The newly completed Boston Landing Station project in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood in Massachusetts received Envision Silver verification from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI). The project is part of a larger complex currently underway by NB Development Group, an affiliate of New Balance Athletics, Inc., in a public-private partnership that has been lauded by city and state officials alike. NB Development Group funded and managed design and construction of the approximately $20 million station in close collaboration with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). This is the first transit project in New England to achieve Envision verification.
“The Boston Landing Station project provides a vital transportation link to the overall development of Boston Landing and the immediate neighborhood,” said Keith Craig, director of development at NB Development Group. “We are extremely proud of Skanska and the design team for achieving Envision Silver verification, which aligns with our overall high sustainability goals for the Boston Landing campus.”
The Envision system rates infrastructure projects across the full range of environmental, social, and economic impacts. The Boston Landing team earned credits in all five categories because of forward-thinking design by the engineering firm, STV, and sustainability commitments from Skanska, the project’s contractor.
The project has especially been recognized for achievement in the Quality of Life category. The Allston-Brighton neighborhood had extensive rail and freight transportation options throughout the first half of the 20th Century, but with construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike in the 1950s, the major rail corridor was narrowed and all of its stations eliminated. With the closure of the Green “A” Branch in the late 1960s, the area was left completely out of walking distance of the Boston transit system. Boston Landing Station returns commuter rail access to a community that has not had it for more than 45 years. Through close collaboration with key stakeholders, the Boston Landing Station project will have a net positive impact on the community by improving access to downtown and increasing overall safety.
“Boston Landing Station was a natural candidate to be one of the first Envision-verified infrastructure projects in Massachusetts,” said Paul Pedini, leader of Skanska USA’s civil construction practice throughout New England. “The New Balance team demonstrated the same commitment to quality in the Boston Landing project as they do every day with their legendary athletic footwear. They provided decisive leadership, collaborating with us to determine solutions to the project’s complexities and challenges. They were enthusiastic partners in our suggested pursuit of the Envision sustainability verification.”
The project involved a more integrated construction management process that is atypical of public transportation projects in New England. By bringing the construction team to the table earlier in the process, they were able to develop more innovative construction techniques and mitigate extensive schedule and safety risk on the project.
“Envision challenges you to ask, ‘Are we building the right project?’” said Chris Frano, Skanska’s Envision Sustainability Professional on the project. “For us as builders, when we can walk away from a finished project like this and can say, ‘We built it safely, we built it on schedule, and we built something that’s really going to affect the community in a positive way,’ that’s a win-win-win for us.”
As a collaborative effort between ISI and the Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, the Envision system rates the impact of sustainable infrastructure projects as a whole. The ISI Envision system measures sustainable infrastructure in five categories: Quality of Life, Leadership, Resource Allocation, Natural World, and Climate and Risk. These key areas contribute to the positive social, economic, and environmental impacts on a community.
Key sustainable accomplishments of the Boston Landing Station project awarded an Envision Silver include:
Quality of Life — Thorough analyses conducted by the project team concluded that the Boston Landing Station will stimulate sustainable growth and development in the area and will improve quality of life for residents. The new train station will improve community attractiveness for businesses, and help the area attract a high-quality workforce. In addition, residents in the area should experience reduced commute times to downtown Boston by nearly 20 minutes or more, depending on the schedule.
The new railway platform has been designed to connect with pedestrian walkways, bike paths, bus routes, and roads. Pedestrians can easily access the station from the east or west end of the platform using a network of stairs, elevators, and a pedestrian bridge. Cyclists will also be encouraged to use this station since a safe and covered bike storage area is provided. Street lighting and sidewalk improvements have been made near the station entrance to improve safety and to further encourage pedestrian use.
Many safety features have been incorporated into this project, including a CCTV security system with more than 30 cameras and emergency call boxes throughout the platform, pedestrian bridge, and the bike storage area. There are call boxes near the bike storage area, safe dispersal areas, and the platform and pedestrian bridge. The addition of these features as well as increased LED lighting throughout the station will have a net positive impact on neighborhood safety.
Leadership — All members of the Boston Landing Station project team have demonstrated commitment to the principles of sustainability and sustainable performance improvement. For example, NB Development Group has pursued sustainability ratings for other aspects of the larger development project, such as LEED Platinum certification for the New Balance World Headquarters. In addition, Skanska, the construction manager, has ingrained sustainability in its corporate culture by adopting a sustainable procurement policy and the ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) standard. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the project’s end-user/operator, has implemented many initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy, and use resources more efficiently.
Preconstruction of the Boston Landing Station was an in-depth process in which the owner, designer, contractor, and end-user/operator were involved. The process substantially reduced project risk and improved coordination among project stakeholders. The contractual paradigm led to other project-specific improvements such as re-phasing of track construction and a reduction of the construction schedule, as well as reuse and recycling of onsite materials.
Resource Allocation — More than 50 percent of the materials used on the Boston Landing Station include recycled content, and 95 percent of materials required for this project were sourced from local suppliers that are within the distance requirements included in the Envision framework. For example, the Envision framework stipulates that aggregates and sands must be sourced within 50 miles of the project site, and concrete must be sourced within 100 miles. In addition, 57 percent of the project’s excavated materials have been beneficially re-used onsite, reducing the transportation and environmental impacts associated with removing materials from the site.
“ISI is pleased to present the Boston Landing Station project with the Envision Silver award for sustainable infrastructure”, said ISI President and CEO John Stanton. “This is a great example of an infrastructure project that will expand sustainable transportation options to the residents of the Allston-Brighton community. This project should also lay the foundation for economic growth for this neighborhood and within the City of Boston.”
Information provided by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (www.sustainableinfrastructure.com).