Marc Ebuna's projects
Please use Hubway for the bikeshare program rather than a private provider. This will benefit both residents (who will have access to a broad bikeshare network) and non-residents who might want to visit by bicycle.
I think this plan looks great. I really like that you're prioritizing density and affordability over things like parking. It will be good have the retail space this building will provide and I think it would make a *major* aesthetic improvement to the Forest Hills neighborhood.
With the massive surge in residential units on Washington Street, the retail needs for all these future residents will not be met unless a grocery store and other basic retail amenities are provided on Washington in the Plan: JP/Rox area. Within less than a mile from this project 1300 housing units are in the pipeline (proposed/approved/under construction) with Plan JP/Rox accommodating for another 1100 in the near future. I urge this developer to reduce the number of units in order to add enough first floor retail space for a grocery store. the harvest co-op nearby, though an admirable organization, is not affordable for most people and does not have a wide enough range of products to support this new population. of the 1300 pipeline units, their related retail components (if they exist at all) are not planning for a grocery store. PLEASE bring this desperately needed service to lower Washington Street. all these transit oriented developments will backfire if their tenants have to drive elsewhere to go the the grocery store.
Please do not reduce the height. JP (and Boston) are in a housing crisis. Shortening buildings, when doing so requires the removal of bedrooms, will only make the situation worse. Additionally, more units means more money left over to subsidize affordable units. If you truly care about alleviating JP's affordable housing crisis, you will need to squeeze every possible unit out of this parcel.
Susan, the problem with the approach you're suggesting here is that it essentially amounts to "I got mine." Unfortunately this attitude makes it almost impossible for us to add enough housing to this neighborhood to put a real dent in prices, and even if we were to add it with all of the parking that would be required to make sure that not a single new car was parked on your road (which would be a LOT), the additional traffic it would bring would present its own problems. The only way we're going to successfully address this housing crisis is if we can build in a way that encourages more people to give up their cars.
There is a solution to this: We need to start charging enough for resident parking permits so that people are discouraged from owning and storing cars on the street that they rarely use. Street parking is a scarce and valuable resource and giving it away for free causes all sorts of unwanted side effects (like the debate we're having right now). Several of us showed up at City Hall last week to discuss this idea, and councilors seemed receptive to it. If you need the parking space on the street in front of your house AND you want to see housing prices come down, consider writing to your councilor in support of this measure. I know they would love to hear support for a new approach to solving this (one that actually works).
The parking situation in this neighborhood is only bad during the day when commuters come here to park for less than what it costs to park in an MBTA lot. The number of people that choose to park here is limited only by the availability of spaces. No amount of parking provided by this development (which people would obviously need to pay to use) is going to fix the on-street parking situation because the supply of people looking to park is practically infinite. This development should avoid adding to pollution and congestion in the area by *minimizing* the amount of parking and thus discouraging people from trying to find a space here in the first place.
And what of the elderly and disabled people that are no longer able to drive a car? For those people apartments like these (near the T) are really the only option. Some number of them are going to be displaced so that we can provide these parking spaces, all so that the people who are already driving can avoid the expense and inconvenience of having to park downtown or take the bus.
It is a bit perverse to say that we need to build parking spaces here (thus pushing up the price of housing) so that people can drive from where the housing is less expensive. Lets fix the housing shortage HERE and dispense with the need to drive to the train entirely.
1. The supply of commuters looking for cheap parking is nearly infinite. What difference is building another few parking spaces here really going to make?
2. The community already struggles from a lack of housing. Building more parking spaces means building less housing. Should we not also worry about the burden that not building enough housing places on the community?
If those people end up parking illegally in the surrounding community, you should take that issue up with BTD, not burden this development with that concern. By all means, we should be asking BTD for properly-enforced resident parking programs across the city and especially near transit where we should be building our most dense, low-parking housing and offices.
I appreciate you reducing the number of spaces on this lot (though I'd love to see it go down to ZERO) and adding much-needed housing to an exploding market, but car sharing is a major part of the equation to enabling people to live car-free. Bike parking and bike share are not interchangeable parts of the car-free, transit-oriented equation.
I believe that you (Criterion Development Partners) are underestimating the need for car share both in the community and at your proposed development. Currently there appear to be 10 carshare spaces at the LAZ lot that the community uses (6 zipcars and 4 enterprise). While some may move to the Forest Hills MBTA Employee lot, it's likely that the area will be undeserved in the very near future as more TOD developments get built - there are 700 dwelling units in construction or in design at Forest Hills - unless appropriate levels of car share is made available at each development. On-site car share is an amenity that you can use to promote your development. Since your design is still in a very preliminary phase, I suggest that you look at reworking the garage to allow a portion to be open to the public to be used for car share and perhaps visitors. After all, just because 120 of your units will not have a car, it doesn't mean that they won't occasionally need one. The area is transit rich, but not every trip can be made on mass transit.
This area is poised to become a nexus of three bicycle greenways : the SWCP into downtown, the Emerald necklace to LMA, Brookline, and Cambridge, and the if GOBoston2030 gets built Franklin Park will be connected to a Columbia Road that is far more bike and ped friendly than today.
Will bicycle parking be provided for all units in an easily accessible location to help encourage bicycle commuting. Will the bike parking be secure? Will there be bike parking for visitors.
Will the car parking be uncoupled from the rental of the units?
Will carshare spaces be provided within the garage and easily accessible to the public?
What is the plan for taxis and ride hailing vehicles (along with UPS, USPS, Fedex, Amazon, and delivery trucks etc) to use the development, are they expected to pick up and drop off the courtyard?
Removing the private paid parking lot will help to remedy some congestion in the area as traffic will no longer back up every morning as commuters cars wait in line to enter the lot.
I am supportive of the roughly 0.5 space/unit parking ratio, just want to know more.
Requiring developers to build parking inevitably forces them to reduce the number of units of housing that can be built. We may have a parking "shortage" (debatable since most of the parking in JP is still free) but we have a housing *crisis*. Not a single additional parking space should be constructed near a train station in Boston until the housing situation has been brought under control.
Underground parking is hugely expensive (costing between $90-120k per space) and is not worth anywhere close to that amount on the open market (in JP a space goes for about $30k, or $125-150/month). To make up for the expense, developers are forced to build units catering to wealthier buyers, and they are not able to build as many affordable units. It also means many projects do not even become viable until real estate prices rise high enough to cover the cost of building the garage. Prices are not (yet) at that level here, so it's very unlikely the developer would be able to accommodate a request to put the parking underground. This means we would almost certainly get fewer units.
It's not the job of developers in JP to worry about where commuters FROM outside the neighborhood going TO somewhere outside the neighborhood are going to store their cars in the process. They can use one of the many underutilized parking lots elsewhere on the T that they have to pay for, or they can rent a unit in this building so that they don't need to drive to Forest Hills in the first place.
i just wanted to say that I think that this is truly brilliant urban planning and a great reuse of a derelict, polluted site. I wish that this city would use this mixed use/mixed income development as a model for the rest of the city. This will create opportunities for low income people to work their way up the ladder into the middle class and create a great quality of life for all the residents. Thumbs up!