New Public Safety Building at 90 Washington Street

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The City of Somerville is in need of a new, modern public safety complex. The current facility at 220 Washington Street is functionally obsolete and requires major improvements. The building has proven to be inadequate for current public safety operations and, furthermore, has been plagued with structural issues that have led to flooding and leaks. After conducting a thorough space needs assessment and quantifying the amount of space needed, the City initiated a site search process to identify potential sites for a new complex. Sites large enough to house the new public safety complex are extremely rare in Somerville. The 90 Washington Street site was deemed to be the most viable option in Somerville after an analysis that considered six different sites. This effort expands upon the full Feasibility Study conducted by Weston & Sampson, as well as previous City communications reflecting the need for a new public safety building and the suitability of 90 Washington for that purpose.

The primary function of the 90 Washington Street site is state-of-the-art Police and Fire Stations, including Somerville’s 311 call-in Service Center. Additionally, the OPM, Somerville Redevelopment Authority (SRA), Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD), and City Council will jointly explore private complementary uses on the site. The site is in a prime location steps away from the planned East Somerville Green Line Station and at a highly visible intersection with Inner Belt, Brick-bottom, Union Square, and East Somerville. This Project presents an opportunity to satisfy the need for a public safety building, as well as for providing additional civic, residential, and/or commercial space.

The City has adopted a framework for how it will design and construct new facilities. This plan includes policies, programs, and strategies that work to accomplish the following:

  • Reduce Somerville’s contribution to climate change and work towards carbon neutrality (mitigation)
  • Prepare Somerville for the unavoidable impacts of climate change (adaptation)
  • Fairly distribute the opportunities created by climate action and work to alleviate the unequal burdens of climate change (equity)

The City of Somerville is in need of a new, modern public safety complex. The current facility at 220 Washington Street is functionally obsolete and requires major improvements. The building has proven to be inadequate for current public safety operations and, furthermore, has been plagued with structural issues that have led to flooding and leaks. After conducting a thorough space needs assessment and quantifying the amount of space needed, the City initiated a site search process to identify potential sites for a new complex. Sites large enough to house the new public safety complex are extremely rare in Somerville. The 90 Washington Street site was deemed to be the most viable option in Somerville after an analysis that considered six different sites. This effort expands upon the full Feasibility Study conducted by Weston & Sampson, as well as previous City communications reflecting the need for a new public safety building and the suitability of 90 Washington for that purpose.

The primary function of the 90 Washington Street site is state-of-the-art Police and Fire Stations, including Somerville’s 311 call-in Service Center. Additionally, the OPM, Somerville Redevelopment Authority (SRA), Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD), and City Council will jointly explore private complementary uses on the site. The site is in a prime location steps away from the planned East Somerville Green Line Station and at a highly visible intersection with Inner Belt, Brick-bottom, Union Square, and East Somerville. This Project presents an opportunity to satisfy the need for a public safety building, as well as for providing additional civic, residential, and/or commercial space.

The City has adopted a framework for how it will design and construct new facilities. This plan includes policies, programs, and strategies that work to accomplish the following:

  • Reduce Somerville’s contribution to climate change and work towards carbon neutrality (mitigation)
  • Prepare Somerville for the unavoidable impacts of climate change (adaptation)
  • Fairly distribute the opportunities created by climate action and work to alleviate the unequal burdens of climate change (equity)

Q&A

What questions do you have about the New Public Safety Building at 90 Washington? 

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    What is being done to proactively make sure bike lanes and sidewalks that surround this site will not become "temporary" parking spots? (Ubers pickup/dropoff, other parking/idling)

    joan asked about 2 months ago

    Design definitely can help deter these issues. Although we're not to that point in our project, if you're seeing this in a particular area, give 311 a call. They'll relay the information to the appropriate departments. 

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    During construction - what measures are planned to make sure pedestrians and bicyclists and transit users have priority of right of way over drivers? The reopening of the Joy St. bridge prioritized drivers and did not give pedestrians and bicyclists a safe way to travel under the bridge while construction was still happening. The "temporary" sidewalk was often filled with debris or flooded, if not closed at times, forcing pedestrians to detour while maintaining car travel lanes.

    joan asked about 2 months ago

    Somerville has a Complete Streets Ordinance which sets a hierarchy for modes of transit - pedestrians, transit users, cyclists, then motorists (for more information, see page 138 of the Union Square Neighborhood Plan). We don't have any "measures" currently in place because our project isn't quite to that phase of planning yet but we will work with our contractor to maintain this hierarchy.  

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    Will this new station have a indoor firing range for on going training?

    Henry asked about 2 months ago

    At this stage of the project, we don't have final program components. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

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    How many parking spots will be for city employees? How many for visitors?

    Murdock asked about 2 months ago

    At this stage of the project, we haven't arrived at specific totals of parking spaces. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.