Transit Oriented Development

statler

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The Globe said:
Training growth
Policies are successfully steering new housing and commercial development near transit stations

By Andrew Caffrey, Globe Staff | June 18, 2006

It's no accident that a map outlining new and planned development in eastern Massachusetts resembles the layout of the public transit system. With the prodding of the Romney administration and urban planners, and accommodations by local zoning officials, real estate developers are making a beeline to locations that are just a short walk to train, ferry, and bus stops. The activity amounts to about 25,000 housing units and 15 million square feet of retail and commercial space. This map -- based on data compiled by the state Office for Commonwealth Development -- shows projects recently built, under construction or under review, or recently proposed. It includes only developments within a quarter-mile or so of a transit stop, and omits most projects that have fewer than 50 housing units.

. . .

When National Development started leasing apartments at its massive new Station Landing complex in Medford last month, it rented 80 of 292 units within days, a pace ``that is unheard of," said managing partner Ted Tye .

Located on the Orange Line at Wellington Circle, Station Landing is one of the many types of mixed-use ``urban village"-style complexes developers are plonking down at transit stops in or near busy downtown districts around the eastern part of the state.

``People like the idea that they can live in places where they don't have to jump in a car" to go to work, run errands, or grab a bite to eat, Tye said.

Station Landing, for example, will include some 25 restaurants and stores, condominiums, hotel rooms, and office space on a 16-acre site near a second major development planned for the area.

Known by the moniker Transit Oriented Development, this kind of dense, compact mix of residential, retail, and commercial buildings is all the rage in Massachusetts. While a claque of urban planners has long been preaching TOD as an antidote to the subdivisions of McMansions they say contribute to suburban sprawl, it's received a powerful boost from Governor Mitt Romney.

The Romney administration has designed a package of tools that provide financial aid, incentives, planning assistance, and -- in some cases -- even surplus land to encourage developers and town officials to build on sites near transit stations, whether they be in-city subway stops or suburban ferry landings. A key development in the movement is the willingness of officials in many communities to make zoning changes to accommodate the projects.

The list compiled by state agencies includes some 25,000 housing units in varying stages of planning or completion, plus a huge number of office, retail, and other uses at those sites. But the list likely under counts actual totals, because it does not include dozens of smaller projects with fewer than 50 housing units, such as several in Canton and more on the South Shore proposed near new Greenbush commuter-line stations.

To be sure, not all 25,000 transit-side units may get built, and those that do will take several years. For perspective, there were 24,549 housing starts permitted in all of Massachusetts last year. Further evidence of the shift in housing priorities: in 2002, 22 percent of housing starts in Massachusetts were for multi family housing; by 2005, it was 40 percent.

Multi family units are ``an alternative to the type of `knock it all down' development that you might otherwise be seeing," said Andrew Gottlieb, chief of Commonwealth Development. ``If you're getting more multi family, more concentrated development around transit, that's taking capital away from other less favorable development options," he said.

ANDREW CAFFREY
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.pdf map of new development
 

vanshnookenraggen

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What the? What is that "Orange Line Extention" on this map? Why no Green Line extention?
 

statler

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I was hoping somebody knew something about that. It's the first I've heard of it.
 

Ron Newman

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I haven't a clue. I know of no Orange Line extension even in a proposal stage, let along a design. If I were to extend the Orange Line, I wouldn't take it north, I'd take it south one stop to Roslindale Village (eliminating a lot of bus route miles).
 

justin

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I think they're just plain wrong about an Orange Line extension. Noone has talked about it since the '70s.

Maybe they meant Assembly Sq. station? In which case the label is in the wrong place.

justin
 

Scott

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The Herald had the same general article today and it was chock full of errors. Central Ave Station is according to the Herald, in Boston not Milton. They`ve got the numbers all wrong...what a mess.
 

TheBostonian

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I'm glad to hear about the initial success of Sation Landing. I was suprised to see that Starbucks is already open. There are signs on the former Krispy Kreme building announcing the coming of Kelly's Roast Beef. The steel of the condo tower (11 floors I think) is rising.

I'm impressed with the TOD along the Orange Line north. There is a large apartment building being squeezed into downtown Malden and Oak Grove Village on the Melrose line is the largest project in Melrose in my lifetime. I dream of seeing Sullivan Square built up and away from its current automobile mess. And then that corridor between Wellington and Malden Center, first called Telecom City and then River's Edge. That stretch of space seems to have great potential and I expect the three towns trying to shape its development to only fuck it up. And I still pray for Assembly square even with its revived strip mall.
 

bosdevelopment

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TheBostonian said:
I'm glad to hear about the initial success of Sation Landing. I was suprised to see that Starbucks is already open. There are signs on the former Krispy Kreme building announcing the coming of Kelly's Roast Beef. The steel of the condo tower (11 floors I think) is rising.

I'm impressed with the TOD along the Orange Line north. There is a large apartment building being squeezed into downtown Malden and Oak Grove Village on the Melrose line is the largest project in Melrose in my lifetime. I dream of seeing Sullivan Square built up and away from its current automobile mess. And then that corridor between Wellington and Malden Center, first called Telecom City and then River's Edge. That stretch of space seems to have great potential and I expect the three towns trying to shape its development to only fuck it up. And I still pray for Assembly square even with its revived strip mall.
I'm moving to Melrose soon and I don't care much for that fidelity development near oak grove. It's amazing though, that that parcel went so long undeveloped.
 

statler

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bosdevelopment said:
I'm moving to Melrose soon and I don't care much for that fidelity development near oak grove. It's amazing though, that that parcel went so long undeveloped.
What don't you like about it?
 

quadratdackel

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I like the Orange Line north developments too. It bothers me that you can put an 11-story apartment in Malden but you can't in Roxbury Crossing. That's not just a TOD site- that's a short walk to Longwood, NU, etc. In general, Orange Line south is seriously underdeveloped and under-capacity on the train itself, and it's hard to imagine that changing much beyond the mild development of now-vacant parcels. I wish we'd just go Curitiba-style and say now that we've built rapid transit, we're buying the adjacent houses and turning them into highrises, but Roxbury & JP have some of Boston's strongest community activism.

I'm curious how Boston's overall TOD success compares with, say, DC. I hear DC/NoVa/MD has 10-story apartment buildings going up all over town especially near metro stations. That city's probably the best comparison in the US. That and Toronto, which I also hear has a huge construction explosion, although technically that's not the US.
 

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