Roslindale Infill and Small Developments

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
152
As a Rozzie resident myself, I'm not sure it will take a lot of heat, actually. Roslindale in general and the Square in particular are now filled with people who want a dense, walkable, and lively neighborhood. If you want proof: Turtle Swamp recently held an abutters meeting, as it's attempting to turn what is now a temporary beer garden in the substation into a permanent operation. Not a single person spoke up in opposition. Not one.
Well, I think the question is, who is the “neighborhood” here, since the square is more an intersection of different hoods. I’ve lived here for a year and a half, so haven’t been to enough development and other community-related meetings to have a strong feel for what to expect. Based on the meetings I have been to, though, my guess is there will be
- some young folks who support more density and less cars
- other young-ish and middle aged folks (“first wave” arrivers, but non-true-rozzie “locals”) who will be the most vociferously opposed and base this on gentrification fears (this is exactly what every JP meeting is like - the loudest voices for fighting off any development are people who were responsible for the seeds of gentrification, 20+ years ago, and feel they have extra claims on preserving things the way they like them - I can’t blame them, but that’s how it goes), and
- a few locally born locals and a few commercial tenants who might have some minor concerns over parking competition...

Bronson, I think if this project were anywhere but the Square proper - even one block north or south, where there is more residential parking needs (or, if you wish, “needs”), there would be more opposition. I’m amazed that Turtle Swamp sailed through, although that’s a bit of a different case... since it was in desperation out of failure to lease a permanent tenant that two pop-up, time-limited tap rooms have gone through there, with the second one subsequently morphing into permanence... And, since it’s affiliated with a brewery, I believe Turtle Swamp remains subject to all the (unfortunate) restrictions on serving hours that affect breweries in this wonderfully business-friendly state. If the substation site had started off with a proposal for a permanent establishment that served alcohol, there might’ve been some more opposition than this atypical and blurry process. Anyway, there was sure a lot of feisty opposition to the weed shop on South Street, so I can’t say everyone is “totally chill” here... sigh... are they anywhere?
 

odurandina

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
5,328
Reaction score
256
^^Great points made here. But it begs a greater question. Is a neighborhood a town like Belmont? Or is it part of the City of Boston? At what point does the City have the right to build this neighborhood to become more dense and integrated with modern urban life, and simply approve? You have the Needham Line going right through with tremendous capacity (if they were ever to extend the Orange Line). Isn't this the far better choice than the City exercising it's eminent domain authority? Why can't residents accept that Boston will inevitably build residential buildings, if and when space to build is acquired, and neighborhoods eventually become urban. You can't stay the same for 140 years.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
495
- other young-ish and middle aged folks (“first wave” arrivers, but non-true-rozzie “locals”) who will be the most vociferously opposed and base this on gentrification fears (this is exactly what every JP meeting is like - the loudest voices for fighting off any development are people who were responsible for the seeds of gentrification, 20+ years ago, and feel they have extra claims on preserving things the way they like them - I can’t blame them, but that’s how it goes), and
I'm one of those middle aged "first wave" arrivers and I know quite a few others. I'd say we are generally speaking in favor of more housing in Roslindale and eliminating parking minimums. Certainly all groups will have a range of opinions, but there are quite a lot of pro development activists in this group who strongly push for more density with less parking. I think the largest opposition to this will mostly come from merchants in the Square who think their businesses depend on street parking. They will see a proposal like this one as directly competing with their customers' access to parking. The next group to oppose will be people who frequent the square but prefer to drive. I live a block from the Square, those people can park on my street. I'm okay with that, but they don't want to walk that one block. These are mostly older, set in their way types who just don't generally like change of any sort.

And odurandina, I'm not quite following your comment. First, Roslindale is part of the city of Boston. Second, there is no issue of eminent domain, the parcel is privately owned, to be developed by a private corporation. The city's role is only in the realm of regulatory oversight. And third, Roslindale is already urban. You'd know that if you spent some time there, but I'm guessing you gaze out at the Arboretum as you pass by in one of those Needham trains and mistake the presence of a large park for suburbia.
 

BronsonShore

New member
Joined
Feb 13, 2014
Messages
84
Reaction score
37
I'm one of those middle aged "first wave" arrivers and I know quite a few others. I'd say we are generally speaking in favor of more housing in Roslindale and eliminating parking minimums. Certainly all groups will have a range of opinions, but there are quite a lot of pro development activists in this group who strongly push for more density with less parking. I think the largest opposition to this will mostly come from merchants in the Square who think their businesses depend on street parking. They will see a proposal like this one as directly competing with their customers' access to parking. The next group to oppose will be people who frequent the square but prefer to drive. I live a block from the Square, those people can park on my street. I'm okay with that, but they don't want to walk that one block. These are mostly older, set in their way types who just don't generally like change of any sort.
I'm sure you're right to an extent--there's always some pushback. But business owners didn't seem to object to the plan to pedestrianize Poplar Street, which will eliminate 10-15 parking spots in the heart of the Square. That was quickly approved and is scheduled to be done this Fall. Of Boston's outer neighborhoods, Roslindale seems to be by far the most pro-development right now.
 

odurandina

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2015
Messages
5,328
Reaction score
256
I'm not quite following your comment. First, Roslindale is part of the city of Boston.
Yes, indeed it is.
Second, there is no issue of eminent domain, the parcel is privately owned, to be developed by a private corporation. The city's role is only in the realm of regulatory oversight.
Yes. i was posting in response not only to who is a neighborhood in 21st Century Boston–but HOW Boston will plan increasingly significant sections of the neighborhoods without resorting to dropping the E.D. authority hammer–but instead, choose a rubber hammer of civic cooperation.

1. Something like ~80,000,000 people added to the population in roughly 30 years. 2. Attempting to sustain our status as a tech region (after Flynnino and Greater Boston didn't build any housing for 30 years)–Walsh issued a decree called Boston 2030 to use new, creative and substantial ways to build (53,000 now 65,000 or something) housing units. Members who sit on the City Counsil talk about new housing for the City, except of course in their own neighborhoods where the language suddenly reverts to Zakim-speak.

W.R., Rozzie, Roxbury, and to some extent Hyde Park-Readville (if the NEC remains an option), are prime T.O.D. area.... and the ancient ways, provincialism, etc won't cut it anymore.

The milieu of T.O.D. is not only over the long term, do you not displace people, but the real monster (gentrification) is held in check. This will come as outrage to some people – but the currently realities are too severe for our community's young, trying to gain a foothold. A city and a neighborhood must work and function for everyone, and i think we allowed the community to drift away from that in an almost tragic way.

The reality is–we are a changing City. For the 117 folks who show up to these meetings who can't cut it, alternative neighborhoods in the marketplace exist for their benefit. People can stretch out from Braintree or the south shore clear to Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, etc. The hopes for the young and old to be able to afford to live in this City shouldn't be a monopoly for 1 and a gun held to the head of the other.
third, Roslindale is already urban. You'd know that if you spent some time there, but I'm guessing you gaze out at the Arboretum as you pass by in one of those Needham trains and mistake the presence of a large park for suburbia.
You're not far off. Needham Junction is a terminal T stop for me sometimes.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/N...d8b2859ab5cdf4!8m2!3d42.2732106!4d-71.2358383

Look at the potential; i must admit i wouldn't mind seeing Needham more urban someday, maybe even with some Green Line and Orange Line trains mixing it up (here).
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
152
I'm one of those middle aged "first wave" arrivers and I know quite a few others. I'd say we are generally speaking in favor of more housing in Roslindale and eliminating parking minimums. Certainly all groups will have a range of opinions, but there are quite a lot of pro development activists in this group who strongly push for more density with less parking. I think the largest opposition to this will mostly come from merchants in the Square who think their businesses depend on street parking. They will see a proposal like this one as directly competing with their customers' access to parking. The next group to oppose will be people who frequent the square but prefer to drive. I live a block from the Square, those people can park on my street. I'm okay with that, but they don't want to walk that one block. These are mostly older, set in their way types who just don't generally like change of any sort.

And odurandina, I'm not quite following your comment. First, Roslindale is part of the city of Boston. Second, there is no issue of eminent domain, the parcel is privately owned, to be developed by a private corporation. The city's role is only in the realm of regulatory oversight. And third, Roslindale is already urban. You'd know that if you spent some time there, but I'm guessing you gaze out at the Arboretum as you pass by in one of those Needham trains and mistake the presence of a large park for suburbia.
Thanks Henry. I don't mean to be as acerbic as I sometimes come off as... but having lived in JP for years, there was a very strong sense that the "real" first wavers represented the "real JP" and wanted it preserved the way they liked it. It's a real problem in cities today, and like I said, I can't blame them: they moved in in the '70s and '80s, made it the crunchy, quirky place it is now (or was 15 years ago), and now that's made JP desirable for more soulless, yuppie development that will inevitably erode the neighborhood character. Since most of JP is multifamily homes that were once single family, it isn't that easy to just build more housing without genuinely running the risk of destroying the atmosphere there. And this holds true for all great neighborhoods. It's a complex problem and there aren't simple solutions. Every area must do its part, but the hard truth, I do believe, is we really cannot preserve the classic Boston neighborhood - which is lowrise, quaint, local - and maintain affordability. In the end, it's going to be either "museum neighborhoods" for millionaires, or a substantially more urban and crowded city feel than Boston is hitherto used to. I suppose we shall see.

I also live a block from the square, but even a single block away has a very different atmosphere than the square itself (as is often the case in Boston, just one street's distance can be a world away), so despite planning to continue attending community meetings when I can, I don't feel quite like I have the "right" to statements about the square proper (but I probably will, anyway).

I'm sure you're right to an extent--there's always some pushback. But business owners didn't seem to object to the plan to pedestrianize Poplar Street, which will eliminate 10-15 parking spots in the heart of the Square. That was quickly approved and is scheduled to be done this Fall. Of Boston's outer neighborhoods, Roslindale seems to be by far the most pro-development right now.
True. Minor correction, but it's Birch Street, not Poplar. There is a push for some redo of Poplar as well but I'm not sure what the status is; I think it would be great if the entire park could get shifted up north by one lane's space, Poplar pedestrianized, and two way traffic routed back to Washington.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
495
I like the idea of a pedestrianized Poplar with 2-way traffic on Washington. Unfortunately, that may need to wait, as the current upgrade planned involves a better pedestrian and cyclist experience but retains the car lane and parking. They raised money through Patreon and a series of matching grants, so the work is funded, but I haven't seen much information on design details.
 

DAVE

Active Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
239
Reaction score
121
I like the idea of a pedestrianized Poplar with 2-way traffic on Washington. Unfortunately, that may need to wait, as the current upgrade planned involves a better pedestrian and cyclist experience but retains the car lane and parking. They raised money through Patreon and a series of matching grants, so the work is funded, but I haven't seen much information on design details.
Agreed, crossing the street there is so annoying trying to watch out from 5 different angles. I also wonder if that is a small part of why they didn't consider an outbound peak bus lane. I've never really liked squares that double as rotaries for cars (some horrible examples include Bridgewater and Foxboro...great way to feel unsafe in a pedestrian heavy area!:-|

Luckily Quincy realized that it was worth changing. Much nicer experience now, and I think Rozzie should take notes.
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
152
I like the idea of a pedestrianized Poplar with 2-way traffic on Washington. Unfortunately, that may need to wait, as the current upgrade planned involves a better pedestrian and cyclist experience but retains the car lane and parking. They raised money through Patreon and a series of matching grants, so the work is funded, but I haven't seen much information on design details.
Yeah, such a project will require a lot of traffic analysis... I think the car circulation benefit would be an overall shorter cycle at Corinth/Washington, but the drawback would be the need for protected left turns onto South Street... which I could see backing up to Corinth on busy days.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
495
I think you are probably referring to the apartment building under construction at 4281 Washington. It was previously a 1 story building with an upholstery and restoration business. It is slated to become a 12 unit building, with 12 parking spots in the ground floor section. More info from Universal Hub and Walkup Roslindale at the links.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FK4

DAVE

Active Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2015
Messages
239
Reaction score
121
I think you are probably referring to the apartment building under construction at 4281 Washington. It was previously a 1 story building with an upholstery and restoration business. It is slated to become a 12 unit building, with 12 parking spots in the ground floor section. More info from Universal Hub and Walkup Roslindale at the links.

Took this today.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
495
Now we need the same thing to happen in the parking lot/one floor commercial building next door.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
495
The city is initiating a discussion around building on the municipal parking lot behind South St. and off of Taft Hill Terrace. Essentially, they want to lease air rights to a CDC type developer to construct low income housing above the lot, preserving the parking spaces at ground level. It sounds like a great idea to me, but a lot of work needs to happen first, especially getting buy in from the neighborhood, as it will obviously create concerns from the usual places about parking.

There's a meeting Thursday night that I plan to attend. The link bellow has some limited information. Right now there is no specific plan or even a concept, just an opening conversation to happen.

 
  • Like
Reactions: FK4

Randomgear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
346
Reaction score
18
The presentation by the Boston Department of Neighborhood Development is available here, as are some of the public comments: https://buildinghousing.boston.gov/project/roslindale-municipal-parking-lot-19d0c

DND did a poor job of explaining that this was a first discussion with the neighborhood to discuss how the neighborhood thought this municipal lot could have it's value added to. It took some time before DND explained that the levels of affordability that would be sought with somewhere around 30-60% AMI for all the units and that the site be developed by a not-for-profit developer. Getting this out sooner in the meeting would have help calm the audience.

The DND seemingly forgot to have a discussion with the Roslindale Business Group whose director as well as a number of business owners in the square were very upset at having not been told that such a valuable free parking might be built over and possible lost during the construction period if a building were to be built over the lot. A handful of abutters attended from the new condos at 11 Taft hill were apparently not notified by DND, they were incensed at not being told about this and expressed horror at the thought of a new building adjacent to their buildings. (11 Taft Hill required many variances and needed considerable community support to get approved - I have no sympathy)

Many people spoke in favor of development (possibly just slightly more than those who opposed) and attempted to make the case that more people would be a good thing for the square (one restaurant owner vehemently disagreed), calls for more frequent bus service with dedicated lanes, lower Commuter Rail prices were also requested. Parking management in the square along with meters and a Parking Benefit District were also brought up.

Some people prefaced their comments by stating that "They are in favor of affordable housing, but...) and went down the NIMBY rabbit hole from there.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
495
It's interesting about the opposition from 11 Taft Hill residents. Why would they prefer to see a parking lot verses another building? I mean, I could see if it were their view of the Arboretum being diminished, but who really wants to live next to a surface lot?
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
152
The presentation by the Boston Department of Neighborhood Development is available here, as are some of the public comments: https://buildinghousing.boston.gov/project/roslindale-municipal-parking-lot-19d0c

DND did a poor job of explaining that this was a first discussion with the neighborhood to discuss how the neighborhood thought this municipal lot could have it's value added to. It took some time before DND explained that the levels of affordability that would be sought with somewhere around 30-60% AMI for all the units and that the site be developed by a not-for-profit developer. Getting this out sooner in the meeting would have help calm the audience.

The DND seemingly forgot to have a discussion with the Roslindale Business Group whose director as well as a number of business owners in the square were very upset at having not been told that such a valuable free parking might be built over and possible lost during the construction period if a building were to be built over the lot. A handful of abutters attended from the new condos at 11 Taft hill were apparently not notified by DND, they were incensed at not being told about this and expressed horror at the thought of a new building adjacent to their buildings. (11 Taft Hill required many variances and needed considerable community support to get approved - I have no sympathy)

Many people spoke in favor of development (possibly just slightly more than those who opposed) and attempted to make the case that more people would be a good thing for the square (one restaurant owner vehemently disagreed), calls for more frequent bus service with dedicated lanes, lower Commuter Rail prices were also requested. Parking management in the square along with meters and a Parking Benefit District were also brought up.

Some people prefaced their comments by stating that "They are in favor of affordable housing, but...) and went down the NIMBY rabbit hole from there.
Thanks for the recap, I sadly had to miss this one. So — which restaurant’s owner disagreed?

On another note - does anyone have any idea what’s going on with the Chilacates? Seems like absolutely nothing has happened, and radio silence for a year.
 

Randomgear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
346
Reaction score
18
FK4, I've responded in a "conversation", I think that replaces personal messages.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
2,458
Reaction score
495
Thanks for the recap, I sadly had to miss this one. So — which restaurant’s owner disagreed?

On another note - does anyone have any idea what’s going on with the Chilacates? Seems like absolutely nothing has happened, and radio silence for a year.
I also wasn't able to make it, due to a project at work going later than expected. I'm likewise curious about Chilacates and the opposing restaurant owner.

In other Rozzie development news, the pedestrianization of Birch St. between Corinth and Belgrade Ave. has been approved!


This is going to be an excellent improvement for how people access and interact with abutting businesses. I can't wait to get a sandwich at the cheese shop, then sit at a table in the plaza, maybe grab a coffee from Square Root to go with it.
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,505
Reaction score
152
I also wasn't able to make it, due to a project at work going later than expected. I'm likewise curious about Chilacates and the opposing restaurant owner.

In other Rozzie development news, the pedestrianization of Birch St. between Corinth and Belgrade Ave. has been approved!


This is going to be an excellent improvement for how people access and interact with abutting businesses. I can't wait to get a sandwich at the cheese shop, then sit at a table in the plaza, maybe grab a coffee from Square Root to go with it.
That's excellent. A lot of opportunity there... already with the plaza behind those shops for outdoor dining, this will be great. Even better if Distraction ever actually opens. I won't lie that I'll miss using Birch to turn around, though.

The former Redd's spot was announced as a new Chilacates at least a year ago. But, since then, absolutely no word, even as they've turned into a local chain and expanded elsewhere. I am also wondering what is going on with Distraction... they look ready, but no news as to why they're so far behind schedule.
 

Top