The Boston Parks & Recreation Department would like to hear residents' opinions about the preliminary designs to give Boston's largest park a major facelift by filling out the Franklin Park Action Plan survey by April 2.
The designs were recently presented to the public during two online virtual sessions. The plan was created after three community workshops. Feedback will help project planners refine the plan. The survey is available on the project website FranklinParkActionPlan.com.
“More than 360 park neighbors and users attended our third round of public workshops on March 10,” said Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods. “These participants viewed the public presentation and took part in breakout room discussions with the design team, Boston Parks and Recreation staff, and members of the Franklin Park Coalition and Emerald Necklace Conservancy. We encourage park users to add their voices through the Franklin Park Action Plan survey as we map out the future of this historic landmark.”
The city dedicated $23 million for the project, and $5 million for a maintenance and programming endowment after selling the Winthrop Square Garage in downtown Boston.
The recommendations are framed by four major themes. The following information and photos were provided by the Boston Parks & Recreation Department. The recommendations include:
Clarify movement: The recommendation is to elevate multi-modal routes for bikes and pedestrians throughout the park. Central to this concept is a proposal for Circuit Drive, which will be transformed into a pedestrian and bicycle-only loop through the park. Eliminating car traffic on Circuit Drive improves safety, movement, and access throughout the park.
Existing conditions along circuit drive (above) and proposed walking and cycling loop (below).
Amplify magnet destinations: This recommendation reimagines four beloved areas of Franklin Park, including The Playstead, Ellicottdale near the Shattuck Hospital, Peabody Circle at the park’s main entrance, and the current Maintenance Yard. The proposals include site improvements, increased access, and programming.
Current photo of Peabody Circle (above) and a welcoming entrance proposed along Blue Hill Avenue near the Zoo’s Zebra Entrance (below).
Connect and Activate Park Edges: This recommendation considers ways to enhance or increase relationships between the park and its neighborhoods. This includes strategies to increase access through new and improved park entrances, making the park edge an inviting and comfortable place.
Unify the Park: This recommendation identifies opportunities to connect the park physically and ecologically, including the park’s woodlands. This will require invasive management and selective clearing to increase biodiversity and cultivate a new generation of canopy trees. Additional proposals focus on increasing habitat diversity and improving stormwater management with buffer planting of meadow and understory flowering and fruiting plants, largely missing in the park landscape today. Proactive care of the park’s heritage trees, many of which date to the 19th century, is also highlighted as a management priority.
Existing condition of Ellicottdale (above) and proposed flexible open lawns, meadows, nature trails, and improved pathways to Scarboro and Schoolmaster Hills (below).
The Playstead now (above) and proposed improvements, including rejuvenated sports fields, increased access to White Stadium, and gathering areas, including new pavilions at The Overlook (below).