Swissbäkers bakery, cafe to open Allston on 2/28

Swissbäkers bakery, cafe to open Allston location this month - Allston Brighton - Your Town - "Grand opening ceremonies are set for Thursday, Feb. 28 from 5 to 8 p.m., store owners announced this week."

'via Blog this'

North Allston street parking & space savers on CBS Boston

From Railroad to Recreation or just more landbanking?

There is a timely story in today's NY Times (BeltLine Provides New Life to Railroad Tracks in Atlanta) about converting railroads into recreational opportunities.

Finding new uses for old railroads hasn't always done much for walkers, joggers, and cyclists in Allston and Brighton, as when the space formerly used by the railroad tracks between Lincoln Street and the Mass Pike were used to widen the Pike by adding a westbound breakdown lane.
As CSX winds down its operations at the Beacon Yards facility and Romar leaves as well, it is a big open question as to what will happen on this land in the next several years. Ten years ago Harvard spent $200 million to purchase the rail yards and land under the Mass Pike. Since then, the Harvard story has been that Harvard had no access to the land while it was being actively used.

Now, the days of its active use are dwindling (Houghton Chemical and the MBTA Commuter Rail continue, using just a small fraction of the land shown in the photo above).

Harvard's new story seems to be that this land is too contaminated to even contemplate using. So I took a look at "Understanding Environmental Contaminants - Lessons Learned and Guidance to Keep Your Rail-Trail Project on Track" from the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy. The process they describe is not rocket science. For example:
Hard surfaces, such as asphalt and cement, may be used to "cap" or cover and isolate contaminated soil. Likewise, the use of crushed stone with appropriate depth may also be used.
The report cites an example from Benzie, Michigan where soil contaminated with arsenic and benzopyrene was capped and/or removed and replaced with crushed limestone. The total cost for clean up, engineering, and trail surface (crushed stone) for a 3.3 mile section of the trail was $750,000.

As the CSX trains leave Allston for the last time it will be the end of an era that goes back to at least 1899 when this map was made. It will be interesting to see how quickly the cleanup starts so the next chapter can begin.

ALLSTON-BRIGHTON ON THE MOVE: Boston’s Most Transportation Changing Neighborhood

If you have any interest in transportation, housing, planning, and development in Allston and Brighton (which is probably just about everyone who is reading this blog), I highly recommend this in-depth article by Steve Miller.

ALLSTON-BRIGHTON ON THE MOVE: Boston’s Most Transportation Changing Neighborhood | Steve Miller's Blog:

Lower Allston Crime Watch meeting - Feb 25

BPD District 14 Officer Frank Hughes is holding a Crime Watch Meeting to discuss ways we can work together to make our neighborhood a better place.

When: Monday, February 25th , 6:30pm-7:30pm
Where: Brian Honan Library

Harvard to soon have more vacant Allston land

Per a CSX employee on
Beacon Park freight yard officially closing next Friday, Feb. 15.
Engine house yard along Storrow will remain open until at least April.

Massachusetts Democratic Party Caucuses coming soon

Democrats in Allston and Brighton will be holding caucuses to elect delegates to the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s 2013 Platform Convention. All registered Democrats are eligible to participate.

Massachusetts Democratic Party » 2013 Caucuses:

Ward 21 3/2/2013 11:00 AM Brighton Library 40 Academy Hill Rd, Brighton, MA 02135
Lauren 617-939-9921

Ward 22 2/9/2013 1:00 p.m. Veronica B. Smith Senior Center Auditorium 20 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton, MA 02135
Millie Hollum-McLaughlin 617-254-5853

You can find out your ward # at