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December 18, 2006


Yorktown Street

I'm sure Bill knows this, but just in case other people don't: "idiocy" comes from the Greek word for someone who lives all by himself. Marx wasn't insulting the rubes. He was condoling with them over the isolated conditions they had to endure. My niece in suburban New Jersey has to put up with the same kind of "idiocy." That's why she wants to go to school in Boston.

Bill Shelton

Thanks for the help, Yorktoown. I'm embarassed that I didn't explain that myself.

A professor I once had told me a story about when, as a young antrhopologist, she had done field work in a tribal village. The toughest initial adjustment for her was that tribal women kept following her into her hut, even though their attitude was always friendly.

After a few days, she lost her composure. Exasperated, she snapped, "Why do you keep following me?"

Bewildered, one of the women responded, "No one wants to be alone, do they?"

Franky Hebert

Yes but the same families lived in the same neighborhoods for 500 years and there lies the difference. You can't build real communities by redeveloping and creating turnover. turnover the businesses, the retailers , turnover the poor families , turnover the middle class and move in the new people? Redeveloped, rezone , and re-sell for more retail. Then sell it again for another bigger profit. See our communities grow? Not!

What kind of community development are we going to encourage with this re-zoning? Is all tooled with profit in mind? Are we going to allow for a community stage and\or movie theater to be built? What are we doing to encourage business and retail that supports the local (current) community? Are we going to subsidize a cheaper YMCA that is community oriented as apposed to the elites' Boston sports clubs that charge out the yin yang and put all the girls on tread mills up front by the windows for aesthetic purposes? Sure BSC pays a lot of rent and makes even more money for the owners, but a ymca builds communities.

Since European cities were built 500 years ago before there were cars they had no choice but to put everything in walking distance. The real difference is that many of the Europeans were smart enough to not redeveloped for profit ever since. Now we have the new American style nomads and gypsies. We may decrease a little blue collar crime but we are really are increasing the white collar crime.

BTW There was a great article in one of the recent National Geographic's about Paris and its use of green space. And on idiocy, I hope you are enjoying those freedom fries now you isolated insular red states! These colors don't run the whole world.


After reading the below description of "Smart Growth America" and delving into their idea's and outlook on how to go about creating a "Smart Growth" community it just looks like too much to ask of this city and the way it is run to to even think that this concept will ever be achievable or realistic. Maybe I haved lived in Somerville to long....but I just don't see it happening.

"Smart Growth America is a coalition of national, state and local organizations working to improve the ways we plan and build the towns, cities and metro areas we call home. The coalition includes many of the best-known national organizations advocating on behalf of historic preservation, the environment, farmland and open space preservation, neighborhood revitalization and more. Our state- and regional-level members are community-based organizations working to save treasured landscapes while making our towns and cities ever more livable and lovable.

We believe that the American people deserve healthy cities, towns and suburbs; homes that are both affordable and close to jobs and activities; fewer hours in traffic and more opportunities to enjoy recreation and natural areas; air and water of the highest quality; and a landscape our children can be proud to inherit. We believe that ordinary citizens deserve a much greater say, and better options, in choosing their communities’ future.

To that end, our members work with citizens across the country to preserve our built and natural heritage, promote fairness for people of all backgrounds, fight for high-quality neighborhoods, expand choices in housing and transportation and improve poorly conceived development projects."

Orange Line Rider

I love taking the train into Boston, but what's point of putting another Orange Line station in when the train already fills up by Wellington and the morning and the people at Sullivan have to wait? Why bother when Sullivan Square is already what. 1/4 mile away?

You are going lose riders in the long run who's commute is going to be made longer by this new train stop.


Sometimes the answers are quite simple Orange Line rider.

The proposed new stop on the Orange line at Assembly Square is not being built for you and me. If it ever gets built, it will be for the benefit of the shoppers at Assembly(so what does the average Somerville resident do? Take the bus to Sullivan and then one stop to Assembly? not likely) and for the benefit of the downtown Boston financial district workers who make enough income to afford a luxury, Mystic waterfront, Boston skyline view condo.

Ron Newman

More like 1/2 or 3/4 mile. Ever try walking from the Sullivan Square T stop to, say, K-Mart? It's not a pleasant walk at all.

You NEVER Think

Honest to God, I think you folks are PROUD of your pessimism and bile.

Doesn't anyone here remember that the Red Line added more cars per train and upped their frequency in order to cope with the added traffic from Porter, Davis and Alewife?

Doesn't anybody get that the only way the Assembly Square T stop will get built in the first place is if there's office and housing development at the site - if many more people than just "shoppers" are traveling on transit to and from Assembly Square?

And as for flipping off the whole Smart Growth concept becasue "it just looks like too much to ask of this city and the way it is run," I have to ask Brickbottom and the other professional naysayers:

If this city is as incapable of change as you suggest, then why has the project evolved so much in just the past few years - and why has Mystic View become an active partner in promoting (and enforcing) the development plan?

But wait. I forgot. All change is bad and all politicians are corrupt. Nothing ever works. This town was a great back in 19__, but it sucks now because of everybody except the wise and kindly bloggers on this site.

So Assembly Square is doomed, doomed, doomed to be another disappointing ripoff. All is lost!

Why not just say it once and get it over with: Life sucks, then you die and it's all Joey's fault. Everything else is just commentary.

you do think,

Assembly square needs development. But union square is already densely populated. If you want to build housing then build in assembly, oh wait you already put too much retail there. But none of this development is going to help the current residents of Somerville. In Fact it is going to push a lot of the current residents out of Somerville. You Never THink will double your rent, crowd your commute and move your favorite stores out of range. But hey, at least we will have plenty of CVS's and Walgrenes to choose from and that proximity of the H&R Block business will be so convienent for those yearly trips to do our taxes.


You NEVER Think,

"If this city is as incapable of change as you suggest, then why has the project evolved so much in just the past few years -"

You have got to be kidding me........we should have been reaping the benefits of that land a long time ago. What exactly has changed down there except the blueprints? As for the MVTF.....please don't get me started.

"So Assembly Square is doomed, doomed, doomed to be another disappointing ripoff. All is lost!"

Just remember you said it....I didn't!

"But wait. I forgot. All change is bad and all politicians are corrupt. Nothing ever works."

Change is not bad, it is what type of change that is going to take place. Not all politicians are corrupt.....only about 80% of them. Or they are just incapable of making decisions for fear of being voted out.

"This town was a great back in 19__, but it sucks now because of everybody except the wise and kindly bloggers on this site."

This city was great to grow up in from it's inception until about the 1990's. It doesn't suck now, it is just different and more crime ridden. A lot of quality people have left for one reason or another. I didn't think there was wise and kindly bloggers on this site:)

"Life sucks, then you die and it's all Joey's fault."

No. Life sucks and then you live and it's more than Joey's fault. That parcel of land was ignored by many past administrations over the years.

Ron Newman

Union Square is not very dense right now -- look at Riverside Kawasaki, the vacant lot next door to it, Goodyear, Dunkin Donuts, and various other one-story buildings and empty lots. It could use to be built up a bit. That doesn't necessarily mean high-rises, but it should mean filling in the gaps, and displacing automobile-related businesses for better uses.


You NEVER Think,

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute. ~Gil Stern



"and displacing automobile-related businesses for better uses.

So lets make all automobile businesses bicycle repair shops. If you look around we kind of need aotumobile shops just in case our disgusting cars breakdown.

Johnny Protester

what about a public safety building ? Once the old fire station was the centerpiece of Union Sq. Now the sick building is the eyesore. Lets think real people. This isnt the suburbs. New traffic patterns, parking etc.. Not just a fantasyland filled with bike paths and coffee shops.


It's interesting that the "planners" for the rezoning of Union Sq. never once mention a new public safety building for the "new Union Sq.". Seems like the public safety personnel of the city will have to take a back seat to the artists and developers. What a shame.

You all got it so wrong

One of the whole ideas should be to bring in business that support local community building and allow the local residents to get what they need by walking to the square without using cars. But the zoning is planning on bringing in retail for the purpose of making money and attracting outsiders to invade the neighborhood in their cars. More parking and traffic is the result.

do we want more parking and traffic or do we want a square that supports the local community? do we want a YMCA with programs for kids or do we want a yuppie a BSC? do we want to go to sherman cafe, get our hair cut cheap and by some cachinas at the Barazillian place while talking to our neighbors? Or do we want to bump into strangers going to CVS and Walgreens and who knows what else?


TO: You all got it so wrong,

Just remember:

"A stranger is just a friend that you haven't met yet."

I want whatever lowers the outrageous taxes and fines we pay in our fair city.

Whatever plan achieves that.......I'm all for.



Public Safety? Nevermind the building, how about having on average about 7 Police Officers patrolling our city at night? A city that has a recorded population of about eighty thousand people, but in reality has about ninety five thousand.

If I am wrong, someone PLEASE correct me!


From: "Lets Stop Miseducating The Public About Cyclists",

Some "bicycle advocates" use an "ABC" classification scheme for cyclists. "A" refers to advanced cyclists who generally know how to ride in traffic. "B" means basic or beginners, who are frightened by traffic and thus prefer separate facilities. Finally, "C" stands for pre-teen children presumed too young to understand how to follow the rules of the road.

These advocates estimate that only about five percent of cyclists are "advanced". They then assume this ratio will persist and are little interested in improving skills of cyclists. Finally, they assume that the needs of the B and C cyclists are similar, and treat them the same. This means that 95% of the cycling public are treated as children incapable of riding in traffic and unable to improve.

Bicycle advocates use this classification scheme to argue for bikeways: separate places for bicycles but not cars. They claim that bikeways make cycling safe for people who do not know how to follow standard traffic rules. However, no one has ever been able to identify any of the skills that are required for cycling on normal roads that are not needed on bikeways. Indeed, knowledgeable cyclists report that bikeways increase conflicts with motor traffic, thus they require more skill. Some of the more honest bikeway promoters now claim only that bikeways make people feel safer.

The very presence of separate bikeways undermines the legitimacy of cycling on the roads. Bikeways encourage motorist hostility towards cyclists not using the facilities. Many cyclists are intimidated by motorists who are convinced they do not belong in traffic.

Bikeways make teaching novice cyclists harder. This is because novices are led to believe they need not learn how to deal with traffic and also because the bikeways "teach" riding in the wrong place (often too far right) on the road.


From: "The Vanishing Automobile" book:

The Ideal Communist City vs. Smart Growth

Concept Ideal Communist City / Smart Growth

Higher density housing Yes / Yes

Mixed-use developments Yes / Yes

Mixed-income housing Yes / Yes

Transit-oriented development Yes / Yes

Discourages auto parking Yes / Yes

Calls suburbs "monotonous" Yes / Yes

Minimizes private yards Yes / Yes

Maximizes common areas Yes / Yes

Minimizes private interiors Yes / No

Height of residential buildings High Rise / Mid Rise

Smart Growth = Stalinism

Smart Growth advocates are coming to EAT YOUR CHILDREN.

They may CLAIM they're only trying to help increase housing stock, promote economic development and improve environmental quality by promoting sustainable development, but their true agenda is far more insidious.

Did you know that so-called "Smart Growth" doctrine includes the REGISTRATION OF FIREARMS? Everyone knows that's the first step to CONFISCATION.

Did you know that Smart Growthers advocate the forced flouridation of water supplies, a well-known effort to weaken our population and make it more susceptible to BRAINWASHING?

Did you that Smart Growthers refuse to allow ANY Houses of Worship in their so-called "New Urban" developments? Their Godlessness is a clear sign of their embrace of militant, international COMMUNISM and other forms of liberalism.

Smart Growth must be stopped before it enslaves our children and consumes them in a fiery (but low-emission) furnace of greed, green-space and high-rise housing.

What will you do when they come for YOUR car?


"Smart Growth advocates are coming to EAT YOUR CHILDREN."

Very funny. But you have to admit the similarities are pretty revealing. Your hystronics and dismissal of the two speak volumns about your thought process. All in all you have to admit that Smart Growth seems to be born of a different time and under a different political system then the one we enjoy now.

You can try to dismiss the facts with your juvenile post, but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck.................

There is much research about this whole concept. If you took the time to assess both sides of the argument instead of trying to make fun of an opposing view then maybe you would be taken a whole lot more seriously. I know people like you think that you are never wrong.....but so didn't George Bush.


you NEVER think.....your the best....tell me more.......

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