For the first time in more than a decade, a new company will operate the MBTA’s commuter rail ferry service between Boston, Quincy and Hull, officials said.
The state Transportation Department board on Wednesday awarded Nolan Associates LLC, doing business as Boston Harbor Cruises, a 3-year, 9-month contract for submitting the lowest bid of $15,793,105, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said. The contract begins July 1.
The current holder of the contract, Water Transportation Alternatives, Inc., doing business as Boston's Best Cruises, lost out after submitting a bid that was $793,444 higher, Pesaturo said.
The company has held the contract with a subsidy since 2002, when the service became MBTA-owned, he said.
The website for Boston’s Best Cruises says the company has operated the ferry routes dating back to 1996.
At the state Transportation Department board meeting earlier Wednesday, William Walker, owner of Boston's Best Cruises, said he was upset and wanted more details about the process the state took in awarding the new contract.
He also said expressed concern that the contract change would lead to layoffs and that there would not be enough time for the new contract holder to take transition smoothly.
Officials from the Boston’s Best Cruises and Boston Harbor Cruises could not immediately be reached Wednesday night for further comment.
The contract is for the operation of two of the MBTA’s four commuter rail routes – the F2 and F2H.
The F2, also known as Harbor Express, runs between Quincy and Boston via Logan. Trips serving Hull are named F2H.
Ridership on the F2 and F2H routes combined was 284,937 during fiscal year 2009, according to the most-recent available statistics from the T.
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As spring comes to South Boston, so do the charity road races along Day Boulevard and the parking woes associated with them.
But not all residents in the seaside neighborhood are keen on the races, especially when they have to move their cars or face towing.
Last year, local politicians raised concerns about the number of races along Day Boulevard, saying they cause hardship for residents.
In 2012, there were 10 races in South Boston that required road closures and parking restrictions, according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which permits the races and manages Day Boulevard and the surrounding beaches.
“The races last year had a negative impact on the community,” said South Boston Representative Nick Collins, who helped lead the charge against the races last year. “They cause a significant amount of disruption with the towing and closures.”
For 2013, seven races, with another race pending approval, have been scheduled for the roadway, and no new applications are being accepted by DCR for the year.
“DCR continues to work with the community and its leaders to strike the right balance between public access to these state properties and respect for the neighborhoods in which they fall,” said SJ Port, a spokeswoman for DCR.
Collins said the reduction is a start, but added he will be pushing to get the number of races down to four.
Legislation has been filed by Collins and the former state senator Jack Hart to curb the number of races in the neighborhood.
“The commissioner shall not authorize the issuance of special use permits more than four times in a calendar year to an individual, group or entity that would result in the closure of all or a portion of Columbia road or Day Boulevard in the South Boston section of the city of Boston,” reads the legislation. “The four permits authorized in this paragraph shall only be issued to individuals, groups or entities whose purposes have a direct impact on the South Boston community.”
Even with the legislation, which is currently awaiting a hearing, Collins said one of the best solutions to the problem is more parking.
“That’s [towing and parking restrictions] what is driving this,” he said. “Parking will always be a top issue in this community.”
DCR has tried to eliminate some of the headache surrounding parking, allowing residents prior to the races to park overnight in the angular parking spots in between Shore Road and Castle Island.
“We have to find the right balance,” said Collins. “We’re starting, but it’s always up for discussion.”
(Image courtesy Google Maps)
Tasty Burger, the popular L Street eatery in South Boston, is closer to having outside seating for its patrons, to the dismay of some residents.
The take-out restaurant’s request to add awnings and five four-seat tables to the concrete slab on the corner of East Broadway and L Street was approved by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday morning. The approval clears the way for the installation of the additions, pending Boston Redevelopment Authority design review.
The shop's location at 69-71 L St. was once home to The Boathouse, a seasonal ice-cream stand.FULL ENTRY
Corcoran Jennison, the owner of the office building at 150 Mount Vernon St. in Dorchester, was recently approved by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals to lease some of its space to the University of Massachusetts Boston.
The university will use the space to house six small classrooms, according to Richard Fullam, regional property manager for Corcoran Jennison.
Fullam was before the board Tuesday to receive final approval on the plan. He said a contract has not yet been signed by UMass Boston for the space, but that he expects it will be a five-10 year lease.
At Tuesday’s hearing the offices’ of at-Large City Councilors Stephen Murphy and Ayanna Pressley along with the office of Dorchester City Councilor Frank Baker, the office of Representative Nick Collins, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services all voiced support for the lease.
(Image courtesy Google Maps)
Eight new condominium units will be popping up on the corner of Dorchester Street and Silver Street in South Boston, which is currently the home of Thornton's Flowers.
TCR Development’s plans and zoning relief were approved by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals Tuesday morning, clearing the way.
TCR proposes constructing a five-story brick building for six two-bedroom units and two three-bedroom units. The project at 111 Dorchester St. also includes parking for eight cars in a covered garage.
The one story structure currently on the lot, which was used in the film The Town, will be demolished to make way for the project.
“The design is the result of extensive community input,” Joe Hanley, an attorney representing the developers, told the board Tuesday. “It fits with the context of the immediate area.”
Work is expected to start by September and construction is estimated to last 11-months, according to TCR.
At Tuesday’s hearing the project received the support of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, the office of South Boston City Councilor Bill Linehan, and the office of City Councilor at-Large Stephen Murphy.
Several Memorial Day observances and services are scheduled in the coming days at public parks and cemeteries throughout Boston.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund will host a service at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Boston Common at 10:30 a.m. At the service, the names of Massachusetts soldiers killed during current military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan will be read among thousands of miniature American flags planted to honor all fallen Massachusetts service men and women.
Mount Hope Cemetery in Mattapan will host a ceremony and parade Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The short parade will begin inside the cemetery gate and march to the WWI and WWII Monument where the ceremony will be held.
On Memorial Day, an 8 a.m. service will be held at the Fogg-Roberts American Legion Post 78 in Hyde Park. From there, participants will march to a Mass at Most Precious Blood Parish at 43 Maple Street. They will return to the Post for the start of a tour of local veteran’s squares.
The procession will end at the Civil War Memorial at Fairview Cemetery for closing ceremony at 11 a.m.
Evergreen Cemetery in Brighton will also hold a Memorial Day observance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
That evening, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the city's Veteran’s Services will host a free concert titled, “Remembrance 2013: A Musical Tribute to Our Heroes,” at Christopher Columbus Park at 6:30 p.m. The Metropolitan Wind Symphony and the Boston City Singers will perform.
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(Image courtesy Google Maps)
The Boston Redevelopment Authority Board has approved a $190 million plan to create more hotel rooms for guests at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
The plan, the first phase of the convention center’s estimated $2 billion expansion, is located at 371-401 D St. and is being developed by Commonwealth Ventures, which won the contract in February, according to the Boston Business Journal.
Under the proposal, two new hotels would hold a total of 510 rooms.FULL ENTRY
Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com
(Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
Mayor Thomas M. Menino outlined a five-year capital plan today aimed at improving educational opportunities across the city, enhancing public facilities, and increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.
Menino submitted the $1.8 billion capital blueprint to the City Council in early April, along with a $2.6 billion budget plan for the next fiscal year. The council is required to hold its first vote on the capital plan, which calls for the city to borrow $177 million in the next fiscal year, by June 5.
In a speech outside the new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Menino provided details about the plan. It includes 341 projects over five years, with $214 million worth of projects this year alone. It would create about 450 construction jobs this year, he said.
Menino said the plan includes $20.5 million to transform the former Mitt Romney campaign headquarters at 585 Commercial St. in the North End into a new K-8 school.
“Imagine Mitt Romney thinking about [how] he’s getting involved in public education,” Menino quipped. “Maybe he’ll send some money to pay for it.”
The plan also includes:
-- Several West Roxbury projects: $11 million in improvements at Millennium Park; a $6.5 million overhaul of playing fields at West Roxbury High School; and $3.75 million for the Draper Pool.
-- $18.6 million to expand the Eliot K-8 Innovation School in the North End.
-- $10.2 million for street improvements in Uphams Corner and East Boston’s Central Square.
-- $16 million to replace granite with glass at the Central Library’s Johnson Building and build new areas inside for children and teenagers.
As powerful winds blew off the Mystic River, buffeting about 50 officials, hospital staff, and reporters, Menino highlighted a project that would turn an adjacent vacant lot into a playground accessible to children with physical limitations.
Proclaiming the waterfront area a “spectacular site,” he asked, “And you know what’s going to be even more spectacular, as we go forward over the next several months? Seeing children with disabilities play on the state-of-the-art playground right behind me.
"Watching people recover from health challenges here and build up strength to walk along the HarborWalk. Seeing families and their kids exercise and have fun along the harbor,” he said.
Menino thanked the staff of the new Spaulding facility, which opened late last month and included survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing among its first patients. He said he hoped to see the park completed by November, allowing him to attend its ribbon-cutting while still in office until January.
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The second-annual MathRocks competition brought mathletes from across the city together for a day of putting their mathematical skills to the test.
Hosted by the Boston Teachers Union and the Boston Public Schools, close to 55 BPS schools took part in the four levels of competition at the event held April 30 in Dorchester.
“The students from every corner of Boston competed and the bright future of the Boston Public Schools was clearly on display with how well they performed,” Richard Stutman, president of the teachers union, said in a statement.FULL ENTRY