City talks up transit-oriented development along Fairmount Line, then announces plans for truck garage next to new stop

Outrage in Dorchester after activists learn the city DPW wants to turn a 3-acre parcel next to the new Uphams Corner station on the Fairmount Line into a garage for trucks and light poles rather than the housing they want and city officials, including the mayor only recently professed to support.

The DPW says the MBTA, which now lets it use space at the Arborway bus garage for the trucks and poles, is kicking it out, leaving it no choice.



Free tagging: 



As in a housing project in a neighborhood that already has more than enough violent crime? At $million+ per unit, just so everyone involved can ensure their pockets are stuffed? What a wonderful idea! Better yet, why don't we build one in Wellesley or Weston instead?

No need for 18-wheelers to deliver boxes

No need for regular deliveries of small items to be on 18-wheelers.

No need for interstate-bound cargoes to be on city streets, either. The freeways were built for those large, heavy loads.

This is called "using appropriate vehicles for the cargo and destination". This is done all over the world where people actually question the efficiency and safety of practices.

If you need a truck for a phone pole or two, it isn't a big deal. What we don't need are trucks not making local deliveries destroying local roadways and endangering people, or large trucks making small deliveries that don't fit, stall traffic (they NARROW ROADS, dear) and endanger people.

*Everyone* should support Uphams.

Do you think this does not affect you? It does, in one way or other.

I'm putting aside the issues of economic justice - which might not be a priority to you - and instead, appealing to your understanding of supply and demand.

Think of what prices would be like in the city if Southie and the South End were considered "unsafe".

Now, what if Roxbury and Dorchester were considered "safe" and stable - do you think prices in Boston would be as high as they are? Roxbury and Dorchester constitute at least a quarter of the city's area - it's a huge area to write off, and you can't write it off without consequences.

So, we can choose to put taxpayer money into improving neighborhoods like Uphams, or not. Since there is a pent up demand for housing in downtown Boston near public transit, investing in housing in these areas can create the density to support more businesses, bring in new residents, and relieve the pressure on housing prices in other areas. And many people believe that public and private investment reduces crime - look at this effect in DC or NY. Why can't it happen here?

If we choose not to put money into these neighborhoods, or to use the space for large garages that create barren unpopulated spaces, we are guaranteed that any crime problems will continue, and that prices will go up in other areas if the demand sustains.

Finally, transit oriented development is not the same as public housing.

The problem with public

The problem with public housing as large projects is that they create a demographically stagnant area of artificially concentrated poverty compared to their surroundings. They help at first and then eventually go from beacons of revitalization helping a neighborhood to festering sores holding the neighborhood back. They city should be building multifamily housing in areas to help turn things around and be willing to sell those buildings when the time is right. Take the money from the sales and do the same thing somewhere else. Stop building static projects and instead focus on dynamically building housing where it is needed and moving on when its time.

Think of how much valuable real estate is being wasted right now in the South End, Charlestown, and South Boston with maintenance budget breaking and crime infested projects not paying property taxes. If the city sold those off for redevelopment and used the cash to spread out newly constructed subsidized buildings throughout the city, a lot more good could be done without the usual problems of concentrating poverty.

Arguably it might even be more efficient getting rid of all city own projects and using the cash savings from no maintenance and personnel costs to fund section-8 vouchers evenly distributed around the entire city. The city could spend the same amount of money and maybe get more units while still collecting property taxes.

Didn't Chicago do something like that?


One Problem with your Post


There. I said it. What is being discussed is Transit Oriented Housing. Not a public housing project. Building apartments/condos near transit.


Memphis did - look how well it turned out.

We do need isolated projects to house those who are giving the rest of the poor a bad name (i.e. career criminals in and out of jail, gangbangers and multi-generational welfare families who have no intention of ever joining the productive society) and separate them from the potentially productive population who by all means should get section 8. Shouldn't the voucher go to a single mother of two who's working two jobs and going to night school instead of a welfare queen with eight juvenile delinquent kids from eight different fathers who hasn't worked a second over her entire life? Wouldn't access to better hosing (and better schools, jobs, etc) given to those who show the most potential to lift themselves out of poverty make more sense than just randomly handing it out based on a lottery system? Shouldn't a house close to the T be given to a mother who takes the T to work instead of a mother who takes the T to CeX so she can sell the iPhones her kids jacked at that nearby T stop? Shouldn't the neighbors of a homeowner who accepts section 8 live next to a hard-working family instead of living next to a bunch of teenage gangbangers and their mother who doesn't even know how many kids she has living with her while seeing that hard-working family wasting away in the projects and never getting out simply because the said gangbangers got lucky in the section 8 lottery? Last time I checked US is a capitalist nation, shouldn't people earn what they get, or at least show some potential to be able to earn it? But noooo, that's discrimination, and discrimination is baaaaaad! Let's just ruin it for everyone but keep it 100% PC!

It's a well-known fact that mixing one part shit and nine parts honey in a barrel gives a barrel full of shit, and that's exactly what has been happening ever since the projects started coming down.


No, dotnews does - how would you like to live next door to one of those? Who cares about safety and property values, it's all about PC, right? They won the housing lottery so they get to move out of the projects into a section 8 apartment and terrorize the surrounding neighborhood while all those who would have actually benefited from moving out can keep rotting in the projects because they weren't as lucky. Also, it would help if you re-read my post, looks like your reading comprehension skills aren't that great. Either that, or your vision is obscured by excessive white guilt tears.

Yes, but

New businesses won't move to an area unless the area has customers who would be able to support the said businesses, and I highly doubt you'll see the customers (i.e. middle-class folks) flocking to an area where one has a very good chance of getting jumped, robbed and/or shot. Pull up the crime map conveniently provided by uhub and see how many shootings there were in the area recently - do you really think an apartment building there will attract anyone other than section 8 renters? Putting a housing project in an area that's already quite sketchy, to say the least, will scare away businesses, not attract them. Well, not all of them, but Uphams Corner already has enough liquor stores, sneaker shops and check cashers.

Reply from original "Everyone support Upham" Poster

I voted your comment up because I agree with you on the limited point that more housing alone does not solve anything. Any development will have to include commercial and transit improvements to be effective, and more businesses must come in. But that's not an impossible task.

But with all due respect - I don't really share your opinion on the crime issue. Anyone can pull up that crime map and draw a circle, rightly or wrongly, around Areas You Really Shouldn't Be In, and be done with it. It might work for you for giving you a sense of personal safety if you live 5 neighborhoods away, but it's a damned poor way of figuring out what areas of the city we really should put money into. See argument above.

Also, you generalize your own tolerance for risk, and not everyone shares your perception of reward. If you haven't been to Uphams, it's an interesting area - adjacent to Cottage Street area as well as the Jones Hill area, and given that I think it can sustain a much wider range of businesses than you characterize. Clearly the people who are buying into adjacent areas are quite aware of the shootings nearby, but they probably have a more nuanced understanding of Areas You Really Shouldn't Be In than you or I - and they would probably be able to point out perfectly safe areas that they don't go to because there is currently nothing there as well.

I would also like to reiterate - as other posters have - that no one is talking housing projects here.



Uphams Corner does have a lot of potential - in fact, it could easily be the next Davis Square now that there's rapid transit nearby, but unfortunately you're not going to see packs of yuppies moving in until the crime issue is addressed. There are quite a few middle-class neighborhoods within walking distance (Jones Hill, Savin Hill, Polish Triangle, etc,) though I highly doubt there are too many people who would want to walk between there and Uphams Corner alone ater dark given the current crime situation. Also, there currently aren't that many "destination" spots other than Paraiso and Strand, but Strand hasn't been doing much lately and Merengue is a much better option when one wants great Dominican food. People might brave the shady stretch of Dot Ave on foot late at night to get to dbar, but I don't know if too many would be willing to do the same to get to Paraiso.



Crime is perhaps the biggest issue holding Upham's back, all agree. But the city can't solve problems in isolation. The South End developed for years while crime was much higher (and it is still relatively high, and no one seems to consider this a red light for development). I don't think we set everything on hold - while the whole city around us is changing - until we find something that doesn't involve spending money on reversing decay, that can bring down crime rates.

Also, back to the original point - does using this site for a garage help the crime situation any? You would get even less traffic and more of an industrial character that won't be replaced for many many years - and that would change what is possible down the road even if we managed to address crime with some other means.


Stupid Waste

This is a perfect spot for housing that could be highly attractive to people working in the city now that fares on the Fairmont line in that area are comparable to riding subway and with no extra cost if you have a pass, just a 10 minute ride into South Station. You're also convenient to South Bay and I93. It would be a total waste to turn this area into a utility yard and garage, not just for the Uphams, but for the entire city.

Housing generates new public and private revenue, starting from bringing in developers, creating jobs for people to build and maintain the property, and then lastly bringing in residents who will pay property taxes and shop and eat at local businesses. More people riding the Fairmont Line is more revenue for the T and will further justify the need for continued improvements in service. It's a win-win for everyone.

Dirty little secret...

The dirty little secret nobody's willing to talk about is that it isn't just here that the government is blighting the city- plenty of transit-accessible land that would be great for development is being instead wasted on low-density city government uses- sure, they have to be somewhere, but do they need to be across from the train station? (The Southwest Corridor Orange Line suffers heavily from this)

Better Use

This Uphams Corner site is perfect for dense, transit oriented housing. There is a push to support the Strand Theater only 3 blocks away. Why not build a mix of artist, young professional, middle class family and workforce housing. The Purple line stations are open. Those stations need riders. Everybody wins.

As to an alternative site for the trucks and telephone poles. There are brownfield properties in the city that won't be developed for a while. Also we should consider renting space from adjacent cities that are not going through a development boom.