Cambridge Infill and Small Developments

stellarfun

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With respect to 41 Linskey,
41 Linskey Way is an existing, underutilized three-story brick building, with a partial below-grade basement, planned for adaptive reuse as part of PUD Special Permit #243. Constructed circa 1907 for factory and warehouse uses, the historic structure will be completely renovated, including a new three-story annex on the building’s north side, to include 3,400 SF of Active Use on the ground floor (per Section 13.59.31 of the Zoning Ordinance), including a Mixed-Mode Transportation Hub or Mobility Hub (The Hub); with upper floors planned for office use. The proposed expanded building footprint will be set back from the northern property line to accommodate the Binney Street cycle-track, a generous pedestrian sidewalk to enhance the pedestrian experience, and public realm spaces suitable for sitting and passive uses. The Hub, referenced earlier, will be positioned at Binney and Second Streets in a highly visible, accessible location that will contribute to the project’s objective to provide “an interesting, lively, and active presence at street level”.
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Centrally located between the MBTA Red Line Kendall Square and Green Line Lechmere Stations (both approximately a 5 to10 minute walk from the building), the [Mobility] Hub will provide area residents, commuters, and visitors with a more efficient transfer between transit modes. Real time information on schedules for MBTA transit and local shuttles, as well as availability of ride-hailing, and car and bike sharing services, will be displayed on digital signage. Hub users will enjoy a tempered shelter with the conveniences of interior seating arrangements, seating spilling outside into the through block passage, restrooms, free wifi, and charging stations for electronic devices. Pedestrian and bicycle improvements implemented by ARE in connection with Special Permit 243 include pedestrian crossings, generous sidewalks, a dedicated cycle track and more than 700 short and long term bicycle parking spaces compare to the 435 required spaces.

41 Linskey might also be nicknamed the 'Syrup Building', as maple syrup was bottled there.
 

fattony

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Has someone told the City of Cambridge that the Davis Companies saw their plan for a transit-oriented, walkable, dense Alewife area and said "haha...no"?
Holy crap, that is abysmal urban design. How did this ever get approved?!?
 

Equilibria

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Holy crap, that is abysmal urban design. How did this ever get approved?!?
Some people would say that cities need to keep some light industrial around and reject the notion of "highest and best use". But they're marketing this as biotech space.
 

DZH22

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That area is already abysmal. It will never become a walkable neighborhood or anything of that sort. It isn't particularly convenient to Alewife station either, probably at least a 15 minute walk. Unless you bike, which is pretty hairy around here to begin with, 15 minutes is about as quick as you could possibly get from this development to the station. Frankly, I'm grateful that this proposal isn't denser. The only way in is via Concord Ave, and that stretch is already total gridlock for many hours of the day.
 

fattony

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That area is already abysmal. It will never become a walkable neighborhood or anything of that sort. It isn't particularly convenient to Alewife station either, probably at least a 15 minute walk. Unless you bike, which is pretty hairy around here to begin with, 15 minutes is about as quick as you could possibly get from this development to the station. Frankly, I'm grateful that this proposal isn't denser. The only way in is via Concord Ave, and that stretch is already total gridlock for many hours of the day.
Certainly not with decision making like this.

Inman Square is a 15 minute walk from a station too and has a legacy of light industrial use. But we don't just write it off as a lost cause, we transform it slowly making sure to take a step in the right direction with each change. This is decidedly a step in the wrong direction. Surely the surface parking isn't doing anything to alleviate gridlock.
 

DZH22

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Certainly not with decision making like this.

Inman Square is a 15 minute walk from a station too and has a legacy of light industrial use. But we don't just write it off as a lost cause, we transform it slowly making sure to take a step in the right direction with each change. This is decidedly a step in the wrong direction. Surely the surface parking isn't doing anything to alleviate gridlock.
Inman square is well within the "urban" zone of Boston. This area falls right outside of it, on the wrong side of Alewife Brook Parkway and Fresh Pond Parkway. This area was never urban to begin with, and it has no real retail neighborhood area unless you consider a stripmall to be the equivalent of a square. You sound like you have never been down this set of streets in your entire life if you are going to compare it to Inman Square. I work right in this neighborhood and I'm pretty well aware of the situation on the ground.

I put it into google maps under walking. Inman to Central is 0.6 miles through a dense urban neighborhood. Inman to Union is only 0.5 so even closer when the green line comes. This area to Alewife is 1.1 miles through what can best be described as a transit and development hellscape.

Inman is not a lost cause because it's a great square much closer to the heart of downtown everything (Cambridge, Boston, even Somerville) and has a bevy of good bars and restaurants. Plus it's an extremely walkable area already surrounded by dense residential in every direction. This area off Concord Ave is literally none of those things. It is a lost cause unless you raze everything, redo all the streets, redo EVERYTHING. It's a lost cause and we shouldn't lament that there should be something better here; there shouldn't.

Here's the spot today. It's really hard to take you seriously (I already don't most of the time) when you compare something like this, in a difficult to access group of sidestreets, to an urban gem like Inman Square. RIDICULOUS. Be sure to spin this view the full 360 degrees.
 

fattony

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This is one more in a long line of poor decision by the city that have relegated this neighborhood to "hellscape" status.

I know this area well too. It is not unreasonable to suggest that over the decades they could have razed a few buildings, redone a couple streets, and added at least a pedestrian bridge if not a full bridge over the train tracks to Alewife. Even without a good Alewife connection, the area is well served by bus to Harvard. Concord Ave and it's side streets are nice to the east in Observatory Hill and to the west in Belmont. There is nothing special about this section that requires that the side streets have to be a dump.

The city screwed this up, over and over and over again.
 

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