Monday, January 8, 2007

City Response to Chestnut Hill FEIR

The city submitted its comments to New England Development's Final Environmental Impact Report for the Chestnut Hill Square project.

I've only taken a quick look, but I was delighted to see that Planning Director Michael Kruse, in the introductory letter, encourages NED to put a green roof on the parking garage.

Here are some highlights from the Traffic and Transportation section (my comments in brackets):

  • Widening the roadway between Hammond Pond Parkway and Langley Road may simply push congestion out of the immediate vicinity of the development. [This could be catastrophic for the Eliot Street intersection.]
  • Widening the roadway at all will attract motor vehicle traffic, potentially at the expense of side streets.
  • The Parker Street interchange may not support two signals. [Not sure how a single light would affect through traffic and the incentive to use cut-throughs.]
  • The proposed 10% transit reduction is overly optimistic, especially in light of the infrequency of the proposed shuttle service, the fact that the shuttle won't be free, and free parking for employees and customers. [I had missed that the shuttle would cost customers.]
  • A bridge over Route 9 is a significant opportunity for pedestrian access to the site. [I'm skeptical.]
  • Make the shuttle service to the Newton Centre green line station because there are more things to do in Newton Centre than at the Chestnut Hill station. [Why not both?]
  • Too much of the mitigation money is dedicated to road improvements. [A good point, but it can be taken a step further. What is labelled mitigation -- adding more lanes -- might actual exacerbate.]

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