Harvard's Charlesview Parking Lot

The site of the current Charlesview Apartments is one of the most prominent gateway locations of our neighborhood. It is a shame that Harvard wants to put a big surface parking lot there.

Also, the building shown in the left side of the images below (Harvard calls it the "Gateway project") is not scheduled to be built until 2020 at the earliest. There seems to be no proposal for how these ~8 acres will enrich the community and Barry's Corner for the next 6+ years.

This is not a new concern. Here is what the Task Force wrote 8 months ago:
Harvard Allston Task Force comment (Nov 19, 2012) - Harvard Parking Lot on the site of the current Charlesview housing - This proposed use shown on page 35 of the IMPNF is completely unacceptable. A large surface parking lot in this strategic and highly-visible site is completely contrary to our vision for North Allston. We strongly oppose Barry’s Corner being the backside of Harvard’s campus where undesirable uses are dumped.
Harvard has suggested that this site could also be used for construction activities such as material storage, staging, and parking. We disagree with this proposal, especially considering the pending vacancy of the CSX and Romar sites which would give Harvard other nearby options for parking and construction activities.

And here is Harvard's proposal. It is quite deceiving for the parking lot to be drawn in light gray in two of the drawings which does not make it look like asphalt. The 3D view shown on top was drawn by Harvard's consultants so that it only shows 1/2 of the parking lot.

The text in Harvard's "Parking" section of the IMP (which gets just 1/2 page in a 294 page document) says the following:

The location of the parking lots and garages seeks to minimize impacts on adjacent streets
by taking advantage of new streets such as “Academic Way” and “South Campus Drive”
to divert traffic away from Barry’s Corner. The parking facilities and their driveways will be
integrated into the network of pedestrian paths in the Ten-Year Plan to minimize pedestrian
and vehicular conflicts and to provide suitable connections to the new and existing
institutional uses.

How does this make any sense? These parking lots exit onto North Harvard Street and Academic Way. The cars that use the Academic Way exit will then have to exit onto Western Ave. So how does this minimize impact on adjacent streets? Visually, a single row of trees along North Harvard Street doesn't minimize much of anything. What does it mean to integrate parking lots and driveways into "the network of pedestrian paths in the Ten-Year Plan to minimize pedestrian and vehicular conflicts"?


  1. Anonymous8:59 AM

    Disgusting, what could possibly be less "transformational" than a parking lot? this is an insult to the community, shame on Harvard.

  2. In these parking lots one can only park new cars not used cars

  3. From a quick glance at the building plans around the business school it looks like eventually 2 new buildings will be built on either side of that main building in the big HBS parking lot. That probably means the closing of the main lot at the business school during that construction and other parking will be required. I think whatever organization that controls parking at Harvard just wants to own as many spaces as it can in Allston. I'm sure this is a profit center for the school. I think anywhere that Harvard controls parking needs to be considered with in the scope of this planning. Isn't parking institutional use too? I don't really know. I would really hate to see Allston become the town that all Harvard employees can park in to be bused into Cambridge and elsewhere.