In Somerville, Massachusetts, a $1 billion redevelopment scheme in the city's Union Square neighborhood is edging closer to happening after Somerville's Board of Alderman waved through a rezoning plan. The 9–1 vote in favor of the plan last week was the result of three years of planning done by a special development team with the community. The 2.3 million-square-foot Union Square project, if fully approved, will bring 1.3 million square feet of new offices and civic facilities to the area as well as just over 100,000 square feet of public space. Twenty percent of the housing units built will be for families earning a low income, meanwhile, authorities estimate the scheme will see 5,000 permanent new jobs come to the area. Plans for a Green Line extension for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) are also in the works. The $2.3 billion project would link Union Square with the adjoining neighborhoods as well as the city of Boston, making Union Square the downtown of Somerville. “Union Square’s proximity to Kendall Square, MIT, and Harvard—one the densest innovation centers in the world—makes it poised for the next wave of economic growth,” said Greg Karczewski, president of Union Square Station Associates (US2), a development team built specifically for the Union Square Redevelopment Project. “We’re bringing 2.3 million square feet of new mixed-use, transit-oriented development to one of the hottest real estate markets.” For the Green Line extension to happen, US2 is providing $5.5 million in the form of a public benefits contribution and around 950 residences, all of which will supposedly result in new property tax growth. Now that the rezoning has been approved, US2 will present a development plan for Union Square to the community in the next few months. Jennifer Park, a resident of Union Square who has long been tracking the project, welcomes the development but is skeptical of what the final result will be. "They're really changing the look of Union Square. At community meetings there were lots of drawings of high buildings, but also lots of green space," she told The Architect's Newspaper. "As a resident and condo owner, I am happy that my property's value is going up." Park, though, also stressed that the feel of Union Square—with its diverse culture of ethnic restaurants and wide range of activities—should be preserved. "We do not want this to be like Kendall Square where the commercial development is dead at night. I am glad there is development here, but just so long as the community supports that development," Park added. The current schedule has construction starting in 2018 and the new Green Line station open and operational by 2021. The plan in full can be read here.
Posts tagged with "Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority":
Navigating Boston's subway system, known as "The T," will soon be a cinch with the help of a new map designed by Mikheil Kvrivishvili. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) named the Moscow-based interactive/graphic designer the winner of its "New Perspectives Map Re-design Competition" after receiving 6,837 out of the 17,045 votes cast by the public. A panel of experts—composed of MBTA officials, academics, urban planners, and cartographers—selected six finalists from a pool of dozens of applicants. Members of the public then voted online for their favorite design. The contest called for ideas that fit within the "Classic Tier" or the "Open Tier." The former required a more traditional approach to the MBTA rapid transit or "spider" map, whereas the latter welcomed interpretations leaning on the creative side. Kvrivishvili's map, according to the MBTA, fulfilled a four point criteria: "creativity, aesthetic quality, readability/visual clarity, and informative quality." This redesign comes at a critical time when the city is planning on allocating $13 billion in infrastructure, and while MassDOT is undergoing a rapid expansion with several new stations and a new rail line on the docket. The winning map will be updated to include the changes in the system as they are made. “We are entering an exciting period of growth and change in our system and I’m pleased that we were able to work with the public to help usher in some exciting new developments,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott in a statement. “As we continue to grow and improve our system, the new map will be a great symbol of the changes and updates were working on as a whole.” The maps will start popping up in new stations as soon as early 2014.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is dedicating millions in funding to revive an inactive rail line, known as Track 61, to shuttle Bostonians between the bustling neighborhoods of Back Bay and the Seaport District. In the last decade, Mayor Menino has helped to transform Boston’s waterfront into a tech hub—accompanied by an influx of mixed-use developments—dubbed the Innovation District, which is now in need of better transit options to support this surge in activity. The city anticipates that the rail line will be up and running in roughly two years.