Sunday, September 12, 2010

Legacy Place: not pedestrian friendly

Hiking in the Blue Hills and looking over Dedham, a new friend volunteered (totally unprompted): "Legacy Place isn't very pedestrian friendly."

Interesting to us in Newton because Legacy Place is the closest example of what is planned for Chestnut Hill Square: come off a main route into a big parking lot surrounded by retail. To the developer's credit, New England Development has planned some tree-lined pedestrian paths through the parking lot, but those are a weak compromise compared to more urban, more village center-like model where there is curb-side parking and more parking behind and to the side of retail. (Obviously, Newton Centre is the exception.)

It's not clear who the party truly responsible for the proposed layout of Chestnut Hill Square is, there are a number of candidates, but the combination of a very long blank wall on Boylston Street/Route 9 and retail surrounding a big parking lot is going to be a design we are all going to regret.

1 comment:

dr2chase said...

Are we sure we even have a vaguely unanimous opinion on what "pedestrian friendly" might mean?

I ask, because we sure don't off in bicycle land, and for all I know there is an "Effective Walking" movement that has failed to hit my radar.

Just for example, I suspect that for some people pedestrian-friendly means with cut-throughs and paths for the locals, to cut gratuitous distance off routes. I remember seeing this in Acton, where there was a semi-official footpath that was a neighborhood shortcut. We get this some in Belmont, where students persist in breaching the fence that prevents them from cross the commuter rail tracks, because it shortens a walk to the high school considerably (why there isn't a tunnel, is another discussion).

And the interesting thing here, is that often this pedestrian-friendly non-design, goes (must go?) officially unrecognized.