Allston Committee Discusses Harvard Construction Demolitions

UPDATED: April 21, 2015, at 4:38 a.m.

The Allston Construction Mitigation Subcommittee met Monday to discuss progress made on Harvard construction projects and worker parking in North Allston.

Harvard University Construction Mitigation Director Edward G. LeFlore estimated compliance with the University’s new construction worker parking program at around 97 to 99 percent out of 220 workers. The program provides free parking to workers at construction sites and Webster Field and encourages them to ride-share in an effort to reduce the number of construction vehicles parked on Allston streets and in residential neighborhoods. Workers previously paid $15 for parking at the Harvard Business School, according to Allston resident Paul “Chip” Alford.

Alford praised the progress as a “big victory for the community,” but noted that responsibility for further monitoring of the parking situation should fall on the University. In the past, residents have reported illegal parking in two-hour and resident-only zones to the Boston Transportation Department. LeFlore said the University was monitoring the situation daily with “spot checks” in affected areas.

Alford and Allston resident Paula Alexander questioned LeFlore’s compliance estimate, citing the influx of parked vehicles on Travis Street during the week as evidence of continued violations. Alexander raised hopes that Boston would extend its resident parking permit program to Kingsley Street and Travis Street.


LeFlore also provided the subcommittee with an update on the demolition of the Charlesview apartments at the intersection of Western Ave. and North Harvard St. LeFlore reported that building A had been successfully taken down and that “most buildings should be down within the month of April.”

The University will construct a “Gateway Project,” a “mixed-use institutional building,” on the site of the vacant Charlesview apartments, according to Harvard’s Institutional Master Plan for development in Allston. Charlesview residents were relocated to a new apartment complex a half-mile down Western Ave. during the summer of 2013.

LeFlore said workers were conscious of the need for dust control with current wind conditions and are working on moving debris from the demolition sites. The transition to a construction site is expected to happen between this June and September, LeFlore said.

Residents also reacted to the recent string of robberies at the construction site of the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, which currently occupies a building leased by the University. The center’s executive director Elizabeth Browne said the new facility, which will “double [the center’s] capacity,” has been robbed three times this year.

Lifelong Allston resident Geri Sullivan raised additional concerns over the spread of rats in residential areas following the start of Harvard’s construction projects in Allston, stating that rats were sighted on neighborhood yards and streets in broad daylight.

“Every time Harvard takes a building down, you upset the rats,” Alford said.

—Staff writer Ignacio Sabate can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter @TheIggySabate.

—Staff writer Luca F. Schroeder can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @lucaschroeder.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: April 21, 2015

An earlier version of this article misspelled Paul “Chip” Alford's last name.


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