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Project Update

Peabody Square

Peabody Square after the Green Street retrofits have been implemented.Photo by Kate Benisek


On October 3, 2012 the Boston Preservation Alliance recognized the Peabody Square Reconstruction Neighborhood Restoration Effort and CRWA's role in this project with the 2012 Preservation Achievement Award.

The Peabody Square Green Street construction is complete. The project showcases numerous innovative Low Impact Development features including a pedestrian plaza with porous pavers, a rain garden, and a stormwater planter. View our photo album documenting the newly retrofitted intersection and view map below to locate the project site.

Peabody Square is a pilot green street project demonstrating the Boston Complete Streets approach recently adopted by the City. CRWA worked with the Boston Transportation Department and the Department of Public Works and its consultant Nitsch Engineering Inc. and Carol R. Johnson and Associates to advance the Green Street design for Peabody Square.One of the most significant impacts of this partnership and CRWA’s outreach efforts on this project has been the incorporation of green street strategies into “Boston’s Complete Streets Design Guidelines” effort. CRWA’s Director of Projects, Kate Bowditch, currently serves on an advisory committee to inform the development of these city wide guidelines. Click here to learn more about CRWA's Complete Streets Initiative.


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  Peabody Square During Construction



In July, 2007, the City of Boston was awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to undertake an innovative pilot project to assess the potential stormwater management and recharge benefits of a so-called Green Street. Green Streets are streets designed to incorporate innovative stormwater management techniques, including Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs), into the street right-of-way to collect and treat stormwater runoff that is generated from sidewalks, roadways and other impervious surfaces.

Green Streets have been constructed in cities including Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and Atlanta, Georgia, where they have proven successful at reducing both pollutant loads and stormwater runoff volumes from public streets. The City of Boston is interested in determining whether Green Streets are feasible in Boston, particularly given our cold climate, and understanding more about their costs and benefits. Since there are currently no Green Streets in Massachusetts, the City of Boston Environment Department (BED) and CRWA began working together to identify an appropriate pilot project in 2006. A proposal was submitted to MassDEP in December of 2006 seeking funds to support the pilot project. In the spring of 2007, BED and CRWA selected Peabody Square as a potential site for a pilot project, and upon receipt of the 604(b) grant from MassDEP, began work to assess the feasibility of including Green Street designs into an existing plan to redevelop the streetscape.

Existing Conditions Analysis

Peabody Square is situated in Dorchester, MA at the intersection of Dorchester Avenue, Talbot Avenue, and Ashmont Street. The area is "mixed-use" in that it is comprised primarily of commercial and high-density residential land uses (MassGIS, 1999).

Peabody Square - Mixed-Use Environment

The study area drains to the Neponset River, which is on the Massachusetts list of impaired waters and is identified as impaired for organics, pathogens and turbidity, all common pollutants in stormwater runoff. The Neponset TMDL, which is available at http://www.mass.gov/dep/water/resources/neponset.pdf requires reductions in bacteria loading.

In addition to document research, CRWA conducted site visits to study the existing physical conditions at Peabody Square and analyzed how the 25% design studies will change the existing landscape characterization of the study area. Given the dearth of green spaces and street trees in the area, a need for replacing paved areas with vegetative and soil based best management practices was immediately identified. A summary of the project background along with existing and 25% designed conditions for the site is included in this presentation (PDF).

Peabody Square - Land Cover under 25% Design

Low Impact Development (LID) Best Management Practice (BMP) Opportunities

Based on the existing conditions, the planned redesign of Peabody Square, and the needs and interests of the various departments in the City of Boston as well as the neighborhood groups, CRWA selected a suite of LID BMPs to consider for application in the pilot project. CRWA has since developed fact sheets (links below) for each of these BMPs, and a matrix to help evaluate and select potential BMPs for use in the Peabody Square pilot project.

Fact Sheets for Low Impact Development BMPs

CRWA developed some before and after visualization for the various areas being redesigned and rebuilt and summarized the maintenance requirements in a Maintenance Brochure and Community Guide.

Click here to see the photo album documenting current progress on the project

Support for GIS Mapping

CRWA's mapping capabilities are made possible through the generous support of ESRI, Inc. the makers of ArcMap software. CRWA regularly uses ArcMap for mapping, managing data, and conducting spatial analyses.

ESRI and the ESRI Logo are licensed trademarks of Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc.