July 3, 2013

Brewer Plaza

Brewer Plaza gets a facelift

(Photo Courtesy of Boston Globe)



Boston From Worst to Among Best Bike Cities Ecori

Leslie Friday-- Not so long ago, Boston was one of the most unfriendly bike cities in the country and even earned that unflattering distinction three times from Bicycling magazine.
David Watson remembers those days. Even though he says Boston has historically had a strong community of bicyclists, the city never had the infrastructure or political leadership to support them. That is, until 2007, when Mayor Thomas Menino appointed former Olympic cyclist Nicole Freedman as director of his new Boston Bikes program.


Transit talk Boston-Cape train a hit; bus ridership up Wicked Local

Rich Eldred-- No one has written a song like “Charlie on the MTA” about it, excepting the ever-present radio jingle, but the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority has been ferrying people to and fro for almost 40 years.
They celebrated Cape Cod Smart Transportation Week last week, which includes everything from bicycles to airplanes, but the RTA is both stolidly old fashioned and forward looking.
One of the best examples is the brand new Cape Flyer train, which revives round-trip passenger rail service to Boston for $35 a trip. One hundred years ago the train was the main way to get to Cape Cod.


Arsenal Mall may become a tech sector haven Boston Globe

Robert Weisman-- A scruffy stretch of East Watertown, home to a pedestrian collection of stores and medical offices, may be destined for a makeover as a mecca for start-ups and young professionals.

Boylston Properties, a Boston developer, is teaming up with athenahealth Inc. chief executive Jonathan Bush and Wilder Cos. to purchase the 225,000-square-foot Arsenal Mall and two nearby parcels.

They plan to transform them from “a black hole,” in Bush’s words, into “a cool place to live and play,” with loft apartments, hip restaurants, and boutiques catering to entrepreneurs and technology whiz kids at nearby companies.

The ultimate goal is to extend the area’s innovation cluster into Watertown by offering lower rents and leases than in pricey neighboring Cambridge.


Supreme Court Weakens Local Governments' Ability to Shape Development DC StreetsBlog

Angie Schmitt-- It certainly won’t be the most talked about Supreme Court decision handed down this week, but “Koontz v. St Johns River Water Management District” will have a long-term impact on the ability of local governments to shape new development.

Tuesday, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that a Florida water management district violated private property rights when it asked a local developer to help pay for the environmental mitigation of building on wetlands in return for a construction permit. In her dissenting opinion, Justice Elena Kagan said the ruling has the potential to “work a revolution in land-use law.”


Maybe buses should be free Economist

AFTER riding a tram in Strasbourg, Matt Yglesias, a blogger with Slatehas decided that proof-of-payment fare-collection systems—in which fares are enforced by inspectors who levy steep fines when they catch you without a proper ticket—are better than pay-per-ride systems for public transport. But there's a more radical proposal that could work even better: making public transport free.


The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, but a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital​ NY Times

John Tagliabue-- About 6:30 weekday mornings, throngs of bicycles, with a smattering of motor scooters and pedestrians, pour off the ferries that carry bikers and other passengers free of charge across the IJ (pronounced “eye”) harbor, clogging the streets and causing traffic jams down behind Amsterdam’s main train station.

“In the afternoon it’s even more,” moaned Erwin Schoof, a metalworker in his 20s who lives in the canal-laced center of town and battles the chaos daily to cross to his job.
Willem van Heijningen, a railway official responsible for bikes around the station, said, “It’s not a war zone, but it’s the next thing to it.”



  • When Will New Arlington/Marlborough Lights Start Working? Beacon Hill Patch
  • The Future of Jackson Square: What's Your Take? JP Patch
  • Road construction piles up​ Boston Herald
  • Boston Redevelopment Authority Boston Magazine
  • OPEN STREETS: How Public Space Creates Civic Culture ­ and Democracy LivableStreets Blog
  • 2nd annual 'Circle the City' to create car-free corridors in Boston on two upcoming Sundays Boston.com
  • Centre/South to get new trash cans JP Gazette
  • From the Archives -- Boston’s elevated Central Artery Boston Globe



  • DCR to Get New Leadership South End Patch
  • Is Litter Ruining the New Alewife Brook Greenway? Somerville Patch
  • In Charlestown, playground is all inclusive Boston Globe
  • Neponset Greenway links now in sight DOT News
  • Letter: Residents should support Hyde/Jackson parklet plan JP Gazette
  • Lexington to open 1st "parklet" Friday  Boston.com
  • Brewer Plaza, reborn -- the magic piano — music, food, and people redeem a public space in the Boston Common Boston Globe




  • When Traffic Lights Go Out in Boston, Gridlock Soon Follows Boston Magazine
  • Tunnel to Boston airport to close for 3 months Boston.com
  • “Structurally deficient” bridges used daily by thousands of drivers south of Boston Boston.com

Transportation financing/Government

  • A Step Sideways for Mass DOT Biking in Heels
  • INTERGRATING VISION INTO OPERATIONS: Balancing Front-Line Empowerment With Organizational Priorities at MassDOT LivableStreets Blog
  • MBTA Opens State-of-the-Art Training Facility Roslindale Patch
  • Mobile City Hall truck to rotate through Boston neighborhoods​ Boston Globe
  • State lawmakers poised to vote on transportation funding plan Boston.com
  • Patrick Rejects Transportation Bill WGBH
  • MBTA over pays, over hires, and over spends BostInno
  • The tech-tax monster vs. Beacon Hill Boston Globe
  • Boston Harbor Island's new chief Philip Griffiths sets agenda Atlantic Cities
  • On the Hot Seat: MassDot’s Jeffrey Simon​ Boston Globe

Development projects

Land Use/Planning

  • State approves lease for Fenway Center project Boston Globe
  • Simon Property Group's proposed Copley Tower building plan in Back Bay now includes 224 more Boston Globe
  • The replacement of the Cambridge Street overpass of I-90 Walking Bostonian
  • Hotel for convention center OK’d Boston Globe
  • Editorial: Open Up, Boston: By letting developers think small, new housing for all Boston Globe
  • Zoning changes could produce new farms -- Boston hopes to plant seed for commercial agriculture to flourish​ Boston Globe
  • Downtown may bag grocer​ Boston Herald
  • The Boston Harbor Association marks completion of Northern Avenue Bridge beautification project​ Boston.com
  • Reform zoning now​ Commonwealth Magazine
  • What's Next for Downtown Lynn? MAPC
  • As development of Assembly Row continues, IKEA site remains in limbo​ Boston Globe
  • Public market on Parcel 7 closer to launch​ Boston Globe
  • Planners hear from public on Union Square project The Somerville News
  • Editorial: Rebooting Jackson Square input JP Gazette
  • Do we need thousands of micro units?​ Boston.com
  • City Recommends Turning Sheridan Into Surface Road. Your Move, State DOT StreetsBlog
  • Op-Ed: Where mini-highways fall, neighborhoods can rise Boston Globe
  • Arsenal Mall may become a tech sector haven Boston Globe


  • NY
    • Transportation Chief Talks of Giving the Public More Public Spaces NY Times
    • CitiBikes are a Pain in the Ass (Video) YouTube
    • Police Unit Taking Closer Look at Deadly Crashes NY Times
    • No helmets required for bike share in busy NYC WSJ
    • Using Citi Bike Data to Chart Trips, Miles, Membership, and Outages StreetsBlog
    • The Case for Making Bike-Share Membership an Employee Benefit Atlantic Cities
  • MI
    • Detroit’s Regional Planners Need to Kick the Highway Habit DC StreetsBlog
  • OH
    • Cleveland's HealthLine has Boosted Transit Ridership and Development Mobile MassTransit Mag
    • Placemaking to Make Friends: The Case of Cleveland’s East 4th Street DC StreetsBlog
  • CA
  • WI
    • Scott Walker's high-speed fail: Train service would have started now Isthmus 
  • OK
    • Oklahoma DOT Must Consider Restoring Street Grid in Downtown OKC DC StreetsBlog
  • MO
    • St. Louis Reneges on Plan to Study Highway Teardown Planetizen
  • IL
  • AL
    • Should Birmingham Double Down on Downtown-Dividing Interstate? Planetizen
  • OR
    • New state law makes walking more welcome on narrow streets Bike Portland
  • FL

National trends

  • The bike lobby rolls on Politico
  • Seriously, We Have to Stop Giving Away Free Parking to the Disabled​ Atlantic Cities
  • AAA Study Finds Hands-Free Tech Dangerously Distracting WGBH
  • Injuring A Pedestrian With A Bicycle Is Assault With A Deadly Weapon, But Killing A Cyclist With A Car Is Not Isolate Cyclist
  • 'Transit' Might Not Be Essential to Transit-Oriented Development Atlantic Cities
  • Maybe buses should be free Economist
  • 94% of bike riders wait at red lights, study finds Bike Portland
  • Cost of Public Projects Is Rising, and Pain Will Be Felt for Years NY Times
  • 10 Brilliant Pieces of Bike Infrastructure Atlantic Cities
  • Homes Near Public Transit Are Less Likely to Go Into Default Atlantic Cities
  • The retirement commune -- Housing’s new direction for baby boomers Boston Globe
  • The Summer Bicycles Took Control Atlantic
  • End of car culture NY Times
  • The bike boom CS Monitor
  • Supreme Court Weakens Local Governments' Ability to Shape Development DC StreetsBlog
  • Highway Revolts Break Out Across the Midwest DC StreetsBlog
  • Anthony Foxx confirmed as 17th U.S. Secretary of Transportation Smart Growth America
  • Survey: People Hate a Gas Tax Hike, Unless It Pays for Something StreetsBlog
  • Highway Expansion Encourages More Than Just Driving NY Times
  • Land in Conflict: How Planners Can Better Manage an Increasingly Contentious Public Process Planetizen
  • Amtrak Looking to Handle Growing Demand for Bikes on Board DC StreetsBlog
  • If Drivers Won’t Pay to Bypass Congestion, Why Should Taxpayers? DC StreetsBlog
  • The Future According to Ray LaHood: High-Speed Rail, But Also Tons of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Atlantic Cities
  • How A Minority Biking Group Raises The Profile Of Cycling NPR 

International news

  • Proposed Garden Bridge Over the Thames Invites Commuters to Slow Down ArchPaper
  • The Dutch Prize Their Pedal Power, but a Sea of Bikes Swamps Their Capital​ NY Times
  • Bristol car-free Sunday closes roads BBC
  • Streetlights bring normality to Mogadishu BBC
  • Sharing the Road: Notes from Rural Northern Ireland Lovely Bike
  • Inspiring Railway Stations of the World MA Transport Blog
  • How Jan Gehl Turned Melbourne into a Pedestrian Paradise Planetizen