A rendering of what the life science building at 85 Walnut St. will look like from Arsenal Street. The Zoning Board of Appeals gave final approval to a life science building on the former Doble Engineering property. The four story building near Arsenal Street will also have a parking garage and a park along Walnut Street. The project came before the board for the second time Wednesday night, and the board approve the project with some additional requirements.
The area of Arsenal Street near School Street will be repaved beginning this week. The project, which is being overseen by Athenahealth. is slated to begin with milling (scraping off the top layer of asphalt) on Nov. 19, weather permitting. The work on Arsenal Street goes from School Street to the entrance to the recently built West Garage in the Arsenal on the Charles.
The DPW and Planning Department have been working on improving the traffic flow through Watertown Square, as well as making it and Mt. Auburn Street friendlier to bicyclists and pedestrians. However, as usual, they are not considering neighborhood integrity, nor the needs of small businesses. It is funny to me that they are touting “complete streets,” which simply means designing for more modes of transportation than cars. Cities in Europe have been doing this type of design for over 60 years, but we have just “discovered” it here in the U.S., and we don’t do it well yet.
I think the thing that bothers me most about this, and many other developments going on around the Boston area, is the fact that none of what I see takes into account the existing residents. There is no thought about who already lives here, and how what they develop will affect the area. There is no thought of including any of the character, the history of the location, buildings, etc., which is very important to the knowledge of how our county was formed. No thought of the people who have made this area what it is … no thought of all of the cultures, especially in East Watertown, that already reside here.
A mix of strong winds and the force of one pole falling led to the failure of several poles on Arsenal Street during last week’s Nor’easter, according to the utilities. The utility poles along Arsenal Street are co-owned by Verizon and Eversource, said Howard Waterman, from Verizon Corporate Communications. “We jointly own those poles with Eversource, and we worked quickly with them and others attached to the poles to clear the area and restore Verizon service to those impacted,” Waterman said. Eversource spokesman Michael Durand said that a combination of factors led to the multiple broken poles. “The damage was storm related, with strong wind gusts initially snapping one pole that had four transformers on it,” Durand said.
A stretch of Arsenal Street in Watertown remains closed Sunday, two days after eight utility poles came crashing down in a Nor’easter. Watertown officials hope to have the road reopened soon, but much rewiring work remains. The poles broke on Friday, and shut down one of the town’s main roadways, but remarkably no one was injured. New poles have been been installed, and now crews from the Town of Watertown, Eversource, Verizon and others are out putting up new wiring on the new utility poles, said Watertown’s Superintendent of Public Works Gerald Mee. “It is pretty difficult to estimate when (Arsenal Street) will reopen.
Removing Charles River Road from Watertown Square, making changes to the 70 bus and improving access for bicyclists made the list of recommendations in MassDOT’s final Arsenal Street Corridor Report. The list of recommendations remained largely the same from the draft report released by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in June. Officials added details to their recommendation for realigning Watertown Square, including removing one of the spokes off the intersection – Charles River Road. The benefits would be simplifying the intersection which then allows the traffic light phasing to change and make the intersection more efficient. The report acknowledges removing the road would have some complications,
“Eliminating the Charles River Road approach to the intersection may also reduce ‘cut-through’ traffic in the adjacent neighborhood.
After a marathon session, the Town Council unanimously approved a partnership with Athenahealth and the DCR that will bring $25 million in public infrastructure projects to the area in East Watertown around the company’s campus. The funds to pay for 10 proposed projects come from the state via the I-Cubed program, which creates partnerships between public entities (the Town and the Department of Conservation and Recreation) and a private one (Athenahealth). The money comes from additional taxes created by Athena adding more jobs through its campus expansion, and will be used to pay for bonds issued by the state. The projects must be completed within 3 years of the issuance of the bonds. While many residents and some on the Council said the Town would be crazy to pass up $25 million in free projects (or at least that won’t use Watertown residents’s tax dollars) others complained that the list of projects came forward with little public discussion about what made the list.