Architectural rendering of proposed 874-878 South Street development (right side)
This week we sent a comment letter on a proposed residential project at 874-878 South Street, located at the “corner of South Street and South Street”–across from Green T Coffee Shop and adjacent the Hong Kong 888 Cafe, where South Street becomes Walter Street and turns into South Street. We’ve covered this development before in this space, going back at least as far as our first round of feedback back in July 2015, and the latest plans were circulated at an abutter meeting in March. We are typically aligned with “YIMBY” groups and inclined to support residential development, because density both promotes walkability and creates more desperately needing housing opportunities.
Our eagerness to support development is neither unlimited nor uncritical, however. In the case of this project, WalkUP is withholding support for the zoning relief requested by the developer based on a design that is sorely lacking. We are likely to get only one crack at each of these new buildings in our lifetimes, so it behooves us to get it right. We are hopeful that the developer will take our constructive criticism to heart and improve the proposed designed before its zoning appeal hearing, which is likely to be scheduled in October. We’ll post updates here as we get them, either on the design or the hearing date. In the meantime, our full comments are below and also available as the PDF letter as submitted to the Board of Appeal.
We are pleased to announce a milestone for the WalkUP Roslindale Street Mural initiative: Roslindale’s First Ever Street Mural Painting. Following in the footsteps of Somerville, Cambridge, Seattle among other great cities, the Mayor’s Mural Crew will assist in creating a street mural adjacent the MBTA commuter rail parking lot, at the intersection of South Conway and South Street.
Our friends from Roslindale Village Main Street will be there to support the effort. There will also be a drum circle from 1pm-2:30pm. For those under age 15, we will have street chalk for your own creative art work.
Rain date – June 11. Check walkuproslindale.org closer to the date for any weather updates.
The forecast is for much warmer weather. I am accordingly hoping we won’t look this cold:
And your faithful correspondent will stand a round of coffee/hot chocolate at Green T to all participants promptly upon conclusion of the standout at Noon!!! BE THERE, BEYOND THUNDERDOME!!!!!
Intersection of Bussey and South Street, seen from South Street heading southwest away from Jamaica Plain
Share this as broadly as you can: the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) and Public Works Department (PWD) will hold a public meeting on proposed improvements for the Bussey-South intersection – 6 pm on February 1, 2017 at the Weld Hill Research Building in the Arboretum (1300 Centre Street). This is currently one of the least pedestrian friendly intersections in and around the Arboretum and is in desperate need of a walkable redesign. Please attend to lend your critical thinking and advocacy skills for safer vehicle speeds and better walking and cycling in our neighborhood.
South and Walter Streets Visioning Session Flyer
WalkUP Roslindale ally Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association is hosting a visioning session regarding the South and Walter Street Corridor on Thursday, April 7, 2016 from 7pm-9pm at the Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre Street. South and Walter Streets connect Centre Street near Bellevue, West Roxbury at one end back to Centre Street adjacent the Arboretum and Faulkner Hospital at the other end, cutting through one of a densely populated, mostly residential, area of our neighborhood. These streets were historically designed (or more likely re-designed in the car era) to move cars quickly with little concern for pedestrian safety, walkability, and quality of life. There have been some small recent improvements but much remains to be done to reclaim this important corridor. Please show up and share your views!
Add another ingredient to the mix at what is becoming a hot corner: Green T Cafe just announced they are moving into the former Christos Market space on the corner of Walter and South streets. Some limited activity had been noticeable a few weeks back, but over the past weekend a dumpster materialized (was quickly filled and already replaced) and work appeared to be starting in earnest. The news popped up on the LANA NextDoor group as well as the Keep Roslindale Quirky facebook page, and on Green T’s own website/facebook page. Timing sounds like this fall/winter. This is a big change – the location has been vacant for several years and we have been in desperate need for a neighborhood coffee shop for almost as long.
Green T’s impending arrival signals that there is retail potential at this corner. Further to the recent post about the proposed residential development across South Street, I would suggest again that there is a meaningful basis for more commercial activity at this corner (again, just down the street from where I have lived for 15 years), not less. And one way that the South Street developer might straddle the fence would be to include one or two live/work units on the ground floor street frontage of the building. I suspect, without researching the question, that live/work units at that location (and probably almost everywhere else in Boston) would require a variance from the existing zoning. But the advantages in affordability, flexibility of use and allowing the building to evolve with changing circumstances would be significant. Something to consider here and possibly elsewhere in Roslindale where retail might work but hasn’t been proven yet or has been dormant for an extended period.