Broadway Master Plan Meeting Generates Interesting Ideas

City officials, residents, and business owners attended a Broadway Master Plan Public Meeting Monday night at the Hill Elementary School cafeteria.

Mayor Patrick Keefe, Chief of Planning and Community Development Tom Skwierawski, Transportation Coordinator Julie DeMauro, and Business Liaison John Festa were  all present for the formal presentation and discussion that focused on the future development of Broadway, the main business district in the city and home address to City Hall and other iconic buildings such as the Central Fire Station.

Many were surprised and impressed by the large turnout of close to 50 people for the meeting, signifying that there is tremendous interest and excitement about the concept of a new look for the entire length of Broadway.

One interesting geographic and marketing proposal would be possibly placing Broadway under three separate names, North Broadway, Central Broadway, and South Broadway, for identification purposes.

David Gamble, founding principal of Gamble Associates, the City’s planning and design consulting firm for the Broadway Master Plan process, led the formal presentation.

“This effort is really looking at the Broadway corridor at-large, from end to end, over a mile long,” said Gamble, a graduate a of Kent State University and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. “Revere is lucky to have such a long, largely commercial but mixed-used corridor.”

 Following Gamble’s presentation, the attendees separated into seven groups at individual tables, with one member of each group presenting its vision and ideas for Broadway.

The ideas for the new Broadway were plentiful, exciting, and innovative, with  everyone agreeing that the city’s main street should be more “aesthetically pleasing” with an increased number of trees and greenery along the route.

Other new concepts for Broadway and adjacent access areas included: making the street more pedestrian-friendly, well-lit walkways on streets of off Broadway, dedicated trolley transportation, the opening of a FedEx or Amazon drop-off or pickup store for packages, no parking at all on Broadway on either side, the extension of sidewalks (for outdoor dining, for example), the construction of an off-Broadway parking garage, new signage for businesses, the opening of a brewery and new restaurants, a venue for family gatherings and outdoor concerts (such as the Lawn in front of the American Legion where the Summer Concert Series is held), and the construction of mixed-use residential developments that would feature businesses on the first two floors with the upper floors for apartments.

Erica Porzio, executive director of the newly vitalized Revere Chamber of Commerce, was both an interested observer and one of the post-presentation speakers. One of the ideas proposed by Porzio and her table group was the brightening of street lights on Broadway. Porzio also suggested having additional communal spaces on Broadway.

In a nod to the City of Revere’s historical name, one group brought up the possibility of building a statue of the great Patriot, Paul Revere (known for his famous ride in April,1775, during which he warned colonial militia that British forces were approaching) for display in a highly visible location on Broadway.

All participants agreed that the flow of traffic must improve on Broadway.

Gamble was very pleased by the turnout (“Especially so following a holiday,” he said) and the ideas presented for a new Broadway.

“We heard a lot of things that we’ve been brainstorming about and a lot of things that we hadn’t heard before,” said Gamble. “There’s a lot of positive energy here that will move the Master Plan forward.”

Gamble was asked about the potentially controversial decision of eliminating all parking spaces on Broadway. “Oh, one day, a man can dream, can’t he? We’ve certainly got to do it the right way, and that’s why we have a parking study that we’re doing as part of this plan.”

Gamble said that the parking study (being done by Stantec) will be completed by the fall of 2024.

“All of this will coalesce into a plan that hopefully, as best we can, connect the different developments and have a logical order of development and policy that works hand-in-hand in a holistic way,” said Gamble.

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