Peabody Square

Boston, MA
Key Elements
  • Multimodal access 
  • Green infrastructure and LID/sustainable design techniques 
  • Public-private partnership  

Located adjacent to the Ashmont Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Station on Dorchester Avenue, Peabody Square was a multi-legged intersection with many channelizing islands. This configuration resulted in an unfriendly and unsafe environment for pedestrians, congestion and delays for motorists, and intersections that ran over the (MBTA) Red Line tunnel (with only three feet of clearance in some areas). Nitsch joined a public-private partnership with the Boston Public Works Department (BPWD), the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), and the St. Mark’s Area Main Street non-profit group to make Peabody Square a safer and more inviting place for all modes of transportation. 

Nitsch analyzed the existing conditions of the site. Out of five intersection redesign alternatives that would simplify and improve roadway layout and create a safe environment for vehicles and pedestrians, the City community and project team agreed on one design alternative that eliminated the channelizing islands, discontinued one street leg, reduced neighborhood cut-through traffic, decreased traffic queuing (and thus reduced air pollution), and created a socially inviting park and plaza that retain the area’s historic clock tower and horse trough while adding a variety of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and tree plantings.  

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), through the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), funded a grant to integrate Low Impact Development (LID) techniques into the redesign of Peabody Square as part of a Green Street Pilot Demonstration project. Nitsch worked with the CRWA to implement sustainable design techniques that would reduce stormwater runoff volume into the closed drainage system and remove pollutants. 

Key Collaborators

Owner: Boston Public Works Department and Boston Transportation Department 
Landscape Architect: IBI Group 
Structural Engineer: Lin Associates, Inc.