Gritty site underneath Boston’s I-93 to become public space…and parking lot

Art East Transportation Urbanism

[beforeafter]01_Infra_Space_BeforeThe possible future of "Infra Space 1". (Courtesy MassDOT) [/beforeafter]

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation wants to transform a gritty site underneath Interstate 93 in Boston into a public space that people actually want to visit—or at least park their car. BostInno reported that the $6 million project, called “Infra-Space 1”, is part of MassDot’s wider initiative to give new life (and lighting) to vacant lots underneath the city’s elevated infrastructure.

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Curbed Boston noted that the initiative has already 235 “well-lighted” parking spots. “Infra-Space 1” will upgrade an eight-acre, notoriously-dangerous site in Boston’s South End neighborhood.

Now, obviously, a planned 175-car parking lot doesn’t necessarily scream urban renewal, but there are aspects of this project that could actually activate the space. The plan is essentially to first clean up the site and then prep it for possible programmatic elements. Alongside the parking lot, which has 24/7 security, the DOT wants to install  “innovative” lighting systems and create an environment for art installations and performances. As BostInno noted, MassDot is fairly bullish on what else is possible at the site. The completion of the project would also include a plaza, green space, a sports facility, dog park, and a connection to an eventual section of the Boston Harborwalk.

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Lighting installation under 1-93. (Courtesy MassDOT)

Lighting installation under 1-93. (Courtesy MassDOT)

The proposed dog park. (MassDOT via BostInno)

The proposed dog park. (MassDOT via BostInno)

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