Board approves 250-apartment complex across from Forest Hills T stop

Proposed Forest Hills project

Architect's rendering.

The Board of Appeal today approved a developer's plan to replace the current Laz parking lot across from the Forest Hills T stop with three six-story apartment buildings.

Criterion Development agreed to set aside 20% of the units as affordable - the city requires only 13%.

The buildings will have a total of 146 parking spaces, for residents, any businesses that move into the proposed retail space and the Brady and Fallon funeral home on Tower Street.

Criterion principal Jack Englert said his company will work with nearby residents on a residential parking permit program to keep the 300 or so commuters who now use the Laz lot from "infiltrating" nearby streets. He said he's had some discussions with the T about what to do about those commuters, focusing on convincing them to use lots at Needham Line commuter-rail stops.

Englert said neighbors said they would love to see the 4,000 square feet of retail space in the project be rented to a grocery store. The space isn't large enough for a traditional supermarket, but he said he wants to talk to City Feed and Supply, which runs smaller specialty markets elsewhere in Jamaica Plain.

Vehicle access to the site will be through Washington Street; there will be no vehicle access from the Arborway.

Criterion will turn some 6,000 square feet of land owned by DCR into a small park; DCR had planned to simply plant grass on that land.

The BPDA had earlier approved the proposal. In response to a question from board Chairwoman Christine Araujo, a BPDA official was unable to say offhand just how many residential units are now in the pipeline for the area around the T station.

Nobody spoke in opposition.

The Residences at Forest Hills project notification form (26M PDF).

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Can I do this one?

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Criterion principal Jack Englert said his company will work with nearby residents on a residential parking permit program to keep the 300 or so commuters who now use the Laz lot from "infiltrating" nearby streets. He said he's had some discussions with the T about what to do about those commuters, focusing on convincing them to use lots at Needham Line commuter-rail stops.

So, they're going to put all of the Needham Line into Zone 1A?

we can take the bus?

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So yes, let us park at Roslindale Village, or Highland. Hey, you could take the bus then as well. It is actually more than 300 parking spaces lost since the construction at Forest Hill has taken a third of those spaces away. No one has any idea if any of those spaces will be coming back or when.

parking spots

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BTW there are a total of 434 parking spots at the four WR Roslndale stations on the Needham line. Absorbing all of the parking from the Laz lot is not feasable. What it does mean is that parking at Roslindale Village could become and issue

People already park all up

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People already park all up Belgrade to walk down and get on the train. I see it every morning as I leave (to get on the bus, no less)

The Needham Line does not run

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The Needham Line does not run on Sundays and does not run late on Saturdays. That's two strikes against it. It also does not run as often as the orange line does. AND it is ALOT pricier.

Other alternatives

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You can buy a commuter spot somewhere

You can stop driving to the station

Capacity

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...while adding capacity so the cars aren't full by Mass Ave

Park on Washington to get to Forest Hills

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A recent city survey revealed that the majority of cars parking on Washington street between Roslindale and Forest Hills were from outside the neighborhood - people parking on city streets for free to get to the Orange Line. Simple solution - put in a bus rapid transit lane on one side and require parking permits. Speeds up public transit commuting making it more desirable, ends abusive parking and raises money for pedestrian and bicycling improvement.

Parking Management

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Forest Hills isn't a suburban park and ride station off the highway. Why does it need any parking at all? Look at any station north of here (Green, Stony Brook, Jackson, Roxbury Crossing). No parking at any of them and they have fewer bus connections, if any. There's also no side street parking issues at any of them because the City has done a great job at regulating those streets. The "2 hour parking except resident sticker" seems to be the most fair regulation as it allows short term parking for non-residents, but gives residents the ability to continue to park there with little impact.

People are worried that the loss of the overpass will mean more traffic. If we eliminate the ability to drive and park at the station there will be that many fewer cars clogging up the neighborhood.

Forest Hills

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is a major stop on the Orange Line as well as a bus line. It is not beyond the pale to think that a major stop such as this would have parking.

So is Back Bay. No parking

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So is Back Bay. No parking there and it's even more of a main transportation connection.

forest hills parking

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Forest Hills is the beginning/end of the Orange Line. Any major subway line into the City needs parking. How do you expect to encourage people to ride the subway if they cannot park at the beginning of it? Any sensible person knows that riding multiple buses to reach the subway adds hours onto a commute. And taking the commuter rail is about seven times as much money for a monthly pass. Please, some realism in the equation would help a lot in finding solutions for commuting and parking in the City.

T terminus

Ashmont is the end/beginning of one branch of the Red Line, and has no parking. Are there parking lots at the ends of the B and C branches of the Green Line?

About 15,000 people board the

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About 15,000 people board the Orange Line on a typical weekday at Forest Hills. The vast majority of them get there via foot or bus, 300 parking spaces is a blip in the ridership

Question

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Any major subway line into the City needs parking.

Why? You cannot just assert this - explain how it fits into the grand urban scheme, with some support for your contention from an expert source.

Take your time.

Yes, its on the syllabus.

Into the City?

Forest Hills is already in the City. More and more so.

The number of people who will be riding the T because they live in the new apartments being built around Forest Hills is far, far more than the number of people who used to park at the parking lots being removed.

The solution is not to prevent more housing, the solution is to extend public transit.

You are forgetting the courthouse

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IS also there and there is no public parking for it. I would gladly take the bus if it ran anywhere near a regular schedule. MBTA bus service is awful and unreliable. As for the Forest Hills residents , 2+ years of construction at the now at the station and overpass plus 2 years worth down the street where they just built new housing and now another 18 months to finish the station and this project Good luck
Also there has been public parking at Forest Hills for 25+ years not a new thing

I forgot that providing the

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I forgot that providing the court system with adequate parking was one of the policies of the state's public transit authority.

Oh I'm sorry, let me rephrase

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Oh I'm sorry, let me rephrase then:

I forgot that providing the court system with adequate parking was the duty of a private land owner.

Fair?! Only if you have a JP

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Fair?! Only if you have a JP sticker.
FH is the end of the line and needs parking to be accessible.
I wonder how often y'all have taken the bus.

I will offer an answer.

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At least the answer you will get from lots of people:

"you live in a "W" town and are asking this?!? STFU. You can afford it."

At least that's the answer that I got (I also now live in a "W" town, after 20+ years near the urban core) when I had the gall to ask about the appropriateness of commuter rail fares (in view of the poor service, not the $/mile).

The message may or may not be okay (even if the delivery isn't), but as I keep reminding people, unless you keep the people who live in the suburbs invested in maintaining a good public transit system, it's doomed (even more so than it already is without more revenue to complement the reform).

Don't take it from me though. Ask Jim Aloisi. A preview:

Because a public transportation system cannot succeed if it is not egalitarian. What does this mean in practice? It means that you want to ensure that people from all walks of life and all income brackets are sharing and using the system. You want people on the same bus who are wearing shirtsleeves and who are wearing cufflinks. That is the recipe for success, because such a mix means that all citizens have a vested interest in a functioning, well-maintained, reliable public transportation system.

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/transportation/a-tale-of-two-transit-sy...

What's a "W" town? Also you

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What's a "W" town? Also you might want to update your references, poor people don't live in the city anymore. And the rich people in the luxury condos taking your parking don't care.

They already do invest, so

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They already do invest, so don't all communities, but they don't use the money to expand it to the places you are talking about. Otherwise people have to drive more.

Perhaps

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If they reduce parking at Wellington Station while the developer says that the way to deal with the lost spaces is to encourage people to use the Winchester stop on the Lowell Line.

The irony is that while I feel for those affected by the loss of parking and have spent way too much time on this website mocking Needham Line riders who want at least the Boston portion of the line put in 1A, the line from the developer was truly worthy of scorn. Basically the guy wants those who park at the lot to spend an additional $80 a month and somehow thinks they will be okay with this. Of course, it's not like the parkers have a say in the matter, but let's not pretend that there will be no difference.

Right now traffic congestion

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Right now traffic congestion and pedestrian safety is a complete mess at the parking lot intersection and so called traffic lights which no one pays attention to. It actually has been a road rage hot spot waiting to happen for a long time. It's crazy.

Oh, I don't know. Those 300 or so commuters

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can just ride their bikes to work. What is the problem?

Aside from the obvious snark, so we have 300 or so commuters many, I am guessing, who will have to travel longer/and or out of their way to parking lots at Highland and/or West Roxbury and/or Roslindale Village and hope they can find a parking spot? I know those lots, and they do not have many spaces. Roslindale Village's lot is bigger but then again.

I feel for the residents who will have to fight with commuters who will ignore the resident parking signs and park on the street in frustration and I feel for the commuters who will have more of a challenge to find parking in order to commute into work.

Alternately

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Pay less for parking, pay more for the T at a further-out station in a car-habitat area.

Such silly dithering about a small group of people with entitlement issues.

So you are telling folks

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to drive longer and park at where, Needham, and suck it up and pay more for a T pass so they can get to work? You fail to understand that there are set numbers of parking spots at these places which may or may not be able to take on an additional 300 or so (perhaps less but still) people vying for a space?

If each commuter, that currently uses the LAZ lot, and drives in alone, that is 300 more cars that have to be serviced at some other station and/or stations. Did anyone do a feasibility study before all this was approved?

This has nothing to do with entitlement issues but quality of life issues.

Huh?

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I mentioned, if you read my earlier post, that I felt sorry for those Forest Hill residents who might have to deal with commuters trying to find street parking and ignoring the residential signs.

And to answer your "why" question, because they are human beings just like those human beings that live in Forest Hills. I try not pick and choose who is more "worthy" of my caring.

As a resident of Forest Hills

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As a resident of Forest Hills, I'd rather have more housing and another grocery store than an oil stained parking lot.

the part you miss

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These parking spaces aren't theirs.

That's the part you miss.

Or Wherever

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If said users of the parking lot [wherever they live now] move to the building then they don't need anywhere new to park while they commute.

Then they shouldn't "drive in

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Then they shouldn't "drive in alone" to Boston. Carpool, take the bus, bike to Forest Hills. There are multiple options. Housing for people is way more important than parking for drivers from the suburbs. Should we pave over the Boston Common to satisfy the spoiled suburban drivers?

I know I should not answer comments like this but...

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I am feeling good today.

It might be difficult for you and others who think like you to understand, but many people do not have a choice. Peoples work schedules make it difficult for many to car pool, for example. No longer do many of us work 9-5pm, 5 days per week.

Yes, you can take the bus and/or bike if convenient, you are able, etc. And for many it is not and they cannot.

Yes, housing is important. Not arguing that it is not. But in this discussion, we are talking about 300 commuters losing their parking (that is the reality) with a solution that may not be viable for those 300.

No, we should not pave over Boston Common and no one is suggesting that.

One day you also might be a "spoiled suburban driver". Remember, Karma is a bitch.

I'm shocked

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...that you think people who live beyond the inner part of Boston should simply move into what is widely seen as an unaffordable housing market or suffer. Fun fact - 41% of the MBTA budget comes from the dedicated sales tax -i.e. from state wide sources, not from just from hardworking locals like Kinopio.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/03/02/how-mbta-makes-and-spends-i...

Should we prioritize the needs of these 300 people who use this lot? Of course not. However, I think you'd find that the vast majority of people who use those lots are people who live in the Parkway, HP or Mattapan who just want to get downtown and this is the quickest option for them. There are vast swathes of the city without bus routes which run with any frequency.

You should really move to Brookline - your 'I've got mine, drop dead' progressivism would be a perfect fit.

Nor for naught

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There's a big parking lot under Boston Common.

Sorry for wrecking your day.

Entitled Commuters

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Not in My Special Parking Place (NIMSPPs) are the new enemies of affordable housing.

They don't live there, but they want to own your neighborhood!

Affordable housing? Seriously

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Affordable housing? Seriously... Do you have any idea what the rent is at MetroMark? Those 20% of affordable units will still be UNaffordable to most folks.

The loss of this parking lot is huge

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Suburban commuters are not my concern. My concern is for people will be forced to depend on sucky bus service to do all the things folks do before and after work. Reliable bus service to Forest Hills does not exist for the folks of Mattapan.

I currently park there because it shaves 30-1hr off of my commuting schedule and I live in Mattapan. I'll have to deal with the extra commute time. Since my kids are older now I have a lot more flexibility with my life schedule so I will be fine. However, if this was a few years back, working a full-time job and having to do school drop-offs and pick-ups, taking the bus would have been impossible.

The 21 and 31 are incredibly unreliable and often too packed to even get on.

But hey, I'm all in favor of building more housing that folks in the neighborhood can't afford. - Sarcasm

Seriously. I'm all for the

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Seriously. I'm all for the elimination of parking but you have to replace it with something. If the alternatives were any good, people would already be using them.

Ultimately the solution involves converting Needham to Orange Line, rearranging bus schedules so the catchments are based at stations further down Rozzie and Westie and thus go out further, sending more busses into Mattapan, Hyde Park, areas that are essentially as suburban as Winchester and Concord. Improve transit and people won't care about losing parking.

need parking

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AGREED, suburban park and ride!?
How about residents of Roslindale, Mattapan and Hyde Park needing to get downtown?
Ad the end of the line, Forest Hills needs parking, and not only for JP residents!

So you can do math

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300 spaces/15,000 boardings = 2%

Nowhere near the neighborhood of huge.

What would help a lot

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Would be exclusive bus lanes(or heck, even allow cars with say 3+ passengers use them too) on most roadways leading to Forest Hills to speed the movement of the thousands of people who arrive there by bus (or carpool) from being delayed by several hundred people in several hundred cars.

Another view

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While I am a transit rider on the Orange Line and busses on the Washington St. corridor, I also have a wife who drives and thus a car. We often park at Forest Hills and take the T into Symphony, Chinatown, etc. so see a need for parking.

What would make a lot of sense to me (I know this might drive some of you nuts) is to build a 6-8 level parking garage on the land of the current T lot.

If people need to drive first to get on the T, give them a place to park. My wife and I will be the only ones to determine whether we NEED to drive there and everyone else will make that decision for themselves.

Revenue source

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Maybe use some of eh wasted vacant arborway space and build a parking lot. Wait that makes sense , it will never happen

Almost

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6-8 is absolutely insane, when even the residential is not allowed to go that high, 2-3 on the other hand...

I am surprised they haven't used the construction to add an extra level, It would even be at the same level that that Washington side! So almost no visual impact, and you would recover most of the lost spaces.

"My wife and I will be the only ones to determine whether we NEED to drive there and everyone else will make that decision for themselves." This will be true now as it was in the past. It only changes the parameters of your calculation now that parking is halved: Maybe you will need to leave earlier, or park further, or pay more (?),...

So

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Are you saying that because YOU decide that you NEED to drive, people have to hand over their property for you to do so - including a city you don't live in?

Please. Can I start a junkyard on your property because I decided that I need to?

Of course

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Because the poster has never been to the 3 neighborhoods to the south of Forest Hills.

I am that original poster

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of the comment "My wife and I will be the only ones to determine whether we NEED to drive there and everyone else will make that decision for themselves."

Because the poster has never been to the 3 neighborhoods to the south of Forest Hills.

Baloney. I live in Rozzie, about a mile south of Rozzie Sq. and about 1000 ft off Washington St. I spend a lot of time in Rozzie, WR, and JP (hardly ever Hyde Park, though). I spend enough time on the Orange line and Washington street buses that for many months I get a monthly link pass (senior version). You didn't read my first sentence.

Someone else said:

Are you saying that because YOU decide that you NEED to drive, people have to hand over their property for you to do so - including a city you don't live in?

More baloney. 1. I do live in this city. 2. Never said anything about the property in question - said the T should build a garage on the land they already use for a parking lot (on the station side of the street).

About my wife and I sometimes needing to drive (and park). You know nothing about our situation. We are both 70+-, both have physical limitations (my wife has a disabled placard) and we both use mass transit a lot. Enough so that we know that when we get to Forest Hills at 11:00 at night that there may be a long wait for a bus and we will have to fight all the younger kids for a seat. I can stand for the duration of the ride; my wife cannot. Then there's the walk to the house from the bus stop.

So I meant what I said. If my wife and I (together) want to go to a T-accessible event in town we are going to drive to Forest Hills and take the Orange Line from there. If we can't park at Forest Hills, we will be driving the entire way. We're not going to walk to the bus stop (hard for my wife to do), stand and wait for a bus (hard for my wife to do), stand on the bus (hard...) so that you can realize your fantasy of eliminating all parking so EVERYONE is forced to take mass transit EVERY TIME (no matter their circumstances).

Wait, huh?

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I was talking about the anon who posted at 4:47 pm who claimed you (or someone else, the chain is a bit off) is from the burbs. I'm Rozzie proud, so I get the driving thing.

But yeah, exactly.