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Old 08-21-2007, 08:16 AM   #1
statler
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Lowe's in Brighton?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banker & Tradesman
Brighton Residents Aren?t High On Idea of Welcoming Lowe?s
By Thomas Grillo
Reporter

More gridlock. That was the major complaint last week at a public meeting for a proposed Lowe?s Home Center in Brighton.

Three-dozen residents packed the New Balance cafeteria to let city officials know that the neighborhood can?t handle any more traffic. While a Lowe?s transportation engineer promised to study the impact of 4,000 cars trips to the home improvement store on Guest Street, residents were skeptical.

?You can do all the traffic studies you want, but you can only put so much water in a bottle or so many cars in Brighton,? said Redmond Walsh, a longtime resident. ?The city has allowed New Balance, WGBH [television and radio studios] and Stop & Shop here, and the impact is killing us. Why not put Lowe?s in Hyde Park where the mayor lives??

If approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the city?s planning and development agency, the vacant Barry Controls manufacturing plant would be razed to make way for a 180,000-square-foot Lowe?s retail store with parking for 403 cars on the 5-acre site.

In a community meeting hosted by the BRA, neighbors said if Lowe?s gets permission to build the two-level store, it would join several newer projects in the area including a handful of yet-to-be built developments by Boston College and Harvard University. Residents said that the estimated 4,000 cars that the do-it-yourself retailer will attract on weekdays ? and even more on weekends ? will exacerbate an already traffic-choked section of Boston.

Jeffrey Dirk, vice president at Vanasse & Assoc., an Andover-based traffic engineering firm, promised the crowd that he will conduct a comprehensive traffic study to examine 15 intersections along the North Market Street corridor including Soldiers Field Road to Washington, Cambridge, North Beacon and Market streets, as well as Brighton Avenue. He noted that the study also will consider future build-out to the year 2012.

?We have a challenge ahead of us to demonstrate to you and the city that this store will work,? Dirk said. ?There are ways to implement traffic-calming measures, such as pinching the road down so it?s not comfortable to make turns unless driving very slowly, or installing raised crosswalks for pedestrian crossing where traffic would be limited to 15 miles per hour.?

In response to questions about the 18-wheeler delivery trucks used by Lowe?s, Dirk noted that the North Carolina-based retailer would restrict deliveries to major arteries. ?We don?t want them going through the neighborhoods and we control their deliveries through a contract with suppliers,? he said.

?Forgotten? Promises

But residents were skeptical. Many reported that officials from the nearby Stop & Shop supermarket made the same promise.

?Once they build it, all the promises are forgotten,? said one woman who invited officials to stand on her porch and watch the traffic any morning of the week.

Another resident said despite Stop & Shop?s claims that it would prevent cars and trucks from coming through the neighborhood, vehicles routinely travel down Braintree Street ? a one-way roadway. ?There?s no guarantee you can give us, because it?s being done daily,? he said. ?Stop & Shop said they will never be on the side streets, but once they get in, they don?t care.?

At least one resident said Lowe?s was not the right fit for that section of the city. ?This is not the kind of business that Brighton needs,? he said. ?We have a Home Depot nearby and plenty of hardware stores. We need more housing, not a big-box retailer.?

Walsh noted that it is impossible to travel on North Beacon or Market streets during the morning or afternoon rush hour. ?I go across town to see my father and I have to take side streets because it?s the only way to get there,? he noted. ?If I drive on Cambridge Street, I?d have to wait 10 minutes to get to Brighton Center. It?s ridiculous. The city of Boston is stagnating Allston/Brighton. They are throwing too many cars, people and businesses here, and they don?t fit.?

Dirk insisted that Lowe?s will examine the options to mitigate the project?s impacts. ?We will look at measures to widen roads and adjust the traffic signal timing,? he said.

Still, he acknowledged that there?s only so much Lowe?s can do. ?Our charge is to not make things worse than what they are today,? he said. ?Our goal is to keep traffic on major roads and not through the neighborhood. We don?t want that.?

Lowe?s will create a program that encourages their Brighton employees to public transportation as a way to limit the number of vehicles off local roads, Dirk said. But he failed to provide specifics and did not return a follow-up call seeking comment.

At the close of the two-hour hearing, one resident asked: ?If the study finds that 4,000 cars can?t work in this location, what happens then??

William Conroy, senior planner at the Boston Transportation Department, said the onus is on Lowe?s to prove to the city that the project will work.

?We will take their information and make sure it?s factual and what they?re telling us is true and go from there,? he said.

In an interview with Banker & Tradesman, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he too is worried about the traffic impacts, but he is convinced that Lowe?s could make the project work.

?It?s a great site for some type of retail, but we all have to be concerned about the traffic,? he said. ?Those issues will be addressed in the planning process. I think that Lowe?s, a national corporation, has faced these issues before and will try to address them as best they can. We will do the best we can to make the development happen because we have a very valuable piece of property there and it?s been vacant for a few years. It can be an asset with new jobs and new tax revenue. So far, no one else has come forward to fill that space.?
Two points:
Quote:
At least one resident said Lowe?s was not the right fit for that section of the city. ?This is not the kind of business that Brighton needs,? he said. ?We have a Home Depot nearby and plenty of hardware stores. We need more housing, not a big-box retailer.?
1. I actually agree with the NIMBY's on this.
2. I'm shocked he is calling for more housing, not a park. He must be an apartment dweller looking to buy a house.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:33 AM   #2
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Quote:
Why not put Lowe?s in Hyde Park where the mayor lives?
Awesome.

I totally agree with these people. Brighton is always getting fucked over. This is good NIMBYism.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:14 PM   #3
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I think we'll all agree on this one, Lowe's should be kept out of Brighton. If only NIMBYs would focus more on projects like this that would be detrimental to a neighborhood, instead of getting upset about projects that would greatly help the neighborhood.
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:51 PM   #4
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

this is under construction
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:56 AM   #5
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

I totally agree that this is a terrible location for a Lowes. If anything Guest St is ripe for some mixed use development, including mainly housing, with a mix of ground floor retail and restaurants. There is the Stop and Shop just down the street and a Ballys gym next to WGBH, which would both be well served by residents (walking).
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Old 02-19-2008, 11:41 AM   #6
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

The irony is that this area used to be better served by public transportation. Both the Stockyard and The Sports Depot in Allston used to be stops on the commuter rail. Once upon a time those stops service people going into town as well as those coming to the manufacturing jobs in many buildings sandwiched between North Beacon and what is now the Pike. That area was quite dormant for a while, but now that it is building up it has become a real problem for traffic.

I don't know why the city didn't pressure New Balance/WGBH/Stop and Shop to build or restore at least ONE stop in that area. The amount of traffic on North Beacon Street and Market Street is absolutely ridiculous compared to 10, 20 and 30 years ago. The MBTA probably didn't want to inconvenience commuters from wealthier, suburban districts.

All that said, I agree with you all that this would be an awful location for a LOWE's. Nobody takes a train or a bus to one of those places.
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banker & Tradesman
Menino Pulls Support for Lowe?s Store
By Thomas Grillo
Reporter

Following intense community opposition, the Menino administration has withdrawn its support for the first Lowe?s Home Improvement store in Boston.

Last summer, the North Carolina-based chain proposed a 194,679-square-foot warehouse at the abandoned Barry Controls manufacturing plant on Guest Street in Brighton. But opponents said the project would compound traffic problems, causing a nightmare for residents who already are besieged by gridlock.

Until now, Mayor Thomas M. Menino has expressed support for the project. But the mayor wanted assurances that the additional traffic could be managed. The big-box store?s fate may have been sealed at a public hearing on Monday night when the company?s traffic survey revealed that the two-level store would add 3,306 vehicle trips on weekdays and 5,068 on Saturdays, as well as 55 semi-trailers to the neighborhood.

?When we saw the traffic study, it became clear to everyone that this project would create an undue hardship for the neighborhood, especially on weekends,? said John F. Palmieri, director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). ?We want to continue to work with Lowe?s to find an appropriate location in the city, but the Brighton site is not viable for that use.?

Peter Leis, a North Beacon Street resident and member of the Impact Advisory Group, a panel formed to advise the BRA on development projects, expressed shock over the city?s reversal.

?Wow,? he said. ?I had heard that Mayor Menino favored the project. I?m pleased because it?s a recognition by the BRA and the city of our community?s concerns about this store.?

Leis stressed that the neighborhood is not anti-development, but that more traffic from a giant retailer would be overwhelming. ?It would have been like a tidal wave coming through our streets,? Leis said. ?We favor the right development, but Lowe?s is not it.?

State Rep. Michael J. Moran, a Brighton Democrat and a project critic, hailed the mayor?s decision. He praised Menino and the BRA for considering the impact that Lowe?s would have on the already traffic-choked streets of Brighton.

?There?s definitely a feeling in the neighborhood that the addition of [thousands of motorists] would be very tough for this neighborhood,? he said. ?There was almost no support for Lowe?s at several public hearings. Tom Menino and the BRA pay attention to those things.?

Jeffrey Dirk, vice president at Vanasse & Assoc., an Andover-based traffic engineering firm who did the study for Lowe?s, did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

In an e-mail, Maureen A. Rich, a Lowe's spokeswoman, said the company "remains committed to bringing a store to Brighton. We will continue to work closely with neighborhood groups to address their ideas and look forward to serving our customers in the community."
NLA
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Old 03-02-2008, 07:44 PM   #8
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

Put it in South Bay shopping center.
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:07 PM   #9
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

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Put it in South Bay shopping center.
You think? It seems too congested there already. How about at the new Gateway Center. At least Lowe's can be one of the confirmed tenants. They can make it one of their flagship stores. Has anyone ever seen the Home Depot on 59th and Lex in NYC (Bloomberg Tower)? It's 3 level store starts on the ground level and then descends down into the basement. I would say it's pretty well designed ... although more people in Boston would use their cars.

Or how about South Boston, I hear there's plenty of land there... Although I would hate to see Lowe's slap one of those big open parking lots right out in front.

Is anyone familiar with the new IKEA in Red Hook, Brooklyn (their first store in the city). It's a post-industrial neighborhood with virtually no connection to mass transit or other public infrastructure. Residents were furious about the idea, arguing basically the things Brighton'ers are now saying with Lowe's. Only thing is, it got built anyways ... and should be opening any day now (if not already open). Architects and urban planners love the idea, residents don't. Bottom line is, we should find a way to squeeze them and come to a compromise. It gives Bostonians more options, provides jobs, and brings more people to the city.
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:56 AM   #10
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

Ikea =/= Lowe's. In New York, Ikea runs a free shuttle bus to its store in NJ, and there are sometimes backups on Route 24 to get to the one in Stoughton. There would likely be a lot more fanfare/welcome if one of those were coming to Brighton.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:27 AM   #11
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

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Originally Posted by czsz View Post
Ikea =/= Lowe's. In New York, Ikea runs a free shuttle bus to its store in NJ, and there are sometimes backups on Route 24 to get to the one in Stoughton. There would likely be a lot more fanfare/welcome if one of those were coming to Brighton.
Lowe's and Ikea are the same ugly animal. They only differ in their marketing and clientele.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:44 AM   #12
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

I think the larger question is whether a big box home improvement store can work in an urban environment. If you could build it without parking, perhaps? Car-oriented strip-mall type development typically doesn't work well in a city, unless it's on the fringes near a highway. Even then, it's still not all that great.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:53 AM   #13
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

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I think the larger question is whether a big box home improvement store can work in an urban environment. If you could build it without parking...
That is it, though. These big box stores depend on parking because they depend, not on the neighborhood, but the region within driving distance. Parking is their life. No parking = death.

Economies of scale kill city life.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:22 AM   #14
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

They also need parking because you cant haul a sheet of wallboard on an MBTA bus.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:53 AM   #15
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

Or they need a delivery service. Any such store in Manhattan, such as the two Home Depots there, presumably has one.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:06 AM   #16
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

^^Exactly. If they can build a HD in Manhattan, they can build a Lowe's in Brighton. It a matter of scale and design. That is the battle that should be being fought here.
Of course Lowe's is going to want to build a cookie-cutter big box store. Don't let them. If they want to build here it has to be done on an urban model, or not at all.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:11 AM   #17
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

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Originally Posted by briv View Post
That is it, though. These big box stores depend on parking because they depend, not on the neighborhood, but the region within driving distance. Parking is their life. No parking = death.

Economies of scale kill city life.
Best Buy on Newbury is doing fine.


I however, would assume the clientelle of Lowes are people with pickups buying a load of wood. Theres no way around them needing a car. Delivery works for casual users, but contractors wouldnt want that.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:17 AM   #18
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

^^ Again, HD in Manhattan pulls it off ok.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:17 AM   #19
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

Lowes was making an attempt to build an "urban store", but it wasn't really urban at all. The building was adjacent to the street and had some somewhat interesting architectural elements, however it still had a large parking garage. Also the store fronted the parking structure and not the street. People on the street would have seen a blank windowless wall.

One of the biggest challenges is convincing neighbors that parking = traffic, and less parking = less traffic. Whenever a developer proposes a limited amount of parking, people complain that there won't be enough to accommodate all the cars that will be coming in, and that these customers will instead park on neighborhood streets. The point that I always make is that if you build a lot of parking, you will DEFINITELY get a lot more traffic and congestion, whereas if you reduce parking, you will certainly get less.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:20 AM   #20
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Re: Lowe's in Brighton?

But in this location, I don't know how you'd do an "urban" store without parking. There is not much public transit there.
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