Reshaping and Growing:City Unveils Plans for Everett Square

March 24, 2017
By

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.

A rendering of the potential re-design of Everett Square looking toward the Bouvier building and the 9/11 Fountain Memorial. The suggestions would create more park/open space by squaring off the School Street intersection and creating an extension of Union Street through the parking lots.

In what is likely to be the start of a very long and public process for reshaping and growing Everett’s downtown, the Everett City Council on Monday heard from the Everett Planning and Development department and the City’s consultants about ways in which the City of Everett could make Everett Square more vibrant and pedestrian friendly, while clearing the way for reinvestment and growth in the city’s downtown area.

“This was just the start of the process, we’ll be hearing more about this and it seems that they’re proposing that we do this in phases,” said Councilor John Leo McKinnon, who was acting Chair of the Committee of the Whole.

The architecture and urban design firm Utile Inc. of Boston, led a presentation to the Council’s Committee of the Whole, during which time the consultants and city transportation planner Jay Monty outlined the results of Utile’s project in Everett.

Among the many recommendations that are being made to the City are recommendations for improving access to parking around Everett Square, improving the public open spaces in the square and changes to downtown zoning to unlock development potential in several parcels that are underutilized and show promise for redevelopment and residential density in a more vibrant downtown.

According to Utile architect Tim Love and Utile Transportation Planner Jessica Robertson, the study area included all of Broadway from the site of the old Everett High School down to Route 16 and two to three blocks to the east and west of Broadway. However, the main focus of the recommendations is on the area surrounding Broadway at the intersection of Chelsea and Norwood Streets – or Everett Square proper.

Due to the scope and reach of the project, it would likely be phased with Phase 1 of the project including the publicly owned land, such as space in the Square and the public parking lots. After each phase of the project the Council suggested that the City conduct an updated traffic and parking analysis to ensure that the improvements are working as planned.

Utile outlined improvements to the traffic pattern and pedestrian spaces such as crosswalks and sidewalks, but also called for improving access to parking lots immediately adjacent to the Everett Square area and redevelopment of four sites including the current site of the Rite Aid on Broadway, the Bank of America parking lot on Chelsea Street, as well as the vacant city owned lot that sits at the edge of School Street and Everett Square.

An extension of Union Street through the City parking lots and around to Norwood Street would help in defining entrances to the lots and help with the flow of traffic. Additionally, it would eliminate the jaunt at the 9/11 Fountain that connects to School Street – making that more of a traditional intersection with a pedestrian shared-use slow space. Doing that would also allow the City to create more open space in the Square and to create new developable lot for mixed-use residential next to Brazza Grille.

The plan also recommends a redesign of the walking plaza adjacent to the Parlin Library and relocation of several existing features, such as the fountain, to take better advantage of square and create more utility for visitors there.

A separate feature of the plan calls for the widening of the sidewalks on the north side of Norwood Street to create opportunities for outdoor dining there and extend the plaza experience in Everett Square to the side street.

According to the design team, Paul Scapicchio of the Novus Group assisted the design team with public outreach and garnering public input to the plan.

The study by Utile was funded by the City Council through the Capital Improvement Plan in 2013.

  • Tobiness

    Geelouee, did a 4-year old make that rendering? Everett has bigger things to attend to. The state got the city to go on a fantasy trip: Orange Line to Everett Sq, really? dashing any hope of a reasonable Chelsea-Everett Orange Line spur within the wide open, and partially abandoned, commuter rail R-O-W. All of the Rt.1.old95 traffic will continue to run through Chelsea, Everett, and across the Alford to Sullivan; not to mention the Logan Airport toll dodgers and trailers that miss Beacham. When the Alford rises for one Wynn pleasure boat, it will be traffic armageddon. This rendering will be thrown out faster than you can say “Wynn crisis”

  • Sanders

    I understand your point and some of the anger, but don’t knock the rendering. It was probably made by a malnourished Utile worker at 3am with little control or oversight. I’ve had too many former students come to me in tears about Utile’s 7-day work week. Utile is just four out-to-lunch principals and 50 interns with an associates label, the closest thing to a sweatshop in Boston. As for Everett, they have time to change course. A plan is just a plan. They can hire an actual transport firm, like Nelson Nygaard, and begin to build a case for the Chelsea:Everett Orange Line Extension. A 2Bil Orange Ext with a private partner, Wynn, makes far more sense than a 3Bil Green Line Extension without a private partner