A long drawn out process unfolded a few years ago culminating in Special Permit being issued for a large development project at the Riverside MBTA yard.
Since then not much of anything has happened.
This week the Lower Falls email listserve started bubbling with rumblings about a whole new reworked plan for the site that is being proposed.
Here’s a missive from Councilor Josh Krintzman on the topic:
I’d like to quickly weigh in on the conversation about Riverside. As most of you know, I have been involved in and working on this project since 2007, when as President of the Lower Falls Improvement Association, along with several residents of Lower Falls and Auburndale, I helped to form the Riverside Station Neighborhood Coalition. The RSNC was designed to be a conduit of information about the potential development between the neighbors and the development team.
As President of the LFIA and a member of the RSNC steering committee, I worked with many neighbors on developing the position papers for the three neighborhood associations (LFIA, ACA and LNA), which were included in the MBTA’s Request for Proposals. Prior to the city’s zoning change of the location and granting of the existing Special Permit, we held many neighborhood meetings, conducted polls, met with city officials and met with members of the development team. Over the past 11 years, I have had countless conversations with residents of Lower Falls and Auburndale, listened to input over coffee, at the grocery story, on the soccer field or at the park, via email, through social media and on the phone.
This is all to say that I am very grateful for the continuing level of involvement from this neighborhood in what is an absolutely critical issue for our daily lives.
In response to a question that was raised about the number of housing units in Lower Falls – I have heard varying numbers and I am trying to get an accurate answer. But not one of the numbers that I have heard has come close to the number of units proposed for Riverside. As I have told anyone who will listen (including the Riverside developer, his attorneys the steering committee of the Riverside Station Neighborhood Coalition, fellow city councilors and Mayor Fuller’s team) the proposal that we have seen is way too large for the Riverside location.
However, I also want to be clear that while I agree with what Cyrisse and Barry wrote, I also agree with what John Stewart wrote.
As the only member of the city council who is from Lower Falls, I feel a strong obligation to represent this neighborhood as best as I can. Here is a quick summary of the main sentiments that I have gathered through interacting with neighbors (for over a decade) on this particular subject.
- The most recent Riverside proposal that we have seen [like the version originally proposed by BlueHawk-Normandy many years ago] is way too big and dense
- A parking lot is NOT the ideal use of the land at Riverside, which is a good location for mixed-use development
- Direct access from I-95 is a must for any project to gain support from residents of Lower Falls
- All traffic mitigation must be designed to alleviate traffic on Grove St.
- Retail space at Riverside should have value to abutting neighborhoods, not just residents of the site and commuters
- A sound barrier on I-95 would be a major positive for Lower Falls
- Bike and pedestrian access across I-95 and to Riverside must be improved by the development
- No component of the development should result in individuals parking a car in Lower Falls in order to access public transportation
Again, thank you all for your continued and valuable contributions to the discussion around this issue. I would encourage each and every one of you to contact me directlywith any questions or concerns that you have. If you would like to contact me, in my capacity as a city councilor – please use: [email protected]
In the meantime – please know that Chris, Lenny and I are working very hard to ensure that the voices of Lower Falls and Auburndale are being heard.