OP-ED: Casting a Better Vision for Galen Street

As Southside Residents, we are excited to see the Watertown Square Area Plan’s investments in our neighborhood. We appreciate the Watertown Square Area Plan’s focus on making this area a destination. That kind of investment is sorely needed—and the residents of this neighborhood deserve better. Since the arrival of the Mass Turnpike back in the 1960’s, Galen Street has become an extended Pike frontage road for Exit 17, catering towards cut through commuters from Belmont and beyond, rather than Watertown Southside residents. As a result, Galen Street is overloaded with gas stations and tire shops, all oriented towards commuters.

Developer of Galen Street Life Science Building Hopeful of Filling Space as Industry Improves

Elkus Manfredi ArchitectsAn illustration of the view of the life sciences building at 66 Galen St. from Water Street

One of Watertown’s newest life science buildings remains unoccupied, but the developer of the building south of the Charles River believes the trends are looking better in the industry and hopes to have tenants in the near future. Members of the public got a look inside of 66 Galen Street in late February during an event hosted by the Charles River Regional Chamber, and there will be another chance (a free one) to visit the building in early April. Jodie Zussman, President and CEO of Boston Development Group, said the company saw the rising prospects of Watertown as a life science hub. The project was a long effort but she is pleased with the final result.

“It’s exactly what we envisioned.

Bus Stops Have Moved for 3 MTBA Routes at Watertown Yard

Stops for three MBTA bus lines starting and ending at Watertown Yard have been moved to fit the new street configuration off of Galen Street. The 52, 57, and 504 buses have moved to a different area of the MBTA’s bus yard. The former stop near Nonantum Road has closed, and buses have new pick up and drop off areas. A picture of the old Watertown Yard bus stop exit onto Galen Street. It has been completely blocked off and stops have been moved.

Find Out About Proposed Galen St. Project at 2 Virtual Community Meetings

The areas on Galen Street proposed to become life science lab space. In February, the orange area was rezoned from Limited Business to Industrial 2, the same as the grey area. The developers of a project at the former Colonial Buick GMC dealer on Galen Street will be discussing plans for the site at a pair of virtual community meetings. Developers seek to build life science lab space with some publicly accessible open space on the land, which sits next to the MBTA’s Watertown Yard bus stop. The rezoning of the area became a topic of heated discussion by both residents and the Town Council earlier this year.

Councilors Say They Hear Resident Concerns, But Pass Galen Street Zoning

The Town Council Chamber was filled with residents there to hear about the decision on rezoning parcels along Galen Street. Developers are interested in building biotech lab buildings on the site south of the Charles River. Residents concerned about the impact of a proposal to change the zoning for properties along Galen Street jammed the Town Council Chamber Tuesday night. The change paves the way for a biotech lab project to be built on east side of Galen Street on property that includes for the former Colonial Buick GMC dealership. After hearing from the public during public forum, and then having a 1.5 hour discussion of their own, Town Councilors voted 8-1 to approve the zoning change requested by the owners/developers of the property.

Residents Air Concerns About Galen St., Traffic & Watertown’s Planning Process

Town Councilor Lisa Feltner holds a computer showing drawings of a proposed development on Galen Street. She hosted a meeting at the Watertown Library to hear residents’ concerns about the proposed zoning change and related issues. More than 40 residents concerned about a proposed biotech project on Galen Street crammed into a meeting room at the Watertown Library Wednesday evening. They worried about what would be built there, and the traffic impact on one of the most congested roadways in town, and how projects are approved in Watertown. Those at the meeting said they would like to find a way to put a temporary halt to development, at least in the Galen Street area, so that a plan can be formed to improve the whole area.

Councilor Explains Her Decision to Delay Vote on Galen Street Zoning; Info Meeting Planned

The proposal for properties on Galen Street if requested zoning changes go through. Last week, Town Councilor Lisa Feltner decided to invoke a rule that delays the vote of the Town Council until the next meeting. The issue being considered was the rezoning of some parcels along Galen Street requested by a developer. Below you can read her letter explaining her decision. Feltner also announced that she has booked space at the Watertown Library on Wednesday night to meet with residents, and hear their concerns about the proposal.