March 31, 1999

Thomas N. O'Brien
Boston Redevelopment Authority
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201-1007

Ref: RFPs -- Old Northern Avenue Bridge

Dear Mr. O'Brien:

As the BRA undertakes the process of choosing among the RFPs submitted for development of the Old Northern Avenue Bridge, the members of the Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design (SAND) would like to encourage you to consider the following guidelines. These are made in the spirit of SAND's mission to ensure that the South Boston seaport emerges as a livable, vibrant neighborhood in the best tradition of Boston's successful communities.

Preservation. Boston is filled with markers that chart its history through the centuries, and the Old Northern Avenue Bridge is a striking symbol of the era when Boston was a major industrial seaport. We urge you to choose a proposal that, to the extent possible, restores and preserves the original form and function of the bridge. Crass commercialization and overt modification will detract from the dignified character that the bridge now lends to the seaport.

Pedestrian Accessibility. Unfettered pedestrian access across the bridge is essential. It provides a crucial link to Harborwalk and an important commuter path for pedestrians walking to the seaport from the Financial District.

Public Process. The ultimate developer of the Old Northern Avenue Bridge must provide a well-publicized process for public comment. The nature of the bridge, providing a gateway as it will to the tax-dollar-improved seaport, calls for full inclusion of the citizens of Boston in the decisions for its future.

Above all, SAND supports preservation of the bridge and will work diligently against its demolition. We urge you to choose a sound development plan, using the guidelines listed above, over the option of demolition.


Lisa Damtoft

on behalf of
The Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design


Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.