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星期三, 1月 20, 2016

Mayor Walsh names Sara Myerson BRA’s new Director of Planning at State of the City address

Mayor Walsh names Sara Myerson BRA’s new Director of Planning at State of the City address
New planning initiatives in Roxbury’s Dudley Square and Dorchester’s Glover’s Corner also announced

BOSTON – Planning for the future of Boston’s neighborhoods was a prominent topic in Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s second State of the City address, delivered last night to a packed house at Symphony Hall. In his speech, Mayor Walsh announced that Sara Myerson, currently the Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030, will become the new Director of Planning at the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Myerson will help integrate the BRA’s ongoing neighborhood planning initiatives with the citywide planning process that she has led since last fall.
Last night, Mayor Walsh also tasked the BRA with launching two new strategic planning initiatives that will focus on Roxbury’s Dudley Square and the Glover’s Corner area of Dorchester. The BRA is currently working with community members in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and South Boston on two planning initiatives to guide future development along transit-oriented corridors in those neighborhoods.
“People want to live in Boston. That’s a good thing,” said Mayor Walsh during last night’s address. “But we need to shape growth as a community, not let it shape us. That’s what residents are doing along the Red Line in South Boston and the Orange Line in Jamaica Plain. They’re helping us plan vibrant, walkable streets, with affordable homes, diverse businesses, and great open space. These conversations will unlock the vitality that makes city neighborhoods great.”
As is the case with the ongoing studies, the new planning efforts will be guided by three principles: preserve assets valued by the community; enhance underutilized spaces and places; and identify strategies to grow responsibly in order to accommodate future residents.
The Dudley Square planning initiative is expected to begin in February, with the goal of completing community workshops by the fall and updating zoning by the end of the year. PLAN Dudley Square will aim to reassess the vision that was established by the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan, which was created in 2004. The new effort will result in a roadmap for development opportunities in Dudley and a streamlined implementation plan to encourage investment on publicly and privately owned underutilized parcels.
The scope and timeline for the Glover’s Corner initiative are being finalized, but the BRA will work closely with community members to explore opportunities for mixed-use development around Freeport Street and Dorchester Avenue near the Savin Hill Red Line station.
Brian Golden, Director of the BRA, welcomed Myerson’s leadership and the new planning initiatives. “We’re eager to work with the communities in Dudley Square and Glover’s Corner to expand upon the planning that’s currently underway in other parts of the city,” said Golden. “Our refreshed approach, which prioritizes robust engagement with residents, has been very well-received. Sara’s unique skill set and background in affordable housing and real estate finance will be a valuable asset as we work to synthesize our targeted neighborhood planning efforts with the citywide plan.”
Planners from the BRA and staff from other city agencies have been working collaboratively to advance the ongoing planning initiatives in South Boston and Jamaica Plain/Roxbury. PLAN Dot Ave focuses on the portion of Dorchester Avenue between Broadway and Andrew Square stations on the MBTA’s Red Line, while PLAN JP/Rox focuses on a stretch of Columbus Avenue and Washington Street near the Orange Line between Jackson Square and Forest Hills stations.
Both initiatives launched last July, and the community planning process is over halfway complete. In November, planners from the BRA previewed updated zoning scenarios that contemplate buildings as tall as 300 feet around Dorchester Avenue near the railway in South Boston, an area dominated by low-slung industrial buildings. The draft scenarios were developed with input from the community. Planning workshops for the Jamaica Plain/Roxbury study, meanwhile, have focused on issues related to the future mix of uses in this area of the city, which is more developed than the study area in South Boston. Community workshops about placemaking and mobility are scheduled in each of study areas in the coming week.
The BRA hopes to propose updated zoning for these areas in the spring.
Before coming to work for the City of Boston, Myerson held a senior role at the nonprofit organization Preservation of Affordable Housing and positions at HR&A Advisors and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Middlebury College and a master’s in urban planning from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to lead the city’s planning work at such a pivotal moment in Boston’s history,” said Myerson. “Our economy is booming, and we’re doing more proactive and comprehensive planning than ever before. I look forward to building on this momentum and working closely with community members to achieve a shared vision for the future of our city.”
John FitzGerald, Deputy Director of Imagine Boston 2030, will serve as Interim Executive Director while a search for Myerson’s replacement is conducted.
Director Golden thanked John “Tad” Read, the BRA’s Acting Director of Planning, for leading the division through the seven-month transition between planning directors. “We were extremely fortunate to have Tad’s steady hand at the wheel during this critical period. Tad was instrumental in developing our new approach to planning, and he was a positive force in helping us reform our culture as an agency. On behalf of all of the employees of the BRA, I want to thank Tad for his thoughtful guidance and leadership.”
At its next meeting in February, the BRA’s Board of Director’s is expected to formally approve Mayor Walsh’s nomination of Myerson to her new role.