June 3, 2012

MA Route 9 signs obstructing Tremont St sidewalk
Is it really OK for signs to block this much of a sidewalk? Luckily, no -- they were soon removed.
(Photo courtesy of Universal Hub)


  • McGrath Highway: Should MassDOT Knock Down the Bridge Connecting Somerville to Cambridge? (BostInno)
    By Steve Annear -- Local and state officials are trying to decide what to do with the massive bridge passing over portions of Somerville that connects to Cambridge and leads into Boston. Calling the McCarthy Overpass “a monument to urban blight,” Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said the elevated roadway should be taken down to help integrate the neighborhoods that surround it.
    Related: Somerville community urges state to tear down McGrath Highway overpass (Boston Globe, Somerville Patch, Somerville Journal), and much more below
  • Mayor: I would have kept Casey Overpass; prepare for "Second Big Dig" (JP Patch, JP Gazette, Universal Hub)
    By Chris Helms -- Mayor Thomas Menino came out publicly against the "at-grade" plan for reconfiguration of the Casey Overpass area. He would have preferred a smaller bridge with a greenway beneath it. Mayor Menino isn't happy with the state's plan to tear down the Casey Overpass and replace it with a network of ground-level streets.
    Related: Mayor's late Casey comments could stir up trouble (Boston Cyclists Union), and more below
  • Despite urging, new board moves cautiously on Kendall Square proposals (Cambridge Day)
    By Marc Levy -- Even with four motions tabled, Monday’s meeting of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority lasted three and a half hours [as it] began addressing construction proposed to benefit Google by developer Boston Properties. The building, which would link Google offices on opposite sides of a parking garage but take away much of a rooftop garden used by the public, is among the most significant and controversial issues facing Kendall Square.
  • Mass. will open 40 miles of MWRA trails to public (Boston Globe)
    By David Abel -- "No trespassing" signs along a historic ribbon of land from Clinton to Boston will be removed over coming months, after state officials announced Tuesday they would make a network of trails over a century-old system of aqueducts accessible to hikers, bikers, or anyone seeking a stroll in the woods.
  • Planning processes: When the 1 percent say no (Salon.com)
    By Will Doig -- From bike lanes in Brooklyn to desperately needed housing in D.C., public micromanagement has become such a problem that several cities are now trying to rein in the Not-In-My-Backyard crowd. "The current process does not work for anyone," one urban design expert told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We want the Planning Commission to focus on big planning issues, not micro-design issues."
  • Can Trees Actually Deter Crime? (The Atlantic Cities)
    By Eric Jaffe -- Silly as it may seem to the public, there's an intense disagreement among scholars about the impact urban trees have on a city's crime rate. Some are convinced urban greenery increases crime -- arguing that low trees and shrubs, in particular, create a natural hiding place for criminals. [...] Others are convinced that urban trees have exactly the opposite effect.
    Related: Urban trees reveal income inequality (Per Square MilePer Square Mile followup)






  • Somerville residents paint ugly picture of new bicyclist-friendly parking spots (Boston Herald)
  • Is traffic down? Study says so -- In gridlock rankings, Hub is 9th, far behind LA & NYC (Boston Globe)
  • Charging an electric car in Boston can be free, easy (Boston Globe)
  • About those cars parked on the median of Cambridge Street in front of City Hall (Universal Hub)
  • Seaport of the future: More gridlock? (Boston Business Journal)
  • Memorial Day a peak time for running red lights, study says (USA Today)
  • Letter: Resident Upset About Sudden Parking Ticket Spree Near Watertown Square (Watertown Patch)
  • The Risky Business of Parking Lot Creation (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Why America's Love Affair with Cars Is No Accident (Scientific American)
  • Has the passion gone out of America's fabled love affair with the automobile? (Washington Post)


Development projects

  • City picks developers seeking $95m in projects for Roxbury -- hotel, grocery, housing eyed (Boston Globe)
  • Longwood skyline to get taller with 17-story Emmanuel dorm (Universal Hub)
  • Boston agency gives the 'Ink Block' project the green light (Boston Globe)
  • A curveball at Fenway Center (Boston Globe op-ed)
  • Haymarket vendors and customers have mixed feelings about upcoming development (Boston Globe)
  • Two projects to revitalize Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury (Boston Globe)
  • New bids for East Cambridge courthouse (Cambridge Chronicle)
  • Despite urging, new board moves cautiously on Kendall Square proposals (Cambridge Day)
  • Apartment project faces delay, opposition (JP Gazette)
  • Forest Hills T parcel unsold, but buyers are looking (JP Gazette)
  • Comment Period Open for Turnpike Air Rights Parcels (Back Bay Patch)
  • West Square residential development plan brings Southie together (Boston Herald)
  • New Balance project in Brighton set to run $500M (Boston Herald)
  • Warren Green -- Long-delayed Charlestown condominiums to be built on former Big Dig site (Boston Globe)
  • Hayden Building by H. H. Richardson, historic gem of the Combat Zone, to be restored as residences by Historic Boston (Boston Globe)

Land Use/Planning


  • New York City --
    • Restoring a Bridge for Pedestrians and Bicyclists -- a Link Between Neighbors (NY Times)
    • Amanda Burden, Planning Commissioner, Is Remaking New York (NY Times)
    • Barclays Center Traffic Plan Cuts Parking Spots by Half (NY Times)
    • Should Cyclists Patrol Cyclists? (Wall Street Journal)
    • Bike Share: This Is How We Ride (NY Times)
    • New York City Parking Rules Now on an Online Map (Transportation Nation)
  • New Haven mayor butts heads with new urbanists (Better Cities & Towns)
  • SFMTA Installs Second Green Wave for Bikes on 14th Street (Streetsblog SF)
  • Chicago's Ambitious Plan for Zero Traffic Fatalities (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Intercounty Connector a life-changer for motorists, residents (Washington Post)
  • Metro to extend Westside subway under Beverly Hills High (LA Times)
  • Highway, bridge tolls higher for out-of-towners (Boston Globe)
  • Is It Time for D.C. to Grow Higher? (Wall Street Journal)

National trends

  • The Best City Parks Systems in America (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Subdivisions go urban as housing market changes (USA Today)
  • Planning processes: When the 1 percent say no (Salon.com)
  • How Smaller Cities and Rural Places Are Using Transit and Mobility Investments to Strengthen Their Economies and Communities (Reconnecting America report)
  • Pedaling to Prosperity: Biking Saves U.S. Riders Billions A Year (Forbes)
  • Analysts: Traffic Congestion Down 30 Percent Last Year (Streetsblog DC)
  • Weight of the Nation series highlights transportation's potential to help fight obesity (Transportation for America)

International news

  • 30 Minutes on Mass Transit in 20 World Cities (The Atlantic Cities)
  • In Rotterdam, a Promenade Built By the People (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Montreal to try new type of intersection for cyclists and motorists (Montreal Gazette)
  • Make cycling a part of urban planning and policy, Danish minister tells Britain (The Times)