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Design a Better Boston Are you disappointed with the state of Boston's current architecture/development? Think you have a better idea? Post it here.

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Old 02-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #1
Shepard
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Harbor Islands

With the exception of George's Island, these all seem really boring. Are parks and homeless shelters really the best use for these places?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:02 AM   #2
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Re: Harbor Islands

A) You should try Spectacle
B) Boring's kinda the point. You sit on the beach and enjoy nature.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:09 AM   #3
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Re: Harbor Islands

A Park is a place to relax and take in nature , its not a entertainment venue...
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:20 AM   #4
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Re: Harbor Islands

No, the best uses for them is to protect Boston Harbor from nasty ocean storms. Seems like the best place for development, right?
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:30 AM   #5
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Re: Harbor Islands

Just playing devil's advocate here... doesn't it seem like a waste of time to take a ferry to a park? If you want a park by the water, what's wrong with Castle Island? George's Island, which I wouldn't want to see changed, has a nice park also that I wouldn't want to see go anywhere.

I grant you however that an island park is a nice amenity, but do we need a dozen of them? How many residents and tourists actually visit them? And Long Island, the largest of them, is a restricted place, so doesn't even function as a park.

I do think there's room for hotels, entertainment, and even residences along the Marina Bay model. I'm not advocating for gated island communities like in Miami.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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Re: Harbor Islands

Taking the ferry isn't a waste of time. It's part of the fun. You can even buy a beer!

Seriously, the Harbor Islands are one of the best amenities in the city. For people who only have a couple hours and a couple bucks, you can get in a mini trip to the shore complete with a boat ride. You can get entertainment and hotels other places, but where else can you get the experience of the Harbor Islands? Castle is cool on it's own, but it's a different beast. Same with the rest of the Southie beaches. It's well used too, so it's not like it's an underutilized parcel looking for activation.

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Old 02-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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Re: Harbor Islands

The only experience I've had with the Harbor Islands is Thompson Island, and that was for a work-related retreat. I believe hosting similar events remains its only use.

Boring? Certainly. But, as Van stated, the best use for these islands is exactly what they're used for now- protection from storm surge, which will no doubt be needed more as the years progress. We're lucky to have them, and I promise you it is better to keep them as they are now.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #8
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Re: Harbor Islands

I think you "storm surge protection" people (or should I call you NIMHIs) are overstating things. That's essentially the job of Hull and Winthrop. Maybe Long Island too to an extent but I don't think you'd significantly lose that effect with development.

<Now, cue the facts if you have any>
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:48 AM   #9
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Re: Harbor Islands

Although Boston Harbor is much less vulnerable then, say, New York Harbor or Long Island Sound, due to geographical and other factors (including Hull and Winthrop, which you are completely correct about), it is by no means invincible. That is where other factors, like the islands, come in.

The Harbor Islands do their part by ensuring that there is no direct outlet between the harbor and the ocean. You can't get from one to the other just by going in a straight line- some sort of land is in the way to act as a buffer in the rare event that more substantial storm surge gets past Hull and Winthrop, etc.

My point is, with sea levels rising and with storms becoming more intense, the Harbor Islands (all of them, not just Long Island) will become more important as a barrier island resource. Developing them substantially will destroy grasses, trees, and similar plants that hold soil in place on these islands. This will result in erosion and a reduction in the islands' ability to protect the city.

Even if it's (thankfully) not needed now, chances are it will be in the future. And I'd rather have as many resources to depend on as I possibly could. I'm not anti-development by any means, but when it comes to the Harbor Islands, minimal or no development is best.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: Harbor Islands

Put up a parkin' lot.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:06 PM   #11
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Re: Harbor Islands

The boat ride is part of the fun, but they should bring back the big old slow ferry. I stopped going out there because I hate being crammed on the little high speed ferry with wind blasting in my face.

I used to go out there and just lounge around on the ramparts on Georges Island. It is so much quieter and more peaceful than Castle Island or any other place on the main land and the view of Boston Light it excellent. But, I miss puttering out there at a relaxed pace and being able to enjoy the view from the old boat.
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:28 AM   #12
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Re: Harbor Islands

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Put up a parkin' lot.
When the Tip O'Neill Tunnel finally collapses, we should turn I-93 into a boulevard.

By which I mean, "a road that runs on top of a wall across the Harbor Islands."
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:03 PM   #13
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Re: Harbor Islands

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Originally Posted by underground View Post
Seriously, the Harbor Islands are one of the best amenities in the city. For people who only have a couple hours and a couple bucks, you can get in a mini trip to the shore complete with a boat ride. You can get entertainment and hotels other places, but where else can you get the experience of the Harbor Islands? Castle is cool on it's own, but it's a different beast. Same with the rest of the Southie beaches. It's well used too, so it's not like it's an underutilized parcel looking for activation.
I agree. The isolation and solitude of the islands is one of the things that makes them so cool.
EDIT: A lot of the islands have old military bunkers (WWII) on them too. Which is cool to the 13 year old in me.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:29 PM   #14
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Re: Harbor Islands

Lest we forget the tunnels connecting the islands, and some islands to the mainland, as well. How freakin' awesome is that?
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:01 PM   #15
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Re: Harbor Islands

What tunnels?
(I hope the answer to this is not a link to Jo's Nautical Bar in Hull)

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Old 03-02-2013, 04:39 PM   #16
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Re: Harbor Islands

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Originally Posted by Commuting Boston Student View Post
When the Tip O'Neill Tunnel finally collapses, we should turn I-93 into a boulevard.

By which I mean, "a road that runs on top of a wall across the Harbor Islands."
This was considered as an alternative to going underground for the big dig but the vertical clearances required for ship traffic would have caused flight path issues for logan.
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:40 PM   #17
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Re: Harbor Islands

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What tunnels?
(I hope the answer to this is not a link to Jo's Nautical Bar in Hull)
I tried to find the source(s), but I came up with nothing. I did come across the Jo's page though, seems to reference what I was talking about, although claims it more extensive than I had previously thought. What's wrong with the Jo's page?
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:52 PM   #18
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Re: Harbor Islands

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What's wrong with the Jo's page?
That it's a hoax?
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:00 PM   #19
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Re: Harbor Islands

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That it's a hoax?
Mmm, figures. Does make sense, because as I said, sounds way more extensive than I recall reading about.

I'll post if I ever find the original sources.

In fact, I could have sworn there was even something on a History Channel show about tunnels connecting two islands which had forts?
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