Written by Matt Rusteika
Have you seen the video of the guy surfing down Farnsworth Street in Fort Point during the storm last week? Did it make you wonder if you can put a resident parking sticker on a jet ski? Were you concerned that maybe your street will be the next to flood? If so, you’re not alone: the City of Boston’s Greenovate initiative hosted an event on Tuesday, March 6 to talk about how to adapt the South Boston coastline to extreme weather caused by climate change, and it was a packed house.
The City is working with a group of engineers and landscape architects to come up with ideas for how to avoid damage from flooding. Raised sea walls, new parks where water can drain back into the soil, a walled-off marina near the Moakley Courthouse, and a water barrier at the mouth of the Fort Point Channel were all on the table. The City’s proposals for the residential part of the “Southie peninsula” east of Perkins Square mostly involved building up the land along the beach to stop the water from spilling onto Day Boulevard.
Residents were given blue and red stickers to mark which ideas they thought would work (blue) and which were not a good idea (red). The crowd of about 100 people definitely preferred long-term solutions to the cheaper but more temporary ones.
Southie has about 10 miles of coastline stretching from Kosciuszko Circle up to the Fort Point Channel. Almost all of it is increasingly vulnerable to flooding according to the City’s maps, which were on display at the event. Thankfully, most of the homes in Southie were built on original land (as opposed to landfill), which is less likely to flood. Conley Terminal and Ray Flynn Marine Park are not as lucky, however. The City and Commonwealth are just beginning to figure out how to protect these crucial economic assets from climate change impacts.
Coastal flood risk 2050
You can check out the latest news, view the event schedule, follow Greenovate Boston on Facebook or Twitter, and figure out how to get involved by visiting www.greenovateboston.org. Next up is a meeting about the City’s comprehensive vision plan for Moakley Park, which will be at the Tierney Learning Center on March 13.
Matt Rusteika is a Southie native who lives with his wife, son, and dog on M Street. He enjoys running, cooking, and watching his son’s reaction to Elmo. You can follow him on Twitter at @Rusteika.