Climate Ready East Boston
This Climate Ready Boston initiative focuses on East Boston locations that face risks from coastal flooding and sea level rise. We're identifying short- and long-term solutions to protect the neighborhood.
In our latest study, we worked in partnership with local residents, businesses, and regional partners to find coastal resilience solutions for Jeffries Point, Maverick, Central Square, and Lower Eagle Hill. Community outreach and engagement activities began in April 2017. Here are some takeaways from our first open house in May and second open house in July.
This image shows different ideas for East Boston’s waterfront. The ideas are long-term projects that would protect and support a thriving neighborhood. All images are courtesy of Kleinfelder-Stoss.Read the Report
In East Boston, implementation begins with the Marginal Street flood pathway, which is at risk of flooding today, with measures that include a deployable flood wall in the East Boston Greenway, new elevated open spaces at the Greenway entrance and Piers Park II, and adaptations to ongoing development projects.
Implementing all near-term actions would protect over 10,800 residents, at least 250 businesses, and critical infrastructure, such as transportation tunnels, first responder facilities, and the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, up to the 1% annual chance flood with nine inches of sea level rise (2030s), plus 1 foot of freeboard. At this maximum level of protection, from a single event these measures would prevent an estimated $620 million in losses.
Installation of a seven-foot high deployable flood wall across the Greenway under Sumner Street would block the current 1% annual chance flood, with one foot of freeboard. The project would provide immediate protection to almost 4,300 residents, at least 70 businesses, and critical infrastructure for an estimated cost for design and construction of $100,000. Implementation includes an operational plan for deploying the flood wall in advance of a flood. The East Boston Greenway is owned by the City of Boston and maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department.
Deployable flood walls, such as the types shown in these renderings of the Greenway under Sumner Street, are installed only when a flood is anticipated. On normal days, they are kept in storage.
Elevating the Greenway entrance (owned by the City) and Piers Park II (owned by Massport), would provide long-term protection against the Marginal Street flood pathway. Community stakeholders at the East Boston Open House were highly supportive of incorporating waterfront views, stormwater gardens, social spaces, and wayfinding information in the redesigned Greenway entrance. All available techniques for prevention of flooding should be considered in the design of Piers Park II.
In the near term, elevating the Greenway entrance and incorporating flood protection in Piers Park II would reinforce and extend the level of protection provided by the Greenway flood wall to 300 additional residents and the fire station in Jeffries Point. Once actions in the Border Street Priority Area, described below, are implemented, an additional 6,200 residents and 180 businesses would be protected up to the 1% annual chance flood with nine inches of sea level rise (2030s), plus 1 foot of freeboard.
One version of a new elevated entrance to the East Boston Greenway provides flood protection, space and shade while retaining pedestrian and cycling access between the neighborhood and the Greenway.
Elevating the Harborwalk between Clippership Wharf, Clipper Ship Apartments, and 99 Sumner Street (Hodge Boiler Works), in combination with a deployable flood wall across Lewis Street, would protect residents in these buildings and nearby affordable housing, and the MBTA Maverick Station entrance from flooding damage and disruption. The estimated cost for design and construction is $500,000 to $900,000 for the berm and less than $150,000 for the deployable flood wall.
The stretch of proposed Harborwalk between Clippership Wharf and Hodge Boiler Works could be elevated as part of planned and ongoing construction. The numbers shown in white ovals indicate the approximate existing ground elevation in feet NAVD88.
To address the Border Street flood pathway, which is at risk of flooding with nine inches of sea level rise (2030s), upfront planning and regulatory measures--including potential changes to designated port areas, the municipal harbor plan, and zoning--may be needed to ensure the integration of public investment and future private waterfront redevelopment into a unified coastal resilience solution.
Near-term actions on Border Street in East Boston would create a coastal flood protection system, integrated in a new network of open spaces, which could be extended over time as sea levels rise. The numbers shown in white ovals indicate the approximate existing ground elevation in feet NAVD88.
The next tier of measures would expand the reach of coastal resilience solutions along the study area waterfront to independently address risks from the 1% annual chance flood with 21 inches of sea level rise (2050s), plus 1 foot of freeboard. With additional flood protection measures in other parts of the neighborhood, their heights would protect up to the 1% annual chance flood with 36 inches of sea level rise (2070s), plus one foot of freeboard.
Elevated parks and pathways at Mario Umana and Shore Plaza would protect critical facilities and vulnerable affordable housing residents. Porzio Park and Massport Harborwalk Park would be elevated to address the flood pathway that could develop through this area with 21 inches of SLR (2050s). As existing parks and buildings reach the age where renewal investments are needed, they would incorporate waterfront flood protection measures that tie into the broader system.
Full implementation of near and long-term measures would protect over 13,200 residents, at least 310 businesses, and many critical facilities up to the 1% annual chance flood with 21 inches of sea level rise (2050s), plus one foot of freeboard. At this maximum level of protection, from a single event these measures would prevent an estimated $1.3 billion in losses.
The gradations of blue in the map show how, with no intervention, the 1% annual chance flood extent changes as sea levels rise. The arrows show the flood entry points and pathways with current sea levels, 9 inches of sea level rise (2030) and 36 inches of sea level rise (2070).
East Boston long-term climate resilient waterfront strategy. Near-term actions would create a coastal flood protection system, integrated in a new network of open spaces, which could be extended over time as sea levels rise.
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Read the citywide climate resilience strategy report with East Boston as a focus area.
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