| Everyone knows
that Upham's Corner is the FIRST STOP! on the Fairmount Line (though
that crown will soon pass to New Market.) Now there is another
its way down the Fairmount Corridor with its FIRST STOP! at Upham's Corner.
Last year the BRA announced a planning initiative for Upham's Corner
but the Mayor's "official" announcement was not
Several delays (not days) later, the planning initiative was "swallowed up"
in a much bigger transportation planning initiative funded by
"Upham's Corner will still get the same attention" - so proclaim the
powers that be, but It is up to the residents, stakeholders and
planners in Upham's Corner to make sure they get what was
"Or," says one interested by-stander, "the train will just pass on by."
Will something beneficial come out of this
planning process? Of course, always does. Consultants are
and money is
being spent. How about a Master Plan? Upham's Corner needs
What we get instead is an improved train schedule
amenities unless we, the residents and caretakers of Upham's Corner, get involved and speak up.
Tue, Feb 21, 2012 2 PM
Mayor Menino will announce the start of the BRA Fairmount/Indigo
Planning Initiative. Everyone is invited.
|On Feb 11, 2011, the BRA (Boston
announced a $150,000 planning initiative for Upham's Corner, in their
words a "District Improvement Plan." This
was very exciting news for what we, here in Upham's Corner, know is a
long under-served section of the City of Boston.
Unfortunately, the Mayor Menino official announcement (the BRA by
itself is not sufficient) was delayed until May 2011 then delayed some
more. The newest version of an Upham's Corner planning process is
over one year following the original announcement.
Because federal dollars landed at City Hall for an economic development
of the new Indigo Line (aka Fairmount) and since Upham's Corner is
already a stop on the Fairmount Line, what perfect timing!
- It no longer says: "Upham's Corner."
- It says: "Fairmount" and why?
fold the Upham's Corner planning initiative into the Fairmount
Line. What a great idea!" Apparently (we are told), the
City will in no way diminish its original planning initiative
objectives. We shall see!
|What does Upham's Corner need to get
out of its economic malaise? One answer (of many) is that it needs a Master Plan but Upham's Corner
does not have a Master Plan.
Does that mean that
"anything goes"? Not quite. Zoning already provides
guidellines for all of Dorchester including Upham's Corner.
Developments require (except for as
of right) a community based approval process.
We like to think that guidelines have teeth. After all, they
restrict, inhibit and set standards for
proposals, ideas and plans but they DO NOT provide a model for what a
community wants to become.
Guidelines are False Teeth
A good analogy is to think of guideslines as FALSE TEETH. By
themselves they sit apart from the "locus of opportunity." They
chew or bite without first being relocated into a live "critter."
A Master Plan is that higher purposed entity that provides an
opportunity for guidelines (false teeth) to help shape, form and
implement. Without a Master Plan, it's tough to answer the
question: So how
do you see your community in 5, 10 and 15 years? Duh ...
bring a rooomful of caring residents and professionals together to
answer that question. Lack of agreement characterizes the
conversation until the Master Plan establishes the operating
parameters, themselves a set of guidelines.
A Master Plan "doth not
the apple grow."
Master Plans don't plant trees. They do plant ideas and when
interested parties and interested dollars stop by, the process of
setting effective (and much less regretable) development in motion runs
|That Upham's Corner needs attention,
Master Plan and for the
residents and businesses to wake up and "get with the program" is
clear, obvious and frustrating.
In this statement rests the
We are operating with a two-sided coin.
community can't do it alone and
- Without the motivation of its
residents, the city can't work miracles.
What's that old expression about dressing up a pig?
this introduction to crude analogies the wrong way. Use it to poignantly perceive the challenges
ahead. Attitude, energy, vision, excitement, commitment to the
community process, and, yes, VERY HARD WORK - these are all necessary
to get the process in motion.
Taking steps in forward motion, feeling the thrill of a victory for our
community and more:
So we've already answered this question, but let's ponder it again.
- Motivating ourselves to expect change for the better
- Thinking big picture and working the small details
- Planning for the future of Upham's Corner
- Cleaning up our thinking and our acting
- Best of all, reaching out to others knowing we have
something to offer
Question: What will it take to bring forth fruit from the
land of Upham's Corner?
little of both is a great answer but that is WRONG!
- A motivated, hard-working farmer who continues
planting seeds in the dry earth?
- Or an irrigation ditch to provide water?
What we need is a MASTER PLAN for the best use of the land. The
hard-working farmer is getting nowhere and even if we bring water to
the land, that still may not generate soil that bears fruit because of
If the best use of the land is for crops, then lets take full advantage of the opportunity.
our Master Plan, our daily tasks will be selected by a well-meaning
but mindless process of "by guess and by golly." With a Master
Plan, we can build the foundations for new life in Upham's Corner.
- Go organic
- Teach our youth the basics of urban farming
- Generate the best compost pile in a 5-mile radius
- Sell product at a local farmers' market
- Write a cookbook
Upham's Corner District Improvement
View Original Announcement
What was expected to happen?
- The BRA will
spend $150,000 on a community based planning process
- Basic goals
- increase the
economic vibrancy and success of the business district
- enhance the
sustainability of the district and surrounding neighborhood
- Joint venture
- Department of Neighborhood Development
- Office of Neighborhood Services
Community Vision to guide improvements and promote sustainability
- Business District Market Assessment and Strategic
- Comprehensive Public Realm Action Plan (with
- Short and long term transportation improvements
- Short and long term streetscape improvements
- District Development Plan promoting long range growth
- Development Scenarios for selected publicly and
privately owned sites
- Use & Design Guidelines for selected parcels
- Zoning Updates to support recommendations
Indigo Corridor & Crossroads Planning Initiative (FICCPI)
This is a citywide transportation planning
initiative which is already "in process."
|Ines Soto Palmarin
FICCPI is a two-tiered planning initiative. The principle components
Corridor-wide Community Planning for
the neighborhoods traversed by the Fairmount Indigo Line. Working at
the macro scale, the goal is to envision a new identity for the
Corridor and develop a comprehensive plan for corridor-wide economic
development and physical improvement.
- Crossroad / Station
Area Improvement Plans for
three to four key Crossroad and Station locations. Working at the micro
scale, the goal is to create comprehensive physical and economic
development plans for certain catalytic nodes along the Corridor. The
first Station Area to be studied in this process will be Uphams Corner.
Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative FAQ's
will the operating strategy be?
guide growth along the Corridor.
As the number of stations the Indigo line serves increases, so will
number of riders and the potential for businesses of all
sorts. A plan is needed to make sure the "new" Indigo Line
promotes cultural, economic and functional improvements to the corridor
and the adjacent communities.
the planning be done exclusively by the BRA?
|No, the intention is to incorporate existing planning processes and initiatives
- City-led and
this a superficial planning process?
|No, the process is
expected to involve significant participation by all interested parties
- the City, the community and stakeholders.
- Significant community participation
- Coordinated efforts of multiple City agencies
- Coordinated efforts of neighborhood stakeholders
is the BRA role?
|The BRA has responsibilities throughout the
- Manage a consultant team
with other City departments
- Coordinate with local foundations
- Coordinate with neighborhood
- Interface with community Advisory Group
- Manage the community outreach process
many Advisory Groups will there be?
Corridor Advisory Group (CAG) will be appointed to assist with the
Corridor-wide Community Vision and will coordinate with the BRA and the
Several Working Advosory Groups (WAG) who will assist with the planning
process at each designated Crossroad/Station
- 20 to 30 members
- Participate in the
- Help establish a new identities for the
neighborhoods traversed by the Fairmount Indigo Indigo Line.
- 10 to 15 members
- Participate in the comprehensive improvement
plans for selected nodes
will determine the membership?
|Mayor Thomas M. Menino will appoint several
Advisory Groups (AG).
Since the study areas consist of a wide range of uses,
including non-residential, it is anticipated that AG membership will
adequately reflect the diversity of community interests.
- Their roles will be
help guide the planning process
- To create a bridge with local
- Representatives will be selected from
- local residents
- community groups
- non-profit organizations and
- experts from related professional