Comments due on Old Northern Avenue Bridge

Date: 
Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - 5:00pm

Old Northern Avenue Bridge - comments due 3/1 

WalkBoston has been engaged in discussions about the Old Northern Avenue Bridge for more than 15 years – a remarkably long time for action to be taken on one of the City’s iconic and important pieces of infrastructure.

As a participant in the City’s informal review process during spring 2015, WalkBoston was one of the eleven groups that voted to support the rehabilitation of the bridge (two groups supported a new bridge). After being asked by the City to participate in an in-depth review and discussion process, we feel that this strong support for rehabilitation should weigh heavily in the City’s final decision about the future of the Bridge.

WalkBoston is a strong supporter of rehabilitating the existing bridge and doing so immediately to restore an important element of the City’s pedestrian network, end the endless debate, and maintain a piece of the city’s character.

Read our full letter

The information below from the Boston Preservation Alliance gives the current status of the Bridge, a template for a letter, & how to contact officials; WalkBoston encourages you to send comments in by March 1st. Thank you for your help!

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Old Northern Ave Bridge
Urge City Hall and Key Agencies to Preserve the Northern Avenue Bridge

It's true! The City of Boston has taken its first steps toward taking down the century-old Northern Avenue Bridge, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard have warned is in a state of severe deterioration. The bridge will be moved in six large pieces by barge to East Boston. 

However, removal of the bridge does not mean it will be demolished. 
Key decision makers at City Hall have expressed interest in considering a preservation-oriented solution, but have not yet decided on the bridge’s long-term future. Before any work on the bridge can begin, the City must obtain several federal, state and local authorizations, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
and the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Each of these agencies have issued official correspondence and are seeking public comment.
 
Now is a critical time for YOU to call for a preservation solution that returns the bridge to Fort Point.
 
From now through March 1, you have the opportunity to share your opinions and concerns about the future of the Northern Avenue Bridge with key decision makers.
 
Your input is essential to this process.
The Boston Preservation Alliance has included proposed language and contact information below and on their website, but don't hesitate to modify your message as you see fit. Your correspondence will be received by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Massachusetts Historical Commission and filed as part of the required public comment period associated with both federal (Section 106) and state(950 CMR 71.07(3)) review.
 
Voice your support for the preservation of the NorthernAvenue Bridge –
 
Dear Mr. Kevin Kotelly, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Ms. Brona Simon, Mass. Historical Commission,
 
CC: Mayor Marty Walsh
 
I write today regarding Boston’s Northern Avenue Bridge in response to the U.S. Army Corps’ “Public Notice” (and associated Section 106 Review) and Massachusetts Historical Commission’s “State Register Consultation” (950 CMR 71.07(3) ) and your invitations for public comment.
 
I feel strongly that the Northern Avenue Bridge is an integral element of Boston’s culture and environment which should be preserved. The bridge is an important, character-defining feature of the Fort Point District and the city as a whole. Its loss would mark a significant degradation of the historic neighborhood and the historic features that are so important to defining the City of Boston. A repaired bridge is the best solution to the city’s needs. It can continue to be a city icon while supporting transportation needs to the growing Seaport area and would be a far preferable solution to a new bridge. A restored bridge would represent the city’s unique character of blending old and new and can become a revitalized city feature.
 
I urge both the U.S. Army Corps and Mass. Historical Commission to require a Memorandum of Agreement that places the proposed disassembly and move of the bridge within a larger framework for the reconstruction, repair and return of the historic bridge. Placing the bridge in East Boston with no additional steps would not meet the requirements for treatment of a historic structure of this significance.
 
I request to be considered a “consulting party” and informed of future meetings, discussions, and actions on the bridge. We urge your agencies to hold public hearings on the matter.
 
Sincerely,
[Your Name]