Few love Boston's current city hall, an ugly structure easily mistaken for a massive parking garage surrounded by a "public plaza" so offputting that it often remains nearly empty even on beautiful summer days when nearby destinations like Quincy Market are bustling. However, I question Mayor Manino's solution: selling off the existing site and building a new one along the South Boston waterfront.
City Hall isn't just another building open to the public, like a museum or concert hall. As the seat of city government, it needs to be accessible to as many people as possible; and the available "silver line" bus service is vastly inferior to the network of trains around the current site. Without new light rail or trolley service connecting to existing lines, this will make it much more difficult for most workers and citizens to get there.
And while I understand the mayor's enthusiasm for remaking the South Boston waterfront, City Hall shouldn't be a neighborhood pioneer like, more appropriately, the new Institute of Contemporary Art. City Hall should be at a community's heart, not trying to help create a new one. Why not open up the existing site to some sort of public/private partnership competition to build a better, new City Hall along with other, private square footage to help foot the bill?