22 thoughts on “Major Changes to Watertown Square, Bus Lines Recommended by MassDOT

  1. We should consider a pedestrian foot bridge,in Watertown Square .it will eliminate the need for crosswalks and walk lights and, traffic will flow at a better level and handle a higher volume. It makes sense it’s an improvement and,quite frankly a necessity

  2. I like the footbridge idea.
    Also, Crossing from CVS to get to the 57 bus etc means taking your life into your hands. There are just too many lanes of traffic to cross. And if you’re a cyclist coming from Galen it’s down right deadly. As for Mt Auburn St. why not let pedestrians use the street and use the side walks for bikes. This is absurd of course but so is redesigning a street without protected bike lanes. Surely the most efficient, environmentally friendly means of transportation should be as safe as driving a car or walking. Get with it Watertown. The 21st century awaits.

    • They just took a Footbridge down on Route 9 Brookline Village after being up for 40 years doesn’t work it’s ugly let’s come up with a better solution like this 27 Lanes of traffic they come in to Watertown Square the solution here was not the jam a thousand units down our throats
      You can’t fix this problem Watertown used to be a nice place to be no more it’s gone that’s what happens when you bring in people from other parts of the country to run your local politics

  3. What about Walnut Street traffic on Walnut Street has tripled all day long into the night they speed down this street no police presence no signs there are a lot of families with children under 10 on the street we’re just starting to gather now and speak amongst ourselves he will see us soon we propose that you make Cypress Street from school to Walnut a one way and put a few crosswalk and a speed bump to slow this traffic down I believe you’d call it a raised crosswalk table it’s very dangerous over here for the young kids and the elderly

  4. Watertown’s Planning Department is now trying to solve the mess they’ve allowed with all the thoughtless development. Many of us warned of this when we asked for a development moratorium 2 or 3 years ago. But that was turned down. This town is badly managed and our planning department is a pushover. Witness what a real planning group can do when it is working for the future good of a town:

    Somerville Developer Enters into $112M Deal & More

    Approximately $72 million – zoning, $19.2 million – covenant, and $21.2 million – other required payments and fees

    $55.6 million – funding and in-kind costs toward affordable housing creation

    $20.5 million – building permit fees and future phase contributions, which can be applied where most needed

    $13 million – environmental sustainability measures

    $5.5 million – contribution to the Green Line Extension (equates to over one-fifth of developer contributions the city is seeking from developers near planned T stops to recoup at least $25 million of the $50 million Somerville was required to contribute to the project.)

    Close to $7.7 million – dedicated to infrastructure contributions for water and sewer upgrades and costs, streetscape improvements, and the redesign of Union Square Plaza

    About $5 million – toward open space creation

    Approximately $1.7 million – toward jobs programs to help prepare residents for the new employment opportunities created in the neighborhood

    A neighborhood council composed of community members will negotiate additional community benefits and possible in-kind contributions valued at $3.7 million in a community benefits agreement. The neighborhood council will also advise the city’s community benefits committee (to be established) on funding priorities for the neighborhood.

    A neighborhood council in Union Square will negotiate additional community benefits and advise on funding priorities for the neighborhood. The proposed zoning requires that 5 percent of commercial space be set aside for arts and maker spaces.

    The agreement includes two additional provisions – US2 must add 66 percent more open space than originally filed in the 2016 zoning draft and 70 percent of that space must be high quality parks, playgrounds and plaza. Commercial tenants will be required to give hiring preference first to qualified residents and then qualified veterans before considering other applicants.

    Beyond the $112 million, the developer will also pay approximately $9.3 million to acquire land for development from the Somerville Redevelopment Authority, effectively reimbursing the City for its land assembly costs.

    http://www.somervillema.gov/news/union-sq-somerville-master-developer-signs-agreement-provide-glx-contribution-and-addl
    http://www.thesomervilletimes.com/archives/75597
    http://the103advantage.com/somerville-approves-deal-union-square-developer/
    https://patch.com/massachusetts/somerville/somerville-union-square-developer-enter-112m-deal
    http://somerville.wickedlocal.com/news/20170404/master-developer-us2-agrees-to-glx-contribution-and-community-benefits-for-union-square

    • Marcia, although I appreciate you sharing my research (as you know, I am all for the sharing of information), that I emailed to you and a handful of other residents, I would like it if you would let me know of your intent to copy it into your comments on a public site beforehand. I don’t feel that, in this instance, the information I sent fits into the context of this particular article. I would also like to point out that the achievements made in Somerville were, in part, due to very well coordinated efforts of the residents. There are many problems with Watertown’s Government, but some of the blame does fall on the residents.

    • Thanks Marcia. This is so true and so relevant right now as Watertown is experiencing a tidal wave of development, unlike anything this town has ever seen before. Now is the time to learn from the experiences of others, especially others nearby, like Somerville. These towns are great examples of what could potentially be done if we truly believe in planning for our town’s future. Somerville managed to get $112 million from a developer, what has Watertown gotten from the developers of all of the new apartment complexes on Arsenal and Pleasant streets? The Arsenal Project developers and Jonathan Bush now want to cap taxes on their new development. What other improvements will come to Watertown with this development? The recent approval of the I-Cubed proposal will bring in $25 million for improvements, many of which were mitigations required of Athena when the master plan was approved for their campus improvements.
      Could Watertown do better? Yes, just look at what’s going on in Somerville!!

    • It may be helpful to look at the scale of projects in Somerville and Watertown.

      In Somerville, the 2.3 million sq ft of development that Union Square Station Associates is estimated to produce equals roughly one-fifth of the total square footage of development expected around all six new Green Line T-stops. Total developer payments and contributions is estimated at $112M.

      In Watertown, Athenahealths’ new buildings, when completed, will total approximately 250,000 square feet of office, retail and commercial/civic space. I-Cubed program, a partnership with Athenahealth, will bring $25 million in public infrastructure projects to the area in East Watertown around the company’s campus.

      Union Square Station Associates’ mitigation is valued at $48 per square foot of redevelopment, while Athenahealth’s mitigation is valued at $100 per square foot of redevelopment.

      • Yes, Vinnie but what about all the other developments? I think that it is the aggregate that makes townsfolk feel that we are not getting enough benefits. An awful lot of development and all the traffic studies say minimal impact. Just as the King’s doctors have prognoses of nothing but good health.

        Also, I feel it is unfair to include I-Cubed as mitigation since it a State Program and does not represent an Athena contribution per se.

  5. Agree that the Planning Board has rolled over on development, especially the “traffic studies” associated with development along Pleasant and Arsenal Streets.

    Also, I am tired of hearing about bicycles as the solution for both traffic and residential parking. The reality is that, as we age, many of us don’t have the option to use a bicycle. The Planning Board allows developers to propose projects with unrealistic and unsustainable assumptions about bicycle usage – unless, of course, they want to attract a transient younger population. Without public local transportation tied into the MBTA, it will not be feasible for our current bicycle-riding neighbors to stay in Watertown once their daily cycling days diminish.

  6. Closing Charles River Rd is an obviously needed improvement. But adding a second left turn lane from Arsenal St towards the bridge at Galan St will not work. Traffic already backs up into the square sometimes. There is no way they can allow double the amount of cars through that turn.

  7. Do the residents of Charles River Road know about these possible changes? Riversides St will not accommodate the potential traffic nor will Irving St. Sounds like another mess in Watertown Square. Do we have any leadership in The Town of Watertown?

    • This is the first time it has been brought up. There will be meetings to discuss the idea. As for the teaffic, I think the idea is to move pass through traffic to North Beacon or Arsenal and have Charles River be a local road. I have heard some residents of Charles River do not like the idea, but only second hand.

    • Mary, this was an idea proposed in a Mass. DOT sponsored study. It was not proposed or endorsed by the town. I suspect it might be discussed, but I would expect a lot of opposition. I myself do not favor it. But the idea was not generated by the town.

  8. What about the PLEASANT STREET corridor?!!!!

    The number of condos and apartments along Pleasant Street has soared in the last several year with more condos coming.

    Folks who need to take the 70 or 71 bus and live further down Pleasant Street (say, near Russo’s Market) HAVE TO WALK A MILE to Main Street to catch these buses!!

  9. Living on the corner of Mount Auburn Street and Irving Street our neighborhood has had its share of greatly increased traffic due to new condominium developments. There is also a huge condominium development on the corner of Irving and Arsenal Street. Having young children in my home, I will not support the Irving Street choice. At times, I can barely get to work on time due being blocked into my property. Charles River road has the capacity for limited traffic. We have lost our street parking on Mount Auburn and I am not willing to lose our Irving Street parking due to Watertown’s choices to build voraciously without a good parking and traffic plan. The Irving area is also a neighborhood of families and connected side streets that have also had to take the brunt of increased traffic. I am hoping that neighbors around our area will be at the meeting. If it were your neighborhood……….?

  10. What about close Charles River Road completely because there are no roads that intersect Charles River Road from its south side, and it loops from and to North Beacon Street? And make the roads that intersect Charles River Road from its north become a dead end?

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