News

News

Back Bay Tree Removal Policy

This is a reminder that any potential tree removal in front or rear yards must be approved in advance by the BBAC at the City of Boston.

For a summary, please go to: https://backbaytrees.org/info-for-back-bay-residents/

BBAC website: https://www.boston.gov/calendar/back-bay-architectural-commission

For additional information: architecture@nabbonline.com or http://www.gardenclubbackbay.org/

Trash Collection at 6:00 am Starting July 1, 2019

Starting July 1, 2019, the City of Boston will begin residential trash and recycling collection an hour earlier at 6:00 am instead of 7:00 am.

For more information go to: https://www.boston.gov/trash-and-recycling-day-schedule-and-search

Back Bay Street Sweeping Starts 4/1/2019

Please be aware that the City of Boston Street Sweeping Program for the Back Bay begins on April 1. For more information and for the the schedule for your street go to: https://www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks/sweeping/

Beacon Street Design Now Being Implemented

In December 2017 the City of Boston began making changes to Beacon Street to improve safety for people walking, biking and driving.  The City hopes to complete the striping changes the second week of December (beginning between Arlington and Berkeley Streets and then proceeding block-by-block west down Beacon Street).  Changes on Dartmouth Street approaching Beacon Street will likely need to wait until the spring, while signal changes and signs will take place through the winter months as the updated equipment becomes available.  The redesign’s Key Safety Components are:

  • FEWER TRAVEL LANES – design encourages people to drive slower.
  • UPDATED WALK SIGNAL TIMING – helps people know when to expect the WALK signal and provides a headstart to people walking across intersections.
  • SIGNALS TIMED FOR 25 MPH – people who drive at the speed limit will encounter green along the corridor.
  • NO TURN ON RED – reduces potential for conflicts at intersections.
  • DAYLIGHTING – helps people see each other at intersections by prohibiting parking at specific corners.
  • PARKING-PROTECTED BIKE LANE – beginning after Berkeley Street, provides dedicated space for people biking, and helps organize the road.
  • NEW “NO TRUCKS” MARKINGS AND SIGNAGE – reminds people that they cannot drive trucks on Storrow Drive.

You can click here to view and download the Outreach Flyer that the City is handing out as the work progresses.  It also contains General Reminders for people who drive, bike or walk on Boston’s streets.

Welcome News about the Proposed Private Club at Haddon Hall

On January 5, 2018, we were informed that the lawyer for the owner of Haddon Hall sent a letter to the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) withdrawing its application to convert Haddon Hall to a private, for-profit club. The application was to have been heard by the ZBA on Tuesday, January 9th.

We would like to thank all of you who have expressed your opposition to this club at this location since we first became aware of the application in August 2017, through thoughtful letters and suggestions, as well as your presence at the earlier ZBA hearing on October 31st when the developer requested and received a second hearing deferral. Without your involvement, together with the efforts of a group of abutters with whom NABB cooperated in their effective campaign against this application on multiple fronts (letters, social media, public relations, contacts with elected officials), the outcome likely would have been very different. We also would also like to acknowledge the initiatives and personal efforts of State Representative Jay Livingstone and Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, who played constructive roles in mediating discussions with the developer to reach a satisfactory resolution of this matter.

Your responses to the issues raised by the proposed club at Haddon Hall have demonstrated the commitment and vigilance of residents in the Back Bay regarding the quality of residential life and the preservation of the special character of this urban neighborhood. NABB thanks you all again, and wishes you the very best for 2018.

Haddon Hall

New Groundwater Well Caps Make Their Appearance in Back Bay

Good News!
New Groundwater Well Caps
Housing LEDs and Microcontrollers
with Bluetooth Capability Make Their Appearance in the Back Bay

Groundwater Well Cap

If you are observant, you may have been wondering why there are new Corian caps on the Groundwater wells on Beacon Street. This is a project of the Boston Groundwater Trust to enable neighbors and visitors to read the groundwater level in the wells. The caps will be installed on Beacon Street for a month, and then moved to Commonwealth Avenue, Newbury Street and Boylston Street for a month on each street. During that time, residents and visitors can see real-time groundwater level data digitally displayed on the face of the  well caps and interact with the data through the Boston LightWells mobile app, which you can download by clicking here.  You can also click here to go to LightWells’ website and learn more about this project.

The map to the right depicts the planned locations for the moving sidewalk well cap installations.

Understanding groundwater levels is critical to preserving the many buildings in the Back Bay that are supported by wood pilings. You can click here to go to the Boston Groundwater Trust’s website and learn more about everything this important organization does to maintain our groundwater levels here in the City of Boston.

Back Bay / South End Gateway Project

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is hosting two public meetings for the proposed large project / PDA (Planned Development Area) known as Back Bay/South End Gateway, which will be located above the Back Bay MBTA Station and the 100 Clarendon Street Garage.  The overall project includes a 26-story office building on the western portion of the garage site facing Dartmouth Street, 28-story and 34-story residential buildings along Clarendon Street, and additional retail space adjacent to, and possibly over, the station itself.

Back Bay Public Meeting South End Public Meeting
Wednesday, May 11th, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18th, 6:30 p.m.
40 Trinity Place
(Boston Common Hotel & Conference Center)
Blackstone Community Center
50 West Brookline Street

There will be identical presentations and time for public comment at both meetings.  For more information about the project and to learn about NABB’s involvement in the project’s public review process, please click here.  You can also view the BRA’s Project Description for the project by clicking here.

CLOSE OF COMMENT PERIOD: Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Please send your comments to Christopher Tracy, Project Manager, at Christopher.Tracy@boston.gov, and send copies of them to NABB’s Development and Transportation Committee, at dtcnabb@nabbonline.com, and our elected officials.

Back Bay: Fifty Years of Preservation and Progress

Discover what NABB is all about by going to the NABB YouTube channel and watching the three-part video series celebrating NABB’s recent 50th anniversary.

Back Bay:  Fifty Years of Preservation and Progress

The Need to Fix Gas Leaks in the Back Bay

According to the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sierra Club, Massachusetts has one of the nation’s oldest natural gas pipeline systems, and it is showing its age. Gas pipes around the Commonwealth have more than 25,000 leaks, losing more than eight billion cubic feet of natural gas into the air every year – and possibly as much as nineteen billion cubic feet.

Natural gas leaks kill trees by attracting bacteria to their roots, are harmful to human health, are an extraordinary potent greenhouse gas, waste a valuable fossil fuel that has been harvested through fracking, and can potentially cause explosions.

In addition, utilities don’t pay for the gas that is wasted through leaks, but pass that cost onto ratepayers by factoring it into the price the pay. Nor are the utilities required to repair any leaks, unless a leak is considered potentially explosive. Leaks never get any better; they only get worse over time.

In 2015, for the first time, utilities in Massachusetts reported on the location of natural gas leaks in their territories. A nonprofit group called the Home Energy Efficiency Team (HEET) has used those reports to create Google maps of the reported leaks, which you can see by clicking here. Using those maps, you can zoom in on your neighborhood to find out where there are local gas leaks (as reported by the utilities in March 2015).

For example, downtown Boston (which includes Back Bay) was reported to have 246 unrepaired leaks as of February 26, 2015. Click here to see the map of Downtown Boston and then, to the left of the map, check the “Unrepaired Leaks 2014” box to see where those active natural gas leaks are. You can then zoom in on the Back Bay and click on the yellow map-pins to find out the address of each leak and the year it was reported.

For more information about the problem, possible solutions, and how you can help, you can read HEET’s Action Manual for Reducing Gas Leaks in Massachusetts. Importantly, one of HEET’s solutions is for all of us to support state legislation that will help solve the problem. Two such legislative bills are currently pending in the Massachusetts Legislature:

  • A Bill Protecting Consumers (H2870): This bill, if passed, would prohibit utility companies from passing the cost of wasted gas onto consumers, incentivizing them to fix the leaks as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
  • A Bill Requiring Gas Leak Repairs During Road Projects (H2871): This bill, if passed, would require gas companies to check and repair all gas leaks whenever a street is already open for construction. Repairing leaks before repaving is not only cheaper for the utility companies, it also decreases the chance the street will need to get opened up soon afterward for pipeline repairs, reducing future street repaving needs (and costs) for the local municipality and disruption for nearby residents.

We therefore urge you to contact your State Representative and State Senator to express your support for both of these important bills. If you live in the Back Bay, your State Representative is Jay Livingstone (Jay.Livingstone@mahouse.gov) or Byron Rushing (Byron.Rushing@mahouse.gov) and your State Senator is William Brownsberger (William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov). The more voters who speak out in favor of these bills, the better the chance is that they will be enacted into law.

Last month, at the request of both our Commonwealth Avenue Mall Committee and our Green Committee, NABB’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to support this legislation. We hope you will as well. More information can also be found on the Sierra Club’s website. Thank you for your support!

MassDOT Selects Turnpike Air Rights Parcel 13 Developer

Our elected officials let us know this week that the MassDOT Board of Directors selected the Peebles Corporation to build over Air Rights Parcel 13, located on the open north east corner of Boylston Street and Mass Ave. Neighborhood Association members worked with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, MassDOT, and the Civic Advisory Committee to review three proposals submitted for the site. A shout out and thank you to Fritz Casselman for serving on the CAC for all four air rights parcels. We were encouraged that the selected proposal respects the legal zoning height and the proposed uses are compatible with the neighborhood. The project will include upgrading the Hynes T Station. The Development and Transportation Committee looks forward to continuing to work throughout the full state and municipal permitting process to realize a project for this site that is a significant contribution to the community.

Click here to read more about the three proposals and the recommendations of NABB’s Development and Transportation Committee, and also click here to read the Neighborhood Association’s letter to MassDOT and the BRA supporting Peebles Corporation for designation.