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BID Annual Meeting Remarks by Mayor Walsh

Remarks of Mayor Martin J. Walsh BID Annual Member Meeting October 26, 2017

I’m happy to hear about all the exciting things that have happened since the last time I visited all of you. 24 new street-level businesses have opened. About $50 million was invested in the area. I want to thank the BID Ambassadors as well. They do a critical job in helping our visitors find where they need to go. They help keep the BID clean, safe, and welcoming.

I’m excited to hear that the BID has a strategic plan to guide your growth over the next 5 years. Many of the goals in your plan are goals we have for the City as well – through our Imagine Boston 2030 plan. We look forward to working with all of you to put your plan into action.

This is a really exciting time for the City of Boston. We’re going through a historic period of growth. We have a Triple A bond rating. Our population is growing. 22,000 homes have been built or are under construction. More people are working in Boston than at any time on record.

You see the effects of this growth in Downtown Crossing. It seems like there is construction on every corner. It’s because of great partners who are invested in Downtown’s success— like all of you. I want to thank you for your partnership and for your ability to market Downtown Crossing in such a strong way.

Last week, I was at the One Milk Street groundbreaking. It was a combination of modernization and historic preservation. We want to celebrate our history here downtown—and there’s a lot of history in this area! We also want to take Downtown Crossing to the next level. We’re seeing a resurgence of the shopping legacy that Downtown was once known for. 

We’re doing more than opening stores. We’re enhancing the public realm. I know that’s a main goal of the BID’s as well. We’re looking for new ways to engage the public – whether they are visitors, residents, or workers hanging out on their lunch breaks.

We’re excited about creating a new public space at Tontine Crescent. This plan will help us support local businesses, improve safety, and maintain parking and traffic flow. We’re looking forward to working with Millennium on testing and evaluating this signature public space.

We’re also investing in the Boston Common. We are just completing a $3.3 million dollar renovation along the Tremont Street edge of the park. Now we are starting the Boylston Street edge. We are spending an additional $560,000 to resurface the crumbling sidewalk and make it more accessible. We’re also adding energy efficient and improved pathway lighting. And with the Winthrop Square funds, we’re going to invest $28M in more renovations for the Common.

Speaking of Winthrop Square, we’re looking forward to continuing to work with Millennium on their plan. As you know, the City Council and the Legislature worked together to pass legislation to better protect the Common and Public Garden for years to come. It also allows a project that will generate hundreds of millions of dollars for Boston’s neighborhoods, parks, and public housing to move forward. The review process is picking up in the next few weeks. We’re looking forward to working with the BID and the public on the plans to move forward.

Another big focus for us is improving mobility in Downtown Crossing. Our Public Works Department is working on Winter Street, School Street, and Washington Street—on sidewalks, roadways, and safety enhancements. We’re also looking to enhance gateways to the BID. On the East side, that means rebuilding Liberty Tree Plaza, creating a temporary plaza at Philips Square, and working with Emerson College on designs for Tremont and Boylston Streets.

Our Transportation Department is working with the MBTA. We’re discussing improving bus routes to Downtown. We’re testing improvements to the Silver Line from Dudley Square. We’re supporting upgrades to the Red and Orange Lines. And we’re reviewing pick up and drop off rules for rideshare applications.

I know ensuring safety is a big priority of the BID. I want to thank the BID for holding a meeting yesterday about safety in Downtown Crossing—especially the Pedestrian Zone. We will work with you to make sure Downtown is a safe place at all times. Rene [Fielding] and her team will follow up with safety training for the BID staff, and especially for the BID Ambassadors who are out on the streets. We want to be prepared at all times, and make sure we protect the many people who use this area on a daily basis.

Again, I want to thank you all for your continued partnership. And I want to thank you all for your dedication to helping Downtown realize its fullest potential. You play a major role in Boston’s growth. I look forward to continuing to work with you on enhancing our public resources, improving transportation, and much more.