The MBTA Fenway Portal Project is an issue that is very important to the members of the Audubon Circle Neighborhood Association (ACNA), but perhaps the most important question still remains: where will the water go once it’s diverted into the tunnel?
The purpose of the Fenway Portal Project is to implement flood control measures so flooding on the Green Line can be prevented. Dolores Boogdanian, president of the Audubon Circle Neighborhood Association, said that the MBTA has asked ACNA what their priorities are on this matter.
At their monthly meeting on Aug. 21, the group decided that they want to make sure that any barriers that are put up at the portal to the Fenway tunnel will not funnel water into the neighborhood and the surrounding buildings. The MBTA is also installing a gate at the tunnel of Fenway station, where some of the work is being done in the middle of the night and some on weekends. ACNA is concerned with the volume of the work and would like a clear schedule of when the nighttime and weekend construction will happen.
Boogdanian said that she would take those concerns put forth at the meeting and write them up for Erik Scheier, project manager for the MBTA, in advance of the September ACNA board meeting, which Scheier told her he would try to attend. She said she would like him to have the concerns prior to the meeting to give him time to provide answers and information. Boogdanian said that she is hoping to hear how the water will be diverted from the tunnel, because she is concerned about the surrounding homes and buildings.
The project at 60 Kilmarnock St. is also a big concern for ACNA. The project, which includes a total of around 443 residential units totaling 420,800 square feet with ground-floor retail space and landscaped areas, among other amenities, is not in Audubon Circle, but Boogdanian said she is still concerned about how it will affect everyone who comes into the Fenway.
“My concern is the density of development that’s going on in the Fenway and in our neighborhood and in Kenmore,” she said, and “the seeming lack of acknowledgement by the city and the BPDA [Boston Planning and Development Agency] that these developments are having significant effects and traffic and issues regarding parking.”
“And so that I think is what makes the development of concern because I think the ramifications of that will affect those who go to the restaurants, to the movies, and things that the Fenway has to offer and yet are confronted with congestion that makes it very unpleasant,” she continued.
Safety also remains high on the list of priorities for ACNA, especially when it comes to the circle redesign project.
At the pedestrian crossing, there is currently a sign going westbound saying “pedestrian crossing,” but not open going eastbound. ACNA expressed their desire for a flashing yellow light there, and a 311 report was submitted asking for another sign. The city has also taken footage of the intersection, and is in the process of looking at it and will decide if the area warrants a flashing yellow light.
ACNA would also like to see a speed monitoring sign on Beacon Street for people coming out of Kenmore Square, because people have difficulty coming off side streets onto Beacon Street.
“Since the city made a significant investment for pedestrians and drivers in our neighborhood, I think it’s incumbent upon our organization to work with the city to achieve our goals for safety and beautification,” Boogdanian said. “I hope to work with the city to get closer to the mark.”