A Family or a Crowd?

A Family or a Crowd? - New York Times
Manassas, Virginia attempts to resolve overcrowding issues not unlike those in Allston and Brighton.
"One 23-year-old Mexican told The Palm Beach Post a couple of years ago that he, too, thought 10 unrelated workers living in a two-bedroom apartment was too much. "Eight people — three in each bedroom and two in the living room — that should be the maximum," he said. This is the problem in Manassas. When crowding becomes commonplace, neighborhoods change. Parking disappears, and mountains of trash appear on the sidewalk on collection day."


= A86 =
Cofiroute is a company building a major tunnel in France to move traffic off city streets and reduce traffic congestion. The project's motto is: "Drive safely underground, life better above ground".
And Europe also has The Channel Tunnel (Chunnel) connecting England and France.
As Harvard contemplates undergraduate housing along the Charles River near the football stadium and putting parts of Soldier's Field Road underground, it is interesting to also think about these other tunnel projects. See the Cooper Robertson & Partners Interim Report for more info about options for a basic campus and urban framework in Allston.

Snowed-under residents would rather be fenced in

Snowed-under residents would rather be fenced in - The Boston Globe
For Honan, the failure is a sign that the neighborhood should get a sturdier (and far more expensive) reinforced sound barrier fence to keep both noise and snow out.
"There are other communities that are supposed to be ahead of us on the list, but we need to pass them now," said Honan, who added that the Turnpike Authority will be meeting with the neighborhood in mid-March. "We deserve much better than this."

Cheaper alternative to NSTAR Electric

Cheaper and more efficient, 'munis' are viable alternative
A typical Cambridge household using 500 kilowatt hours per month in 2005 paid NStar $70.71.
For the same electricity, muni bills were: Peabody $50.02, Braintree $51.04, Concord $54.52, Reading $54.61, Hudson $57.15
Read more at www.massmunichoice.org to read about a bill at the State House that could help us pay lower electric bills and have better customer service.

Job gives youngsters more than a paycheck - The Boston Globe

Job gives youngsters more than a paycheck - The Boston Globe
Shivering a little as snow fell on Uphams Corner in Dorchester yesterday, a lanky 15-year-old in a black-hooded parka began sweeping dirt and candy wrappers and scraps of crumpled plastic off Dudley Street. Anderson, who lives in South Boston, has spent the last five Saturdays traveling around the city in a van filled with brooms, shovels, and about 10 other youths, filling brown plastic bags with litter as part of a new Boston city winter jobs program.

Sounds like a great program. I hope Harvard St will be on their itinerary.

Let Traffic Flow and So Will Commerce, Groups Tell NY City

Let Traffic Flow and So Will Commerce, Groups Tell City - New York Times
New York works on an issues that we can relate to in Allston and Brighton.

In an unusual pairing of business and environmental interests, five neighborhood business groups are asking the Bloomberg administration to do more to relieve congestion on city streets, citing a new study of private car traffic in Manhattan...it proposes a series of steps long advocated by transportation planners: dedicating more space on the streets for buses and bicycles and freeing more sidewalk space for pedestrians.

After Summers

After Summers - The Boston Globe: "the seeds that Summers planted in Allston have the potential to move the Massachusetts economy ahead for generations."

Yale's $2 billion building plan

$2 billion building plan passes halfway mark
A story from the New Haven Register that may be of interest relative to what is happening in Allston and Brighton with BU, BC, and Harvard

Harvard says Summers resigns as president

Harvard says Summers resigns as president
Harvard University President Lawrence Summers has resigned after a turbulent five years of leading the prestigious school.
What will this do to Harvard's Allston planning?

Scooters, traffic, parking, and oil consumption

Today's New York Times has an interesting full page adverstiement from the Piaggio Group, the company the manufactures Vespa scooters. The ad listed some environmental benefits of scooters (reduced fuel consumption, reduced emissions of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide). Boston could consider how it might make Boston more friendly to people riding scooters, bicycles, and people who use car sharing programs like Zipcar. In addition to being cheaper than owning a car, all of these options would reduce parking shortages in our neighborhoods and scooters and bicycles would reduce traffic congestion too. If the demand for on-street parking was reduced fewer people might want to pave and park in their front yards. Can Boston install more bike racks, places to lock scooters, encourage Zipcars at more locations, and build more bike lanes or otherwise design roads better for things other than cars?

What worth councilors?

What worth councilors? - The Boston Globe
A compensation review committee appointed by the mayor is probably going to recommend later this spring that salaries for the mayor and the City Council -- now $150,000 and $75,000, respectively -- be hiked by an amount to be determined.
Some related commentary on the web in the Boston Herald Blog, a recent Globe editorial, and a story from last week's Globe which claims:
Boston councilors are also relatively well paid, according to the National League of Cities. A 2001 survey found the average salary for councilors in cities with populations of 200,000 and up was $39,061.

Progress in Allston

Herald editorial - Progress in Allston

Skyscraper plan draws mixed reaction

Skyscraper plan draws mixed reaction - The Boston Globe
Friday was a big day for bold vision on the other side of the city, too, as Harvard University joined Menino in unveiling plans for the first building in its long-anticipated new campus in Allston: a 500,000-square-foot science complex with a state-of-the-art stem cell laboratory as its centerpiece.
Community leaders in Allston seemed a good deal more impressed with Harvard's move yesterday than were some passers-by on Federal Street with the city's.
''It is an exciting time for me,' said Paul Berkeley, president of the Allston Civic Association. ''We've been sitting at these meetings for many years now. We've done a lot of talking and a lot of listening, and it's exciting to be at the point where all of these ideas are going to start taking shape.'

Divided, they are, into groups, united they stand, being green

Divided, they are, into groups, united they stand, being green - The Boston Globe
If it's green, or could be, it's on the agenda for the second annual Allston Brighton Green Gathering Thursday night at the EF International Language School. Allston Brighton Green Space Advocates is a year-old confederation of local groups and individuals who want to maintain green spaces of all shapes and sizes.

NY City Proposes Tougher Limits on Lobbyists

City Proposes Tougher Limits on Lobbyists - New York Times
Saying they wanted to avoid the sort of influence-peddling scandal that is rocking Washington, New York City leaders yesterday proposed a set of strict new limits on lobbyists that would bar them from certain areas inside City Hall at certain times and severely limit their ability to shower officials with gifts and campaign donations.

Is Boston moving in the same direction as New York?

BC plans for Brighton campus

BC plans for Brighton campus
As concerns of development and Allston's future mount in the community, Boston College unveiled its plans for the college campus in two neighborhood meetings last week.
A neighborhood charette will be hosted by BC on Feb. 25, 9 a.m. - 12 noon to gather public input and continue the master planning process.

Snowstorm defeats snow fence

Snowstorm defeats snow fence
Many promises and $200,000 later, a new snow fence built by the Turnpike Authority shielding Lincoln Street from the Massachusetts Turnpike came down in the last snowstorm. Area residents who had asked for a stronger fence in the first place are upset.

Graffiti tagger pleads guilty

Tagger pleads guilty
After a graffiti spree in Allston-Brighton last March, Tyson Andree Wells, 26, of Brookline pleaded guilty last week to vandalism charges.

Gardner School gets pilot status

Gardner School gets pilot status
A two-year impasse was broken Wednesday as the Boston Public Schools and the teachers union reached an agreement on a three-year proposal regarding pilot schools. In Brighton, this is cause for celebration, as the Thomas Gardner Elementary School on Athol Street has long awaited pilot status.

Harvard to build stem-cell center in Allston

Harvard to build stem-cell center in Boston's Allston section - Boston.com
Harvard University plans to build a 500,000 square foot complex for stem cell research and other science initiatives in Boston's Allston section. Harvard has chosen a German architectural firm, Behnisch Architects, and a site for the complex, which will house the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Several other cross-departmental science initiatives also will be housed at the site on Western Avenue, east of the intersection at North Harvard and next to the studios of public radio and television broadcaster WGBH. Harvard hopes to break ground on the new building in 2007. In other related developments, Harvard will soon propose an alternative site to Charlesview for their possible relocation. The new potential site tries to address criteria set forth by Charlesview.

Behnisch Architects were the architects for the new Genzyme building in Kendall Square.

City wants violators to sweat small stuff

City wants violators to sweat small stuff - The Boston Globe
Bostonians may be used to getting slapped with fines for illegal parking. But bad behavior will soon cost city residents, too. Armed with new citation books, police are to begin issuing tickets for scores of transgressions of city ordinances: from loud, late-night parties and improperly stored trash to posting handbills in certain public places and using laser pointers in public. The tickets, carrying fines of $10 to $300, are the latest in a series of crime-fighting moves mounted by the city, as officials seek solutions to a wave of violent crime.

Allston-Brighton break-ins on the rise

Allston-Brighton break-ins on the rise - The Daily Free Press: "Residential break-ins in Allston-Brighton are on the rise along with the crime rate because of the growing number of students seeking housing in these areas"

In Allston, Paper packs in a new crowd

In Allston, Paper packs in a new crowd - The Boston Globe
Story about changes in the Allston music scene at Harpers Ferry and O'Brien's.

How big is 1,000,000 square feet?

Some estimates of Harvard's plan for expansion in Allston have mentioned creating one million square feet of new space. How much is that? This shows the footprint of a million square foot building based on various building heights. Some of this space could be built underground, and Harvard is going to build several buildings, not one, but hopefully this provides some context.
(click to enlarge image)

A flimsy fence makes for irate turnpike neighbors

BostonHerald.com - News & Opinion: A flimsy fence makes for irate turnpike neighbors
Allston residents are blaming the penny-pinching Turnpike Authority for building a flimsy fence blown down during last weekend’s blizzard instead of the stronger wall they wanted between their neighborhood and the roadway in the first place.

Violent Crime Rising Sharply in Some Cities

Violent Crime Rising Sharply in Some Cities - New York Times
Nationally, the homicide rate peaked in 1991, declined steadily after 1993 and has remained essentially flat since 1999. But in the first six months of 2005, according to preliminary statistics from the F.B.I., the number of homicides nationwide rose 2.1 percent, with the greatest increase, 4.9 percent, in the Midwest. Yet many cities have seen far steeper increases. In Boston and San Francisco the number of homicides last year was at its highest in a decade.
But the police also blame lax sentences and judges who they say let suspects out on bail too easily..."We have people who've done two, three, four, five shootings who are back on the streets," said Kathleen M. O'Toole, Boston's police commissioner. "Unless we have bail reform, unless these impact players with multiple gun arrests are kept off the streets, we won't reverse this problem."

St. E's to Close Adult Day Care

TownOnline.com - Local News: Center doors slammed: "Disappointed residents at a community meeting last week protested St. Elizabeth's taking away a senior day-care center that is scheduled to close April after 20 years of serving the neighborhood."

Harvard-Allston Task Force Meetings

Harvard-Allston Task Force meetings will be held every SECOND MONDAY and FOURTH WEDNESDAY of each month through November, 2006. The exceptions are Wednesday, March 1, and October 11 and 23, which are the second Wednesday and fourth Monday of the month. Planned meetings are as follows:

Monday, February 13
Wednesday, March 1
March 13 and 29
April 10 and 26
May 8 and 24
June 12 and 28
July 10 and 26
August 14 and 30
September 11 and 27
October 11 and 23
November 13 and 29

All meetings are scheduled to be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Honan-Allston Library, 300 North Harvard Street.

Meeting dates, time, and location are subject to change.

Menino mounts new push for WiFi

Menino mounts new push for WiFi - The Boston Globe: "A campaign to build a wireless data network in Boston picked up momentum yesterday as Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he would mount an effort to spread wireless Internet access across the city."

Harvard Business School raises $598m

Harvard Business School raises a record $598.7m - The Boston Globe
Harvard Business School has raised nearly $600 million in a multi-year capital campaign that will fund student financial aid, faculty recruitment, technology initiatives, new global research centers, and building projects on the school's campus along the Charles River.
And for campus renewal, it raised $85.7 million, compared with a goal of $80 million.

The story doesn't mention that HBS is in Allston, but this will be another interesting piece of Harvard's activity here.

Allston & Brighton Need More Voters!

Did you know that Allston and Brighton come in LAST in voter participation in Boston?

Only 46% of our residents are registered to vote. This is the lowest % in Boston. The citywide average is 60% and some communities have more than 70% registration.

Only 24% of our registered voters actually voted in last November's election. This is also the lowest % in Boston. The citwide average was 36% and some communities were as high as 48%.

So only 11% (7,139 out of 65,561) of the residents of Allston and Brighton voted last fall. In places like South Boston and West Roxbury more than 30% of residents voted. How much better would our community be if our turnout matched the city average of 21%?

How to register to vote in Boston

Map of Boston showing wards and city council districts
Mass Vote election information

Allston activist rewires meaning of 'town meeting'

Allston activist rewires meaning of 'town meeting'
BU's Daily Free Press does a nice story about Allston Brighton 2006.

Zoning Board of Appeal hearings - Feb 7

The nofitication of these hearings today just came in the mail yesterday, so there isn't much we can do to support or oppose any of these, but in any case, here are today's Board of Appeal hearings for Allston and Brighton:

14 Linden Street
Conditional Use variance to change occupancy to allow a private club serving alcohol

29 Sutherland Road
Variance to change occupancy from 3 family to 4 family

79 Brighton Ave
Change legal occupancy from 2 family to 3 family. Legalize existing first floor unit and extend into basement.

2006 Summer Job Registration

Boston Youth Fund: Information for 15-18 year olds to register for summer jobs through the city

Nearly snowless city still needs a sweep

Nearly snowless city still needs a sweep - The Boston Globe: "Appalled by the piles of potato chip bags, pizza boxes, Dunkin' Donuts cups, and general grit and grime he has been seeing day after day, Councilor Jerry P. McDermott of Brighton says the city needs a serious cleanup."

Boston City Council video on-line

City Council Video Library
Watch city government in action!
In the Feb 1 hearing you can watch debate about guest permits for resident parking areas and many other Council hearings that will be coming up.

Overdevelopment - Coming soon to your neighborhood?

Allston-Brighton TAB: Neighbors ask, is it legal?
Owners of the yellow one-family house at 28 Adamson St., Allston, are trying to sell the parcel, with a permit pulled Jan. 10 for five, three-bedroom units, a move that goes against the Allston zoning code.
"This person is deliberately taking advantage of what they hope will be a zoning loophole to make money," said local lawyer and neighbor Cathi Campbell at a community meeting on Saturday.
The lot is zoned three-family and can house only three units, but the developers plan to get around this requirement by building a three-story row house with five condos inside.

Deval Patrick wins big among delegates

Patrick wins big among delegates - The Boston Globe
Story from the Globe about yesterday's Democratic caucuses and here is a more local point of view.
"Ward 21 (Brighton/Allston) we had 14/18 delegates for Patrick and 2 alternates for Patrick. This was the direct result of Patrick's ward 21 organizers getting a strong turnout and being very well organized. "

City of Boston Email Notifications

City of Boston Subscription Email Services
This site has several different email lists you can join to learn about Snow Emergencies/Parking Bans, School Closings, neighborhood specific meetings, youth events, and more.

St. E's closing Adult Day Health Center

Allston-Brighton TAB: Elders out of luck
Open Monday through Friday and located in the lower level of St. Gabriel's Church on Washington Street in Brighton, the Adult Day Health Center was begun in 1981 to meet local needs of senior daycare. It offers a wide range of specialized services to people who have mild to moderate physical impairments and who need assistance in maintaining or improving their level of independence.
The center is scheduled to close in April and currently serves about 28 seniors.

Suffolk Registry of Deeds website

Suffolk Registry of Deeds
This is an interesting website for property transactions and research. Select "Suffolk" county then Property Search. The database contains deeds, mortgages, liens, and other records of property transactions.

Help Me Hank! Crosswalk crisis

WHDH-TV - Help Me Hank! Crosswalk crisis
Channel 7 News Team helps get a crosswalk light repaired in Allston. If you live in Boston and spot a broken traffic signal, you can call the mayor's 24 hour service line to report it: 617-635-4500.
You can reach Hank Phillippi Ryan, 7 NEWS investigative reporter through this web site.

A Retailing Czar, Looking Out for Mom and Pop - New York Times

A Retailing Czar, Looking Out for Mom and Pop - New York Times
New York hires a executive director of retail development to assist neighborhood organizations in their efforts to attract and retain a diversity of businesses that serve local residents.