If you’re building more multi-family housing in Newton (which we should absolutely do), where would you want it? Near transit, commercial amenities, and schools, right? Because people want to live in walkable neighborhoods and walkable neighborhoods are greener, right?
Where is the next big (334-unit) apartment building going? Not within a reasonable stroll of a village center, which would provide a revitalizing boost to such a lucky center, but, according to yesterday’s TAB, Wells Avenue. Mind-boggingly, Wells Avenue. The fifties called, they’d like their urban planning back.
Residents are going to have to drive to everything. Work. Shopping. Schools (except for Schechter families). It’s almost a 1.5 mile round trip just to get out of the office park and back!
This is the future we’ve built for ourselves. There are a variety of circumstances that contribute to a 334-unit apartment building in an office park. Boiled down, the market wants more housing in Newton, Newton doesn’t want more housing, so what housing we get is going to be away from our village centers, stuffed out by the borders, where the available lot sizes are bigger and the zoning less restrictive. (And, yes, there’s 40B on top of it all.) Three big apartment buildings (and some smaller neighbors) in Chestnut Hill, with another coming. Avalon on Needham Street, with more housing likely coming. An existing apartment building just up Nahantan from Wells Ave. Apartment buildings out by West Roxbury. All car-centric development, though Needham Street might just be redeemed with smart development.
This is a pity.