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Arborway bus yard could finally be rebuilt

The MBTA and a neighborhood planning group showed off plans for a $200-million reconstruction of the 18-acre Jamaica Plain facility that could mean a new park along with new housing and stores on what is now basically a giant field of asphalt.

At a meeting at English High School, T officials and architects working on what could be the culmination of a 12-year process, showed off a plan that consolidates the current operations into a 10-acre "bus barn" and maintenance facility, basically along the Arborway, with swooping roofs that look like they could fit in at an airport. A 275-space parking garage would be built underneath for yard workers; the roofs would be painted white to reduce the amount of heat absorbed and then radiated out into the surrounding area.

The current "temporary" bus depot north of that along Washington Street would be turned over to the city for development, while a park would be built between the rear of the new facility and the adjacent neighborhood, along with a walking/bicycling loop around the new T yard. An existing city public-works facility on the Arborway would be moved. It could take another five years before the project is completed.

The proposal calls for 150 to 200 units of affordable housing on the land, along with new commercial space. Henry Allen of the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard said that specific planning and design of the new housing, retail would be a whole other process involving the BRA and nearby neighborhood groups.

The entire MBTA facility would be surrounded by a sound wall, along with grading and landscaping designed to minimize the amount of sound spilling into surrounding residential areas.

MBTA General Manager Richard Davey told about 100 residents that the biggest challenge for the project is funding. He said his staff is looking at ways to reduce costs. The project is no longer in the T's long-term capital plan.

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Comments

while a park would be built between the rear of the new facility and the adjacent neighborhood,

Apparently, there's a shortage of parkland in the area. Besides the 500+ acres of Franklin Park that's sitting next door, that is.

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But the issue is really more of neighborhood beautification; in fact, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy was approached and didn't think the new park would work as an extension to the Necklace.

Another issue that came up: Police jurisdiction, given that Boston Police, MBTA Police and State Police all have jurisdiction right there. That's still being worked on.

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Most of Franklin Park is wasted on a golf course, which is hardly a place that most Boston residents can enjoy. Why we have to give up parkland to subsidize cheap golf for a few loafy people who cant make it to Bostons other golf course is beyond me, except that golf is the only activity Menino can handle so we get stuck with golf.

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You do realize the golf course predates even him, no? And there's a lot more to Franklin Park than the golf course. Ever been to the zoo?

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Much - not most - of the park is, in fact, wasted on golf, but there you go. There's still a couple hundred acres of park land right beside this site - and the similar-sized Arboretum right across Forest Hills station.

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How do you waste land on the greatest game ever invented - you can start when you're old enough to walk and play until you're so old that you can't walk - spending four hours with good friends the whole time (well five hours at FP - but i think it's only about $25 for city residents). If you don't play, you don't know what you're missing.

To the post - looks like a nice effort - hope they work out the bugs - that corner is an eyesore. Great for some of the housing we've been talking about in other posts - right near transit and just a few minutes from downtown.

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I'm not a golfer, but that's a rousing defense! And as someone who walks in the park daily, it's hardly cramped by the existence of the golf course. There are miles of woods, quiet walking trails, fields for games, playgrounds, and of course the wonderful ruins including the gloriously creepy bear cages. Not to mention that the golf course in winter is a terrific place to sled and practice that other perfect sport for bodies of all ages--cross country skiing.

I'll be excited to see more of these plans. The area by the current bus depot is so grim, and walkers and cyclists would definitely be well served by a better link from the SW Corridor to Franklin Park. Right now the bike path ends so abruptly at Forest Hills and if you don't know where to go from the to carry on to FP or the Arboretum, you're kind of stuck.

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Franklin Park is 1/4 of all the city's parkland, 527 acres, including 220 acres of forest, with miles of SAFE walking paths that make you feel like you are no longer in the city. There are baseball diamonds, basketball and tennis courts, picnic grounds, playgrounds, historic stone ruins, and more - it is a treasure trove of outdoor adventure and recreation opportunities.

Why is the new Arborway Yard greenway important? It will link the SW corridor to Franklin Park. Because of its historic landmark status, we cannot build new playgrounds or basketball courts in the section of Franklin Park that is closest to the Stony Brook neighborhood - so in spite of the vast acreage and woodlands nearby, it is an underserved community full of kids.

Check out www.franklinparkcoalition.org to learn more about how great Franklin Park is and how great it will be to have bicyclists and pedestrians be able to get from the SW Corridor to the park.

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Thats a pretty dismal stretch of Washington St. You dont see much foot traffic past the Rossmore laundromat and good luck being a pedestrian trying to get there from Forest Hills. It'll either be a median strip or a new place for the Shatuck crowd to sip their nips.

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How about bringing back the rest of the E line?

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So a piece of the land the T would retain at Arborway is for trolleys on the off chance it loses and has to restore E service. If the case (need to find out where, federal courts, I bet) is finally decided in the T's favor, they'd give the land to the city to do something with.

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They ripped up the last of the tracks, and they're taking down all of the poles for the overhead wires. The cost of doing it all from scratch again would be prohibitive. There will be no trollys. Ever. Trollys will only run in Boston on dedicated land - like Comm. ave. or the Mattapan line.

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They'd have to replace all of the tracks and catenary poles and wires to restore service anyway. It's been THAT long since the E-line ran all the way. Event the stuff they paved over is completely out-of-date.

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Adam, this is probably the case you're looking for.

http://www.ma-appellatecourts.org/search_number.ph...

Oral arguments on the 9th! The Arborway Committee is trying to get summary judgment reversed, so the battle is way uphill (of course).

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Why do taxpayers have to pay for an expensive 275 car parking lot? Its right near Forest Hills T stop, tons of bus stops, and the Forest Hills parking garage. If I want to drive to work, I would have to pay to park my car. Getting rid of the garage would be an easy way to reduce costs. Free parking seems like a ridiculous benefit on top of what T employees already get. If they want parking, it should be at private lots, or the T could build a lot and charge their employees (or anyone else that uses it), thereby covering the cost.

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Because transit benefits everyone and makes communities better? Why do we pay for parks? Or schools? Or cops?

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Why can't the workers either take the T to work, or park on surrounding residential streets?

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I don't know why a garage.

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Sorry, had to.

The garage was put there in part at the request of neighbors who a) don't want more cars on their streets (if this project succeeds, you potentially see lots of new development on the dreary and equally unsightly industrial/commercial land across the street) and b) wanted to reduce the amount of asphalt coverage on the land. Building an underground garage means more room available for, yes, the park, but also the affordable housing the BRA has proposed.

Take the T to work, though? How would the people who drive the first buses in the morning get to work - or the ones who drive the last buses at night get home?

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Take the T to work, though? How would the people who drive the first buses in the morning get to work - or the ones who drive the last buses at night get home?

And why can't they ride bicycles?

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So you going to make MBTA employees bike home? I am biker, but I don't think it is right to make them choose a transportation.

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Take the T to work, though? How would the people who drive the first buses in the morning get to work - or the ones who drive the last buses at night get home?

Have a few night bus routes. This would also help with last call. Of course, the routes would have to be targeted to cover the needs of riders, rather than trying to emulate the workday commuting traffic that the rail lines are set up for. I'm given to understand that a few night buses operating west and northwest of Boston proper could accomplish a lot.

Anyway, getting back to your question, let the first and last runs of at least some of the buses assigned to these routes be designed to help MBTA workers make their commutes.

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They would use the Rapid (T)eleportation system of course.

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Did they say where exactly the housing will be built? I'm not seeing it on either of the two diagrams. Will it be further north on the corner of Washington and Brookley?

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That trapezoid in the upper left of the drawing above. The drawing doesn't show specific apartment/condo/whatever buildings because that's subject to a whole 'nother design process, led by the BRA, which has yet to get into details. Last night's meeting was specifically about the bus garage, now at the "90%" design level (i.e., almost ready for building).

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What is put on the Arborway Yard property that is not being used for the transit facility will be determined by a totally different process. The land will be turned over to the City of Boston and a separate community planning process will determine what is included in the City of Boston's land.

Karen Wepsic

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The land will be turned over to the City of Boston and a separate community planning process will determine what is included in the City of Boston's land.

Very funny - welcome to the world of the BRA. That phrase should read:

The land will be turned over to the City of Boston and the BRA aka Thomas M. Menino will unilaterally determine what is included in the City of Boston's land.

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This always comes up, but people need to think this through.

Without 24 hour transit, there's always a first bus and a last bus (and train). Meaning whoever works that route cannot take a bus or train home. Same for station managers that lock up after the last train - the last train just passed, how do they take the T home?

Could they bike? Perhaps, but to force an employee to bike home at 2am in January is foolish, or bike at 4:30am to get to work.

So the fact is, if there's one group of people that can absolutely justify not taking transit to work, it's the people that work in transit.

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And it is actually a pretty hefty percentage of MBTA bus drivers and mechanics who have shifts that start before 6:00 AM or end after Midnight, not just a handful of people driving the very first or very last trips on a route. Even the person driving the third trip of the morning or the 2nd from last trip of the night still have to report to/from the garage at hours when transit is not there.

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