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Old 03-21-2014, 08:23 PM   #1
rinserepeat
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Franklin Park

I'm curious as to what people know about Franklin Park, history, potential improvements (and funding), etc...


I personally feel there is a ton of potential for this park - and especially development around the perimeter - but that it's been somewhat neglected by the city and not really taken advantage of as a major amenity - probably partly because of problems in the adjacent neighborhood. There is very little programming there (probably because a huge portion of it is taken up by a golf course - which is a problematic use for an urban park, even though it is a big draw) - but as the area around it improves (coupled with the casey arborway project allowing easier access by bike and pedestrians from the west), there could be potential for major events that might draw people from further away.

The turkey trot this past thanksgiving seems like a step in the right direction - there's also a 2.5 mile long loop around the park that could potentially be used for bike races (or the park could be used for cyclocross, which is gaining in popularity)... the bike/kite festival was kind of odd - it has potential to be this weird and wonderful thing (like bring in some crazy frankenstein bikes for a parade, live roaming music, elaborate kites, etc..), but instead it was mostly these junky food stalls and a handful of kids activities.
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Old 03-21-2014, 10:10 PM   #2
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Re: Franklin Park

I don't understand why people don't open up more restaurants across the street from the zoo, to take advantage of all the visitors there.
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Old 03-22-2014, 06:55 AM   #3
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Re: Franklin Park

With all the crime, no one wants to invest there. It's probably the worst neighborhood in the city.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:09 AM   #4
Ron Newman
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Re: Franklin Park

People used to say that about the South End.
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Old 03-22-2014, 08:53 AM   #5
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Re: Franklin Park

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Originally Posted by kmp1284 View Post
With all the crime, no one wants to invest there. It's probably the worst neighborhood in the city.
except the area around forest hills is getting nicer - and that's the opposite end of the park.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:14 AM   #6
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Re: Franklin Park

I've enjoyed the aesthetics of Franklin Park, but I think it will be a long time before the neighborhood adjacent to the zoo will be hosting restaurants catering to zoo visitors. The neighborhood has high levels of poverty and little disposable income. Also the park's immense size is probably itself a barrier to Mattapan/Roxbury side. Blue Hill Ave and Columbia Road seem so far removed from from the gentrification of Jamaica Plain and parts of Forest Hills, despite the fact they are situated across the park from another. Large swaths of parkland can be as much as or more of a physical and mental barrier as any major interstate, industrial zone or river.
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Old 03-23-2014, 05:58 AM   #7
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Re: Franklin Park

The George White Schoolboy Stadium in the park is getting renovated, that should help to bring more events to the park.
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/201...EnM/story.html
During summer weekends, the park gets some pretty heavy use by picnickers.
The city also brings the ParkARTs stage to the park during the summer for concerts and plays. But, even with that, the playstead side of the park seems relatively underutilized.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:05 PM   #8
JohnCostello
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Re: Franklin Park

Have you ever tried walking through the Franklin Park Zoo with a 5 year old while pushing a squirming 2 year old in a stroller for 2 hours and then have to work your way out onto Blue Hill Avenue and then try to cross the starting line of the Roxbury 500?

Snack bar inside the zoo will suffice. Stop thinking like 19 year old budding urban planners everyone. A pad thai place is not taking place of the check cashing store at the corner of Columbia and Blue Hill Avenue anytime soon.
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Old 03-24-2014, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: Franklin Park

I wonder if opening up a wider swath of accessible (and visible) green space along seaver street and blue hill ave would help. Right now it's the back of the zoo, and it's this horrible chain link fence (which could be replaced with something much nicer), high-ish stone walls, and rock ledges. Not a very inviting for a "public" park. Suffers from the same "public access" problems Bryant Park had in the 70s.

The stretch along American Legion isn't too bad, but it could use some help.
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Old 03-24-2014, 04:16 PM   #10
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Re: Franklin Park

here is a map (that includes the emerald necklace) of the original park design.

much more large expanses of open space - "the playstead" is now taken up by the stadium, what looks like what would have been a pretty spectacular allee adjacent to a nice open field is now the zoo.
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Old 03-24-2014, 07:02 PM   #11
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Re: Franklin Park

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Originally Posted by JohnCostello View Post
Stop thinking like 19 year old budding urban planners everyone.
But but but that's what we're so damn good at around here!
__________________
Politicians, ugly buildings and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:53 PM   #12
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Re: Franklin Park

Quote:
it will be a long time before the neighborhood adjacent to the zoo will be hosting restaurants catering to zoo visitors. The neighborhood has high levels of poverty and little disposable income.
I didn't say expensive restaurants -- some ethnic take-out places would do just fine.
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Old 03-25-2014, 02:48 PM   #13
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Re: Franklin Park

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then have to work your way out onto Blue Hill Avenue and then try to cross the starting line of the Roxbury 500?
Haha, that's exactly the image I have in my mind of that spot. Terrible roadway.
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Old 03-25-2014, 03:07 PM   #14
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Re: Franklin Park

Doesn't seem any worse to me than crossing Huntington Ave or Comm. Ave., and people do that all the time.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:24 PM   #15
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Re: Franklin Park

Crossing Blue Hill Ave by Franklin Park means crossing 6 wide, general travel lanes plus a left turn lane. It's a particularly desolate feeling spot, very suburban highway, so drivers go FAST. I've taken the 22 from a corner near there, it's no fun to be standing around. Huntington and Comm have their issues but BHA is much worse.

The right lane has sharrows striped in it. Probably Boston's most terrifying "cycle facilities."
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:03 PM   #16
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Re: Franklin Park

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I didn't say expensive restaurants -- some ethnic take-out places would do just fine.
You're missing the point. It's a really bad neighborhood. No one wants to hang out there except those with no other option(locals) and weirdos and eccentrics who are totally blind to reality. Joe and Jane Suburbanite, who just spent the afternoon at the zoo with the kids are not going to walk across the street for some Haitian slop before returning home to Milton.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:04 AM   #17
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Re: Franklin Park

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Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
Crossing Blue Hill Ave by Franklin Park means crossing 6 wide, general travel lanes plus a left turn lane. It's a particularly desolate feeling spot, very suburban highway, so drivers go FAST. I've taken the 22 from a corner near there, it's no fun to be standing around. Huntington and Comm have their issues but BHA is much worse.

The right lane has sharrows striped in it. Probably Boston's most terrifying "cycle facilities."
looking up traffic counts:

Seaver Street is 26,000 - certainly nowhere near requiring 3 lanes each direction - and on the borderline even going down to one lane each direction + turn lanes (depending on peak volumes). Blue Hill Ave in that area sees around 36,000 - probably could cut it down to 2 lanes + turn lanes each direction.

I think this is why the city is putting in a cycletrack along seaver because they could remove a lane without much impact on traffic.

making the streets more walkable/bikeable through there would definitely help improve the area - but I've heard that the business owners along blue hill ave seem to think that since they don't see people out walking, that means people don't want/need to walk.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:29 AM   #18
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Re: Franklin Park

Oh certainly. If people are going too fast all the time, then that probably means the road is overengineered. Even DOT engineers recognize that, which is why they're removing a lane each way on Cambridge Street, and we didn't even have to ask them to do that.

I heard about the Seaver Street cycle track. Hopefully it inspires improvements on BHA as well.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:13 PM   #19
rinserepeat
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Re: Franklin Park

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Originally Posted by Ron Newman View Post
I didn't say expensive restaurants -- some ethnic take-out places would do just fine.
there are a couple Caribbean places further down blue hill - I've been to country kitchen and it's pretty good.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:55 PM   #20
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Re: Franklin Park

Quote:
Originally Posted by rinserepeat View Post
here is a map (that includes the emerald necklace) of the original park design.

much more large expanses of open space - "the playstead" is now taken up by the stadium, what looks like what would have been a pretty spectacular allee adjacent to a nice open field is now the zoo.
This is what kills Franklin Park. Aside from the zoo, I never really spent any time there before last Spring, but the youth baseball team I coached played games fairly frequently at Elicot Dale, and I quickly grew to like what I saw. Now I run there from time to time, but aside from two little league fields and the enormously wasteful golf course, there is very little recreational space for such a large park. It needs more room for adult soccer and softball leagues, for example. Give people a reason to go there for more than the five year period when they have a zoo aged child. As it stands now, people do not have a reason to go, and the proximate location of some fairly low end neighborhoods makes it that much more foreboding.
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