‘Pop-up’ plaza to appear in Downtown Crossing Tuesday

By: Catherine Lindsay, Boston.com | August 29, 2016

An experimental “pop-up” plaza, complete with planters, tables, and chairs, will appear in Downtown Crossing Tuesday morning, the mayor’s office announced in a statement Monday.

The ephemeral space at the intersection of Franklin and Arch streets will be created by planters and fencing, and filled with tables and chairs from 8 to 11 a.m., according to the mayor’s office. Visitors will be able to stop by to look at possible designs for the plaza while drinking coffee.

The temporarily expanded sidewalk will allow planners and engineers to study the design of a future permanent plaza as part of a Boston Transportation Department (BTD) project. Engineers will monitor traffic and look at issues that need to be addressed in future designs, the mayor’s office said.

“We recognize that Downtown Crossing is an area of the city where most people get around on foot,” Mayor Marty Walsh said, “and we want to create a better walking environment for them.”

Franklin Street currently has two lanes of westbound traffic and a right turn lane at Arch Street, as well as commercial and handicapped parking, according to the statement. Future plans for the space will take into account traffic capacity needs and potential areas to improve pedestrian accommodations, seating, and shade.

“With the T station at Franklin and Washington reopening soon, we know foot traffic will pick up on this street,” Boston Chief of Streets Chris Osgood said. “We’re taking a tactical approach to improving this area for pedestrians. In the future we can imagine a whole network of parks and plazas from Shopper’s Plaza to Post Office Square and on to the Greenway.”