Public Safety Building Project

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Welcome to the project page for the new Public Safety Building! The PSB will be a new home to police, fire administration, and Engine 3 at 90 Washington Street. Please keep reading to learn more about this exciting project.

Community Meeting - Wednesday, October 27th at 6:00

Join us at a community meeting to share the design progress for the development of the new public safety building at 90 Washington St. The project team will show the new realignment of New Washington Street, plans, & architectural renderings. The team will walk the attendees through the anticipated site preparation work which includes tree removal. This will be the first opportunity to provide input on the public space related to the project.

Click this link to register for the meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. See you then!

Project Goals

The public safety building project has several project goals:

  • Deliver a modern building that can change and adapt to policing and fire administration day-to-day operations over the course of generations
  • Help us achieve Somerville’s sustainability goals by being net zero ready
  • Use design to be welcoming to all members of the community

Project Site

The 90 Washington Street site will be an area of incredible activity over the next several years. The PSB project will coincide with a realignment of New Washington Street to meet Franklin Street at a 4-way intersection. There will also be two additional parcels that will be redeveloped (Parcels A & C). Economic Development will lead a community conversation starting this fall on the future of those sites.

Building Design

The PSB will be a new home to police, fire administration, and Engine 3. The 70,0000 square foot building is 4 stories with a 3-level parking garage. The exterior design is intended to look like two buildings, Engine 3 and the fire administration design inspiration is a traditional fire house. The police program and public amenities design inspiration is a modern, open, and transparent building to convey a department that goes beyond protecting and serving but that continues to work with the community to solve complex problems both now and in the future.

There will several community benefits as part of this project – a pocket plaza in the front of the building at the bend in New Washington Street, a community meeting room, and a south facing park fronting the existing alignment of New Washington Street. The community meeting room is placed to be a jewel box on the front of the building overlooking the pocket plaza. There will be new pedestrian and cyclist facilities on New Washington Street and, when the project is complete, this will be one of two new municipal buildings in decades.

Project Timeline

The PSB just finished the second phase of design called schematic design. The project team has a program for the building which itemizes all the types of spaces that need to be in the building and their square footage and the schematic design phase explores options for how these spaces can be pieced together to form the building. We've reviewed the project development with the building committee. At the end of the summer, the project will be transitioning into the third phase of design, design development. This is where the chosen design schemes from schematic design get refined and coordinated with structural, mechanical, and electrical systems.

Around the end of the year, there will be some work at the site preparing it for construction including soil remidiation and utility trenching for the new roadway. Building construction will start in earnest in the Summer 2022 and be completed by the Summer of 2024.

Project History

The SPD and Engine 3 moved into the current public safety facility at 220 Washington Street in the 1980’s. It was a former MBTA bus barn that the city acquired from the state and renovated for the use. Forty years later and the building is functionally obsolete and requires replacement. The building is inadequate for current public safety operations and, furthermore, has been plagued with structural issues that have led to flooding and leaks.

Knowing the building needed to be replaced, the City included 220 Washington Street in the 2012 Union Square Revitalization Plan which was adopted by the Board of Alderman and Somerville Redevelopment Authority. This designated 220 Washington Street as part of a redevelopment parcel called D1. After an extensive process, the SRA selected US2 as the City’s partner for redevelopment in Union Square. The planning board adopted a neighborhood plan and the subsequent zoning change has culminated in an entitlement at the existing public safety site that includes commercial uses and a publicly accessible park.

To find a new home for public safety, a thorough space needs assessment was conducted and the City initiated a site search process to identify potential sites for a new complex. The 90 Washington Street site was deemed to be the most viable option in Somerville after an analysis that identified six potential sites. The Somerville Redevelopment Authority acted to acquire the site in 2019.

Welcome to the project page for the new Public Safety Building! The PSB will be a new home to police, fire administration, and Engine 3 at 90 Washington Street. Please keep reading to learn more about this exciting project.

Community Meeting - Wednesday, October 27th at 6:00

Join us at a community meeting to share the design progress for the development of the new public safety building at 90 Washington St. The project team will show the new realignment of New Washington Street, plans, & architectural renderings. The team will walk the attendees through the anticipated site preparation work which includes tree removal. This will be the first opportunity to provide input on the public space related to the project.

Click this link to register for the meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. See you then!

Project Goals

The public safety building project has several project goals:

  • Deliver a modern building that can change and adapt to policing and fire administration day-to-day operations over the course of generations
  • Help us achieve Somerville’s sustainability goals by being net zero ready
  • Use design to be welcoming to all members of the community

Project Site

The 90 Washington Street site will be an area of incredible activity over the next several years. The PSB project will coincide with a realignment of New Washington Street to meet Franklin Street at a 4-way intersection. There will also be two additional parcels that will be redeveloped (Parcels A & C). Economic Development will lead a community conversation starting this fall on the future of those sites.

Building Design

The PSB will be a new home to police, fire administration, and Engine 3. The 70,0000 square foot building is 4 stories with a 3-level parking garage. The exterior design is intended to look like two buildings, Engine 3 and the fire administration design inspiration is a traditional fire house. The police program and public amenities design inspiration is a modern, open, and transparent building to convey a department that goes beyond protecting and serving but that continues to work with the community to solve complex problems both now and in the future.

There will several community benefits as part of this project – a pocket plaza in the front of the building at the bend in New Washington Street, a community meeting room, and a south facing park fronting the existing alignment of New Washington Street. The community meeting room is placed to be a jewel box on the front of the building overlooking the pocket plaza. There will be new pedestrian and cyclist facilities on New Washington Street and, when the project is complete, this will be one of two new municipal buildings in decades.

Project Timeline

The PSB just finished the second phase of design called schematic design. The project team has a program for the building which itemizes all the types of spaces that need to be in the building and their square footage and the schematic design phase explores options for how these spaces can be pieced together to form the building. We've reviewed the project development with the building committee. At the end of the summer, the project will be transitioning into the third phase of design, design development. This is where the chosen design schemes from schematic design get refined and coordinated with structural, mechanical, and electrical systems.

Around the end of the year, there will be some work at the site preparing it for construction including soil remidiation and utility trenching for the new roadway. Building construction will start in earnest in the Summer 2022 and be completed by the Summer of 2024.

Project History

The SPD and Engine 3 moved into the current public safety facility at 220 Washington Street in the 1980’s. It was a former MBTA bus barn that the city acquired from the state and renovated for the use. Forty years later and the building is functionally obsolete and requires replacement. The building is inadequate for current public safety operations and, furthermore, has been plagued with structural issues that have led to flooding and leaks.

Knowing the building needed to be replaced, the City included 220 Washington Street in the 2012 Union Square Revitalization Plan which was adopted by the Board of Alderman and Somerville Redevelopment Authority. This designated 220 Washington Street as part of a redevelopment parcel called D1. After an extensive process, the SRA selected US2 as the City’s partner for redevelopment in Union Square. The planning board adopted a neighborhood plan and the subsequent zoning change has culminated in an entitlement at the existing public safety site that includes commercial uses and a publicly accessible park.

To find a new home for public safety, a thorough space needs assessment was conducted and the City initiated a site search process to identify potential sites for a new complex. The 90 Washington Street site was deemed to be the most viable option in Somerville after an analysis that identified six potential sites. The Somerville Redevelopment Authority acted to acquire the site in 2019.

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 7 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 7 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 7 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 7 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.

Page last updated: 15 October 2021, 14:46