Hyde Park for Residents and Small Businesses
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The future of Hyde Park is at a crossroads. More than any other neighborhood in the City of Boston, Hyde Park - Readville in particular - has ample undeveloped lots and great transportation access to the employment centers downtown. While much of this space is currently zoned for commercial and industrial use, many developers, planners, housing advocates and area residents have a different vision – namely that as these sites are redeveloped, there should be a mix of uses, including residential, retail and restaurants and not solely industrial uses, so that Readville can share in the wave of Boston's booming economy and housing market.
The fears of new, large and concentrated housing developments are obvious and understandable; pervasive traffic that already exists in the area will see more cars, and new residents will join those who have lived here for many years. Many of Hyde Park's most proud and long time residents would prefer the neighborhood retain the characteristics of an undiscovered enclave, exempt from the growth and population influx that has impacted nearly every other neighborhood in Boston. While novel, the pace of growth surrounding us may at a certain point make change unavoidable. For many who see what is happening, given all the underutilized lots in our neighborhood, change in Hyde Park is not a matter of "if", but "when".
As undesirable as what comes with a large apartment building could be, it's nothing compared to the alternative. Warehouse and distribution space has become one of the hottest asset types in real estate. Around the country, land that's within close proximity of a major metropolis is being snatched up for distribution and fulfillment centers. We know this is happening - Amazon is already here, and even with a small presence, its delivery trucks are choking our streets from morning into the night. The WalMarts of the world and other forward-thinking online retailers would love to be within Route 128, strategically located near downtown, several major interstates, and rail lines.
Also, as underutilized lots in other neighborhoods such as Dorchester, South Boston and someday soon Widett Circle are redeveloped for housing and mixed uses, the truck yards that are on those lots now are all going to need somewhere to go, somewhere as close to downtown as possible, and where will they look? Readville.
Cars are annoying, but a much bigger problem to traffic, noise and safety is heavy trucks, box trucks, delivery trucks and tractor trailers. And we're staring down the barrel of having many, many more of those. The scariest thing of all? The land is already zoned for this, so when these companies do decide buy and build, they won't be holding any Town Hall forums asking us for our input.
Friends and neighbors, change is coming. Hyde Park is, in fact, not exempt. We are not be able to decide "if", and we are about to lose our ability to decide "when", but at this very moment in time, we do have the ability to decide "what", before losing that too. For Hyde Park to remain a home - our home - it must remain residential. Please don't shut Readville down for responsible residential development projects, ones that will retain the character and complexion of our spirited neighborhood for generations. By saying "yes" to smart residential development, we can prevent our neighborhood from becoming something that we all can agree we do not want
We sit at a crossroads, and now is our time to decide in which direction Hyde Park will turn.
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