The Town of Brookline has announced the beginnings of work of a Housing Production Plan that “is meant to act as a guide to inform the Town’s decisions about how it can be proactive in creating affordable and mixed-income housing.”
According to a putatitive schedule, there will be a public kick-off some time this month, with the plan to be published in July.
Brookline is very important regionally. almost all of the C-branch of the Green Line is in Brookline, along with a great deal of the D-branch, while the B- and E-branches come very close to it. In addition, the 66 bus — one of the fifteen Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s key bus routes that carry one-third of all bus rides — goes through the Town.
One of the most promisintg areas for new development could be the area across the Longwood Medical Area. The LMA is one of the most booming parts of Boston, thanks to its hospitals and life sciences sector. It is also a traffic nightmare. Many of the hospitals are affiliated with universities north of the Charles, such as the Harvard Medical School. Since there are no direct transit connections between LMA and Cambridge, many people drive. The LMA is also a major reason why the 66 is such a popular route. Traffic is complicated by Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Fenway all being in proximity.
The transit and traffic situations are so bad that a group called MASCO — the Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization — operates their own bus system to get employees in and out. Adding housing for LMA employees in walking distance of both their places of work and the grocery stores in the area — Trader Joe’s in Coolidge Corner, Stop and Shop on Harvard St and Huntington Ave, Shaw’s, Wegman’s and even a Target in the Fenway — would a boost.
Longwood Avenue in Brookline has potential for housing.
The Brookline Hills area would also be good. On the D branch and quite close to the already built up Harvard Street corridor and Brookline Village. Coolide Corner and St. Mary’s Street might be the best areas to increase housing development, especially if they were paired with an increase in office development.
Coolidge Corner is already a well-developed neighborhood with a lot of vitality and amenities. Apartments could be added to the one-story commercial buildings around Beacon Street and new mixed-use buildings could take advantage of Harvard Street’s great walkability and existing low-car ownership rates to connect with Allston Village.
When I lived in Allston Village from 2013-2014 I walked to Coolidge Corner all the time to shop at the Trader Joe’s and there were always other people walking between Allston and there.
St Mary’s is a somewhat less active area, but still offers proximity to three Green Line branches, grocery stores, LMA and the Yawkey commuter rail station
Housing Production Plans must be approved by Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
According to the department, housing production plans must examine demographics, goals and the abilities of the town to implement the plan. The guidelines encourage participation in regional efforts and oppose “snob” zoning for affordable housing.