Madison Park Development Corporation recently hosted a series of workshops with neighbors and community members who live along Ruggles Street in lower Roxbury. A walking tour was led by David Lee, principal architect of Stull & Lee Architects in Roxbury. The goal of the tour is to create a new vision for Ruggles Street from an unsafe transportation thoroughfare into a vital residential street with neighborhood scale parks and amenities. Aligning with the City of Boston’s Complete Streets commitment, the new design of Ruggles Street is expected to include complete streets elements that will create a street safe for all users including children, seniors, people with disabilities, walkers, bikers, and motorized vehicles. Place-making along the street, such as improved lighting, art installations, and seating areas are also expected to complement the complete streets elements. This effort is part of the Whittier Street Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, a partnership of Madison Park, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Inc., and the Boston Housing Authority.
Ruggles Street as it exists in now excessively wide, inhospitable to pedestrians and neighbors, not able to accommodate people with disabilities, and is a hot spot for incidents of violence. The adjacent park is completely fenced off, lighting is poor and the street is too wide to comfortably cross. As a result, Ruggles Street is an anonymous thoroughfare and a deterrent to neighborhood use or transit by foot or bicycle.
The Whittier Street choice neighborhoods plan is an opportunity to reconstruct Ruggles Street. Through the choice neighborhoods plan, the Whittier Street housing project would be demolished and replaced with a new mixed income development and would dramatically change the first “gateway” block of the street. Madison Park Village, the largest abutting property, is now undergoing a multipart modernization including improvements along Ruggles Street and a new community center at Dewitt Drive and Ruggles Street. The City’s Parks Department is also committed to making the park more accesible to neighborhood use.
Watch for further information about the Whittier Choice Neighborhoods plan and the Ruggles Gateway proposal in future newsletters. We will continue to work with neighbors and community residents to advance this plan, and make Ruggles Street a tremendous asset to the Lower Roxbury community.