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BPDA on Wu's transformation plans: Not so fast there
By adamg on Mon, 02/20/2023 - 11:33am
Scott Van Voorhis recounts last week's BPDA board meeting, at which board members pushed back on Mayor Wu's plans to reshape the way development happens in Boston.
Watch board members criticize criticism of the BPDA's current policies:
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The board hit the nail right on the head: "Putting the cart before the horse." The agency can't meet a goal when the leader hasn't laid out the path to get there. Mayor Wu's plan is very sloppy.
What is the goal?
Make the process more transparent and equitable? How many more public meetings can the BPDA have? How did the seaport end up having such little public open space? Zero athletic fields for kids? Precious little low cost housing? No grocery store? No schools? It’s barely a neighborhood.
These are all good questions but Wu’s team needs to use more than progressive speak and platitudes to explain what the damn plan is. Specifically, at a granular level, what does the Mayor want to do? Give us something we can understand and rally around. If she really wants to build consensus.
Poor Devin Quirk
A good guy and valuable, seasoned government employee, forced to use bland, non specific progressive rhetoric to defend Wu.
Thank god for people like Ted Landsmark. That man is a credit to this city. If you find yourself on the other side of an equity/civil rights argument from Ted, you should really consider whether your head is so far up your own ass that it’s not possible to extract it.
you know, Landsmark would make a great mayor
I've met him a couple of times at charity functions. One of the steel rods in the city spine. Self-effacing, effective.
As I said before, the city needs a planning agency. What could be a power grab and an opportunity for putting cronies on a board and on a payroll wouldn't be recognized as such because the mayor is not an Irish pol. The spectre of "reform" haunts Boston.
What strikes me about Boston looking back is how moribund Boston neighborhoods were during the Flynn and Menino years. Almost nothing was built in the neighborhoods, and now the price is paid in half-million dollar floors in three-deckers. Are they going back to that?
Thanks for that revisionist take.
Jeez, here I was living in the 90s in three Boston neighborhoods. Each had corner stores, bakeries, schools, generally affordable housing, parking, transportation options. The one thing which stood out was the lack of grocery stores, except guess what got built under Menino? It was his thing. He believed grocery stores got people together and made them interact.
I am sorry that them there Irish pols were not your example of pristine governing and city living. Have fun taking your doggie to the spa and paying for an overpriced drink at some national chain bar while the Globe advocates for rent control because well off post grads complain.
Old Boston wasn't as bad as you think it was.
Also, Ted Landsmark would have made a great mayor, yes, but he is too smart for that.
No housing was built in the Menino and Flynn years
. . the positive change with Marty Walsh was dramatic.
I don't recall Menino doing anything about grocery stores roughly between Washington St (Dorchester) and Washington St (Roxbury). Most other parts had no particular problem.
Aside from that, many of the other places in the neighborhoods which got people together and made them interact - taverns - had their liquor licenses threatened by over-aggressive Licensing squad enforcement, so they sold them to Seaport, Downtown, and Back Bay business.
We could talk about shutting down Connolly's, for example
The point about Irish pols flew over your head.
I will make it explicit so you understand it: If Wu were a Boston Irish guy, the purge of the zoning board and the attempt to dissolve and replace the BPDA would be excoriated as a power grab and providing seats and salaries for cronies.
Very little was built in those years
Because the city went through severe depopulation in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Boston's population went from just over 800,000 in 1950 to 563,000 in 1980.
New stuff started to get built during the Menino administration -- there were a bunch of new buildings that went up in the South End from 2000 to 2010, for example. But there was no reason to build new housing as long as there wasn't a demand for it. The growth in off-campus student populations helped keep the rental housing market from collapsing when a good chunk of residents decamped for the suburbs.
We are talking about 1984 to 2014
housing prices quadrupled in Boston in that period. Source: FRED of the St. Louis Fed.
I was adjacent to building, licensing, and permitting issues in the Menino years.
It's hard to overstate how much that guy kept a dead hand on anything happening, except for naming things after himself.
I recall the stickers the Patrolmen's Association put out during a contract dispute: "Ill Duce" Don't know whether the error in the Italian article was an intentional pun, but it worked.