I also like the raised crossings at many of the cross streets. These crossings are well marked and level with the path, forcing drivers on the cross streets to slow down to go over the raised crosswalk. The signage is also very clear that there are pedestrians and bicyclists crossing there.
This is boring, but adequate and well-placed trash receptacles are going to be key to keeping the greenway clean & tidy. Make it easy for people to do the right thing! We see how the fact that, in Peabody Sq., the only trash can on the east side of the plaza is a stupidly-placed receptacle at the curb in front of 7-Eleven---far, far away from the seating area, so people simply throw trash on the ground near the horse trough and in the planting beds instead of walking 100 feet to use the can.
I envision a walking/biking path that is both functional and appealing visually. Maybe a design that includes some markers along the length of the path that highlights some historic and interesting facts Dorchester past and present.
Proactive and fastidious maintenance of the completed greenway is going to be key. The new combination of regular volunteer work teams supplemented by contracted services from landscapers and other professionals seems to be working well in Peabody Sq.--maybe an expanded version of that model could work for the greenway.
Community Preservation Act funding would be perfect for this project. The project team should strive to take advantage of this and to align the design & planning of the greenway with CPA goals and funding timelines.
The City's basic choice at 719 Washington is between commercial use or housing. Here are my thoughts:
1. The proposed commercial use is not the best match with this site.
Though the roofing company's proposal seems carefully thought out in terms of community impact, I believe that any form of housing at this site would meet a broader and more pressing community need. Housing here would allow more people to take advantage of proximity to the T, best using a limited geographic resource. A roofing company is not reliant on public transportation, and could be located in a wider range of locations. Perhaps they can bid on another DND owned site?
2. New housing will reduce price pressure on existing housing stock.
Until recently, there has been very little new multi-family construction in our neighborhood, especially at market rates. This has created pressure on existing multi-family housing, as many units have become converted to condos. Building new housing will increase supply, and better meet increasing demand for multi-family housing in our neighborhood.
3. Allowing any neighborhood to remain off-limits to new market rate housing drives up costs & creates displacement elsewhere.
This kind of market rate housing proposal is new to the neighborhood. I understand that long-term residents may be hesitant to welcome new residents. But if Boston as a whole wants to see more moderate prices, it cannot create housing solely in over-developed neighborhoods like South Boston. Encouraging new development throughout the city, more evenly, allows all neighborhoods to take in reasonable numbers of new residents and avoid localized displacement.
As someone who has lived nearby the site their whole life, and now live in and own a house across Washington st (744) from this site, I am very excited at the prospect of a full transformation to the property that will bring new housing, business, and vibrancy to this stretch of Washington street.
I attended the developer presentations and support the proposal by Piatt Associates. They offer what none of the other prospective developers do which is a plan that does not require zoning variances, an ADA accessible building, ample green and communal outdoor living space, adequate parking, and commercial space of comfortable and realistic scale for the location. Their proposed building and site plan is beautiful, and I would love to see it built across the street from me.
I wish to voice my support for Piatt Associates' proposal for rental units with a limited amount of street-level commercial space. I thought their proposal was much more thoroughly developed than the other residential project, which also included much more commercial space: with commercial spaces already going begging in Codman Square, we should be directing businesses there rather than stringing them out along Washington Street.
There is a strong demand for rental housing at all income levels, and providing moderate market-rate rentals in a new building (as opposed to renovating an existing building, displacing current residents and subsequently raising the rents) adds to the housing stock and helps ease the pressure on existing rentals.
Putting a roofing contractor on the site would waste an opportunity to make a significant positive contribution to the area.
Piatt's proposal provides fully accessible apartments including an elevator (which was not included in the other residential proposal despite its being four stories rather than three...hard to imagine anyone wanting to buy a four-story walkup these days), an attractive outdoor space for residents' use, ample parking with access just from Washington Street (many people at the meeting thought that there should not be access from Dunbar Avenue because of potential congestion at the intersection), space for bikes, and a more attractive landscaping plan than the other proposal. The three-story height and a more attractive architectural design fit better with the surrounding residential neighborhoods. The fact that they could proceed quickly is a plus as well.