Assembly Row Development | Assembly Square | Somerville

Equilibria

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Next to Public storage building
View attachment 17397
That's for EDGE:


I've never seen an updated architectural rendering for this, though. The Master Plan got approved last year. There was a public meeting in June, but no one bothered to post the slides, apparently.
 
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Equilibria

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It's not really a plan to extend Assembly but rather to complete Assembly. The Marketplace was part of the original master plan.

Also, I'm shouting into the void, but please planners, POST YOUR SLIDES ON THE WEB, if not before the meeting at least before the Globe article. The Newton Commuter Rail team did this before their meeting last night and it not only made for a more informed conversation and Q/A but also gave an impression of confidence and competence. So many of these project websites get bogged down in old meeting materials without highlighting new ones, and it sucks to see an article like this one and not be able to get any more information than what Tim Logan chose to share. He's a good reporter, but I want to see it all.
 
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Vagabond

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I should wait for the doc to be released... But it looks from the single render that:
1. FRIT owned parcels to be scaled significantly down from the other owners.
2. The highest vertical buildings will intentionally and effectively block the highway noise.
3. They expect the massive central parking lots to continue.
4. There will be very little redesign of the roadway to accommodate any new traffic patterns.
 

RandomWalk

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They are doing nothing to improve the moat of Route 28, which isolates Assembly and Ten Hills from each other.
 

kjdonovan

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This is another Somerville by Design exercise. The city does it with each neighborhood to develop a "neighborhood plan" that has, to date, largely served for three objectives:
  1. To advertise the neighborhood to prospective developers (i.e., here is what is possible in this space). Good example of this would be the Gilman Square or Lowell St plans, both of which are quite outdated.
  2. To serve as a development tool to help with eminent domain takings, grant proposals and funding requests. Example would be the Winter Hill plan. The big questions there was about property takings.
  3. To sketch out entirely new neighborhoods. Union, Brickbottom, Boynton Yards, and Assembly. This gives the city legal backing for disputes about land use by advocacy groups who may call for more open space, lower income housing, community resources like senior centers or libraries... We're seeing this final group getting put together with the involvement of developers from the start. Both the Union plan and the Assembly plan are developer/City collaborations, allowing a lot of the give and take to happen away from such things as community working groups.
 

Dr. Rosen Rosen

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I sort of like Assembly and want it to succeed and thrive, but it never feels like Somerville when I go there. Maybe it’s because it pretty much requires a car to get there from every other neighborhood and a parking garage to stay for a while? It always feels like a outdoor suburban mall. Maybe when the loss-leader outlet stores outlive their purpose that will change…
 

#bancars

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I sort of like Assembly and want it to succeed and thrive, but it never feels like Somerville when I go there. Maybe it’s because it pretty much requires a car to get there from every other neighborhood and a parking garage to stay for a while? It always feels like a outdoor suburban mall. Maybe when the loss-leader outlet stores outlive their purpose that will change…
I've only ever gotten there from the Orange Line, and with all the new housing going in there it seems like there may be a lot of natural foot traffic. But yeah, the location definitely makes it feel otherwise isolated, which is a shame, because its access to the Mystic is nice.
 

HenryAlan

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I've gone there by Orange Line and by bike, both of which work quite well if you are coming from Boston proper. But I do think it is very difficult to get to from other parts of Somerville, which is what I took @Dr. Rosen Rosen to mean about it not feeling like Somerville.
 

Lrfox

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I sort of like Assembly and want it to succeed and thrive, but it never feels like Somerville when I go there. Maybe it’s because it pretty much requires a car to get there from every other neighborhood and a parking garage to stay for a while? It always feels like a outdoor suburban mall. Maybe when the loss-leader outlet stores outlive their purpose that will change…
This is a pretty fair assessment. In addition to what you've indicated, I think the scale and "newness" have no peers elsewhere in Somerville (at least until Union Square development progresses further). It's an outlier in every sense of the word. But I'm still optimistic. The outlet stores are essential for drawing folks in from outside of the area, but as the area builds out and thousands of housing units are added, I'd be shocked if there wasn't better retail variety in the future. But as of right now, the vast majority of foot traffic in the area are people who have arrived from elsewhere by car.

Speaking of access, I lived near Davis Sq. and worked near N. Station until about a year ago. I rarely went to Assembly from home, and when I did I drove (about 15 minutes with little/no traffic). But I did occasionally go at lunch time for errands via the Orange Line which was quicker and easier than getting there from home. Even now that I've moved, the trip from Eastie to Assembly is pretty straightforward via the T.
 

erom

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I think it's fine and good that it "doesn't feel like Somerville" - it's positive when a city gets large enough to develop unique neighborhoods that feel different. What isn't good is how cut off the neighborhood is to it's neighbors. The path along the river to Sullivan is going to really help, I think, but we need better and especially MORE ways to get across the highway. Kensington is dilapidated but that's kind of whatever. The traffic problems are more critical (In my experience, drivers don't expect a pedestrian on a highway on ramp, so they ignore the signals. You basically have to step into the roadway and wave your arms before they take you seriously).

The single highest priority thing I can think of is to make the lights at Kensington solid red rather than flashing red. Right now the cars are allowed to proceed through the flashing red when clear, but that clearly isn't working. Make it a solid red and hopefully driver behavior will improve. Easy, cheap change to make that I think would really help.

The second is to improve the pedestrian experience at Lombardi/Mystic at the southern end. You have a great sidewalk on the Assembly side, you have a great sidewalk on the highway underpass, but then you have a weird no-mans land right at the intersection where the space to wait to cross the street is half blocked by construction fencing and the pedestrian light/button is all messed up (I assume someone ran into it with a truck or construction equipment). Repainting this intersection and pulling the stop line back a few feet should be another super easy, super high priority fix. That intersection also has terrible driver behavior (pop quiz, how many lanes does Mystic have? Whatever you just answered, it's wrong sometimes because the drivers form different numbers of lanes at different times of day) and honestly some paint to make it clear what lanes are for what and where to stop for the intersection would really help.

Both of those fixes are just light timings and paint and should be done yesterday.

After that the projects get expensive:
- A pedestrian overpass over 28 to connect to Ten Hills (You might think "why is Ten Hills connection critical? Isn't that just a kind-of-smallish residential neighborhood?" but look up where the public school for Assembly kids is)
- The footbridge over the river
- Another way to get under 93, from somewhere in the Vermont Ave area (I told you these projects get expensive). Personally I think we should just connect vermont ave to revolution (like, with a whole dang street you can drive through) but that's well into crazy territory.

Off the three expensive projects, I think the Ten Hills connection is the most critical (again, the school) and the cheapest to build.
 

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