Design a Better Franklin Park

George_Apley

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I wonder about this. The same could easily be said about the Arboretum. and Jamaica Pond. The surrounding residential densities are probably even lower, and yet both are heavily used, so much so that I find social distancing at the Arbs a challenge at times. I think many people come from further away to visit these two but would for whatever reason not consider going to Franklin Park.
Franklin Park has no "identity" beyond the Zoo and the Golf Course. So no one outside of the neighborhood considers going there if not for those purposes. The park is in an underprivileged neighborhood relative to other city parks, meaning that programming and design is less considered in general by the city. It's vastly underutilized as it is and the city could change that relatively easily. I'm not sure if the Golf Course needs to go to do it, but I sure wouldn't mind if the gold course went. I don't value the game of golf though.
 

Scott

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Franklin Park is supposed to be the pendant of the necklace but unfortunately it is the end of the necklace. The Dorchesterway to the sea with a connection to the Harborwalk could be extraordinary
 

bakgwailo

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Franklin Park is supposed to be the pendant of the necklace but unfortunately it is the end of the necklace. The Dorchesterway to the sea with a connection to the Harborwalk could be extraordinary
Supposedly will be constructed from the money the City is getting from the Winthrop Square garage tower.
 

Scott

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There is money to improve Columbia Road which is a good start.
 

theSil

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Crossposting this for visibility. What is now the golf course was designed by Olmsted to be "The Country Park". Some excerpts that highlight its intended use:

A large part of the Country Park is to be wooded, and adapted to the use of picnic and basket parties, especially small family parties.
A grateful quietude may be enjoyed in it by many thousand people at a time if they are not drawn into throngs by spectacular attractions, but allowed to distribute themselves as they are otherwise likely to do.
If [the Country Park] part of the Park is to have value for any other purpose, it is designed that it shall occur but incidentally and at no appreciable sacrifice of advantages for the quiet enjoyment of the natural scenery.

And my favorite:

Turf, for example, is to be in most parts preferred as kept short by sheep, rather than by lawn-mowers.
 
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bakgwailo

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Crossposting this for visibility. What is now the golf course was designed by Olmsted to be "The Country Park". Some excerpts that highlight its intended use:








And my favorite:

Pretty much quintessential Olmsted and his desire to give city/urban dwellers a bit of raw nature to enjoy.
 

Scott

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I like the idea of a country park easily maintained by sheep that is designed to accommodate thousands of people instead of the golf course that serves far fewer and requires the constant attention of a maintenance staff armed with landscaping equipment and pallets of petroleum based fertilizers.
 

Blackbird

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FK4

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If I were mayor (and could control all these decisions many of which are state level)…

- agggressively rezone the area around the Columbia Rd gate. Build tall, include a movie theater

- rapid bus transit at least all the way from Nubian to Columbia. Rename the line the Franklin Park line, or otherwise herald the name as a destination (as well as on all other lines that pass thru here). Perhaps rename the gate “Columbia Gate” or something else that’s catchy to place-designate it

- banish the entire shattuck complex. Sorry, it never belonged there and it was and is an affront. No amount of bleeding heart handwringing over what the shelter does do (which work I support, obviously) in any way justifies the location. The city owns other land and should put it to use, period

- I hate the golf course but that’s probably a little too popular to take on

- long term plan would be BRT on Columbia and elimination of parking so as to allow boulevarding it back to original plan

- voila, the park is the nexus of transit and has commercial and residential development to liven it up
 

FK4

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I’m not sure how well known this is, and I’m pretty sure most people probably don’t know it, but until about 30 years ago, Humbolt (Roxbury) and Glen (JP) Rds both continued on into and through the park. I forget which road but i believe it was the continuation of Humbolt that was actually one of the oldest roads in Roxbury, and Olmsted just incorporated it into the park. Pic is from mapjunction.com from a 1994 map.

as far as the plan for circuit drive goes, i’m actually torn and part of me feels that having more auto access to some of those roads in the park, but on a very controlled and slowed down scale, I might actually breathe a little bit of life into the park. I definitely think it would be crazy to get rid of circuit altogether; it’s an important link between Dorchester and Roxbury on one end and Jamaica Plain on the other. However, the road is way too wide and despite the lane repainting a couple years ago, people flagrantly abuse that… They could easily do a road diet , and have bike trails on their own parallel ROW.
0D91D4D4-9E59-45AC-8448-8EFD329C866E.jpeg
 

The EGE

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The 16 currently runs on Circuit Drive; it would have to be substantially rerouted. Other than Shattuck (which would still be served if rerouted to Morton Street), the only stop within the park serves less than a dozen people per day. But there's about 1,000 daily boardings at Forest Hills, who are now looking at a ~5 minute detour depending on traffic. Completion of the BHA bus lanes - and preferably lanes on Morton Street and/or American Legion Highway as well - should be a prerequisite to any closure that requires rerouting the 16.
 

bigeman312

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I'd be hugely in favor of restricting all automobiles except the 16 bus from Circuit Drive.

It could act as a broad path for recreation and non-motorized transportation, with the occasional bus sharing the right-of-way.

EDITED FOR CLARITY
 
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Scott

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I agree. Cars can use Seaver Street to the north or American Legion Highway to the south to go east-west.

I don't agree with hi rises at Columbia Road and Blue Hill. I think there should be nice apartment buildings and retail infill. The area north of Egleston on Columbus Ave is where large scale development would be better.
 

FK4

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I agree. Cars can use Seaver Street to the north or American Legion Highway to the south to go east-west.

I don't agree with hi rises at Columbia Road and Blue Hill. I think there should be nice apartment buildings and retail infill. The area north of Egleston on Columbus Ave is where large scale development would be better.
Assuming you're referring to my post. I said build tall, but I didnt mean "high rises" which is a loaded term that usually implies ugly, cheap towers. I think the intersection of Columbia and BHA is an area that would greatly benefit from having much more of a destination feel, and that would be good for the neighborhood and good for the park since that's the main (or at least the most visible and grand) gate for Franklin Park. These blocks have great potential and perhaps some of the buildings or at least the facades could be saved, but having more height to close in BHA along this stretch would make this area feel much more like a 'place'. I was thinking 4-6 stories along BHA and and maybe a few stories higher on select lots behind the streetwall. I also think a single flagship building along with retail and infill would work very nicely here. In contrast to how windswept it feels now. Some of that could be solved by major improvements to the roads, but ultimately, this has always been the main gate to the park in my book and it deserves to be treated as such.

Egleston isn't really close to a major gate, and while sure, everywhere in Boston has room to grow including Egleston and Seaver, once you get onto Seaver St it's all residential. BHA @ Columbia is already largely commercial and has the bones to be more than it is. Also, in terms of neighborhood equity, this is an area that's much deeper into a neglected and underprivileged neighborhood so it would be great to see some investment pumped into here.

In looking at the old maps posted by The EGE, I'm way more in favor of getting rid of the golf course... I was never sure it wasn't in the original plan, so yeah, it would be great to see it go... with the caveat that I have no idea how much it's used by the immediately adjacent community (I occasionally here it said with pride that it's a rare example of a golf course right in the middle of an underprivileged community) so this is an issue that should probably be trod upon lightly and with an open mind.
 
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