In praise of Codman Square revitalization

Kaid Benfield looks at what's going on in Codman Square, including the impending upgrade to commuter-rail service along the Fairmount Line:

The most striking improvement, of course, is the neighborhood’s new commuter rail station at Talbot Avenue, providing far better access than residents have previously had to jobs, services and amenities in downtown Boston and points along the way.

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    Hmmm

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    $11M to renovate 14 public housing units (which will return to their current state in no time) and build an additional 15 units? Sounds a little wasteful, if you ask me.

    Even at those prices, that public housing will soon be mkt rate.

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    Don't worry about it. Even at $750K a unit, those will soon be market rate when rapid gentrification follows the replacement of bus-based transit with a much faster and reliable way into downtown.

    Just ask anyone who remembers the areas north of Harvard Sq. prior to the red line extension (particularly on the Somerville side).

    Fields Corner has had a

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    Fields Corner has had a direct high-frequency rail connection to Boston since 1927, but its still waiting for the gentrification.

    Nope.

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    Not at all, and there is no logical way to draw that conclusion from anything I said.

    Right...

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    Or, better yet, Jackson Square - it's full of Starbucks-guzzling, Saks Fifth Avenue-shopping, market rate-paying yuppies, amirite?

    I really don't see a point in wasting $750K per unit on a glorified housing project (affordable housing, under 30% AMI for those who didn't read the article) when there's a bunch of vacant foreclosed triple-deckers all around the area that can be had for less than $100K a unit.

    THIS IS BOSTON - THINK OF ALL

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    THIS IS BOSTON - THINK OF ALL THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT!

    $11MM?

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    Where did the $11MM figure come from? I did not see it in the article. Also, assuming that figure is in there somewhere, that comes out to about $380,000 per housing unit, not $750,000 as someone suggested. The article also states that the deteriaroation of the property is due to long term neglect by the State, so I'm not sure why you think that the units will "return to their current state in no time." Just because poor people live there (it is affordable housing not public housing btw) doesn't mean they don't take care of where they live.

    A Different Type of Drive By

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    I would love to see her do a reassessment of the neighborhood from the perspective of the past few days of rapid lead poisoning in the neighborhood.

    OKaid

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    Thanks, fixed.

    Codman Square is only 9 minutes' walk from the Red Line

    The new commuter rail station will benefit folks who live west of Codman Square, but it's never going to provide service as frequent as the Red Line, which is just a 9-minute walk from Codman Square.

    People routinely walk longer distances than that from T stations, to get to commercial areas such as Inman Square, Teele Square, or Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. The Codman Square business community needs to better promote its proximity to the Red Line, including directional signs for pedestrians coming from Shawmut or Ashmont stations.

    Bringing Hubway to this area would help, too. It's ideal for short trips like this.

    The commuter rail line there

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    The commuter rail line there is planned to be converted to be heavy rail subway (Indigo Line) once the Post Office vacates South Station and a dedicated platform is available. Not a very difficult thing to add fare areas and gates with the new station designs.

    The only thing holding this back from being a heavy rail subway line from the get go is a lack of a dedicated platform at South Station. There's not enough platform space at South Station to allow 10-15 headway without conflicting with the current commuter rail schedule.

    The MBTA has no plans to

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    The MBTA has no plans to convert it to a heavy rail line, the only plans are for a higher frequency (than present) commuter rail line. The MBTA has never called this the Indigo Line, and always refers to the project as "Fairmount Line" improvements. Only non-MBTA advocates for a heavy rail line call it the Indigo Line

    Signs?

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    Ron:

    I appreciate the calls for signs and HubWay but, who gets off at Shawmut that doesn't know exactly where they are going? Signs for sites near the core stops, yes, but signs to kevlar vest retaillers might be better for Shawmut and Ashmont right now. (Full disclosure before the spiters come forth - I grew up on Ashmont Street and went to grammar school steps from Shawmut).

    All these improvments are nice in the area and all, but nothing is going to improve before the armed militias are taken off the street by the BPD.

    You can have all the nice finishes and TOD but nobody wants to live in a free fire zone.

    Fairmount Line

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    For 5 years between 2004-2009, I commuter to south station using the Fairmount Line, getting on @ Fairmount Ave in H.P., which is around 9 miles from downtown. It took usually 20 minutes to get to S.S. and was a fantastic commute. If I walked 8 minutes up the street to the Hyde Park commuter rail stop, it took less than 10 minutes to get to Back Bay.

    That said, IT'S OUTRAGEOUS how to fare jumps from Zone 1A to zone 1. Morton St, one stop after Fairmount, and Forest Hills, one stop from H.P., are both 1A, Fairmount and H.P. are zone 1. The monthly pass jumps from 70 bucks [or $2. per ride] for zone 1A to 173 bucks [!] or $5.50 per ride! It's CHEAPER and easier for people living in Malden, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Cambridge, Newton, Brookline to take public transit into and out of Boston downtown/Back Bay than it is for a few city neighborhoods like Hyde Park. Why hasn't Boston City Hall, the mayor and councilors, ever done anything positive to fix this situation?

    Roslindale & West Roxbury

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    face the same exact issue as HP, ITS BS! I still think (for me) it worth every penny to avoid being on a bus from the Square to Forest Hills. It has to be one of the slowest miles in the city during rush hour for two reasons; Bussing and the Bus Monitor/ Crossing Guard who is in front of Archdale Project every F'n morning stopping traffic to chat with the MBTA driver. GOD I HATE THAT UGLY SMELLY WOMEN>

    Completely agree

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    I live by West Medford station, which is Zone 1A. Never got how that was Zone 1A but Fairmount/Hyde Park and the West Roxbury/Rozzie stops are 1 and Readville is 2.

    The high fares on parts of the Fairmount Lines comes up

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    The high costs of the fares on the Fairmount Line comes up at every Fairmount Indigo Planning meeting the BRA is currently holding and the MBTA doesn't have a response other than they don't have any money to do anything.

    The MBTA also is undertaking a 10 million dollar planning initiative to increase platforms by aquiring the us post office - they estimate this will be a 200 million dollar project - good luck probably 20 years away if ever!!

    "lose money"

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    next time, someone should point out they're losing enough money on those Fairmount line trains as it is, Can't tell you how many completely empty ones I've ridden, where I am literally the only person from Readville to Boston. lowering fares has got to help that thing. It's insane and almost surreal being on a 7 car train (with 3-4 double decker cars) sitting over the PACKED Southeast Expressway and being the only person besides the conductors and the train engineer on that whole train.

    i would get on that train

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    If there was ever a realistic, organized effort to advocate for the extension of 1A status to all Boston neighborhood commuter stops, I would volunteer my time and energy wholeheartedly. Has anyone ever tried? I drive to work because taking the bus to orange line doubles my commute. I would gladly jump on the commuter line if the fare was fair.

    Distance-based fares make

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    Distance-based fares make some sense. And the fare per mile for Zone 1 is too high.

    But I disagree that fares should be based solely on city boundaries.

    On the other hand

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    There ought to be some benefit to being annexed by the city of Boston. We share the burden on other city services. Why not this?

    I agree with more sensible distance-based fares generally.

    With ya there...

    Had my choice between the quicker, yet crowded train to Back Bay/South Station, or the just as quick, yet less crowded (as in you can get a seat) Fairmount line.

    The Needham Line? Thanks to single tracking, four stops in less than two miles, and infrequency, the Needham line is not a good deal. I take it maybe once in awhile because it's down the street from me in West Roxbury, but in its stead is a good bus network (including a bus right in front of my house).

    And I agree fully with the Zone 1A/Zone 1 spike. Zone 1A should encompass ALL of the city of Boston. You would certainly get more revenue from people buying Zone 1A passes at $70 and paying $2 a ride vs. forking over $173 a month and paying $5.50 a ride (or worse: buying your ticket on the train for $8.50). Hyde Park, Roslindale, and West Roxbury are considered "suburbs" in the MBTA's eyes, even though they are neighborhoods of Boston, and thus feel it's justified to extort charge that amount of money for those rides.