Shifting the balance in Brighton

The Herald reports the owner of land in Brighton where Lowes kept getting denied permission for a big-box store has sold the land to New Balance's chairman, who wants the land for a large mixed-use development that could include a commuter-rail station (although New Balance has yet to say if it would pay for that).



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    I'm not too happy about all

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    I'm not too happy about all the dense office/retail development in that area. Even with a new commuter rail stop, the vast majority of people would drive, since the commuter rail runs so infrequently. And the last thing that area needs is more cars.


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    A half-empty wasteland of old commercial buildings is better?

    Not just the Commuter Rail, but a Pike link, too

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    According to the Brightcon Centered post about it, the plan would also include direct links to the Mass Pike, as well as the Commuter Rail station.

    As it happens, the window at my desk at work looks directly over this lot, and I have a hard time seeing where they're going to fit all this stuff. A good map helps, but it's still confusing to me:

    • The commuter rail station is directly behind Stop & Shop, and there isn't much room for it along that strip of land without tearing down the back of the supermarket. They could maybe move it to the other side of Everett St, but that would involve cutting in to the large building in use right at that corner, so that's also an unattractive option.

    • One proposal for the Pike onramps would be on the other side of Market Street, and would presumably mean tearing down the Stockyard restaurant that's on that lot now.

    • The other proposal for the onramps would be somewhere between Market & Everett streets, but that's even more confusing. Will there be on- & off- ramps for both eastbound & westbound traffic? If so, will they need to redo part of Lincoln St and the residential neighborhood on the other side of the Pike to connect to the westbound roadway? And on the eastbound side, the highway is directly next to the railroad tracks, so there's no obvious non-disruptive way to add the ramps on that side either.

    • • • • •

    Also, unrelated but since we're talking about the neighborhood: what the heck is that huge, new-ish looking, unfinished-looking, abandoned-looking building on the other side of the Pike, at the corner of Lincoln & Everett? It seems to be unoccupied, there's no markings on the building other than some generic "history of the neighborhood" posters next to the Everett St bridge over the Pike, and from what you can see through the windows, the building almost seems to be hollow — just a shell. Was it intended to be an office building? A school? Is anything happening with it?

    That abandoned-looking building

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    That abandoned-looking building was supposed to be an IT building for Harvard but I think they ran out of money. Kind of strange considering its Harvard. How much is there endowment? 27 Billion?

    Location, location, location

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    They didn't run out of money. The building is ready for build out as far as I last saw discussed online. Nobody wants it. It's on a semi-residential road that's not exactly convenient to any of the nearby highways, buses, or anything else.

    In 2006, there was a company that said they were going to buy it from Harvard...then they soured on it and dropped the sale. Target also talked about going there about the same time (pre-Watertown?) and didn't because they assumed there'd be too much blowback from the Berkeley Brigade over the kind of traffic/parking that they'd bring to the location (they were probably right...about the blowback AND the traffic mess).

    So there it sits.

    commuter rail station

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    I suspect the commuter rail station would be in the style of some that you see on the outer reaches of the lines--South Attleboro is the one I first thought of, if you're at all familiar with it--where the "station" is basically a long thin shed with a couple benches and maybe a Coke machine next to it, on either side of the tracks. You could certainly fit one of those in that easement. It's not like they'd want to build a Park'n'Ride lot there or anything.

    That's probably the right idea, but...

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    Keep in mind that the "other side" of this plot of land is the Pike itself. If they need two platforms, the'll both have to be on the Stop & Shop side, or we're potentially looking at a huge reconstruction of this stretch of roadway & railway.


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    What's your great plan for the area? Traffic is the biggest NIMBY BS that exists. It's an industrial area for goodness sake that is desolate and needs redevelopment. This is exactly the type of development everyone should support.

    Give me one, only one example of a project like this that increased traffic and ruined the neighborhood.

    NIMBY? Not quite...

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    I'm not opposed to it as such, I'm just saying, as someone who's window at work looks directly down on this lot, that I'm having a hard time visualizing how they're going to cram in both a Commuter Rail station and an offramp for the Pike.

    We're talking about a significant tract of land, yes, but highway cloverleafs are huge, and I don't see how one could be crammed in here without forcing out a bunch of business &/or homes. A small train platform behind Stop & Shop might be more plausible, but they need room to get big 18-wheeler delivery trucks in there, so there's a limit to how much of their back property they can lose.

    If there's a way to make it work, super, I'm all for it. I just want to see more details.


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    We...must...go...DEEPER. (BWWWWAAHHHMMM!)

    I hear this city's good at digging down and burying when it comes to improving its roadways and railways. We could put the platform in UNDER the Stop'n'Shop!

    Make the highway ramps tight and narrow - don't waste land

    in other words, if you have to build more highway ramps, make them look like the Berkeley Street entrance to Storrow Drive, not like the Weston and Allston Pike interchanges.

    The Jamaicaway interchange with Route 9 is another good example of how to build a very tight highway interchange on a minimal amount of land. It's a full cloverleaf!


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    Thanks for the clarification. I really can't imagine a full clover leaf being put in there for the reasons you just said. I wonder if they even need that? There is decent access from soldier's field road so maybe an inbound lane would suffice onto the Pike. Even then it would have to be routed around the rails. I would think a outbound exit would be challenging and perhaps include a costly flyover. I'm not an engineer so I have no idea in reality.

    It's a fantastic spot for infill development though.Hopefully there are some innovative compromises. You have great anchors already there with WGBH, New Balance and Stop and Shop.

    Why should everyone support

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    Why should everyone support it? It's an area with poor road and transit access, so I don't think it's the right place to build very large office and retail buildings that will add hundreds of rush hour commuters.

    I don't get over there at rush hour, but I've been stuck in some pretty terrible traffic even at off peak hours. So I can't imagine the hundreds of jobs in the New Balance and WGBH buildings, and the hundreds of cars in their multistory garages, have helped the situation.

    I think it would be better to build pedestrian-scale housing and stores with a neighborhood focus.

    The huge office buildings can go somewhere more suitable. I propose the vast wasteland of parking lots around Sullivan Square -- easy access to the Orange Line and 93.