Station Landing | Wellington Circle | Medford

Equilibria

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The window outlines are a pleasant surprise. More depth than the renders had suggested.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Another one that looks good from the knees up, but...ugh...so much ground-level parking. The 28S side of Wellington Circle is so ripe for a lane diet clear to 93 if MassHighway ever completes the missing legs of the 16 interchange to re-weight Circle traffic in the E-W direction to diminished N-S volumes. Would've preferred something here that baked in anticipation of a much bigger/livelier future sidewalk interface after the parkway diet, but that's such a blocky base it's not going to be good for anything but garage-forever.
 

Arlington

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Although not technically station landing, for me the Wellington parking that makes me weep is the stuff on the east side of the OL tracks.

How is it that the garage was built on the West, and not right on the east? Just a ploy to make a Horizontal Elevator necessary? A road access thing?

And why isn't the East side getting the whole Assembly treatment?

GreaterWellington.PNG
 
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Roxxma

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I remember while tooling around the State Transportation Library in the late 1990s and coming across a plan from around the early 1980s that proposed an indoor shopping mall and residential development over the Wellington parking lots, and I think over the yard as well. I don't remember if it was a concrete proposal or a "this what we could do here" study for the MBTA. I don't know how to find it these days, as the library's online collection seems to only offer MBTA and Mass Highway annual reports...
 
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Equilibria

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Although not technically station landing, for me the Wellington parking that makes me weep is the stuff on the east side of the OL tracks.

How is it that the garage was built on the West, and not right on the east? Just a ploy to make a Horizontal Elevator necessary? A road access thing?

And why isn't the East side getting the whole Assembly treatment?
I don't believe that the garage and horizontal elevator existed at the same time - the horizontal elevator served parking lots. The garage was build by the Station Landing developer to replace the capacity in those lots.

So in essence, the question you're asking is: why was the west side developed for mixed use before the east side? If I had to guess, the west side is accessible from more directions and is adjacent to more development/urban areas. Particularly in the pre-River's Edge days when that decision was made, the east side is an island.
 

Arlington

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The linked video shows that the horizontal elevator served the garage before most of Station Landing went vertical
I don't know the order of their creation, though (elevator serves lots, then garage is built?)
It just seems odd that you'd build the garage on the side that also had crappy access if you could have built a garage ATOP the MBTA (or slightly offeset to the east) similar to, say, Alewife.
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Although not technically station landing, for me the Wellington parking that makes me weep is the stuff on the east side of the OL tracks.

How is it that the garage was built on the West, and not right on the east? Just a ploy to make a Horizontal Elevator necessary? A road access thing?

And why isn't the East side getting the whole Assembly treatment?

View attachment 7253
The east side has single-point vehicular access only, rammed from behind an extremely busy station busway and kiss-and-ride that can't be relocated anywhere else. Plunk any Station Landing-esque redev faire over there and watch the act of getting in/out during rush hour be tantamount to passing a series of blood-encrusted kidney stones. That's exactly why it's earmarked for the 200 sixty-footer bus yard and not real-estate speculation fever from any known developer. It doesn't matter how 'totes attractive a waterfront slab it is, if you can't fricking get in or out in one piece 7+ hours each day it's damn near worthless. Anyone who gets seduced by SimCity dreams on that slab needs to stop gazing too long at Satellite View and turn on Street View for one goddamn minute to see what density could actually be supported by such constrained access. No density that's publicly-accessible at all...which is why it's the perfect place to plunk the very bus yard that puts the stratospherically better T Fellsway parcel directly up for sale instead.

Really...does this need an explainer every single time it comes up on the board??? Is it not blatantly obvious from the overhead picture that one side of Wellington is NOT at all like the other on gridded access, and that might have quite very everything to do with which side supports density vs. which doesn't?
 

Vagabond

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Medford has a really limited commercial tax base, and Station Landing is teetering on being a solid secondary "downtown" as its only TOD with a neighborhood feel. SL retail struggled for the last decade without enough density. The AC hotel brought needed dinner diners mid-week, Tufts health finally subleased the 5 story office building out, and the new Longcross bar brought in a good crowd to replace the underwhelming Not your Avg Joe's. Adding a 9 story hotel (I think only the 3rd in Medford) will eventually support existing businesses. If only they could boost that Kelly's property up another 10-15 stories with an office, you'd come close to a density threshold for a more insulated local economy.

The Wellington parking lot side invites lots of dreams, but there's no incentive for the MBTA to lose the property. More likely is a rebuild of the 16/fellsway strip malls and Kappys on the other side of 16.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The Wellington parking lot side invites lots of dreams, but there's no incentive for the MBTA to lose the property. More likely is a rebuild of the 16/fellsway strip malls and Kappys on the other side of 16.
Well, plus it's a literal either/or choice: T builds the 'super-campus' bus garage on Wellington back lot, Fellsway closes as a direct consequence. The Fellsway + Target/Walgreens strip mall slab is 400,000 square feet on a prime street corner with new "square" potential...flat-out more lucrative than Wellington. But the whole of it is only available inclusive of ability to frame the SW corner with a street grid if Fellsway can be closed. Fellsway is only closable with the 200-bus sixty-footer Wellington garage rejiggering the Charlestown route assignments and forty-footer Charlestown absorbing Fellsway. For Medford pols this isn't a hard choice; they have infinitely more play and self-control over redev destiny with the Fellsway parcel. And that's why you haven't heard of any devs poking around T parking lot land. It's both secondary in heft/importance and way more planning-constrained because the access constraints put such strict upper limits on supportable density.

It's why we have to distinguish the SimCity game from the economics game. Nobody playing the economics game is giving Wellington lot any mind as long as Fellsway is pregnantly sitting there for a clean flip.


(I'll personally be devastated if Kappy's gets flipped. Something about a two-story liquor store in a former car dealership abutting that rotary just screams Medford tack-chic worth preserving, IMHO.)
 

Javier

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I Like to read you guys comments ,have good ideas/ visions
 

Arlington

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Might not the urban ring eventually add a missing segment through this area? Such as:
1)Added east-west vehicular bridge (roughly on the alignment of the current pedestrian bridges?
2)New bridge across the Mystic (snug against Rt 28, or on a Wellington-Assembly)

Also, how about genuine "zero parking" housing? Maybe 1 zip car per 5 units. This area is going to have OL + Bus + Urban Ring and fabulous bike-ped connections. How about it being time for somebody to actually build TOD that does not generate 2 commuter trips per unit per day?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Might not the urban ring eventually add a missing segment through this area? Such as:
1)Added east-west vehicular bridge (roughly on the alignment of the current pedestrian bridges?
No...never. The Medford and Everett shorelines are at different elevations, and Gateway Park on the Everett side is restored wetlands. There will never be a new crossing between the dam and 16. The UR concepts that left open either/or flex for incorporating Wellington first before jumping shores were all BRT-based up 28.

2)New bridge across the Mystic (snug against Rt 28, or on a Wellington-Assembly)
Where??? The Noonan Pl. dead-end at the dam service driveway is the only access point east of the tracks. You can't elevate that into a bridge incline without self-severing both the only access to the outside world and all service access to the dam...so right then and there it's impossible to base any access off Assembly linkage. The Medford-side isthmus is also too narrow for a landing spot. And you still have a hard-blocker for the kidney stone -passing connection to River's Edge/16 from behind the station busway/kiss-and-ride putting a giant drain stopper at the north end. The inability to plow a robust thru connection there kills all else southward--including the supportable density of the slab--well before you tally up the physical blockers

Also, how about genuine "zero parking" housing? Maybe 1 zip car per 5 units. This area is going to have OL + Bus + Urban Ring and fabulous bike-ped connections. How about it being time for somebody to actually build TOD that does not generate 2 commuter trips per unit per day?
Wholly and utterly unrealistic with access to most of Medford requiring car accessibility. Kvetching that Station Landing is not being built flexible enough to reduce its parking ratio in the future is one thing; that's a debate of scaling only. Under no circumstances are we staking the continued health of these developments to nihilistic absolute-zero parking. Medford is not cut out for that. If you have to go to utter nihilistic extremes to float *any* SimCity'ing of the Wellington slab, the scruples battle is already long lost. And picture for just one second how one goes about actually BUILDING 6+ story car-free density in a several-years long construction project on that slab? Hello...how do you squeeze multiple years of 24/7 truck traffic through the same kidney stone-pass??? Those logistics place their own limits on supportable density. It is way more expensive to attempt to build dense on such constrained-access space than it is to attempt to build dense on an unconstrained-access space, which is why the developer interest in the Wellington slab has been virtually nonexistent to-date. They'll have enough trouble trying to work like hell to get market-rate rents back there, but for construction logistics to impose their own premium for attempting to build with height? Pffft!

The developers are doing the logical thing instead of daydreaming about Wellington: waiting for the T land swap that frees up the whole griddable Fellsway Garage + strip mall instead. Just as Medford, a city of rather limited dev planning bandwidth, isn't wasting any time tilting at windmills over compromised Wellington while Fellsway looms.


This is a crap-awful prospect for digging in further on the SimCity'ing what-if's. Do you really want to get lost in the weeds-of-the-weeds debating things like impossible new bridges when...like I suggested in previous post...just LOOK with open eyes at the satellite view you yourself linked and see the screaming difference in gridding between the SL side and the Wellington slab. Can you honestly say with a straight face with that tale of visually-screaming polar opposites in baseline accessibility that every acre is of asbsolute equal redev value? To Medford...not the CBD. The mental gymnastics it takes to conclude absolute equal SimCity canvases with such diametrically different slabs is self-defeating unto itself. I mean...maybe this is a debate worth having if Medford had already redeveloped the Fellsway slab. But they haven't...and redevving Fellsway to full value has a full-on dependency to not redevving this access-shit slab. So why are we making straw arguments about every acre being equal to force this access-shit slab into the conversation? When Medford goes chasing the next-biggest source of dev riches it's going to be Fellsway via tradeout of future considerations here...so why are we stanning for less-lucrative opposites world??? That only works as an argument if you can empirically prove that every acre is equally valuable as the next. The mountain of evidence in Medford says pretty starkly that is not the case.
 

Arlington

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When I postulated a new vehicle bridge on/alongside the pedestrian bridges, I was referring to the OL stations bridges over the yard (alongside the pedestrianized Horizontal elevator ) and the OL station concrete walkway over the CR track; i.e, a bridge to create new road flow, maybe for bus, maybe for general traffic
 

theSil

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Wholly and utterly unrealistic with access to most of Medford requiring car accessibility.
There's at least one US-based developer currently building 636 units of genuine zero-parking housing, on a similar sized parcel (16 acres), in a setting that is similarly car-oriented save for the light rail station that abuts the development site: The Culdesac project in Tempe.

Sure, the Tempe site offers better access for construction vehicles, but I'm skeptical that this site's poor access to the surrounding street grid would significantly raise construction costs; vehicles have access from 16 and Rivers Edge Dr. All of the apartment buildings that popped up in the last 10 years on Rivers Edge Dr. managed to get built somehow.

Personally, I would much sooner live in a Culdesac-style development with 9 minute subway rides to downtown and poor access to Medford, than in a development on the Fellsway with access to Medford, but a 3x longer trip to downtown.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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There's at least one US-based developer currently building 636 units of genuine zero-parking housing, on a similar sized parcel (16 acres), in a setting that is similarly car-oriented save for the light rail station that abuts the development site: The Culdesac project in Tempe.

Sure, the Tempe site offers better access for construction vehicles, but I'm skeptical that this site's poor access to the surrounding street grid would significantly raise construction costs; vehicles have access from 16 and Rivers Edge Dr. All of the apartment buildings that popped up in the last 10 years on Rivers Edge Dr. managed to get built somehow.

Personally, I would much sooner live in a Culdesac-style development with 9 minute subway rides to downtown and poor access to Medford, than in a development on the Fellsway with access to Medford, but a 3x longer trip to downtown.
The only "personally" that matters here is Medford. Please re-read Vagabond's post. This is a municipality with a limited commercial tax base, and limited internal planning ability. If they're going to shoot big for anything, it has to be mixed-use as a requirement because commercial is where they're hurting most. You're not going to get mixed-use at all in a car-free cul de sac. Degrees of aB agreement/disagreement on whether waterfront apartment towers would even draw car-free on the Wellington slab are moot; that's flat-out not Medford's priority vs. the degree-of-difficulty. They'll choose any slab that can slug equal commercial-use weight first, second, or third over that one. The degree of difficulty required to execute anything properly on this slab is prohibitive for a low return at not the commercial return they most desperately need. And they'd have to do it with the T grabbing its joint share of the property taxes in a way more convoluted property agreement, which helps the city far LESS with their tax base problem. This is why they're behind the T on the bus yard swap that frees up the entire Fellsway slab for full-blown mixed-use returning full-blown municipal taxes and which would allow for street gridding to all 4 sides of the slab. It's not even a contest for Medford. Fellsway is #1 with a bullet for the ability to plan it 'clean' and full-gridded...redevving the ailing strip malls north and west of the Circle a #2 (slightly more complicated and patchwork land flipping).

Context like this is why you can't look at this with 2D SimCity mentality. This isn't Boston where the planning machinery is so vast that any misfit slab like this gets shoehorned equally valuable for any purpose. Medford's got a five-alarm priority for developing at least a 50/50 or higher ratio of commercial to residential/other on any big production. This slab does not support that. They thus far have expressed negative interest in going there because it's too many complications for too little upside to the tax base they most need to stoke all amid their limited bandwidth as a city for taking home-run swings. Their interest in it has solely lined up behind the much bigger state enacting a land-swap domino fall that serves up extremely better-access parcel that they can work with. That's their stated max bang-for-buck priority based on what bandwidth they have to mount these efforts.

We can either acknowledge that as the guiding force in Medford...a city which is developmentally unlike the CBD...and contour with it. Or we can double-down harder on SimCity fantasy, pretending their tax base needs aren't what they say they are, or inventing gigantic car-free 50/50 commercial narnias that don't exist in any Massachusetts--CBD or otherwise--that we're familiar with because eye-of-beholder decreed all waterfront...must...be...tall. Look, if this sidebar is springing forth from a Station Landing thread that's about real Medford-fitted mixed use, shouldn't it be contouring to the same realities in evaluation???


When I postulated a new vehicle bridge on/alongside the pedestrian bridges, I was referring to the OL stations bridges over the yard (alongside the pedestrianized Horizontal elevator ) and the OL station concrete walkway over the CR track; i.e, a bridge to create new road flow, maybe for bus, maybe for general traffic
Right...and the T that just spent a mint redoing Wellington Yard is going to immediately re-space the tracks for bridge piers because of a low-margin real estate project that no one least of all Medford is asking for, which fucks up its Bus Facilities Master Plan, which fucks up its station egress traffic, and still doesn't fashion nearly enough of a grid on the malformed triangle.

Read all above. Can we please start treating the fundamental differences between these slabs on either side of the tracks and what they mean to Medford instead of taking ever more death-defying leaps trying to pound them to sameness? They're different. They SCREAM different on that whole Google overhead you posted to kick off this sidebar. Even if you wanted so very badly to build something there it's not going to be successful redev unless it's fitted to its surroundings. Giant kludged ramps in the sky over train yards aren't fitting it to its surroundings. These were crap kludges when Boston 2024 was so horny for the Widett Circle narnia...now we're importing them wholesale to a riverfront wedge in fucking Medford in direct antithesis to the city's dev priorities of a 'clean' gridded slab?

Seriously...stop this madness. The value proposition starts off way compromised both on access and supportable mixed-use ratios critical to lining up the city's support. You aren't going to fix that with tactical nuclear strike kludges. The stakes are way too low to Medford for that when better lands lurk on the other corners of Wellington Circle. All I'm seeing here is a lot of Medford's lack of pressing need for the Wellington slab being backfilled by over-the-top personal need that...it...must...be...because...[trails off]. Why must it be? Why must it be for you when it isn't for the actual city you wish would do it? Please answer that first before digging deeper into this fantasy.
 

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