The City of Watertown released details of the Watertown Square Area Design Charrette, and what times the public can come and participate over the three days.
The City sent out the following information:
We are excited to share this invitation to attend one or more of the working group sessions at the Watertown Square Area Design Charrette on November 29 and 30, 2023. Each session will focus on a key issue in developing a Watertown Square Area Plan; these sessions are in addition to the drop-in opportunities and general meetings scheduled during the three-day charrette. All working group sessions will be held on the 2nd floor at 64 Pleasant Street.
A charrette is a collaborative planning process during which an interdisciplinary team of planners, designers, transportation experts, city officials, residents, business owners, other interested people, and most importantly you, work together to create a shared design vision of a particular area.
The charrette will start Tuesday evening, November 28, 2023 (6:30pm – 8:30pm), with an existing conditions analysis, feedback from the Kitchen Table Conversations (KTCs), and a summary of results from the Polis survey (you can participate in the Polis at https://pol.is/6vbuxzxrff through November 17, 2023).
On November 29 and 30, 2023 (during the morning and afternoon), the project team and City staff will invite input from the community and interested groups through the working group meetings, as the team sketches options for Watertown Square’s challenges. On the second evening, there is an “interim progress drop-in session” for members of the public to see and informally discuss the day’s work. During the final evening (November 30), the consultant team will present scenarios that will inform the next phase of our project and vision of Watertown Square. Members of the public will be able to drop-in at other times on November 29 and 30 to see and comment on the team’s work product (see schedule below, and more details farther down).
The Intersection: How can we make it work for all modes–and support the Square we want? (Wednesday 10-11 AM)
This session will consider alternative ways for personal automobiles, shared transit, pedestrians, bicyclists, and freight to move through Watertown Square. A focus will be on how alternative designs meet other critical goals: lively public spaces and interaction, thriving businesses, open spaces, and an environmentally-sustainable Square. On-street parking, loading zones, street trees and landscape buffers are part of the discussion.
Urban Form: What should the Square look like–building scale, public realm and more? (Wednesday 11:30 AM-12:30 PM)
The built environment involves choices about building dimensions (heights, setbacks, etc.) ground floor activation, parking, energy efficiency, historic assets and building placement/ facades. The session will also include the public realm (e.g., plazas, parks, street trees and furniture) and private realm (privately-owned spaces that may have more limited access).
Strategic Sites: How do we design for these key development opportunities around the Square? (Wednesday 2-3 PM)
The Watertown Square study area has several significant opportunities for a combination of development and public realm. This session will consider options for important sites, including the Watertown Yard (owned by the MBTA) and the parking area behind the municipal/private-owned buildings on Main Street. These sites could also be opportunities for public/private partnerships and for a combination of development and public realm uses.
Destination Square: How we design a Square where small business can thrive? (Thursday, 10-11 AM)
Our small businesses need a built environment that helps them thrive. This session will focus on conversation about public and private infrastructure, parking requirements and locations, allowing spaces that provide outdoor (or flexible indoor/outdoor) dining and commerce, where first floor activation is need, and public spaces/uses that can become a destination.
MBTA Zoning: How do we get to the 1,701 zoned units we need under the new law? (Thursday, 11:30 AM-12:30 PM)
By the end of 2024, Watertown must comply with the MBTA Communities law by creating a zoning district that allows multifamily housing by right at or over 15 units an acre and has the capacity for 1,701 units. The discussion will build on the prior sessions by exploring options for district boundaries, density and required features.
More information about the design charrette will be posted on the Watertown Square Area Plan website as it becomes available: www.watertownsquareimprovements.com
Please bring your ideas on the future of our community! We hope to see you at 64 Pleasant Street throughout November 28–30, 2023 at the charrette.