BRA approves apartments, condos on grassy field down from Forest Hills T stop

Parcel U proposal in Forest Hills

The BRA yesterday approved a 124-unit housing project on the long grassy field on Hyde Park Avenue between Ukraine Way and Tollgate Cemetery.

Urbanica, Inc., is proposing 48 townhouse condos and 76 apartments on the parcel, which once sat under the end of the elevated Orange Line. Some 44 of the units - 6 of them condos - will be marketed as "affordable." Apartments will range from studios to three-bedroom units.

The T selected Urbanica in 2012 to develop the land, fallow since the opening of the new Orange Line in 1987. The developer hopes to break ground next spring and build the $40-million project in three phases, with the apartments the last to be finished, in fall, 2018.

Urbanica is proposing a total of 90 parking spaces - one for each condo and a total of 42 for the apartments. The company is also proposing to modify the intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Walk Hill Street. Also planned: Three "pocket parks" on the land.

Detailed filing with the BRA.

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Comments

actually an appropriate parking ratio

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townhouse units would likely have one car each (b/c more likely to be families) - apartment ratio is a little high for TOD, but not by much. I am betting people who live there aren't going to use their cars much anyway - at least during rush hour. I'd get all worked up if the ratio was higher than 1 to 1.

I agree

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It's just that pretty much any time anything is proposed people start yelling about how there's too much traffic and not enough parking spaces (because those things go hand in hand, right?). Like that thing down in Savin Hill that's on top of the T station but god forbid it doesn't have a huge, expensive parking lot.

Seriously. I wish people

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Seriously. I wish people would realize that traffic leads to parking.

It's like leaving bread out for birds: If you put out too much food for them, you have pigeons everywhere and it's a huge mess. So, by not putting extra food out for birds you keep the bird population to a reasonable level.

Obviously there will always be birds and places for birds to live. People like birds. But there's a time and a place for them and a reasonable limit to how many should be pooping on our statues.

Same with cars. People like cars. But we don't want an infinite number of cars in the city. We want a moderate number of cars in the city. So, build less parking and there will be fewer cars. Parking SHOULD be a hassle. It SHOULD be expensive. It should be something that you only do if you really need to or really want to.

The car wins when we do not introduce the element of price...

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Parking ratios makes absolutely no sense in planning today. While we may have some idea who may live there, we have absolutely NO IDEA if they will own a car. In this case, the cost of parking is instead bundled into the cost of the house. One of the major expenses of the car is already bought and paid for, whether you owned a car or not.

Consider cell phone plans and 2 year contracts. Do I need or want a new cell phone every 2 years? Not really. But the decision changes quickly if they "offer" me deeply subsidized one. The problem is this subsidy is embedded in the cost of the phone plan...

Honestly, I would rather not consume @#$% I don't need. We could use less ewaste, less human costs(think foxconn) and a little extra in savings. Unfortunately, these costs are embedded in the phone plan, hidden from sight, and this skews our decisions.

At this point a retort might be "switch carriers, use alternatives...", and this is a fair point for cell phone plans. However, alternatives DO NOT EXIST for housing, especially new construction. If you want to want to avoid these market failures then you have to move to existing neighborhoods, and many of those have yet to resolve the ongoing failure with on-street parking.

So it looks like we are just stuck with the 2 year plans. You mind as well take the free phone, your paying for it anyways...

Parking, especially "free" parking, is a fertility drug for cars. Introduce an element of price and you wont have to plan for it. In Soviet Russia, car parks you!

Can we stop this nonsense please? No means no, unless we are talking about the Olympics and parking, I guess. :P

Ukraine Way - always made me

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Ukraine Way - always made me curious.

Was there a large community here before? I know there's a church up on the hill

I always wondered the same

I always wondered the same thing. What is the history of that name?

In other news, I think this project is great for that location. I never liked that long expanse of lawn that was always filled with dog poop.

Not huge

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But still, there is an Ukrainian Orthodox Church on the other side of the area and a Ukrainian Catholic Church over on Forest Hills Street. I've known several Ukrainians in Roslindale, so it is probably an issue of not necessarily a concentration, but being spread over the JP, Roslindale, West Roxbury area. Perhaps akin to the longstanding Lebanese population in West Roxbury/Roslindale (Joe Abboud is an alum of Rozzie High.)

I got into a heated discussion with the in-laws about the situation in Ukraine a few weeks ago. Since I was sitting in Doyles at the time, I felt confident to note that the Russians are grabbing land from the Ukrainians, while they, being around Russians on the West Coast, felt a bit different.

Hate to nitpick

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But if my vague (after all, we are talking 30 years ago) memories serve me, the area currently south of Ukraine Way was where the repair shops and storage were, which was not elevated.

Cool plan. My guess, though, is that those who have been using the area as an unofficial dog park might be a bit annoyed, but what can you do (other than push for the Stony Brook Reservation Dog Park.)

Pocket dog parks

I imagine the dog walkers will use one or more of the new pocket parks as their pooperies.

This is a really nice and

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This is a really nice and very reasonable proposal. Scale, urban design, parking, etc. I think the BRA will be very happy with it too, although I'm sure the neighbors will find something to complain about; probably that the parking ratio is .02 less than the minimum for the area. (.73 vs .75)

Why can't they build

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Housing like this in South Boston? If this land was available in Southie, the proposed development would be a five story Hardy Plank behemoth with no parking.

Just a little difference

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The South Boston project is on about 1/5 the land as compared to this. Just like when you said Brooklyn (pop. 2,5 M) is so much tougher than South Boston(pop. 30K). Your metrics are mind-boggling!

excellent project

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FH resident here, and I'm very excited to see this finally approved.

Yes, there are some neighbors who think that it's too dense, not enough parking, or it's taking away green space, but those were always pretty thin arguments. Given that it's a steep site along the train tracks and that you have to cross a busy street to get there, it's barely used, even by pets. We badly need the housing, so bravo BRA.

Traffic

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as a 'downtown' Roslindale resident, I'll be interested to see how this and the bridge project impact the overall traffic flow between Roslindale and points north. I'm fine with more development but I suspect Forrest Hills will turn into an absolute disaster for drivers, leading to more traffic on alternate routes especially Centre St. With Saturday train service resuming (tomorrow?) along with the buses I guess there are decent public transportation options.

This is TOD

Built right next to a T station, and with a relatively low number of parking spaces, this is the type of project that should not create traffic problems.

Or not?

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I was discussing the potential traffic impacts along with stating that I thought it was a good idea, so maybe there wasn't a complaint about traffic or bikes? Traffic will get worse in that spot and that's the acceptable trade off for adding more housing to the city.

Maybe you can attend a class at the Derek Zoolander School for Kids Who Can't Read and Want to do Other Good Stuff Too over the holidays.

The best transportation

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The best transportation option would be to extend the orange line down to the Square, though.

Orange line extension to

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Orange line extension to Roslindale would be great, but Republican governors have had very little interest in the MBTA, especially in the subway/bus part, only fulfilling the Big Dig requirements of commuter rail expansion but ignoring the Boston subway ones (red-blue link design, green line extension). We will see, but Baker expressed very little interest in public transit for the Boston area when he and Coakley answered questionnaires from environmental and per/transit groups. Hopefully he won't kill the green line and DMU plans, but he made a lot of promises to give tax subsidies to corporations so its doubtful we can afford both.

It took Somerville 20 years

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It took Somerville 20 years to get the GLX, so by that timeline who knows who's going to be governer? I wish the rabble rousers that spent all that time and effort on the stupid Petco petition had gathered up signatures for a study or something instead.

Overall changes of which this is one part.

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Traffic is currently bad there (again observation not really a complaint) Adding 50-90 cars right to the south of the station with this project and also adding more residents with cars immediately to the north in JP at that new development along with taking down the bridge is probably going to have an impact. That's all.

I think it's an interesting topic and I don't think anyone knows quite what the end results will be after the developments are in and the surface road project is done.

Not that I agree

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But theoretically, traffic could get jammed on Ukraine Way. As it is now, in the morning the right lane on Washington Street headed inbound gets backed up. How 48 cars or whatever could have a big effect is beyond me. I also don't see an impact in the PM, though HPA could get a bit hectic.

As a driver who has spent his 20 some odd years living between Hyde Park Ave and Washington Street and previously was pampered by getting rides to Forest Hills in the morning, HPA was always the preferred route. That said, the congestion from Patten Street inbound in the morning amazes me. And has others have hinted at, when the overpass is no more, I don't see anything getting easier, which is a topic for a different time.

I'm really curious about

I'm really curious about their proposed changes to the intersection of HPA and Walk Hill.

  • The Project proposes to upgrade all traffic signal equipment at the intersection of Hyde Park Avenue/Walk Hill Street in order to accommodate the proposed site driveway and will provide an optimal traffic signal timing and phasing plan.
  • The Project will create eight (8) on-street parking spaces along Hyde Park Avenue to help support the proposed ground-floor retail use. This parking will also serve as a buffer between the roadway and the sidewalk.
  • The Project proposes to extend the existing median on Hyde Park Avenue to physically preclude left-turns into the northern driveway.

That corner isn't great right now for either cars or pedestrians. I hope they make it better, but I can't envision what they're proposing from the above.

Yes... but extending the

Yes... but extending the median on the northern side seems like it would extend the median right into the middle of the intersection. That seems strange, or I'm just not understanding the statement. And what about the eight new on-street parking spots? Are we going to relocate the bus stop and take away a travel lane on the outbound side?

Like I said, the current configuration isn't great. Lots of drivers cut through the Dunks parking lot to avoid getting stopped at the light when turning onto Walk Hill from inbound HPA. Lots of others run the light to make the left from outbound HPA. As a pedestrian, the signal to cross HPA isn't long enough, leaving you stranded on the island, and drivers coming down Walk Hill don't come to a stop before making a right on red.

I just hope this development makes both walking and driving better, not worse.

Good point

If you can't take a left turn from NB Hyde Park into the driveway, how can you take a left turn from the driveway to NB Hyde Park?

If it's right turns only, that's a heck of a long way to go to get back NB.

But then look at the wording again.. the _northern_ driveway? Does that mean there's a _southern_ driveway too? Perhaps the _southern_ driveway is at the intersection with Walk Hill, and there's an additional _northern_ driveway closer to Ukraine Way that will not allow left turns from HP NB.

Why yes, according to page 3-24, there's a second (the northernmost of the two) driveway about halfway between WH and UW, one-way going in, and per p 7-31 from right turn only, assisted by a new raised median.

And page 3-34 shows the eight parking spaces as a bump-in next to the apartment building on the corner of Ukraine Way.

Reading. Old-fashioned.

And need I mention:

Great project. Good work team. More of this for Boston, please.

Does anyone think that this

Does anyone think that this project is going to lead to better maintenance and upkeep at the Tollgate Cemetery? It's been in pretty rough shape for a long time now.

On a similar note, would anybody argue for reopening Tollgate Way as a pedestrian right of way and replacing the footbridge over the tracks for better pedestrian access to Washington Street? Seems like it would only benefit the developer to be able to advertise direct access to Harvest.

It's been better than it was,

It's been better than it was, and I mean no disrespect to those who are trying to maintain it (I did a couple of cemetery maintenance projects in my Boy Scouts days), but it's not good. The fences need repair, litter needs to be picked up more often, improved landscaping would help. I guess having people living next door will more or less automatically cut down on the loitering that leads to littering (see what I did there?).

As a 60 year old life long

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As a 60 year old life long resident of Boston (so far) and 52 of those years spent in JP worrying about a few cars in Forest Hills is not seeing the forest because of the trees. First the development needs more parking. Both for the residents and for their visitors. Second till I was 19 nobody in my family had a car. We were dependant on the MTA (the T) for general transportation, which sucked. For places the MTA didn't go or loads that were too big we were dependant on the kindness of relatives or occasionally friends. I see vehicle ownership as FREEDOM. Thirdly we lived on Spallding St. off of south in till I was 4. Of course I knew nothing of traffic at that age, but the Casey Overpass was being built before we moved. After it was completed I do remember relatives saying how it was so much easier to get around. So lastly I predict when it is gone traffic will in general be a disaster (so 200 hundred cars at the development that are not all used at the same time won't matter). In a snow storm look for backups going beyond Hyde, Rosie and Eggie Squares and Morton street impossible also. And for those who will say the people driving deserve it, what about ambulances, Police, Fire Department and snow removal vehicles!

too many real bridges in bad shape

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The state and city have too many real bridges in bad shape. We need bridges over water, not bridges where you don't have to put bridges.

Oh no

Somebody is changing something. Changing things is always bad.

Big impact on Somerville

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We are next so if something goes bad with this one we may be stuck with a crumbling disaster that nobody wants to pay to fix.

So people north of you should worry.

About the Casey

The teardown and surface rebuild will actually result in more lanes, so I think if there's a problem it will be induced demand, not inability to handle current volume. However, on the impact of parking at this project, I agree that it won't be significant, since most of the time the parking will be car storage, so not constantly generating trips. If the number of spaces is too low, that's a problem for the developer, but it won't impact the rest of us. Let them build the project in a way that makes sense for their ROI. There risk, not ours.