|Is the Millennium II Project good for Boston?
by Stephen Puibello
Reprinted with permission of Digital City Boston/America Online
Is anyone else in Boston outraged by the amount and size of the developments being built?
Boston's commercial real estate market is hot, and with this heat, we are seeing a lot of happy developers and elected officials who are riding on their coattails. Add to this fire a strong economy, and then ask: How much longer should those involved be allowed to let their greed be immortalized by 50-story towers rising high into the clouds?
Let's look at the Millennium Project II that is being developed on the air- rights above the Mass Pike. The concept of capping the highway is so similar to the CAT Project because they both place traffic underground, allowing the land above to be redeveloped back into green space. Both projects could have a tremendous impact on Boston's new reputation of having a clean harbor and a clean city.
Residents surrounding the proposed 50-story tower are outraged. Did anyone else see the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority brochure, the one that reads,"For fifty years now, Boston traffic hasn't exactly been a WALK IN THE PARK---BUT IT WILL BE." This campaign slogan tells me that the MBTA is educated enough to know they needed to depress the central artery and develop a green space to join the neighborhoods.
Why, then, are they trying to do the exact opposite by developing a fifty- story building that will accommodate 2000 automobiles that will not only separate two neighborhoods (Back Bay and Fenway) but will exacerbate current traffic conditions. Boston streets are so small that city officials should be placing a moratorium on new developments that feature parking, as providing for more parking spaces only promotes more traffic.
Everyone involved, or anyone who has heard about the Millennium II Project, should be wondering about traffic, noise, and air quailty. Think about how long it takes to get to and from work each day? Ask yourselves how many times you have gotten a seat on the "T" or on an MBTA bus? How would you feel with an additional 250,000 people sharing an already crowded park system? What can we do to become involved?
As the new millennium approaches everyone should look back a few decades at the many state and federally funded projects that were implemented to preserve the environment around us. The clean-up of the Charles River that feeds into the ocean. The clean-up of the Boston Harbor which has brought back marine life that once lived there. The "Big Dig" which will connect two neighborhoods, as stated above, as well as provide more light, less vehicles, less noise, cleaner air and badly needed green space.
Let's not kid ourselves as these project took hard work, good leaderdship and capital to be successful. History will record these developments as projects that insured Boston's inhabitants a clean environment.
If today's leadership wants to be recorded in history for insuring a clean environment, then they must not jeopardize our future by looking the other way, but should be studying the impact of what a billion-dollar real estate development, if not done right, will have on America's oldest city.