Restore a ton of parkland currently cordoned by ramps.
Connect the Esplanade more closely to the city, increasing accessibility and safety.
Connect more of the street grid to Storrow Drive, easing access for all modes.
Save a boatload of money not rebuilding the $300 million separation structures.
Reduce construction nightmare that rebuilding the Storrow tunnel would entail.
What’s the catch? Well, it might take a little bit longer to drive to your destination via the same route you used in the past. On the other hand, you might also save a lot of time by not having to go around and around in loops on one-way streets. I know that some traffic engineers will be screaming that this represents a “downgrade” but they can take that attitude back to the 1950s where it came from. For the rest of us, this would represent an upgrade: a better city. Plus, $300 million saved! Heck maybe more. I suspect that any attempt to replace the Storrow tunnel will quickly turn into it’s own “little Big Dig” with rapidly inflating costs. That’s a lot of money that could be put into so many other, better, actual improvements. Like making the MBTA an attractive option for people who currently feel like they have no alternative but to drive along this way. How MassDOT approaches the impending dilemma of the Bowker Overpass and the related Storrow Drive tunnels will tell if they are really serious about their “GreenDOT” proposal or not."
Over 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2050, this is widely expected to reach 70%. Cities are undergoing unprecedented change and urbanism is one of the most crucial issues of our time.
Here at This Big City we think the important and exciting issue of urbanism should be brought to the attention of Tumblr users by promoting the urbanism tag to featured status.
Featured tags are selected based on volume of content and engagement with content, which is why we need Tumblr’s fantastic urbanism community to support this campaign. Please reblog this post and add the urbanism tag whenever you share content related to the topic!
This is no short-term goal. It will take a consistent increase in the level of content for Tumblr to promote the urbanism tag.
Together we can build an engaging catalogue of content on the crucial issue of urbanism, hopefully resulting in the promotion of the urbanism tag to featured status. If we achieve this, the crucial issue of urbanism will land in the dashboard of millions of Tumblr users across the globe.
If you want to back our Urbanism Campaign and be added to the list below, reblog this post then drop us a message including your email address. We’ll be in touch! Most importantly, add the urbanism tag to all relevant content you share.
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The recent and important “complete streets” movement has made a terrific contribution to getting our streets right, by insisting that they be designed so as to accommodate all users, from motor vehicles to pedestrians to transit users and bicyclists. Thanks to the movement’s efforts, this is now the law of the land in an increasing number of jurisdictions. It’s an important start."
Streets are by definition public spaces.
6/6: Boston embraces age of the skyscraper
The Garden and Government Center garage mega-projects are ambitious variations on the same theme, at sites that have long held wasted potential. It’s the High Spine extended into North Station. The Causeway Street site that Boston Properties and Delaware North are now teeing up for redevelopment has been a fenced-off parking lot since the old Boston Garden came down 15 years ago. The property, once the center of a dark, beer-stained, part-time corner on the edge of town, is now teeming with activity. The Big Dig, the demolition of the elevated Green Line, and the expansion of North Station have combined to open up a neighborhood penned in by hulking transportation systems. New residences and offices are now springing up on three sides of the Garden site. The proposal for replacing the old Garden with 1.7 million square feet of new homes, offices, hotel rooms and shops — punctuated with towers that could match the tallest buildings in the Financial District — would anchor all this new development. The Government Center Garage project is even more ambitious. It would transform a nine-story, 2,300-car garage that spans Congress Street into a five-acre, six-building complex. The garage is the last of a number of urban renewal-era parking structures that the city sold in the 1970s and 1980s to be slated for redevelopment. It has deadened the surrounding city blocks and walled off the downtown from the Bulfinch Triangle for roughly half a century. The garage’s developer, the HYM Investment Group, wants to cut the garage in half, wrap its blank sides in shops, offices, and homes, add new structures along the Greenway and Haymarket Square, and top the garage’s western half with a pair of significant new towers. The garage redevelopment and the Garden project are both large, expensive, and unusually tall for their part of town. In each case, the height isn’t an end to itself, but a way of paying for the retail and street level improvements below. And the shops at the base of the developments are aimed at reinforcing the activity that’s already happening in the low-slung neighborhoods next door, in the North End and Beacon Hill and the emerging Bulfinch Triangle. It’s the High Spine extended into North Station — height, density, and low-rise neighborhoods all working in harmony."
This plan looks awesome. I hope NIMBY’s don’t nibble it to death.
Part of a brilliant blog post by a Jamaica Plain resident on the history of the Arborway in Forest Hills and a bright vision of the future.
This terrific post on Steve Miller’s Blog is a long read but worth reading for it’s compilation of strategies for making bicycling safer and desirable for everyone. Check it out!
Discuss: Is the state starving the MBTA?
House approves $500m transportation finance bill
Cities that once fell victim to crippling suburban flight are booming, thanks to a surge in residents who value walkable streets and lively neighborhoods over large suburban home lots. Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville are growing more quickly than the state as a whole; they’re also young and getting younger, even as the rest of Massachusetts ages. And employers are following them into the urban core, paying huge markups to operate in Boston and Cambridge, rather than in a low-slung building at the bottom of a highway off-ramp. This shift has come to a head as Massachusetts moves out of recession. Post-recession booms usually start in the suburbs, where builders stalk cheap land and bargain-hunting corporations. But that isn’t the case this time around. Instead, companies are seizing the city center. Biogen has ended its flirtation with the suburbs and is expanding in Cambridge instead. Pfizer, Novartis, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, the Broad Institute, Amazon, and Google are all growing around Kendall Square. Vertex Pharmaceuticals is headlining the buildout of Boston’s Seaport. Converse is swapping its North Andover headquarters for Causeway Street. State Street is giving up a series of suburban properties to construct an expensive new complex along the Fort Point Channel. And as companies chase young talent in the urban core, the region is making moves to grow even younger and denser. Builders are lining up thousands of new housing units for Downtown Crossing and the Fenway. Cambridge’s Central Square, Somerville’s Brickbottom and Union Square, and Boston’s Fairmount corridor are all being up-zoned to accommodate new development. New residences are clustering around Alewife and Wellington Circle. Entirely new neighborhoods are springing up in Quincy Center and Somerville’s Assembly Square. The common element in all of this is mass transit access. Residents and companies crowd into Boston and Cambridge to feed off the cities’ connectivity; continued transit access is at the heart of the business plans allowing these places to grow denser still. It’s not reasonable to expect that all of State Street’s employees are going to rent apartments on A Street. But it is reasonable to expect that if State Street is recruiting young, mobile, urban employees, a decent chunk of them are going to be riding subway cars and buses to Fort Point from the Fenway or Somerville or Charlestown. The MBTA is already straining to keep up with its current users. Its core stations — Kendall, Park Street, Downtown Crossing, and Copley Square — are above capacity now, even before accounting for the tens of millions of square feet currently in the construction pipeline. At the same time that the system is being pushed toward its breaking point, it’s being starved financially. Forget about running the Green Line to Somerville: The Legislature is now poised to advance a $500 million transportation tax plan that would leave basic maintenance for the aging transit system, like new buses and subway cars, unfunded. Just as infrastructure investments enable private investment, so too will public disinvestment put pressure on the huge sums firms are now sinking into the city. The biggest potential drag on the region’s economy isn’t developers’ ability to find customers for all the apartment towers and office buildings they’re erecting; the constraint is their ability to move around town."
Podcast of the Day
On the streets of early 20th Century America, nothing moved faster than 10 miles per hour. Responsible parents would tell their children, “Go outside, and play in the streets. All day.”
And then the automobile happened. And then automobiles began killing thousands of children, every…
Deadline to write MassDOT w/ your support for Casey Arborway at grade road in Forest Hills, Jamaica Plain is Mar. 13. Check out my blog post on why auto-centric highways (elevated or otherwise) are bad for the urban environment and what we can build in its place. Then, please write a letter of support for the at-grade project and your ideas for design to:
Thomas F. Broderick,
P.E., Chief Engineer,
10 Park Plaza,
Boston, MA 02116,
Attention.: Paul King, Project File No. 605511
firstname.lastname@example.org (include the above address information in the email)
Such submissions will also be accepted at the meeting. Mailed statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public meeting transcript must be postmarked within ten (10) business days of this Public Information Meeting. Project inquiries may be emailed to:
Still, the potential for thriving redevelopment is vividly apparent in Forest Hills, and in many other areas around transit stations — and together, these sites will hold the key to providing something Eastern Massachusetts desperately needs to make itself more welcoming: reasonably priced, transit-friendly housing that will attract newcomers to the Boston area.
All too often, the state’s out-of-control housing prices prevent that from happening now. The Boston region has the nation’s third-highest rental prices, trailing only San Francisco and New York; the region also has extremely low vacancy rates for both renters and buyers. This paucity of housing scares away businesses and potential residents. There is no starker illustration of these woes than the thousands who graduate from Boston-area universities every year and immediately leave to start their careers and families elsewhere — an exodus that takes a continuing toll on the city’s vitality.
Massachusetts has at least promoted the construction of housing whose costs is artificially kept down through deed restrictions, subsidies, and other means. But these measures aren’t necessarily helpful to younger workers who earn just a little too much to qualify for affordable-housing programs. What the region needs — and what Boston and other dense local communities should promote — are moderately priced market-rate units in emerging neighborhoods with good transit access and the potential to develop appealing urban amenities.
Great article on development in my neighborhood. I’m excited about what’s in store for the future (if we can keep the NIMBY’s at bay).