Climate Ready East Boston
This Climate Ready Boston program identified locations in East Boston that face risks from coastal flooding and sea level rise. In 2017, we developed coastal resilience solutions for the neighborhood from Porzio Park up to Central Square. We are currently leading a study to understand risk and identify near- and long-term solutions:
- along Chelsea Creek, at Belle Isle Marsh, and
- wrapping to down Constitution Beach and Wood Isle.
Take action today
Our survey walks through the same feedback questions presented in our first Open House on April 29, 2021. This was the first Open House for the Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston and Charlestown project. We want to hear from you on:
- what kind of changes you want to see in your neighborhood waterfront, and
- what your resilience priorities are.
Phase Two (Active Now)
We’ve launched a mapping tool where you can show us:
- how you use different places and experience the effects of climate change in East Boston today, and
- how we can help improve future uses.
The best way to stay up to date on the latest opportunities is to sign up for our newsletter. Throughout the process, we will keep you updated on open houses, online surveys, and much more.
This planning process has three main steps:
- Understand coastal risk in East Boston.
- Develop a variety of draft solutions that could protect the neighborhood.
- Listen and understand community priorities to inform which solutions make sense in East Boston.
Review more details of the study process. We hope that you will be involved in every step of the way.
Climate Ready Advisory Committees
For this planning process, we accepted applications for a Community Advisory Board. The Board will help guide our coastal resilience planning in East Boston. Board members will be key partners in shaping an inclusive planning and design process. They will ultimately help create a community-supported, equitable implementation plan to:
- reduce flood risk, and
- protect the neighborhoods from the impacts of climate change.
The committee works in concert with two Community Advisory Boards. The committee will be engaged to:
- vet preliminary results and proposals
- share detailed priorities and interests
- provide a sounding board for proposals
- build consensus around the plan, and
- serve as champions for implementation.
Coastal Resilience Solutions
In study of the Phase 1 area (completed in 2017), 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.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.
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. These measures would 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 sea level rise (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. This could be extended over time as sea levels rise.
Implementation of Climate Ready East Boston
1. The Boston Planning and Development Agency was awarded a Coastal Zone Management grant to evaluate next steps for resilience implementation at Border Street. This project will look at the technical analysis of site conditions and feasibility.
2. The City of Boston manages a deployable flood gate at the East Boston Greenway, which provides protection to more than 4,200 residents, at least 70 businesses, transportation tunnels, and critical service providers.
3. Additional Greenway Capital Improvements were included in the FY21 capital budget. This park redesign will include the resilience elements from Climate Ready Phase 1.
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From hurricanes and blizzards to house fires and flooding, you need to be prepared and ready to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community. Get ready, be safe, and stay healthy by building an emergency kit.
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