We have heard from our members expressing concerns about the Winthrop Square development proposal, and asking about the Friends’ position regarding the protection of our parks from shadows, in light of recent press about this proposal. While comments from the Friends have been included in some articles, with varying accuracy, we want you to know that we stand firm in our commitment to protect our parks from any weakening of existing shadow laws.
The shadows from the proposed 750-foot tall project in Winthrop Square would reach as far as Commonwealth Avenue Mall and violate the current shadow legislation. The Friends of the Public Garden has consistently advocated for protecting our parks from excessive shadow and wind resulting from development projects that would harm these vital and historic greenspaces in the heart of Boston.
As you know, in 1990, the Friends worked with elected officials and the Boston Redevelopment Authority to draft and enact legislation to protect the Boston Common and Public Garden from damaging new shadows. This shadow protection has worked as intended – it has successfully protected our parks, while allowing robust development to continue in the city. Now, 25 years later, we are facing a new generation of buildings that challenge our parks.
We believe that we need a comprehensive solution to downtown development projects that threaten to cast shadows on the parks and do not conform to the current legislation. We are meeting with the BPDA, gathering information, and seeking answers to unresolved questions about the project.
If you want to make your voice heard, please contact your state elected officials (Byron Rushing, Joe Boncore, Aaron Michlewitz, William Brownsberger and Jay Livingstone) and Boston City Councilors (Michelle Wu, Annissa Essabi George, Tito Jackson, Michael Flaherty, Bill Linehan, Josh Zakim, Ayanna Pressley, and Sal LaMattina) directly to express your concern about any potential changes to the state shadow laws that would reduce the shadow protection that has existed successfully for 25 years.
Help us protect the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Together we can ensure the healthy future of our parks.
Executive Director, Friends of the Public Garden