increase in drug usage and dealing, as well as minor thefts such as wheel barrels. Many people also create temporary shelters in the reeds and steal wood to pitch tents on top so water doesn’t get in.

“We have all the sherifs going through there make sure no unwanted activity is going on there,” said Sweeney.

In regards to concerts, Sweeney said they are working with the Red Sox to help ease up traffic after people get let out.

But, the problem Sweeney said is filling the traffic detail. Typically during a baseball game, they have 32 police officers, (if its a Yankee game 52), who are helping to direct traffic in major intersections from Kenmore Square to Park Drive in the Fenway.

Often times most of those posts don’t get filled because police officers would have to work overtime. During a previous game only seven police officers showed up to fill the detail work.

“Obviously, if it is a public safety concern, I talk to the higher-ups to make sure we have more officers,” said Sweeney.

Lastly, a resident brought up the concern of Uber and Lyft drivers who stop in the middle of the street to pick up or let out passengers, stopping traffic and causing more backups.

“They are not regulated by the city and they should be,” said Sweeney. “I’m highly conscious of this situation…it’s a real issue by me.”

Since he started as captain he has pushed for more tickets to be issued to cars that stop traffic.

In addition, Claire Durant, director of business and government affairs said the Red Sox are in talks with both Lyft, Uber and the City to create designated geo-spots for pick up and drops offs near Beacon and Boylston Streets.

The City said they are in the works in coming up with a pilot program and Uber has voluntarily said they will do it but, Lyft has not yet.

The concert hotline for complaints: 617-226-6000

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