Sample a Pop-Up Plaza in Downtown Crossing Tuesday Morning

There could be lots more outdoor seating in our future if the pilot goes well.

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This rendering shows one of the proposed designs for an outdoor plaza in Downtown Crossing. It does not show how the area will look Tuesday morning. Photo via the City of Boston

A few simple touches can go a long way in turning an otherwise drab piece of concrete into something fun.

Take City Hall Plaza, that chunky, wind-battered abomination, for example. Add a little fake lawn and some Adirondack chairs, mix in some bean bags for corn hole and boom: backyard fun zone. Wheel out a couple of kegs of beer and fence off a few hundred feet in one corner, and bam: beer garden.

Now there’s another space in Boston that is temporarily getting a little bit of love to showcase its potential this week: the extra-wide intersection of Franklin and Arch streets in Downtown Crossing.

From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., the roadway will see a pop-up plaza on its northern side. An area 180 feet long and 24 feet wide be fenced off with barricades and planters and outfitted with some tables and chairs, officials say. But those are just a placeholder. As suggested by a rendering posted on the city’s website today, the space could become so much more.

Tuesday’s pilot, according to a press release, is a test-run the city will use to gauge how well an actual plaza might do in that location and what kind of an impact it might have on foot and car traffic.

“We’re taking a tactical approach to improving this area for pedestrians,” says Chris Osgood, Boston’s Chief of Streets, in a statement. “In the future we can imagine a whole network of parks and plazas from Shopper’s Plaza to Post Office Square and on to the Greenway.”

Millennium Partners, the firm that built the nearby Millennium Tower, commissioned Boston architects Höweler + Yoon (you can thank them for “Swing Time” at the Lawn on D) to draft designs for outdoor seating at the Franklin and Arch intersection, which will be available for visitors to view Tuesday morning.

“This is an opportunity to look at the urban design and engineering considerations that need to be factored into the final design,” says Gina Fiandaca, Boston’s Transportation Commissioner, also in a statement. “We want to watch the changes in real time and be sure that we meet the needs of all road users in a permanent plaza.”