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Copley Connect

Copley Connect is a 10-day pilot project from June 7 - June 17 that transforms Dartmouth Street into a plaza space. We're connecting two of Boston’s most iconic civic spaces: Copley Square and the Central Branch of the Boston Public Library.

Copley Square and the Central Branch of the Boston Public Library are two adjacent spaces going through separate improvement projects. The Copley Connect pop-up responds to the proposed improvements by creating pedestrian segment of Dartmouth Street, from St. James Avenue to Boylston Street. It also provides complementary spillover and flexible programming spaces for library activities and farmer’s market expansion. There will also be café seating, food trucks, performances, block parties, outdoor yoga and dance lessons, and much more. Come explore and give feedback about street design to City staff.

About the pilot

This pop-up plaza was designed and coordinated by Goode Landscape Studio, in conjunction with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA). The colorful arches within the pop-up park draw inspiration from:

  • the iconic façade of the Boston Public Library’s McKim building, and
  • the historic archways of Trinity Church.

The arches are overlapping and interlocking. This symbolizes new connections emerging from the closure of Dartmouth Street to car traffic. This project will allow pedestrians and bikes to take back the street and create one seamless thriving space.

Copley Connect is a pilot to study the impact of closing Dartmouth Street to vehicular traffic. In this effort, the City is working with transportation engineers and landscape architects. We're examining the positive and negative impacts of closing this block on flows of pedestrians, bikes, cars, buses, and more. 

Transportation Study

The block of Dartmouth Street, between Boylston Street and St. James Avenue, is being closed to vehicles from June 7 - 17. This move will likely change travel patterns through the Back Bay. This pilot will inform the future use of this space. This includes potential closures or “Open Streets” events that could occur regularly on certain days of the week or times of day.

To evaluate how modifying the use of this space may impact travel patterns in and around this location, the BPDA and the City of Boston are collecting a variety of data before, during, and after the pilot period, including:

  • motor vehicle counts and travel times
  • pedestrian counts and surveys, and
  • bicycle counts.

In addition to the pilot block itself, the evaluation study area includes:

  • 13 intersections on primary approaches and potential reroute paths, and
  • four vehicle routes through the Back Bay that could be affected by the pilot.

a map of intersections being studied for Copley Connect project

Adjacent Capital Projects

Copley Square Improvements

Boston Parks and Recreation Department’s renovation of Copley Square celebrates and renews this world-class community gathering space. The goal is to have the Square thrive while continuing to host the many visitors that it does today. The Parks team led by Sasaki is working with:

  • members of the community and Trinity Church
  • the Farmers Market
  • the Library, and
  • Friends of Copley Square.

They've created a design that protects and enhances existing trees and strengthens the connection between the Square and the Library. It also improves the existing fountain and provides lush green spaces for enjoyment and habitat. This creates new opportunities for seating and gathering. The anticipated groundbreaking is spring 2023.

For more information, please visit the Copley Square project website

Dartmouth Plaza Library Improvements

The Boston Public Library, with the design team of Shepley Bulfinch and Stoss Landscape Urbanism, has developed a conceptual plan for the Dartmouth Plaza outside the Central Library. The concept is part of a larger master plan effort for the whole McKim portion of the Central Library. The goal of the plaza design is to make the plaza a place for gathering and activity as well as to provide an accessible entrance to the McKim Building. The plaza redesign features:

  • sloped walkways that flank the main staircase for accessible entry, and
  • two new groves of trees with seating along Dartmouth Street.

To learn more, visit the McKim Master Plan website.

Events on Dartmouth

June 8, 2022
  • 10:30 a.m. - Creative Kids Crafts
  • 3:30 p.m. - Lego Builders Club
  • 5 p.m. - Metamovements: Latin Dance
  • 6 p.m. - Bop-ley Square Tea Dance Party
June 9, 2022
  • 11 a.m. - Music + Movement
June 10, 2022
  • 3:30 p.m. - Crafternoon
June 11, 2022
  • 10 a.m. Family Story Time
  • 3:30 p.m. Make Life Beautiful Craft
June 12, 2022
  • 10 a.m. - Mobile Makers
  • 3:30 p.m. - Family Zumba
  • 5 p.m. - Eastern Acrobatics
June 13, 2022
  • 5 p.m. - Eastern Acrobatics
  • 6 p.m. - Chat with a Planner
June 14, 2022
  • 11 a.m. - Mother Goose + More
  • 3:30 p.m. - Family Story Time
June 15, 2022
  • 10 a.m. - Family Concert
June 16, 2022
  • 11 a.m. - Music + Movement
  • 6 p.m. - Donna Summer Disco Party
  • June 17, 2022
  • 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. - Farmer's Market
  • 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Mobile Makers
  • 3:30 p.m. - Juneteenth Chalk Art
  • 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. - New Rust (close out performance)
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