The question of whether the 2024 Olympic Games will be as walkable and accessible for the public as the initial pitch to the IOC is opening a new chapter as Boston 2024 rolls out the 2.0 plan with venues staggered all over the Bay State.
On Wednesday morning, Quincy Mayor Tom Koch and Boston 2024 CEO Rich Davey announced that Squantum Point Park, a former airbase under the landing route of planes headed to Logan, next to a rusted and depleted seawall, would house a 20,000-seat stadium for the volleyball events.
But the Quincy proposition is not without its own concerns. Squantum Point Park is not easily accessible, and would completely depend on ferries, trains and shuttles to bring in the crowds to the events and back. MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said that the MBTA has no position or opinion on Boston 2024’s conceptual ideas.
Davey said that the timing of the Games line up with the annual drop in traffic and MBTA traffic in the summertime.
“Transit is directly connected to people’s ability to walk to the Games,” WalkBoston Communications Manager Brendan Kearney said. “If they want to have a walkable Olympics, they need to make sure that the transit system can accommodate that many people hoping to get to the events.”
But not all are thrilled with the prospect of dispersing Olympic events throughout the Commonwealth.
“We cannot tie our hopes for MBTA improvements to the Olympics, No Boston 2024 co-founder Chris Dempsey said. “We are not seeing any transit project rollouts. Boston 2024 can tell you where things are going to happen and the date of the opening ceremonies but they cannot answer basic fundamental question of if tax payers are on the hook or if actual money will go towards core issues like the T.”
The original bid to the IOC promised to deliver “the most walkable Games in modern times.” The committee initially set their crosshairs on Long Island, the former cite of a homeless shelter, for the skeet and trap shooting events and had Boston Harbor hosting the sailing events.
Davey said Boston 2024 will roll out 15 or more venue location announcements. There are 33 venues in total.
Initially, the beach volleyball events were slated for The Boston Common. This was one of the most hotly contested and criticized venue propositions in the bid presented to the International Olympic Committee.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our entire region, an opportunity we all know can only be captured with the active involvement and support of the community,” Koch said. “I am pleased that one of the very first things Boston 2024 has done as part of its Quincy venue proposal is to schedule a community meeting [in July] to share its vision, answer questions, and address any concerns our residents will have.”