August ACA meeting - Plans prompt parking worries

TownOnline.com - Local News: Plans prompt parking worries

One of the projects, proposed by MJR Properties, would add retail and office space to Harvard Avenue. The company that bought the building at 226 Harvard Ave. would like to erect a three-story building with retail stores on the ground floor and offices on the other two. Right now, 13 spaces are available at the property, and Hanley said a tentative agreement has been reached with the owners of 90 Brainerd Road to lease 20 additional spaces. To comply with the zoning code, the building would need 53 spaces.

(This project hasn't been approved by the BRA or the community yet, but there is already a website set up advertising the availability of the retail space - http://www.226harvard.com/

There was considerable concern at the ACA meeting about the lack of on-site parking and the distance to the satellite parking. Here are links to maps showing 226 Harvard and 90 Brainerd which is approx. 3/10 of a mile away)

Stoneline Development, which recently bought 465 Cambridge St., told residents that they have been in discussions with Walgreens to build a pharmacy on the lot.

(The biggest issue with this proposal discussed at the meeting is that the large parking lot would be on the right side of the building facing both Cambridge St and Hano St. There was concern that this would detract from the appearance of the area and walkability of Union Square. The developers said this configuration was needed because of the slope of the site. I also found it impractical that they suggested there would be no left turn allowed from the Cambridge St exit of the parking lot onto Cambridge St because of the traffic congestion this would cause. I doubt that people who park in the front of the lot would bother driving around to the Hano St exit and then turning from Hano St onto Cambridge. I expect people will make the “illegal” left turn anyway and make the bad traffic in Union Sq even worse.)

2 comments:

  1. Charlie D.1:04 AM

    Just want to make a quick clarification: The developer said the parking lot was proposed on the side because of the slope of the site, but he also said it was possible to have the building front both streets and have parking in back. However, this would require the addition of an escalator and/or elevator to the building to access the parking lot. This additional expense would certainly make the building work better with the street and eliminate some of the potential traffic problems since all traffic into and out of the store would use Hano St.

    When discussing whether the developer had considered reusing the existing building in some form, someone brought up a point that the Shaw's in Allston reused an old building (most it's facade) and it worked out really well. What's interesting there is that Shaw's is also on a slope and has escalators to access the parking lot at the rear. Clearly this should be seriously considered as a possibility for the proposed Walgreens.

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  2. Construction/demolition of the building on the corner of Cambridge St. and Hano St. has started, with the building on Cambridge St. being completely gutted. I drove out of the 15 N. Beacon St. garage this morning to a demolition team taking down the building behind it...it makes me think that is where the parking lot will go.

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