We are pleased to report that our second Visioning Meeting for Union Square was a success! More than 80 residents and community stakeholders braved the cold and snow to join us at the old Post Office building this past Saturday morning. Our video footage can be found at this link on the City Cable YouTube channel.
The agenda and activities were repeated from the Visioning meeting held earlier in January. It was important to offer two scheduling choices, since weeknights work well for some folks, while Saturdays work well for others.
To make sure the session was accessible and fun for residents with different linguistic backgrounds, we offered the meeting in five languages simultaneously: Spanish, Portuguese, Nepali, and Haitian Creole. Video footage for each of those groups was also filmed – check out the links above, which will be activated as they are loaded up.
We’d like to say a big thank-you to the engagement specialists from the City’s “SomerViva” program who made this possible: Adriana Fernandes, Irma Flores, and Jhenny Saint-Surin (as well as Sonja Darai from the City’s Office of Commissions). Our thanks also go to the City Cable crews who filmed all five of the groups!
The session kicked-off with a brief overview presentation 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:
It’s been a great start to the community process. The next phase of community dialogue is a series of weekly technical workshops (every Wednesday night in February, all at the Post Office). These sessions will set the stage for the really fun stuff – the three-day design charrette in early March!