Davis Square Pin-Up Ideas: 1 of 7

Pin-Up Ideas

This is the first of seven posts covering all of the ideas generated at the Somerville by Design: Davis Square Design Charrette that was held September 9-11, 2013. We have numbered all of the images so that it is easier to reference them when providing feedback.

You can send us feedback two ways: first, you can discuss a specific idea online by leaving a comment at the bottom of this blog post. Second, you can provide feedback using a feedback form that you can download (Pin-Up Feedback Form) and mail back to us using the address below. The form is designed to facilitate feedback for all of the ideas generated (over 45 in total) and should be used for all of the forthcoming blog posts, not just this one.

Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development
c/o Somerville by Design
93 Highland Ave.
Somerville, MA 02143

All of the images on this post can be downloaded as a .pdf here: Pin-Up Ideas 1

Participants in the Visioning Sessions identified several opportunities for improvement south of Holland Street. Seven Hills Park is in need of updates. This section of the Bike Path is attractive, but its connection through the MBTA Head House and the main intersection of Davis Square is awkward. Large privately owned surface parking lots sit vacant during peak hours at night and on weekends. The following ideas are intended to illustrate possibilities for circulation improvements as well as reinvestment and redevelopment.

Pin-Up Ideas2

CONCEPT 1

This simple sketch imagines the Day / Herbert parking lot as a permanent “market square” for the Farmers’ Market and other community uses, with a small, one-way access road on its edges to facilitate truck access and loading. The privately-owned parking lots between Days Street and Dover Street are shown with townhouse-style residential development to soften the blank rear wall of One Davis Square, an east-west pedestrian street, and a “U”-shaped boutique hotel adjacent to Flatbread and Ideal Engine.

Pin-Up Ideas3

CONCEPT 2

This sketch for the privately-owned parking lots between Days Street and Dover Street explored the creation of an elongated, attached square (green space) in the existing parking lot. A new street connects Dover and Day and is fronted by a new building softening the blank rear wall of One Davis Square. The Day/Herbert parking lot features a small, infill building.

Pin-Up Ideas4

Pin-Up Ideas5

CONCEPT 3 (2 Images)

Meacham Street is retained in these sketchs. The 1980’s bunker-style MBTA headhouse is replaced with a smaller glass structure to improve visual connections between Seven Hills Park and Davis Square. In the first image, the Dover Plaza building is divided into two halves, with a new attached square extending into the western portions and a multi-story office building sited on the eastern half.

Behind One Davis Square, Herbert Street is extended, connecting Day to Dover.  The north half of the parking lot is shown with community outdoor space (including a movie screening area) and a small infill building. The southern portion of the parking lot and the existing the Ideal Engine site is imagined with new townhouse-style development framing the street, with courtyards created adjacent to Flatbread. The Day Street / Herbert Street lot is similarly shown with a center courtyard framed by townhouses.

The second image shows what this concept might look like from a pedestrians perspective facing north on Dover Street.

Pin-Up Ideas6

Pin-Up Ideas7

CONCEPT 4 (2 Images)

This idea replaces the existing Dover Plaza building and Meacham Road with a new extension of Buena Vista Road east, connecting with Dover Street. The large one-story Dover Plaza building is replaced with a smaller-footprint office building, which is shown as stepping up in height from three stories on the south side to five stories on the north side.  The rest of the property is incorporated into Seven Hills Park. A second new office building is imagined above the existing MBTA Red Line head house on Holland Street.

The large parking lot between Day Street and Dover Street becomes a flexible space, able to handle parking as well as community events such as the Farmers’ Market and a large movie screen on the rear wall of One Davis Square. Infill development is shown on the Day/Herbert parking lot, which also steps down toward existing residential, as well as on the Ideal Engine site.

The second image is an axonometric view of the ideas all together. Although no one ever views Davis Square from this angle, it helps depict how all the various pieces fit together.

Pin-Up Ideas8

CONCEPT 5

This scenario is focused on the existing Candlewick Press building and Seven Hills Park. The concept shifts Meacham St. south, creating an opportunity to extend Seven Hills Park into the newly configured land created behind the Somerville Theater. The venting and fire suppression system close to the MBTA head house is re-sited, creating a clear view into the square for users of Seven Hills Park and the bike path. A pavilion and bandstand are added to Seven Hills Park.

This sketch also shows two new buildings, one sited above the Buena Vista Garage, with an urban courtyard running alongside the Harvard Vanguard building to invite pedestrians from Holland Street to Seven Hills Park, and a small-footprint, urban building that fronts on both Dover Street and the extension of Seven Hills Park.  The new bandstand or stage is complemented by a terraced and ramped transition that doubles as performance seating at the Buena Vista infill site.

The new infill development behind the Somerville Theater is “buffered” from the residential lots to the south by moving Meacham Street slightly to the south. The new block face created should receive a few infill houses so that the backs and sides of existing homes are not exposed to the new alignment of Meacham.

Pin-Up Ideas9

CONCEPT 6

This image is similar to #5. More detail is included in this sketch, which shows townhouse-style development along the re-aligned Meacham Road to serve as a buffer for the residential neighborhood to the south. A thin alley between the new townhouses and the existing homes permits tuck-under parking for the new residential.

In this concept, the parking lots between One Davis Square and Flatbread / Ideal Engine are re-imagined to show a possible development scenario, which includes a new street connection between Day and Dover. Some surface parking could still be accommodated internal to the block via an access point off of the new street.

Pin-Up Ideas10

CONCEPT 7

This idea replaces the existing Dover Plaza building and removes Meacham Road connection to Dover. A new office/retail building fronts onto Dover Street and Seven Hills Park significantly increased in size, while Buena Vista and the Meacham Road become merged.

The parking lots behind One Davis Square could facilitate redevelopment with a number of small buildings fronting onto an internal courtyard/plaza and Dover/Day Streets. The opportunities for outdoor seating become readily apparent in this concept.

The Day/Herbert lot is shown as a parking garage. The lot is not large enough to fit a standard parking deck of generic design, increasing the cost involved to put structured parking on this site.

Pin-Up Ideas11

CONCEPT 8

This idea keeps the amphitheater like seating steps, Buena Vista lot infill and general improvements to Seven Hills Park shown in concepts 5 and 6 (above), but does not move Meacham Road. An important variation is the Dover Plaza building site, which is replaced with two buildings: a boutique hotel on the northern portion, and a smaller office building on the southern portion. The street between the two could be flexible in its design.

Background Information:

The Dover Plaza site, while today hosting a number of businesses that provide valuable employment opportunities in the heart of the Square, is a potential infill site in the long term.

The length of Meacham Road between The Dover Plaza site (where Candlewick Press is today) and Seven Hills Park and its connection to Dover Street is not highly utilized and features limited underground utilities.

The bunker-like design of the MBTA head house for Davis Station (at Seven Hills Park) and its accompanying venting installation function as a physical barrier and visual blight. Although the design of the head house is out of date visually, it continues to function properly when considering only access in and out of the station. However, the entrance is aligned in a way where wind funneled through the main square pushes heavily on the doors, making it hard for some users to enter and exit.

The Buena Vista garage site is a long term redevelopment site and one of the only places in all of Davis Square where a parking garage can fit without increased design costs due to the size/shape of the site.

Many members of the project team believe a street connection, or a pedestrian passage at minimum, should be created connecting Dover and Day – preferably aligned with Herbert Street.

The privately-owned parking lots between Dover and Day are potential infill development sites today.

The public-parking lot at Day/Herbert Streets is a potential infill site. Any new building needs to be context appropriate due to the near-by existing houses.

12 Comments

  1. Charline Lake

    I think all these concepts have something to recommend them. I think the stairstep transition from low buldings to higher ones in concept 3 is attractive. The lovely renderings accompanying concepts 3 and 4 are inviting because of the trees shown and because of the traditional look of the architecture. I’m a little worried about the disappearance of parking. Maybe we need parking that doesn’t look like parking . . . like one of the buildings shown at an earlier Somerville by Design meeting–a gorgeous multistory parking structure that was impressively camouflaged.

    A permanent home for a farmer’s market would be great. And the more green space, the better.

    While we’re at it, please restore the statues to the plaza in front of J. P. Licks. My friends and I used to travel from Cambridge and Arlington just to visit them. They were witty and endearing.

    The idea of a street cutting from Day Street behind the CVS seems to me to be great for traffic flow. I wonder what the parking lot owner would think of this idea, though.

    Please don’t forget the idea of a multi-price-point hostel instead of a hotel when finalizing plans. We need clean, inexpensive alternative lodging for visitors–this is a felt need in my building two blocks from the heart of Davis Square. I got an e-mail this morning from a neighbor seeking economical lodging for 3 friends coming in for his wedding next week. These people don’t have a lot of money but need to be put up for a few days and deserve decent accommodations that don’t require a car to reach.

    Thanks for the great work you have done on designing for Davis Square.

  2. Alyson

    I like the enhancement of the Holland Ave T exit in concepts 3, 6 and 7 and I also like that in concept 6 and 7 there is a more sizable provision of green space near the station, which would be great for all the programming that takes place in that area. In concert with this, I would prefer that it might have more landscaping than just grass so that this would feel like a place people really care for and want to spend their time (aside from the obvious ecological benefits). I understand this is just a concept, but generally, I would definitely prefer more attractive landscaping than what is currently in that area.

    On the note of parking, I would only prefer structured parking if all surface parking was removed from that area, and yes, if it was done beautifully and in such a way that does not take away from the streetscape/urban activity. Then, again, that will be an ambitious economic under-taking.

  3. Alan Bingham

    The thought of extending Herbert makes sense and combined with the extension of the seven hills park to make it really usable is an outstanding thought. The background thoughts expressed are all right on the money in my view. One of the big issues from the square businesses and those looking to create business in the square is parking. Even the city parking consultant admitted that lack of parking is holding back the commercial development of the square. To this end, the suggestion of increasing the fees in Elm between Cutter and Highland do not make sense, instead make it all 30 minutes only after noon and loading zone only pre-noon. That gives delivery a chance and people can park to pick up and drop off later in the day, and at nights when the street is really cluttered it will not be used as a parking lot. This could help commercial development. If the Buena Vista lot can be extended and both Meecham and Buena Vista streets reclaimed it would make sense. Sketches 4-6 are really good but I have concerns that the Candlewick Press & Ideal Motor lots may be resistant to selling and moving, making those ideas unworkable. However. the Urban Equity lot could be acquired and the streets relocated to make good sense. The idea in concept 4 of the use for the Herbert / Day lot sounds appealing, however, forfeiting the parking, especially if the Urban Equity lot is resumed could be an issue. A full design should make provision for the parking. This came up at the Beer Works community meeting as a major issue – where will all those people park, and while we know that there is a lot of underutilized parking in the square, but its not available for outsiders use out-of-hours.
    In essence the designs show better use of space, especially in the resumption of streets and rerouting combined with better use of the seven hills park area. At the charette a suggestion was also made to put the bike parking for the T on the roof of the T headhouse, which would have the effect of uncluttering the seven hills park and better utilizing space.

  4. Alan Bingham

    Have you looked at the local B&Bs?
    They are a wonderful deal.

  5. Rosemary

    Concept 1: The idea of a permanent “market square” is very attractive. For me, it would replace the need for a grocery store for perishable items (bread, veg, fruit, fish) although I know I can walk up to Dave’s. (I can drive once a week to a regular supermarket to stock up on non-perishables.)

    I like the idea of step-up bulding heights to transition between residential and commercial buildings.

    Any significant development of this area may cause traffic problems. Truck deliveries will be an issue. The Mass Ave end of Day st (the Cambridge piece) has a “No trucks” restriction. Day and Dover are both narrow residential streets. Day street is completely blocked for an hour most weeks — either by a fire truck, delivery trucks in snowy weather, whatever. I question the need for the street cutting from Day Street to Dover. Who does it serve? The residents — maybe (but we can do Day > Herbert > Chester). But the other drivers? They turn off Mass Ave onto Day, then cut to Dover and back to Mass Ave — so there has to have been some purpose to that trip — either a hotel or a parking garage.

    Concept 3: I like the idea of improving the appearance of the “T”. I like the idea of “extending” the Somerville theatre to show outdoor movies on its back wall.

    Concept 5, etc: This is a “5” — “strongly agree”. I like the idea of creating a clear view into the square for users of the bike path. I think that continuing the bike path across the square and enhancing the accessibility of the park are important goals.

    I would like to add my support to the first commenter (Charline) on this thread for a multi-price-point hostel. Clean, inexpensive lodging could get 100% occupancy. In my opinion, the need isn’t for “boutique hotel” with a restaurant and gym. It’s about somewhere with T-access, a bed, shower, and wifi.

    Thank you for thinking outside the box and creating thoughtful ideas for our unique and much loved square. I look forward to seeing concept 9 through 40!!

  6. Jeff R.

    This is a nice exercise. The scenarios seem to echo similar themes, so here are some overall impressions:

    A more flexible public use of the parking lot at Day and Herbert would be nice. But there needs to be enough programmatic support to keep it active on a regular basis — more than the farmer’s market once a week — or else it might become stale.

    If we are looking at improvements to Day/Herbert we should also look at improvements to the walk-through between Elm and Herbert between Chipotle and Starbucks. Although this is privately owned, the city could devise incentives to make that feel more public and inviting.

    I’m all for getting rid of roadways where it provides an opportunity to improve the pedestrian experience, but not just for the sake of getting rid of them. On roads without much auto traffic, “woonerf” designs could make the streets more pedestrian and bicycle friendly while still allowing cars through at very slow speeds. This might be a good approach if Herbert Street were extended to Dover.

    Improving Seven Hills Park and the Holland Street headhouse are long overdue. They are not as bad as they could be, but there are many ways to make them feel more active and more connected to the heart of Davis. But that will take significant public resources. Leveraging private investment through development incentives or pubic investment funds should be considered.

    I like the idea of working with Somerville Theatre to find a way to do outdoor movies on a regular basis. I have seen outdoor movies work in other cities, and they can be very enlivening. Making them work financially can be a challenge, but creative minds can probably find solutions.

    Many of these schemes rely heavily on the redevelopment of the Dover Plaza (Candlewick Press) building, and we should be careful about that. The best opportunities for redevelopment are the sites that do not add much economic value in their current state (e.g., parking lots, service yards, vacant buildings without much potential for reuse). Although this building is only one story, it has a large floorplate and provides flexible, affordable opportunities for small companies. This is something that Kendall Square, for instance, is running out of. At some point, it might be economically beneficial to replace that building with larger-scale development. But I don’t think Davis is there quite yet. Baby steps.

    Parking seems to be the elephant in the room. My view is that parking shouldn’t drive planning, as it so often does in the US. We should decide what kind of use mix we want to see in Davis and then think holistically about how to meet their transportation needs. It would be helpful to see some real data on traffic generation and parking utilization among businesses in the square. My guess is that there are ways to manage with less parking than we might think we need, by better incentivizing public transportation, supporting pedestrian and bicycle travel, and encouraging shared parking facilities so that we don’t have so many parking lots that are full during the day but empty at night, and vice versa.

    I have no strong views about a hotel. I think it would definitely be a good revenue generator for the city, but I don’t think it would make or break Davis Square from a place-making perspective. I’ve also seen that hotels can be tricky as a real estate investment, which can limit the ability to leverage public benefits.

    Overall, I think the Davis by Design process has been helpful and a good way to get community participation. Although I didn’t attend all of it, I think the “Cutter Square Sessions” were the most valuable part, since they created a fun atmosphere and an opportunity for people to participate in constructive, creative discussions. Public meetings on planning topics too often veer into lectures or shouting matches (sometimes both), neither of which are appealing to the average community member.

  7. I want to thank everyone for their responses so far. Pin-Up blog posts
    2-6 will be released by the end of this week. Since we have only posted
    Pin-Up #1, there are some ideas in later posts that will make these ideas more feasible. For instance, Pin-Up #3 will show a how a potential 180 space underground municipal parking garage could be built under Grove Street and the existing parking lots. Parking is a shared resource in Somerville and we understand people’s concern about site selection throughout Davis Square. Please refer to our
    Background Information section about the vital businesses at the Dover
    Plaza location today.

    Because a long range plan can take up to 30 years to implement, it is
    important for us to think about how things might change over that time
    period, both large and small, while we are still in the idea generation
    phase of this project. Your opinions given will be reflected in the
    final version of the neighborhood plan. Keep the feedback coming!

  8. Rachel Mello

    Just a quick note here, more in-depth comments to follow.
    Let’s call a temporary moratorium on the use of the phrase “Boutique Hotel” until that term is defined. We learned at the last SbyD meetings that everyone who heard the phrase thought “Boutique” meant different things.

    Can the City define what characteristics they are intending to imply with “Boutique” please?

    There’s so much more here in these drawings, of course! That just caught my eye on my first reading.

    thanks!

  9. Joe Armstrong

    I think that it’s really a great idea to rebuild the Holland Street T station exit so that it’s all glass and can allow a clear view from Seven Hills Park all the way across the square. And this reminds me of what a relief it was when they took down the long, domed structure on top of the vent shaft that cut off the view of the square from J.P. Licks, Tedeschi, etc. And I think taking that down allowed for the whole square area to become much more vibrant in a lot of ways.

    Also the idea of putting a bandstand in Seven Hills Park seems a really good one too. It seems like it would encourage a lot more events to happen there.

  10. Rachel Mello

    For a *fantastic* model of clean, multi-price-point hostel, see Kex Hostel in Reykjavik (Iceland). It has an extremely popular restaurant and bar, that features local music, also has comfortable private rooms as well as the youth-friendly dorm-style rooms. It became a true multi-cultural, arts and culture gem when it opened. http://www.kexhostel.is

  11. Rachel Mello

    – Herbert Street extension seems like a good idea. May alleviate some unnecessary through traffic on already over-burdened Elm St. It could be an improvement for the Square if all it did was provide alternate delivery options (obligate? as in no more trucks on Elm? ,…could be amazing).

    -The tiny open space idea behind the CVS would be in shade almost all the time, and seems unlikely to function as public park. In contrast, love the ideas of making one larger park out of Seven Hills, which seams much more likely to promote use.

    -I’m concerned that the development plan sees the Ideal Auto replaced by townhouses. I see why, but right now Davis Square /works/ because it’s a center for the necessary businesses for residents. A better plan would be to add height to those buildings but keep spaces that allow for these basic services to stay. I take my car to Ideal, then have lunch, go to my doctor, and walk home. If all the “messy” businesses are relocated, Davis is no longer a working City Square. We can’t just keep replacing all our commercial spaces with residential spaces. That’s not a City, that’s a housing development.

    -Love the idea expanding Seven Hills Park, To see this work better, consider small retail spaces along at least one edge. If people could pop in for a cuppa or a snack, or look at some art, or drop off their dry-cleaning, then they could use the park better between errands, or hanging out in the park would make you likely to happen-stance in to friends running errands. It makes a more lively interaction than just being tucked away in a corner.

    -Love the the idea of a stage and some seating. The “bandstand” and “amphitheater” seating as drawn, however is completely out of scale with the uses that park sees. The park already fills with audiences for concerts and performances, even without any infrastructure. Turning the stage at right angles to the park and adding minuscule seating makes it into a quaint gesture, but not really functional. If a more reasonable sized raised stage went in, a flat audience area would work fine, which would alleviate a lot of siting problems that come with attempting to put in seating. The active bikepath/sidewalk in between the small bandstand and amphitheater belies a lack of actual intent about performance in that space, too.

    -Not clear what happens to the Somerville Theater is the stage tech-door gets blocked by an infill building. No more concerts or stage performances. A working performance space needs tech-access to the street.

    -Generally I see too little attention to the services side of being in a City. A city planning diagram that doesn’t indicate where delivery trucks go and parking happens feels a bit like a dream-house plan that’s all living room and kitchen and beautiful bay-windows, but no bathroom, laundry, or HVAC space.

  12. Patricia

    First, thanks to everyone who has participated in this process, which has been the result of much hard work. It’s gratifying to know that people want to be agents of change rather than passive bystanders (or, worse, victims).

    I’m wondering whether anyone who proposed the concepts for Meacham/Dover/Day/Herbert actually lives on any of those streets or roads? Meacham is spelled wrong in some of the ideas, and is identified as a St., not a Rd., in others (Meacham STREET is in East Somerville), so maybe not. But those minor errors are not the real concern here.

    The last things that the residents of these streets and roads need are taller buildings, increased population density, a hotel/hostel, and more traffic.

    Dover St. is two blocks long, and has traffic lights at each end–for good reason. There would be utter chaos and many fatalities if the traffic at those intersections were based on the honor system of drivers actually stopping at STOP signs. Even with the traffic lights, drivers often make right turns onto Dover from Holland, and onto Mass Ave from Dover, when pedestrians have the light.

    The intersection in the middle, at Dover and Orchard, has two stop signs, but drivers often disregard them. A couple of years ago at that intersection, a woman was gardening in her yard one day when an out-of-control speeding car crashed through her fence and almost hit her. She petititioned for a speed bump, but it never happened.

    The same is true for the intersections at Meacham and Orchard, and Meacham and Buena Vista. Cars often don’t stop for pedestrians, and the fact that Meacham from Mass Ave to Orchard is two-way traffic is ridiculous because the road is so narrow. I have not ridden in many cabs in this area, but every time I have been in one on that stretch of road, the driver inevitably says, “I can’t believe this is a two-way street!” I imagine that cab drivers have seen every road condition there is, so if they are making such comments, the situation must be dire.

    As for the Meacham/Buena Vista intersection, that is particularly dangerous because of the way that Meacham curves around the back of the Dover Plaza building, so that drivers don’t have a view of the road ahead–it makes for frightening situations when drivers on Buena Vista or Meacham are distracted, going too fast, etc. (frightening for the drivers as well as for residents, people walking to and from the T, bicyclists, people exercising in Seven Hills Park, and the many pets living in the area).

    As for extending Buena Vista to cut through to Dover: There are houses in the way, and I doubt the residents want to move to make this happen.

    On Dover St. itself, Ideal Garage made extensive, probably very expensive renovations to its physical plant recently, and I don’t think the owners would take kindly to suggestions that they pick up and move elsewhere to accommodate any Davis Square re-design concepts. Likewise, Bright Horizons, one of the top child-care organizations, just moved into Dover Plaza this year. Are they supposed to abandon their new digs to satisfy a re-configuring of the neighborhood? Or, if the building does become taller, do little children and their caretakers want to listen to the racket of the construction going on during naptime, storytime, and all of their other activites? What about the ultimate loss of sunlight that would be experienced by nearby residents if a multi-story building were put on this spot? There are many gardeners in this area, and I expect they want to continue with this recreational, sometimes-food-producing, and good-for-the-environment (oxygen-producing) activity.

    As has been mentioned, Dover Plaza is also the home of Candlewick Press, publisher of children’s books and other materials. Given the uncertain state of book publishing these days, and particularly in light of the fact that Davis Square–the Paris of New England, as it’s called–has NO bookstore, we should cherish a small company that continues to produce many types of fine publications for kids.

    Meanwhile, almost next to Ideal Garage, the triple-decker version of a mega-mansion is rapidly taking shape on the grounds of what used to be a much smaller older home at 82 Dover St. In an interesting commentary (published in the Somerville Journal in June 2013), a Dover St. resident commented on that fiasco: “At the meeting that I attended about 82 Dover Street, the developers argued for the demolition of the house. Even though the [Somerville Historic Preservation] Commission deemed the house historically significant, at the same time, one of the commissioners advised the developers, “If you come to the next meeting with some really bad plans for how you will preserve the property, we might decide that demolition is better than preservation.”

    You can read the entire commentary about this location and the similar building of luxury condos on the site of an older, smaller home at 29 Day St. at: http://www.wickedlocal.com/somerville/news/x1360791058/Column-Development-running-rampant-in-Somervilles-Davis-Square#ixzz2jynugWro

    Dover St. and Day St. already have several large (40-unit, 30-unit) apartment buildings, multi-unit condo complexes, triple-deckers and many 2- and 3-unit houses packed into very small lots. We can’t accommodate a hotel or a youth hostel on these streets, or on Meacham or Herbert. Given the empty buildings and under-utilized spaces on the main streets of Davis Square–Holland, Highland, and Elm–why couldn’t a hotel be built there, right where all the establishments attractive to a hotel or hostel patron are?

    I think the only way to encourage people to walk, ride bikes, take public transportation, or occasionally use rental or Zip or relay cars—instead of owning and driving cars–is to actively discourage driving by making it expensive and very inconvenient to drive and park cars in the area. London has a congestion charge for vehicles, and it’s working. Given the fact that many buildings in our area do not have dedicated parking, there are already too many cars of area residents who are trying to park on residential streets, especially during snow emergencies and street cleaning. Any additional increase in cars driving down those streets or being parked on those streets can only be detrimental. There are also many illegal parking practices–parking too close to driveways so that residents who are legitimately paying for that land have a tough time entering or exiting their property, and, especially dangerous, cars parking too close to narrow intersections so that emergency equipment–in particular, fire trucks–can’t get through.

    Yes, it would be nice for the bike path to more clearly lead directly into Davis Square and across it. And a more attractive, less bulky T entrance at Seven Hills Park would be great. Anything to reduce the number of vehicles in Davis Square is an admirable effort; in fact, I believe large trucks should be banned from the Square. Putting in interlocking footbridges over the Square (Statue Park to Mr. Crepe, Mr. Crepe to the Middlesex Bank, Statue Park to CVS, and CVS to Mike’s?) would mean pedestrians wouldn’t have to wait for the traffic lights to change and give them some stair-climbing exercise, and trucks would be banned by default because they wouldn’t fit under the bridges.

    We need a bookstore, a grown-up restaurant, and a hardware store. The late, great McIntyre and Moore Bookstore, and even Buck a Book, added something valuable to the area. Gargoyle was a good restaurant and bar for adults, and we need a successor to that. A hardware store would be helpful, and a grocery store (a small Trader Joe’s—like the one on Boylston St. in Boston) would be fabulous.

    The Library needs renovations to reclaim its beauty, become more functional, and be accessible for people in wheelchairs or with walkers/canes/crutches/bad knees. Remember that the Mayor had ideas for shutting down the West Branch and/or reducing/demoting its staff in a round of budget cuts not that long ago. Make sure he doesn’t try that again by supporting this Branch and telling him how useful it is!

    We also need a crackdown on littering, including more fines. The presence of cigarette butts, food and beverage containers, etc. all over the ground is unsightly and unhealthy because of the rodents and other pests that this litter attracts.

    As for the definition of a boutique hotel, which someone else asked about, here is one from the Hotel Market Demand Study conducted for the Mayor in 2007 (you know, the one that was done years before the Mayor told anyone living in the area that he was going to force this structure on the neighborhood):

    “In order for the proposed hotel to achieve the level of occupancy and average rate that we
    project, we believe that the hotel will need to include the following characteristics:

    • 100 – 125 rooms

    • Minimum lot size of .53 acres or 23,000 square feet with a garage in the basement
    or a minimum lot size of .75 acres or 33,000 square feet with appropriate surface
    parking

    • Parking to room ratio of .5 spaces per room

    • A lounge or a small food and beverage offering

    • Exercise room

    • Business center

    • Two meeting rooms with approximately 1,200 to 1,800 square feet of total space”

    The Best Western Hotel Tria on Fresh Pond Parkway is 121 rooms, if anyone reading this post is familiar with that hotel. Note that the Mayor’s Study also includes parking for half the rooms, a lounge, a gym, and several meeting rooms/centers. That is supposed to fit on Day St. or Dover St. and not cause massive problems??? I am not anti-hotel—in fact, long before I learned of plans for a hotel, I said that Davis Square needs one, to complement the few bed-and-breakfasts in the area. But I was thinking a 30-40-room hotel, max.

    I also am not anti-development, as is evidenced by my stated wish for various businesses in D Square—a bookstore, hardware store, different type of restaurant, and grocery store. But the type of development and where it occurs are important factors. I will try to attend the DAG-related meetings on the 13th and 18th (the Licensing Commission, re: Beer Works) to show my support for the neighborhood and the people who are trying to improve it in a thoughtful manner.

    Thank you!

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