Thank you to everyone who attended the first Somerville by Design Visioning Meeting for the Union Square neighborhood plan. More than 60 community stakeholders gathered at the old Post Office building on January 7th to share their vision for Union Square’s future. Video coverage of the meeting is available at this link.
The evening kicked-off with a brief presentation from George Proakis, the City’s Director of Planning. George provided an overview of the City-led Union Square neighborhood planning process, and how it is connected with work of US2 (the City’s private development partner, who is responsible for developing several blocks including the D2 and D3 parcels adjacent to the future MBTA Green Line station).
The presentation also shared preliminary results from the “What is Important to Me” Survey that was handed out at our December 17th Crowdsourcing event. This 5-minute survey helps us understand the different needs and priorities in the neighborhood. You can fill it out online or via hard copy until February 27th.
The presentation was followed by a series of group exercises. Working over maps of the study area, participants discussed complex topics related to housing, affordable housing, and transportation. Groups identified possible locations for plazas and parks, new pedestrian or bike connections, opportunities for new development, and priorities for preservation. These maps provide valuable information to the design team.
A second group activity was a photo preference survey. Each table was provided with a stack of images showing various street scenes and urban environments. Participants were asked to comment on what they liked or didn’t like about the images, and whether each scene was compatible with their idea of a future Union Square. Our staff will compile this feedback and publish it for everyone to see.
Our partners from the US2 team provided a presentation on the D2 and D3 parcels, which represent a key gateway to the new Union Square Green Line station. A third small group activity asked participants to mark up a high-resolution map of the D2 and D3 blocks and share their vision for this critical connection.
The Presentations can be found at the link below:
Union Square Visioning Meeting 1 Presentation
US2 Visioning Meeting 1 Presentation
Second Visioning Meeting
To make sure that folks with different schedules have an opportunity to participate in the Visioning phase of the process, we will repeat this meeting on Saturday, January 31st from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
A walking tour will depart from the old Post Office (237 Washington Street) at 9:00 am, and the meeting will start inside the Post Office at 10:00 am.
The session will be conducted in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Kreyol through the City’s new “SomerViva” program, so that our diverse residents and stakeholders can participate effectively.
Our online and social media outreach has been great so far, but many of our participants tell us that word-of-mouth is what convinces them to attend a community planning event. So, please help spread the word!