My Boston improvement ideas

BarbaricManchurian

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First of all, they should put traffic lights on Storrow Drive and make it less wide, creating more parkland and make the park more a part of the city (by having crosswalks as well as pedestrian overpasses).

Second, they should streamline the bereaucracy, shorten the permitting process to 7 days from the current 3 years so that if there's a demand for new buildings in Boston, it will get built instead of in the suburbs or in another state which happens many times. With government as slow as this, it's miraculous we have this good a skyline in Boston.

Third, they should relax the height limit and allow more bold, modern architecture in Boston. The first design for the Boylston Street Apple store was amazing and would have created a modern contrast to the mishmash of historical styles on the street (some Federal, some Beaux-Arts, some faux-historical) and shown the world Boston is progressive, modern, always not afraid to have the latest architecture as well as ideas. The water downed version still is a lot more modern then what I would have thought they would have allowed, so it still would make a really good contrast in that part of Boylston Street. The height limit should be relaxed and they should be allowed to build 500 feet anywhere north of Dorchester and east of BU. Boston will look great and would have great skyscrapers mixed in with historical buildings, more like NYC then not allowing skyscrapers in districts just because they're historical. Sometimes you need something modern, like the BAC on Newbury Street. It looks ugly, but it makes a nice difference and they need that kind of difference (better architecture though) all throughout historic Boston.

Fourth, they should eliminate the power of the NIMBYs. Unless 40% or more of the people of Boston oppose the project, it should be allowed to be built. No more neighborhood meetings where NIMBYs become armchair architectural critics. No more slow government where NIMBYs can file multiple appeals. Get rid of their power and Boston will become extremely dynamic and great.

These are my ideas, maybe a little too bold for Boston and others on this forum but of course it will never happen.
 

cool36

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I think they should not put traffic lights on storrow drive because it will be a disaster. They should tunnel it.

1.They should make major venues and concert halls around the city. Concerts for example like Olympia and Zenith.
2.Sky tower
3.Football Stadium
5.Improve and extend public transportation
6.New sets of tall buildings and more skyline density
7.New lightings on the Two International Place crown and The State Street Bank Building.
8.They should put red,white and blue lightings around the radio mass on the One Beacon Tower.
9.Built a Pyramid shape tower
10.Renovate South station and expand North Station.
11.Renovate the government center
12.Make a rail connection from North station and South Station.
13.Soccer Stadium
 
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Charlie_mta

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I agree with all of the above, except that I do side towards traffic lights on Storrow Drive rather than tunneling. The cost of tunneling expressways is enormous, and the money would be far better spent on improving rail transit in the inner metro Boston area.

My list of improvements are:

- Convert the Green Line Central Subway and Riverside Line to heavy rail, with cars similar to the Blue Line.

- Redevelop Charles River Park into a dense urban neighborhood of narrow streets and high density residential and small retail. This has been addressed on another thread in this section.

- In-fill the Rose Kennedy Greenway with high density residential and office, with a few vest pocket parks remaining. Reconfigure the surface one-way couplet to be a two-way boulevard with a meandering alignment, to break up the gun-barrel corridor effect.

- Redevelop Government Center. Remove some of the more offensive GC buildings, remove the GC parking garage, and infill the entire area including City Hall Plaza with a highly dense street grid and low, mid and high rise office and residential.

- Construct modern elevated rail lines in the inner metro area. The technology has increased to the point where elevated rail can be quiet and relatively unobtrusive. They would be suitable on wide streets, which would avoid most problems with shadows. Here's one type:http://www.aptrentals.net/vancouverfiles/skytrain6.jpg

I know NIMBY's would be opposed to most, if not all, of these ideas, but the NIMBYs do need to be reigned in a bit for Boston and its environs to move forward.
 

itchy

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Charlie, I fully agree with you on the CRP, Rose Kennedy Greenway and City Hall Plaza proposals. Notice how well the acronym CRP describes the place?

The failures Ed Logue and others perpetrated on the city in the 20th century, undoing centuries of organic community and economic development to impose an ill-considered "vision" on the city, should absolutely be righted in our time.

Imagine the blighted swaths of downtown Boston -- the West End, City Hall Plaza, the Central Artery/Greenway -- redeveloped to bring back the street grid and populate them with an ecologically progressive, small-scale, livable, vibrant and active neighborhood -- townhouses for middle-income families and young singles and couples; small, local businesses; and stores from clothing boutiques to groceries. For all the talk in the media and among officials of all stripes about climate change, energy efficiency and so on, Boston could and should be taking much greater steps toward this.

What better way than by rejecting the vision of a few short-sighted men in the 1960s and reclaiming the area with individually built, architecturally diverse homes, offices and stores -- powered by solar or geothermal energy and with a state-of-the-art water-recycling system -- creating the centerpiece of a forward-thinking, bustling, pedestrian-dominated and transport-accessed grouping of neighborhoods at a time when demand for dense urban living is surging. It'd cause an international sensation and bring residents, businesses and tourists flooding the area.

Under Menino, I give even the best, most feasible ideas the slightest chance of happening, though ... the question is if these blighted areas can be repaired before Menino builds 3 or 4 homely CBT office buildings on them :confused:
 

Charlie_mta

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Itchy,

Redevelopment of the RKG, Government Center and Charles River Park into dense, diverse and vibrant neighborhoods are the most important items to me as well.

The two transit related ones - convert the Green Line to heavy rail, and construct modern elevated rail lines in the inner metro area - are not meant to be specific proposals, but really just express the need to beef up rail transit in the inner metro area. Development of density and an improved rail system in the inner environs go hand in hand. I'd rather see upgrading and expansion of lines close in than see continued commuter rail expansion in the outer suburbs, which would seem to encourage suburban sprawl.

I've visited Vancouver BC a few times and ridden on the Skytrain system. The ride on the elevated rail system into Vancouver is a very exciting and inspiring one: high density high rise residential, elevated rail passing through high and quiet, a large city compact, functional, diverse and exciting. There are also strict laws keeping suburban sprawl to a minimum; the emphasis on development is to build up the inner city and keep the outlying areas relatively undeveloped, except for high density areas near the elevated rail stations.

Tunneling rather than elevated is the ideal, but with the scarce transit funding available I think certain route locations in the inner environs of the Boston area would be suitable for elevated rail, in order to expand the transit system to access under-served highly populated areas for a reasonable capital cost. Modern elevated rail probably would not happen in the Boston area, but it is extremely successful in Vancouver BC and has greatly enhanced the proper development and the urban experience of that city.
 
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cool36

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And they should take off those ugly zipper barriers on I-93/SE expressway
 

Lrfox

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The HOV lanes are a must. The only problem with them I've ever had is heading northbound on the SE Expressway during the afternoon commute. Since one lane is lost (because of the zipper lane), it gets really choked up from about 3-6 between the split at the beginning of the SE Exway and the Mass Ave. exit. I'd still rather have the zipper than permanent HOV lanes or worse, a highway widening.

I do get a kick out of people on 93 southbound, north of the city. So many people risk life and limb to get out of the HOV lane (very left lane) because they see the signs and realize they're approaching it. However, in smaller print on the signs, it says 2+ Only from 6-10AM. After those hours, anyone can use it. Bunches of people don't see this, or just really hate using it (only explainations I can think of) and cut out of the exit lane at the last minute. If it weren't so dangerous, it would be funny.
 

JohnAKeith

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I couldn't think of any where else to post this, so this will do.

Here's a blog entry by a long-time (South End) Boston resident, David Sprogis.

He seems to be espousing (?!) some of the ideas discussed here on the archboston forum (when people aren't calling each other cocksuckers).

So far, he's only written this one entry and it's from last August.

I saw David at a South End Landmarks Commission meeting several years ago where he stood up to criticize what a local landowner was attempting to do. He came across very wise but also as someone who doesn't suffer fools gladly. My hero?

His family owns part of the Sprogis & Neale real estate company in the South End, but I don't know if David was every a part of it or whether his wife (and now, son) operated it, individually.

BTW, he and his wife first moved to the South End in 1962. They've sure seen a lot in forty-eight years.

Broken Boston

In recent years the city has had available income burning a hole in its pockets and has been making bad choices. Now that the unrealistic income bubble has broken (see, The Ascent Of Money), the city is scrambling for more money. The state is deeply implicated in all of this but the soon-to-be city election is the focus

OBJECTIVE OF THE MOMENT:

To convince readers that in these times, although we vote for our choice, we do not get government administrations acting for the people (On a national scale, witness what our regulators have allowed financial institutions to bring forth in depression and further note, it is world wide because of the economic power of the American dollar). It happens in both parties, on national, state and city levels. Many things are askew in our city. Herein a narrow but significantly large economic aspect is to be addressed.

This offers a first step toward possible solution.

PROCESS

We must demand that candidates make signed and notarized pledges in writing that are published in the newspapers to the effect that, if elected, will force all bureaucrats of all departments to reveal to the public in frank language all projects before the city of Boston and the BRA including the sponsors, details of, stage of, under consideration or started. AND to make public all the details of the BRA organization as is including complete financial reports including salaries, employees, job descriptions as well as for all of its consultants, and properties and their leases. To force the BRA to be answerable to the Mayor and City Council. Solutions would not then be complex.

Readers are to add relevant information by e-mail that adds to information, supports or defends that which is stated herein.

ARGUMENTS ILLUSTRATING NEED FOR THE OBJECTIVE:

For years it has been scheduled for the City Hall (the facility) to be moved out to the far end of the South Boston harbor-front. To those who care about sensibilities and waste it hangs like an albatross about the neck. Additionally, there are two separate very large new (in terms of such a building?s lifecycle) multistory garages (downtown parking facilities) scheduled to be replaced with mega-structures. They are within four small blocks of each other (and one of the mega-structures is twice the height of the John Hancock tower). I say ?scheduled? because why else has so much cost to the citizens, time and meetings and periodic news items gone on and on without the city specifically shutting consideration off? (These are not to be confused with a much older garage in Winthrop Sq. also scheduled to have a 1,000 foot tower, also wrongful). There are a number of such albatrosses. Active civic minded people drop out of participation due to constant frustration, and/or fear of retribution ? the old saying of ?Can?t fight City Hall? haunts only because citizens let it happen ...
 

Mayor Menino's Crohn's

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Why this thread has been revived, is even beyond me!!

If anything Storrow Drive is not wide enough as it is. Making it underground would cost years and would take years to finish.

With that said, I feel that they should extend the Blue line UNDER Storrow Drive out to Watertown Sq. In other words, don't stop at Charles/MGH (Red-Blue Connector). Build it and extend it the route of Storrow Drive and then have it go out to Watertown.

Repair Causeway Street. Christ, I can't stress it enough. It's like driving up and down someone's spine. Also, plant some trees along the road. And would it hurt to put in a Verizon store or high-end restaurant on Causeway while we're at it? Get rid of the "Penalty Box" and "The Liquor Store." Put something nice in there.

Relocate Gillette to South Boston...I don't think that I mentioned that yet ;)

Renovate City Hall Plaza. Get some MIT architects to redesign it.

Repair the concrete in the Big Dig. Something about 'unwashed sand' makes me thinks that something bad will happen to motorists and pedestrians alike.

Let Chifaro build. 'Nuff Said.

@Cool36...nice on the soccer stadium, but I think that Kraft has worked out a deal with the City of Somerville to relocate the New England Revolution there.
 

JohnAKeith

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I hate fun stuff but I like being around people who like fun stuff.

Shouldn't Boston have a Winter Festival?

Here are three cities that do. We were up in Quebec City one year during Bonhomme by coincidence and it was fun. The past five years have been warm and we've been short snow, but maybe this current year is the start of a cold spell so we could guarantee snow and cold weather.

Click through for photos of giant panda bears or some other shit.
http://www.jaunted.com/story/2011/1/25/9255/69677/travel/Three+of+2011's+Best+Winter+Festivals,+Plus+the+World's+Largest+Ice+Skating+Rink

Three of 2011's Best Winter Festivals, Plus the World's Largest Ice Skating Rink
January 25, 2011

Sure it?s pretty chilly outside and the snow keeps falling from the sky, but that doesn?t mean that you need to totally dismiss winter as the worst season. There are plenty of positives to the snow and cold, so here?s three festivals that want to show you how great things can be:

? Saint Paul Winter Carnival:
If there?s one state that?s known for its winter weather it?s Minnesota, so it?s no surprise that one half of the Twin Cities is a great place to celebrate the season. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival kicks off this weekend and runs through February 6. Dubbed "the coolest celebration on earth," the festival features activities only found in the dead of winter, and they know what they?re doing as this thing has been running for over 100 years.

The ice carving competition happens this weekend from January 27 through 30, and there will be public ice skating opportunities each and every day of the festival at Landmark Center. For those that would rather carve things out of snow, there?s even separate snow sculpting events. Other features include an autonomous snowplow competition where college kids build snowplowing, ice-busting robots that run through a designated course. Of course no festival could be complete without a parade, so be sure to bundle up before hitting the parade route.

? Winterlude in Ottawa:
Up in Canada things get pretty cold and snowy, but they definitely have a little bit of experience when it comes to planning winter activities. This year?s Winterlude festival is a celebration of all things cold and will draw plenty of visitors for the better part of three weekends. This year?s festival runs from February 4 through February 21.

The biggest claim to fame is the world?s largest skating rink?the Rideau Canal Skateway?that runs through the center of downtown Ottawa. There?s vendors right along the rink pedaling things like BeaverTails?kind of like fried dough Canadian style?as well as plenty of warm and toasty beverages. Once you slip off the skates head over to Confederation Park where there will be plenty of larger than life ice sculptures. Finally, the Sun Life Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques-Cartier Park is transformed into a playground filled with winter fun?including snow and ice slides!

? Quebec Winter Carnival:
If you can?t wait until Winterlude, Quebec gets their festival started a little bit earlier, as this year?s Winter Carnival kicks off on January 28 and runs through February 13. The first weekend kicks off with a parade filled with giant inflatable characters?think Macy?s Thanksgiving Parade but way colder?as well as two night time parades later in during the festival.

Just like some of the other festivals, there will be plenty of opportunities to see ice and snow in all kinds of beautiful designs and sculptures, but there are also a few more interesting offerings here as well. There?s dogsled racing, a giant foosball game, a zip line, and snow rafting and snow sliding. You really can?t go wrong wandering around the different festivities and events, assuming you dressed warmly, but just make sure you don?t miss Bonhomme. The carnival?s mascot can be seen throughout the festival, but the opening night events, parades, and canoe races are all good spots to grab a photo?and maybe an autograph!
 

Mayor Menino's Crohn's

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? I'm not understanding you here.
Every year since 2007, the City of Lowell holds "Winterfest" and it's a complete disaster IMHO. It's a cheap ripoff of Montreal's Winterfest. It's too cold. There aren't really any people out there. It's not like Folk Fest where there are balston's of people from far and wide who come.

City Manager Bernie Lynch and the City of Lowell have recently been on the upswing as far as urban planning. They have made many inroads. This isn't one of them. Which is really too bad. But you can't win 'em all.

And they have a bear whose name is Lola (LOWELL-la...get it?)
 

Ron Newman

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I've never been to Lowell's event. I suspect its success in any particular year is highly dependent on the weather. (And yeah, wtf is this "it's too cold" business?)
 

statler

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Winterfest would be much better if they held in June or something. What the hell Lowell?!?
 

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