Comments on PNF 425 Washington Street, Brighton

Comments on PNF 425 Washington Street, Brighton

February 8, 2016

Lance Campbell
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Boston City Hall
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Proposal for 425 Washington Street, Brighton (Parsons Crossing)

Dear Mr. Campbell,

WalkBoston appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Project Notification Form for 425 Washington Street in Brighton. We are commenting because of concern about pedestrian issues associated with this project.

This proposal is generally positive for pedestrians and for the neighborhood. The site is located in the heart of Brighton Center, the center of a walkable community where Washington Street  houses local shops and major establishments and services. The retail area is well-served by public transportation and Washington Street’s bus routes draw pedestrians to access the transit service. The proposal is designed to improve the appearance of the street where significant numbers of walkers will pass daily.

Notwithstanding this transit served and walkable setting, the project is quite auto-centric. In a densely built inner neighborhood that is already beset by too much traffic, the project seems With a high ratio of vehicle parking spaces to housing units (1.7), the project seems to be designed with cars, rather than walking and transit in mind.  The expectation that every housing unit requires at least one or more parking space is one of the continuing issues with rebuilding Boston’s neighborhoods. This should not be a requirement when a project is well served by both transit and walking facilities, where such a requirement may be outmoded. Moreover, it is an expectation that has been challenged successfully elsewhere in the city and should be challenged here as well, since many of Boston’s residents now forgo the decision to have a car and instead rely on public transit or private vehicle transport services such as Uber or carsharing options such as Zipcar.

We are concerned that the city is exploring guidelines that would affect the changing tastes and needs of its newer residents in regard to use of vehicles, requiring fewer parking spaces. The developers of the project should explore less on-site parking and take advantage of the site to attract walkers within this very vibrant commercial area at the heart of the community. The underground parking portion of the project may become unneeded. Brighton has become a highly desirable inner neighborhood for residents including groups that are likely to be less reliant on cars – workers who choose not to own one, older folks moving back into the city for its advantages, and students who want to live along convenient bus routes that can reliably and efficiently take them to one of our many universities. As we are all well aware, individuals who do not own a vehicle are much more reliant on walking, a great convenience for many and one which definitively awards better health to those moving about on foot in the ordinary activities of everyday living.

Thank you for your consideration of our comments.


Robert Sloane
Senior Planner

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