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Old 01-18-2018, 10:17 AM   #3641
datadyne007
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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As for getting taller, only if market forces, geology and the FAA allow it. Never for its own sake, and never at the cost of the street level.
This.

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I don't think any of this is realistic though while at the same time completely agreeing with the key point. To me the solution is better transit access to less costly places. In Boston, as shitty as the MBTA is, you can ride the train from Worcester or Fitchburg or Brockton or Haverhill to name a few and get to a job in Boston. Why everyone now feels the need to cram into an already crammed city I'll never know but I don't feel massive new subsidies are the answer when there's plenty of relatively affordable places 30 miles away. I'd rather use that money to increase the reliability of service and in some limited cases expand the service (Blue line to Lynn for example).
Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - fast food, restaurants, stores, groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:26 AM   #3642
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
Agreed. Aside from the moral implications of just allowing market forces to push everyone further away (not just from their jobs but their friends, their family, and vital services, as Data points out), funneling the money into transit is a very indirect way of addressing the problem. Expanding transit service also drives up prices in areas with easy transit access, especially in areas that didn't have service before, so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:33 AM   #3643
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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This.
Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
Malibu Cars & Coffee....
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:16 AM   #3644
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Malibu Cars & Coffee....
When you don't have anything useful to add, did you know you don't have to say anything?

Just want to say that we've seen this play all the way out before. Suburbs only seem to work in this country when the wealthy flee cities to escape from black people and immigrants. Otherwise we're condemning people to lower-quality lives, literally farther away from centers of opportunity and access to markets.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:11 PM   #3645
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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This.



Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - fast food, restaurants, stores, groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
True. However I put this on the suburbs and small cities which got commuter rail in the last few decades and have done nothing at all to capitalize on it with TOD and amenities that allow for real downtown again with the things you mention.

Also to blame in some of those towns and cities was the piss poor locations of some of the stations which require large parking area due to all the cars needed to get there.

My city is the former. One downtown stop and two more in population center already, but no new development to allow for walk to train (work), and stores or restaurants in the area to stop at on the walk home. Even making it a bedroom community with hundreds or thousands of walkable apartment would be acceptable if they don't court businesses of their own.
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:48 PM   #3646
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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True. However I put this on the suburbs and small cities which got commuter rail in the last few decades and have done nothing at all to capitalize on it with TOD and amenities that allow for real downtown again with the things you mention.
Needham soon?
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Old 01-18-2018, 06:50 PM   #3647
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

The commuter rail isn't frequent enough for TOD.

That's why we need the NSRL, electrification, and increased frequencies.
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:46 PM   #3648
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

Needham has a pleasant downtown, and Masala Art and Copley MotorCars are happy destinations.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:21 PM   #3649
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

Time to lock this one again ?
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Old Yesterday, 02:11 AM   #3650
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

Since at least there is something going on with this I don't see the use in closing the thread. It's too far off the rails to do anything about.
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Old Yesterday, 09:10 AM   #3651
Rover
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Agreed. Aside from the moral implications of just allowing market forces to push everyone further away (not just from their jobs but their friends, their family, and vital services, as Data points out), funneling the money into transit is a very indirect way of addressing the problem. Expanding transit service also drives up prices in areas with easy transit access, especially in areas that didn't have service before, so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help.
Let me get this straight. You think we should have less transit?

Look, I appreciate the utopia you describe where people get to live in the same place of their choosing with all their family and friends around, but reality is nobody is entitled to that and your friend and family tend to move (or pass on) over time. I don't think Mayberry is something we all need to aspire to frankly. Yes, the cold hard facts of life is some people will no longer be able to afford the place they grew up in. That's been happening since people first started living in cities I suppose. Its not the governments job to subsidize this. In many cases people are able to cash out as their property values have skyrocketed and they collect a windfall as well. If my parents had bought property in the town I currently live in 50 years ago, I'd worry less about being priced out and more about where I'm going to invest the 1M profit we all reaped from the jump in housing values over that time.
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Old Yesterday, 09:33 AM   #3652
GW
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Let me get this straight. You think we should have less transit?

Look, I appreciate the utopia you describe where people get to live in the same place of their choosing with all their family and friends around, but reality is nobody is entitled to that and your friend and family tend to move (or pass on) over time. I don't think Mayberry is something we all need to aspire to frankly. Yes, the cold hard facts of life is some people will no longer be able to afford the place they grew up in. That's been happening since people first started living in cities I suppose. Its not the governments job to subsidize this. In many cases people are able to cash out as their property values have skyrocketed and they collect a windfall as well. If my parents had bought property in the town I currently live in 50 years ago, I'd worry less about being priced out and more about where I'm going to invest the 1M profit we all reaped from the jump in housing values over that time.
I can see why you're confused, and to remedy that I suggest you pay attention next time, and if you're confused and you don't understand what someone is saying, then maybe you could communicate with less attitude, and without ascribing "utopia" strawmen to them?

We were discussing what to do with a hypothetical increase in government subsidies. Someone else and I suggested that money needs to go to housing and someone else suggested it be put into rail. I explained why throwing that extra money into rail would be counter-productive for the stated purpose, which was dealing with the housing crisis, not creating a communist utopia, which seems to be the go-to accusation whenever free market types hear anything that doesn't sound like a Milton Friedman wet dream.

No one said or implied anything about reducing transit. No one is saying that prices have to be frozen or that people have a right to live exactly where they want whenever they want for whatever price they want, only that the current system is deeply unfair and damaging to far too many people. There's no "cash out" for most of them: the vast majority are renters because they can't afford to buy a home, and the current system forces them to rent farther and farther away--in most cases reducing their opportunity, which further compounds the problem.

I don't subscribe to your notion that it's "not the government's job" to subsidize housing, and neither do many others. You state that opinion as if it's a fact, and you dismiss widespread hardship with cliches ("the cold hard facts of life") and vague hand-waving about people moving around since the beginning of time, and you do it from a place of comfort, no less. It's great that the system has worked out for you, but for lots of other people it really doesn't work, and some of us think it is the government's job to do something about that.
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Old Yesterday, 10:37 AM   #3653
Rover
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

I'm not sure how else to interpret this quote from you: "so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help." How is that not a call for less spending on mass transit because in your opinion its hurting the people its meant to help? So, yes I am confused all snark aside.

When dealing with a housing crisis, you have limited options. First, you can build more houses. That's a problem in Boston because of limited land area and there is no fix unless we start filling in the harbor. Next you can subsidize housing. The problem you have here is that its a drop in the bucket approach that will benefit relatively few people. The state or city doesn't have the money to pay developers to build 100,000 low income dwellings.

So, what you're left with in terms of bang for your buck is bringing efficient (a key word) public transit to already populated places (ranging from Waltham, Braintree, Quincy, Brockton, Taunton, etc). That way lower income people can relocate to a place they can afford, while at the same time maintaining access to the job center of the state (Boston). Now, will a handful of people have to move to the other side of town because property prices near the train stations increase? Sure, I suppose that may happen, but you know what? You can't design a policy to please every single person or nothing will ever get done. If your friends are truly good friends, they'll still keep up with you even if you move a couple of towns over.

A few other notes: Milton Friedman was a fucking idiot and GOP hack, and my place of comfort was earned, not given to me.
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Old Yesterday, 10:56 AM   #3654
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Originally Posted by datadyne007 View Post
This.

Living 30 miles away might allow you to take the T to work, but that's literally the only thing you can access via public transit. Living 30 miles away means car dependence; you must use your car to get everywhere else - fast food, restaurants, stores, groceries, pharmacy, schools, doctor, etc.
Unless you manage to live in an urban neighborhood of another city, such as Worcester, Salem, Lowell, etc.
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Old Yesterday, 11:27 AM   #3655
GW
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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I'm not sure how else to interpret this quote from you: "so in many cases the transit-subsidy approach will hurt the people it's meant to help." How is that not a call for less spending on mass transit because in your opinion its hurting the people its meant to help? So, yes I am confused all snark aside.

When dealing with a housing crisis, you have limited options. First, you can build more houses. That's a problem in Boston because of limited land area and there is no fix unless we start filling in the harbor. Next you can subsidize housing. The problem you have here is that its a drop in the bucket approach that will benefit relatively few people. The state or city doesn't have the money to pay developers to build 100,000 low income dwellings.

So, what you're left with in terms of bang for your buck is bringing efficient (a key word) public transit to already populated places (ranging from Waltham, Braintree, Quincy, Brockton, Taunton, etc). That way lower income people can relocate to a place they can afford, while at the same time maintaining access to the job center of the state (Boston). Now, will a handful of people have to move to the other side of town because property prices near the train stations increase? Sure, I suppose that may happen, but you know what? You can't design a policy to please every single person or nothing will ever get done. If your friends are truly good friends, they'll still keep up with you even if you move a couple of towns over.

A few other notes: Milton Friedman was a fucking idiot and GOP hack, and my place of comfort was earned, not given to me.
I think it makes sense if you read the conversation in sequence. It was a discussion about what approach to take: some people proposed government subsidizing housing construction and rents, then you countered with a transit-oriented approach. I suppose you can make an argument that it's not clear that this was about extra money, but then in that case you can ask, and not assume that people mean taking money away from transit. (For the record, I'm all for expanding the transit system. We're way behind compared to Europe. I just don't think it should be prioritized over housing at the moment.)

About the housing crisis: Boston doesn't really have a shortage of land, just a system that (in my opinion) chokes off development both by being too market-oriented and, in some areas, being over-regulated. So I would counter that with better zoning to encourage development, and massive government subsidies for construction and rents. You're right that local taxation wouldn't work because it would drive away people and employers who want to maximize their wealth. I'd favor a federal approach: tax increases on the rich, and a context-driven system of distribution based on local factors.

And just noting again that you're resorting to strawmen: no one's is talking about designing "a policy to please every single person". In fact, I doubt my policy choices would please rich people, but since they're quite pleased at the moment and are generally pleased whatever the moment, why not displease them for a change?

Finally, of course you're right about Friedman, and whether you feel you "earned" your comfort or not has nothing to do with the point I was making. (The question of "earned" in a capitalist system is circular anyway. The marketplace says Warren Buffet "earned" his billions; I don't think he did.) The system worked for you, whether you worked for your money or inherited it. It doesn't work for a lot of others.

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Old Yesterday, 01:40 PM   #3656
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Re: 115 Winthrop Square | Financial District

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Appreciate all these comments of yours. I think this here is a key point: there really is no market solution for people who don't make a decent amount of money. Sane, modern urban zoning and government-subsidized housing and rent (spread around new development, not in discrete, sequestered projects) is the only answer to the housing crisis.
Completely agree.

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I don't think any of this is realistic though while at the same time completely agreeing with the key point. To me the solution is better transit access to less costly places. In Boston, as shitty as the MBTA is, you can ride the train from Worcester or Fitchburg or Brockton or Haverhill to name a few and get to a job in Boston. Why everyone now feels the need to cram into an already crammed city I'll never know but I don't feel massive new subsidies are the answer when there's plenty of relatively affordable places 30 miles away. I'd rather use that money to increase the reliability of service and in some limited cases expand the service (Blue line to Lynn for example).
Transit is one of two major solutions, the other is what GW suggests above: modern urban zoning plus subsidies to the less well-off (and not segregating the less well-off from everyone else by clustering them into giant housing projects). We can't simply rely on one, we need to do both.
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