After pausing for the winter months, improvements along the new Telford Street extension are resuming for both the McDonald’s and Charlesview developments. A new traffic signal at Telford & Western will soon be operational, which should ease both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. McDonald’s has begun installing the permanent landscaping. And in the next few months, JMA will install the permanent concrete sidewalk and lighting on the east side of Telford and a planter wall along STAR market.
Those familiar with North Brighton know that, just a few months ago, a freestanding McDonald’s restaurant stood on the eastern edge of the Charlesview site. The reconstruction and relocation of that building was a critical part of the new site plan, allowing Telford Street to align and go from Soldier’s Field Road to Holton Street (and eventually, plans the BRA, all the way to Lincoln Street). As of last week, the new restaurant was open for business.
The reconstruction involves a significant redesign in response to the community desire to see a more urban, pedestrian-friendly building across the street from new Charlesview. Since the McDonald’s is an active, operating business, it was important to get the new building up and running as quickly as possible (an effort led by Dixon Construction for McDonald’s, with Harvard assisting coordination as landowner). It was also necessary to coordinate the construction sequencing of the McDonalds and Charlesview, which was done on a near daily basis between TCB, Harvard, Dixon, and JMA.
Final parts of the McDonald’s project, such as the new Telford & Western traffic signal, landscaping and outdoor patio furniture will be coming in the next couple of months.
Having completed site grading and paving and the completion of the STAR market facade, the new Telford Street extension from Western Avenue to Holton Street is open to the public. This marks an important milestone for the development and the neighborhood.
What is done: earth grading, paving of the first two pavement layers, road striping, east (Brighton Mills) side curbing, temporary asphalt sidewalk, temporary site lighting
What remains to be done in the spring: finish paving, road & bike lane striping, permanent lighting, street trees and landscaping
In 2013, the west (Charlesview) side improvements will be installed as the development nears completion. In the meantime, the newly opened road segment will allow for safe vehicle and pedestrian access to the neighborhood.
As construction activity continues to ramp up on the site, a few neighbors have recently raised some concerns about the impact of some aspects of construction in the neighborhood. While the construction of 450,000 square feet of new buildings in an active residential and commercial area is impossible to completely conceal, the developer and builder have taken several steps to respond to these concerns:
Much of the recently excavated earth is being kept on the site to re-use as backfill. This saves the immense cost and waste of hauling dirt away, only to bring more in later. As of last week, however, there was a substantial amount of stockpiled earth piled high on the site, exposing it to the wind.
Response: the site contractor has cut the piles to half their height and covered them with anchored plastic sheeting. JMA has installed dust monitors at the residential perimeters of the site to track any airborne dust. Any exposed areas of dirt will be kept wet, as needed.
Safe Access for Vehicles and Pedestrians
During the simultaneous construction of Charlesview and the new McDonald’s restaurant, we have worked to maintain continual access to Brighton Mills. During the latter stages of Telford Street construction, that access has shifted many times, sometimes without adequate wayfinding.
Response: while the repeated shifts of the past few weeks have been necessary, they are coming to an end. As of this week, permanent access to the reconfigured STAR market parking area will be opened to the public, via the northern half of the Telford Street extension and a new sidewalk (asphalt until the concrete sidewalk is installed in the spring). Clear, safe public access is restored. By the end of the month, the full length of Telford Street will be open to foot and car traffic, and after the first of the year, a new traffic signal will ease movement around the Telford & Western intersection.
With dozens of truck trips every day coming and going from the site carrying away excavated soil and delivering concrete and steel, the occassional construction truck has been seen on North Harvard and Cambridge Streets (off the Construction Management Plan route). Both the neighborhood and the develoopment team recognize that keeping trucks off neighborhood streets is a priority.
Response: JMA has posted signs at site exits prohibiting the use of North Harvard Street. They regularly map out the proper route through posted signs, hand-out flyers and weekly coordination meetings. They will spot check their own haulers by personally monitoring North Harvard traffic occassionally during delivery hours.
With independent haulers on the job, including many new ones every week, we must remain vigilent, and so TCB and JMA are working to do more, instituting more frequent notices and reminders to subcontractors, and instituting financial penalties for noncompliance.
The development team continues to appreciate the community’s support of this major construction effort, and we are always open to concerns and suggestions to ease the impact of the construction process; if you have any, please contact us.
Excavation continues for the parking garage, with a constant flow of trucks hauling excavated dirt away to disposal facilities. But certain areas have reached the bottom of the garage excavation and are ready to begin setting the first concrete foundations. The concrete subcontractor, JL Marshall & Sons, will be coordinating with JMA and the site subcontractor to set the first forms and start pouring concrete, likely early next week, weather depending.
The installation of the foundations and garage slab is expected to take about 3 months. By March, we hope to be erecting the garage deck.
Note that the Telford Street opening will likely occur a week or two from now, a slight delay from this previous post. This is due to some additional coordination of grading and paving to ensure that Telford Street, the new McDonalds, and the existing STAR market parking lot all come together as smoothly as possible.
On Wednesday (10/26), the traffic pattern to enter Brighton Mills will shift, with the existing entry drive closed off and vehicles and pedestrians routed about 40 feet to the east to the northern section of the new Telford Street extension. Likewise, STAR trucks will be rerouted to the southern portion of the new street (though it will remain restricted to trucks until the full street is opened). For the next few weeks, this new entry will temporarily route cars into the Brighton Mills parking lot while the middle section of Telford Street is under construction.
By mid-November, the full length of Telford Street should be open, reconnecting Holton Street to Western Ave. By the end of the year, a new traffic light will be installed at the intersection of Telford and Western (as part of the related McDonald’s reconstruction project), which should substantially ease vehicle and pedestrian movement in the area.
As detailed in this space previously, the construction of a new street through the center of Brighton Mills is an important milestone in the construction, both to improve access through the site and to the Brighton Mills retailers, as well as to contain the Charlesview construction within a single fence. The new street will be an extension of Telford Street from Western Ave to Holton Street.
To keep access to Brighton Mills open at all times, the transition to the new street will happen in stages over the next six weeks. During this time, drivers and pedestrians should be prepared for the entry area to Brighton Mills to have shifted, though drive lanes and pedestrian walkways should be available at all times. The new (permanent) street configuration, complete with a sidewalk along Brighton Mills, should be complete by the end of November.
As September winds to a close, both buildings have been completely demolished. The focus shifts to the two fall priorities: preparing for excavation for the underground garage, and extending Telford Street across Western Ave all the way to Holton Street.
Providing parking for 240 cars underground will allow the new development to meet the density goals of the Community-Wide Plan without burdening the surrounding neighborhood’s on-street parking. But building a 110,000 square foot garage beneath six future buildings and a new street requires several important construction steps. First, the neighborhood’s drainage must be re-routed around the new garage to the Western Ave main stormwater main. Then metal sheeting must be installed around the perimeter to stabilize the surrounding earth while excavators dig the hole for the garage so the structure can be built. The process will last through most of the winter.
To prepare for the construction of the Telford Street Extension, new drainage infrastructure, manholes and catch basins are being installed. The newly exposed wall of STAR market–which formerly separated STAR from Frugal Fannies–will be covered by a new exterior wall and a raised planter. As we move closer through October into November, observers will see the new street come into shape, lined by sidewalks, streetlights and trees.
The extension of Telford Street is especially important for the neighborhood, as it will create a new public access between the site and Brighton Mills. This is good for construction, as work will proceed more efficiently inside a closed site. But this is especially good for the neighborhood, as it will create a safe, permanent access for cars, bikes and pedestrians to get to Brighton Mills and Western Ave. The Telford Street extension is scheduled to open before the end of year.