A plan to convert open space underneath Interstate 93 into parking for cars and buses will be studied by the city’s Redevelopment Authority along with numerous other initiatives to improve transportation in the South End.
Whether the plan will come to fruition or not remains to be seen – the idea is still in its earliest stages and funding for implementation is nonexistant, according to Community Planning Director Randi Lathrop.
However, according to a conceptual design put together by University Associations in 2006, the space beneath the Interstate in the South End could potentially yield 565 spaces for regular vehicles and between 20 and 25 spaces for buses.
“I think, as you’ll see, there’s a good amount of space under there,” said Jim Fitzgerald of the Redevelopment Authority during a Thursday night meeting of the Harrison Albany Corridor Advisory Group.
In the past, the state has been hesitant to allow construction under highways because of the potential threat to security, Fitzgerald said, but much of the post-9/11 sentiments have since been relaxed.
“The sentiment is that the feelings over there are changing,” he said. “We’re hopeful that maybe this could be something that we’d try to advance further.”
If the plan did materialize, funding would have to come from a private source, Lathrop said.
“The city does not have the money, the [Boston Redevelopment Authority] does not have the money,” she said. “If it’s going to be done, it’s going to be done by the private sector.”
Any lots built under the highway would be secured with fencing, she added. District 4 police have identified the area, known as the "stacks," as a high-crime zone notorious for prostitution and drug activity.