Should Quincy host volleyball in the 2024 Olympics, if Boston gets the Games?
Since the early '80s and over the past 35 years, Marina Bay has been transformed from the old Squantum Naval Air Base to a vibrant neighborhood and continues to evolve and grow. It has been a long and costly road, but worthy things in life always take time to perfect and cost a lot to produce.
While the final touches are being realized at this ward in Quincy, we are presented with a dream idea of being considered to host the volleyball tournament at the 2024 Olympic Games!
Strike a conversation with any of us, and you'll quickly hear what is desperately still needed at this side of the great city of Quincy:
1. An extension of Commander Shea Boulevard to give visitors a straight shot to the park and lessen the traffic impact within the complex.
2. Establishment of a water shuttle service to better connect Boston and Quincy.
3. Improvements to Squantum Point Park.
Locally, we have talked, discussed, mentioned, asked, and dreamed for these links and changes to take place, but over the years we have resigned ourselves to the fact that they might not happen soon, if ever. But the folks at Boston 2024 showed up just like a divine intervention, offering us a chance to host an exciting event and in so doing to potentially realize some of these long-awaited goals. Many of us enthusiastically support this proposal.
I have heard it said that after Boston there is only heaven! I for one would like to show up at heaven's gate with something big to brag about! Hosting such an international event in our state, and in our city, is something special and large. If we can't brag about that, I have no idea what other big story we will be able to tell and share?
The benefits are immense. The permanent improvements are large and needed. And they won't happen without seizing this rare opportunity. The individuals who are overseeing the Boston 2024 process are trustworthy, capable, and work for the benefits of all.
They deserve our full support! They are hard at work for the benefits of all.
To understand why the plan to stage an Olympic event in Quincy makes no sense, imagine 12,000 people per hour passing through the North Quincy Red Line Station. According to Mike McArdle, traffic planner for Boston 2024, that staggering number of passengers will come through the North Quincy Station every hour during the Olympics to visit the beach volleyball venue in Marina Bay during the Games.
Major improvements to the station will be required to handle the increased traffic – and those will have to be borne by taxpayers. Nikko Mendoza, vice president of engagement and external affairs for Boston 2024, said at a recent forum in Quincy that public funding would pay for MBTA improvements, not Boston 2024 and its private investors.
After exiting the train, the passengers would travel by tram along Commander Shea Boulevard to and from the venue at Squantum Point Park. The road already suffers from heavy traffic and frequent backups from residents who use the Neponset River Bridge as the main artery from Quincy to Boston.
As for Commander Shea Boulevard, it would have to be extended past Boston Scientific and directly into Squantum Point Park. No specific plans for the road construction or the trams are available at this time and neither Scientific nor the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, the two property owners who are directly affected by this construction, have commented on these changes.
Squantum Point Park itself has many environmental restrictions on it that make it an unsuitable site for the event. The site is part of a state-designated Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
As for the venue itself, the proposal calls for a 20,000-seat temporary stadium. By way of comparison, the TD Garden has 19,600 seats. The construction of the venue is projected to take 16 weeks, and taking it down would take seven weeks. All that for less than two weeks of play.
The idea of hosting the Games and having the city of Quincy broadcast all over the world is very exciting. But when you scratch the surface and find that it would mean months of construction and potential damage to ecologically fragile areas, the idea isn't very exciting after all.
As told to Globe correspondent John Laidler. He can be reached at email@example.com.