Paving Allston - the good and the bad

The new sidewalks being poured on Franklin Street are a very nice neighborhood improvement. One area had been a dirt patch maybe an inch lower than the rest of the sidewalk and now it is smooth and safe. My son's tricycle ride to the playground will be much better as a result of this project and of course many other people will enjoy a safer and more pleasant walk. I am amazed that someone would want to do this to the front yard of their home. Think how hard it will be for someone to correct this some day. Planting a bit of groundcover is not hard and would look SO much better. I am also amazed that the City of Boston allows this to be done.

With all the talk about making Boston a "green" city it would be great if the City could prevent needless paving of front, side, and back yards. Rain like we had today should be going into the ground and then the Charles River. Instead so much of it goes into the sewers. To learn more about the problems this causes, visit the Charles River Watershed Assoc website


  1. What would have been nice though, is if the crews that went around jackhammering had actually swept-up the giant chunks and smaller, sharper shards of concrete that were instead left to trip over, get in shoes (and my sandals) while the walks were waiting to be gouged-out completely and filled with fresh concrete. I walked past some spots daily for almost a week, walking in the street at times to avoid the sharp mess.
    And why anyone would opt to fill-in their front patch of dirt with concrete is beyond me. It's ugly, it creates unnecessary radiant heat in the summer, and it creates more problems in the winter since any melting snow can't be absorbed so it then runs onto the sidewalk and freezes when the temperature drops again. I'd rather see dirt with no grass or even dirt with weeds than a giant slab of concrete any day.

  2. I can understand the disappointment of seeing a lawn paved over. However, I think legislating away the right of an individual to do as the please on their private property is not the right way to go. Aside from simply wanting to preserve individual freedom, I can easily see someone wanting to create off-street parking for their car by paving some or all of their yard.

  3. Hi Rudy,

    Boston's zoning code already prevents front yard parking. See page 44 of

    "Off-street parking and loading spaces shall not be located in any part of a landscaped area required by this Article or in any part of a Front Yard"

  4. The next line in the code also provides an exception for residents who don't have a backyard suitable to meet the residential parking requirement. I suspect quite a number of homes would fall into that category; I know our home does, and within the past year the multi-unit on the corner of Everett/Brentwood turned their front yard into parking.

    I find on-street parking to be not only nuisance, but a safety concern. I always have some degree of visual impairment when I back out due to the cars parked on the street, and at least weekly I have to pirouette the car to enter our driveway when on-street parkers partially block our entrance. We can agree to disagree but I find zoning laws that limit the creation of off-street parking to be hindrances to mitigating this problem. And it does appear to be a growing problem as 2 multi-unit developments are replacing single-family homes, at the corners of Raymond Athol/Riverdale. That's only going to mean more cars pouring onto the street.

  5. I totally agree that backing out of a driveway with limited visibility because of parked cars can be a scary experience. In my experience this is at least partly caused by cars that go very fast on residential side streets.

    Front yard parking also creates a safety problem when a multi-car wide curb cut is created. This takes the sidewalk, which is should be the domain of the pedestrian, and makes a much larger space where cars may drive across the sidewalk into the front-yard parking space.

    Absolutely this neighborhood was not designed for the number of cars that exist. Much of the neighborhood was built before cars existed. When a three family house with no off-street parking can easily be home to 9 people each with their own car there is defiantly a problem. Replacing front yards with asphalt and concrete I don't think is the best solution.

    Let's also remember where this started - a front yard paved not to create a parking space, just to make it "maintenance-free".

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