Selectmen sign off on road plan, now seek funds (Hull Times)

Selectmen sign off on road plan, now seek funds

By Allan Stein at The Hull Times

Hull’s five-member board of selectmen has thrown its unanimous support behind an early project design for converting portions of roadway along Nantasket Beach from one-way to two-way traffic.

The board’s positive vote on July 27 was required in order to complete the town’s application that seeks $4.13 million in grant funding from the state’s MassWorks program to carry out the multiple-phase road reconfiguration project.

“This is a robust application, but with a great development potential for the state to invest in,” said consultant Kevin Dandrade of the engineering firm TEC, who presented selectmen last Thursday with the most up-to-date details of the project’s design, which is 25 percent complete.

The MassWorks application deadline is Friday, Aug. 5.

The town will be notified in about three months if the application has been approved, Dandrade said. Grant funds awarded during this competitive cycle will be available to pay for spring 2018 construction.

“We believe, and the traffic models have shown, that converting to a two-way system between Anastos Corner and Phipps Street will accomplish a few things for the town,” said Robert DeCoste, chairman of the Hull Redevelopment Authority (HRA). “First and foremost, it will increase the access of public safety vehicles and increase the pedestrian safety in the area. It will also add economically to the existing businesses and any new businesses in the area.”

The project is a joint effort of the HRA and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DRC) in accordance with the state agency’s master plan to enhance traffic flow, pedestrian safety, and commercial development opportunities within the Nantasket Reservation area, which is under state control.

The project encompasses the town’s business-friendly zoning overlay district along Nantasket Avenue, as well as the urban renewal property owned and maintained by the HRA, which has been a major supporter and financier of the two-way street redesign concept.

The HRA’s work dates back to the late 1960s, when it was charged with developing a 13-acre parcel of land located between the two roadways under consideration – Nantasket Avenue and Hull Shore Drive – running from Phipps Street to Water Street, between the ocean and bay.

DeCoste said the move from one-way to two-way traffic will benefit the target area in a number of ways.

“With two-way traffic, local shops will have twice as many vehicles passing by their shops. It will also show a more direct roadway [using] Hull Shore Drive Extension. So, those going to the public beach can enter and exit the lots without interrupting local traffic trying to get north of the [war memorial] monument,” DeCoste said.

“The road going from Nantasket Ave. to Phipps Street [along the ocean side of the memorial] will be closed and that area can be added to the monument,” he added. “The road design by Anastos Corner will help prevent drivers from taking the left and going down the wrong way through Surfside.”

Dandrade said the work will include what he called a “road diet,” or narrowing of the roadway, that will provide an extra 28 feet of development space to enhance HRA parking lots.

“This is a huge benefit for buildability and walkability, and for calming traffic,” he said.

“It’s close to the way it is going to be, but there are a lot of tweaks in it,” Dandrade said of the preliminary plan design. “We are very confident about the parameters of the design.”

Nelson Nygaard and TEC completed the feasibility study phase of the work and are ready to move on to phase two of the project, which is tentatively set to begin in January.

The work would focus on Hull Shore Drive and Nantasket Avenue, running from Samoset Avenue to Anastos Corner and converting those streets from one-way pairs to two bi-way streets. The work would also dovetail into DCR plans to develop the Nantasket Reservation area with features including a revamped boardwalk, bike lanes, and increased green space.

The third and final phase will be the complete buildout of the project, DeCoste said.

“I think it’s a realistic goal,” he said.

The current road configuration, which created Hull Shore Drive and Hull Shore Drive Extension and converted the Surfside portion of Nantasket Avenue to one-way traffic, was implemented in the 1970s. Town officials then believed the road plan was needed to help accomplish the newlycreated HRA’s urban renewal plans.

But those development plans never came to fruition, and many Hull residents have been stymied for years by intense traffic bottlenecks throughout Surfside, particularly in summer, when Nantasket Beach is thronged by daytrippers.

According to the town’s consultants, restoring a two-way road system will:

  • Preserve the same amount of through vehicle capacity while providing alternate circulating routes for travelers.
  • Disperse traffic on multiple routes to avoid concentrated pinch points.
  • Lower vehicle speeds, making area roadways safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Provide multiple options for residents to avoid beach traffic.
  • Provide a more logical connection of streets with multiple opportunities to recirculate without using the existing circuitous arrangement of oneway streets “This will reduce overall travel distances and travel times,” Dandrade said.
  • Improve emergency access by providing a means of redirecting traffic if one roadway is blocked.
  • Add curbside parking to promote access to businesses and create a more engaging streetscape environment.
  • Provide opportunities for future Surfside seasonal/ cultural events where the town can close either roadway to vehicles and still keep traffic moving on the other street.

“The proposed roadway designs respect a ‘Complete Streets’ philosophy, whereby we are seeking to improve the experience for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and will result in an overall reduction of pavement,” Dandrade said.

The grant application “builds upon the successful implementation of the 2012 MassWorks award for Nantasket Avenue in Surfside, [which] merely required [the town’s] restriping in that section of roadway. That prior investment led to reoccupancy of retail storefronts and improvements by the [Nantasket Beach] Resort,” he said.

The requested $4.13M investment is expected to be a spur for the development of the HRA property, fulfilling authority members’ goals of attracting “high-quality” residential units, a hotel, and a mix of shops and restaurants in an effort to make Nantasket Beach a year-’round destination.

“The proposed roadway improvements and the development will knit together the Surfside and Kenberma village areas with a vibrant walkable corridor,” Dandrade said.

Hull Director of Community Planning and Development Chris Dilorio said the two-way road concept for the Nantasket area went through a “robust public discussion and comment period.” As the design and engineering work continues to develop public meetings will be held to solicit comments on the proposal, he said.

Following that period, the local permit process would include board of selectmen, conservation commission, and planning board for new roadway construction. The state permit process would include a MEPA filing, MassDOT, and DCR access permits.

“Various utility relocation permits would be required, as well. It is anticipated that the permits would be obtained by mid- to late 2018,” Dilorio said.

To show widespread support for the grant application, Dandrade recommended a meeting with selectmen and business stakeholders be held within the next 60 days.

Town officials placed an early estimate for the two-way road conversion project at $2 million. Other potential sources of funding include the Complete Streets program, as well as the TIPS program (Transportation Improvement Program), which parcels out federal funds supplied through the state.

Hull recently received a $6.7 million TIP grant for the reconstruction of Atlantic Avenue. However, Dandrade said the $4.13 million MassWorks grant would be the “biggest catalyst” for economic development of the area.

Those who are interested in learning more about the two-way design proposal or the HRA may access the authority’s website at www.hra02045.com.

Hull Redevelopment Authority selects JLL to market unique waterfront development opportunity

via http://www.us.jll.com/united-states/en-us/news/4249/hull-redevelopment-authority-selects-jll-to-market-unique-waterfront-development-opportunity

BOSTON, MAOctober 19, 2016 – The Hull Redevelopment Authority (HRA), tasked with creating a "sense of place" in the coastal Massachusetts community, has hired JLL's Public Institutions team to market its waterfront parcel in Hull, MA. With a variety of potential mixed-use applications including residential, retail, restaurant, hotel, and resort, the Nantasket Beach Development Opportunity offers a rare chance to purchase and improve an historic beachfront site overlooking the Massachusetts Bay. The parcel, which is cleared and ready for development, begins near Water Street and extends approximately 0.3 miles along Hull Shore Drive.

The Nantasket Beach Development Opportunity is one of the most desirable waterfront properties on the east coast and has been actively improved in recent years. The HRA worked with the community and MassDevelopment to complete a pre-development Master Plan for the site, which includes ample open space, a boardwalk and direct access to Nantasket Beach Reservation and the scenic Weir River Park.

"The Hull Redevelopment Authority has worked with various state agencies and consultants to implement numerous upgrades to the Nantasket Beach area and put in place zoning that would allow for an impactful development to be built," said Bartley Kelly, Chair of the Hull Redevelopment Authority.  "In addition to the incredible amount of due diligence done on this parcel, the surrounding amenities – public transportation, the World's End Sanctuary, Nantasket Beach – make it a prime development opportunity.  The HRA is excited for the opportunity to receive bid proposals that will present transformative projects which will leave an indelible mark in the Hull Community."

In addition to numerous amenities along Nantasket Beach, where the population doubles during peak summer season, the property is just a half mile from the publicly accessible Steamboat Wharf Marina, Hull's oldest working yacht and shipyard. The area is also just a short ferry ride from Logan Airport, Downtown Boston and the Boston Harbor Islands, all reachable from Hull's nearby Pemberton Point. The MBTA commuter train and bus are also just a few short miles away in adjacent Hingham.

"The Nantasket Beach Development Opportunity will give the development community the opportunity to create an unmatched waterfront town center for Hull residents and Nantasket Beach visitors," said Zoe Agnew, Public Institutions Manager at JLL.  "With the infrastructure upgrades that have already been made around the parcel and the planning that the community, HRA and DCR has put into the site, we believe that now is the perfect time to offer this parcel to the development community."

A Request for Proposals will be released later this fall.  Please visit www.HRARealty.com for schedule updates and additional information about the parcel.

About Hull Redevelopment Authority
The Hull Redevelopment Authority is charged with creating a "Sense of Place" in the Hull community through development that provides tax revenue, open space recreation, job growth, improved business environment, event venues, and parking for Nantasket Beach within an effective and efficient traffic pattern for Hull citizens and visitors. In order to do so, the HRA has established the following principles for their board:

  • Maintain public confidence and trust in the HRA via transparent communication.
  • Recognize the value and intention of citizens who offer feedback, both positive and critical.
  • Communicate board meeting minutes and news with clarity and in a timely manner.

About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6.0 billion, JLL has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4.0 billion square feet, or 372 million square meters, and completed $138 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2015. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $59.1 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit www.jll.com.

Hull Times Article - "Packed house gets first peek at HRA prelim plan"

This article describes the first presentation of the Utile concept plan for the HRA property. You can download the Hull Times news clippings here, and download the Utile concept plan here.