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Old 01-19-2015, 12:57 PM   #21
WormtownNative
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Study finds Blackstone Canal opening could deliver huge return on investment for Worcester

By Lindsay Corcoran | lindsay.corcoran@masslive.com

WORCESTER – The supporters of reopening the Blackstone Canal in Worcester’s Canal District got a big boost on Friday with the release of the findings from a cost benefit analysis study performed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The two-month study found that reopening the canal from Harding from Union Station to Kelley Square would cost about $25 million, but would mean a huge return on investment for the city.

“There’s a real compelling case for why we should open up canal,” said John Giangregorio, president of Worcester’s Canal District Business Association. “Frankly, the numbers exceeded my expectations … It would expand the tax base, create a larger demand for the existing hotels and encourage new ones and the city itself would realize a benefit in terms of fees and taxes.”

Giangregorio also said the projected 100,000 visitors per year would also be a big win for not only the businesses within the Canal District, but also the city’s attractions and restaurants.

The study group’s finding came largely from looking at data from six similar projects across the country, including those in Lowell; Providence Rhode Island; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Buffalo, New York; San Antonio, Texas; and Indianapolis, Indiana.

“[The] most startling were the economic development numbers,” the study found. “The five cities experienced an average of $300 million of private development in the area surrounding the waterways.”
Full article: http://www.masslive.com/news/worcest...e_canal_o.html
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:24 PM   #22
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Re-opening the canal is probably a good idea. That little wedge bounded by Madison St, 290, P&W train tracks and Union Station could become a great neighborhood with the right investment. The neighborhood has solid bones, is in walking distance of Union Station and has lots of developable land that is currently housing mostly light industrial uses.
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Old 01-19-2015, 06:34 PM   #23
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Re-opening the canal is probably a good idea. That little wedge bounded by Madison St, 290, P&W train tracks and Union Station could become a great neighborhood with the right investment. The neighborhood has solid bones, is in walking distance of Union Station and has lots of developable land that is currently housing mostly light industrial uses.
There's quite a few open spaces in that whole area that could be made into a great area if planned out correctly. My cynicism in the city to do that though, points me in the other direction. On the whole, between the Canal District and CitySquare, I can't wait to see what can happen. I work downtown on the weekends, and it drives me insane to see nobody around at 9:30 at night. Wormtown has some great potential. It just needs someone to see it and make it happen.
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Old 01-19-2015, 09:17 PM   #24
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Unfortunately, I think CitySquare is going to be a failure. Between the new Unum building and the Cancer Research building the city has already gone part way into fucking up that project with lifeless corporate buildings.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:57 PM   #25
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Re: Worcester Improvements

The cancer building does have a terrible blank wall on the Front Street side. I'd like to think that the hotels and apartments of the next phase are going to be an improvement, but they look to be set back from the street, neglecting to form a proper streetwall.
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Old 01-26-2015, 11:18 AM   #26
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by stick n move View Post
Everybody knows that the Worcester airport needs to be connected by a highway. Boston is expanding so much these days and I think worcester needs to get some attention too. It is the 2nd biggest city in New England, and needs some major improvements. I think they really need to push to get some money allocated to improve some key parts of the city. If there was a couple improvements to the city it would spur development and finally the city could be cleaned up an expanded. So many people live in the worcester metro area and get tired of having to go to Boston to do everything because the city is so bad. There needs to be a serious solution to connecting the airport to the highway. I don't understand why this conversation is not even taking place. On top of that if we could get a highway out there we could possibly get a light rail to follow that same roadway that could connect to union station. Union station gets a lot of service and having that rail transit would make the airport a viable option. So many people are able to use the commuter rail from many surrounding towns and if it could transfer to a light rail that went to the airport that would be incredible. If it couldn't follow the highway it would make sense to have the train go from union station across downtown and over to the airport so people could take the commuter rail into worcester and then use that train to stop in downtown, and the other people could keep going on to the airport. It would make the most sense to start at umass medical go down to union station across downtown and end at the airport. This would mean people living near umass on route 9 could take the train to downtown or the airport, and also people living on the airport side of the city could get downtown and also over to the hospital if needed. We could honestly even use the DMU approach that Boston will use and use existing tracks for a few parts. There are already tracks that go right next to the hospital and over to union station. Also there are tracks that go from union station to the greendale mall side of town. This line that already has tracks laid passes directly from city center/union station past St Vincent hospital, the DCU center, then the Worcester District Court, the Worcester housing authority with hundreds of low income apartments, a few schools, and along to the greendale mall. Using DMUs on existing tracks and then putting light rail tracks down to have a downtown/airport link would be crucial. America is too car dependent and luckily there is finally a shift happening. Massachusetts always tries to be progressive and what better way than by adding rail to a stagnant city and transforming it and giving other cities an example to follow. If these improvements were made Worcester would have the tools it needs to separate itself from Bostons shadow and finally get the push it needs to gain its own separate identity as a great city.
If even due to sea level rise. Worcester is nice and high up. The current airport is likely to be underwater. Therefore it makes more sense to invest in Worcester airport since a huge storm like what hit New York last year might have put Logan underwater. Next time you're in a plane look at the elevation of logan above the outter banks. A backup airport like Worcester might not be a badd investment since it is only a matter of time that Logan gets it.
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Old 01-26-2015, 03:59 PM   #27
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by Digital_Islandboy View Post
If even due to sea level rise. Worcester is nice and high up. The current airport is likely to be underwater. Therefore it makes more sense to invest in Worcester airport since a huge storm like what hit New York last year might have put Logan underwater. Next time you're in a plane look at the elevation of logan above the outter banks. A backup airport like Worcester might not be a badd investment since it is only a matter of time that Logan gets it.
Forgive me for being the new guy, but what the hell are you drinking? I know snowpocalypse is upon us, but this seems a little early.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:33 AM   #28
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by stick n move View Post
Everybody knows that the Worcester airport needs to be connected by a highway. Boston is expanding so much these days and I think worcester needs to get some attention too. It is the 2nd biggest city in New England, and needs some major improvements. I think they really need to push to get some money allocated to improve some key parts of the city. If there was a couple improvements to the city it would spur development and finally the city could be cleaned up an expanded. So many people live in the worcester metro area and get tired of having to go to Boston to do everything because the city is so bad. There needs to be a serious solution to connecting the airport to the highway. I don't understand why this conversation is not even taking place. On top of that if we could get a highway out there we could possibly get a light rail to follow that same roadway that could connect to union station. Union station gets a lot of service and having that rail transit would make the airport a viable option. So many people are able to use the commuter rail from many surrounding towns and if it could transfer to a light rail that went to the airport that would be incredible. If it couldn't follow the highway it would make sense to have the train go from union station across downtown and over to the airport so people could take the commuter rail into worcester and then use that train to stop in downtown, and the other people could keep going on to the airport. It would make the most sense to start at umass medical go down to union station across downtown and end at the airport. This would mean people living near umass on route 9 could take the train to downtown or the airport, and also people living on the airport side of the city could get downtown and also over to the hospital if needed. We could honestly even use the DMU approach that Boston will use and use existing tracks for a few parts. There are already tracks that go right next to the hospital and over to union station. Also there are tracks that go from union station to the greendale mall side of town. This line that already has tracks laid passes directly from city center/union station past St Vincent hospital, the DCU center, then the Worcester District Court, the Worcester housing authority with hundreds of low income apartments, a few schools, and along to the greendale mall. Using DMUs on existing tracks and then putting light rail tracks down to have a downtown/airport link would be crucial. America is too car dependent and luckily there is finally a shift happening. Massachusetts always tries to be progressive and what better way than by adding rail to a stagnant city and transforming it and giving other cities an example to follow. If these improvements were made Worcester would have the tools it needs to separate itself from Bostons shadow and finally get the push it needs to gain its own separate identity as a great city.
the only point in improving connections to the airport would be to make it easier for people in worcester metro to use it. building a light rail is NOT going to do that. a light rail needs to go where the density is in order to work, and that means it wouldnt be in anyplace convenient for park and ride. and seriously, why would anyone drive to worcester to park and ride on a light rail across town to get to the airport at all? no, the airport needs a highway. if they want to ever make the airport accessible, theyve gotta bite the bullet and bulldoze some homes so cars can get there. thats the only way. this is not the venue where youre solving america's overdependence on cars. airports get highway connections, in every country in the world, and this airport will stay the withered piece of shit that is as long as it has nothing but a side road connecting it to anything.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:49 PM   #29
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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the only point in improving connections to the airport would be to make it easier for people in worcester metro to use it. building a light rail is NOT going to do that. [...]if they want to ever make the airport accessible, theyve gotta bite the bullet and bulldoze some homes so cars can get there. thats the only way. this is not the venue where youre solving america's overdependence on cars.
Its true. It is also fact that the "transit" demand at airports is mostly airline employees going to work every day, not air travelers.

Air travelers come in many kinds, none of them inclined to transit:
- Family groups, who best share a minivan
- Backpacker groups, who can share a taxi or bus
- Solo business travelers, who expense their cab ride without a thought

That leaves,
- Transit buffs, like me, who feel obligated to take transit after splurging on flying ;-)
There just aren't enough of people like me to make airport rail work at any airport that isn't in the top 20 (employee trips in a transit heavy area might work up to 40, but Worcester is an Autopia at this point)

At this point, though, it may be too late for Worcester. PVD and MHT did good jobs as BOS's relievers, but then BOS got its new runway and the foul-weather delays dried up (and so did the swarms of prop jets that clogged it up).

Worcester Airport is going to find it near-impossible to compete for business travel, since business travel is all about frequency--both for convenience and redundancy. There'll be no place you could go from ORH that BOS won't go 2-to-3 times more frequently.

That leaves pitiful little operations like DirectAir or Spirit or Allegiant or JetBlue's lonely dailies to leisure destinations (Florida, GA, SC). For that, a direct highway is necessary, but even then might not be sufficient.
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Old 01-27-2015, 06:46 PM   #30
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
Its true. It is also fact that the "transit" demand at airports is mostly airline employees going to work every day, not air travelers.

Air travelers come in many kinds, none of them inclined to transit:
- Family groups, who best share a minivan
- Backpacker groups, who can share a taxi or bus
- Solo business travelers, who expense their cab ride without a thought

That leaves,
- Transit buffs, like me, who feel obligated to take transit after splurging on flying ;-)
There just aren't enough of people like me to make airport rail work at any airport that isn't in the top 20 (employee trips in a transit heavy area might work up to 40, but Worcester is an Autopia at this point)

At this point, though, it may be too late for Worcester. PVD and MHT did good jobs as BOS's relievers, but then BOS got its new runway and the foul-weather delays dried up (and so did the swarms of prop jets that clogged it up).

Worcester Airport is going to find it near-impossible to compete for business travel, since business travel is all about frequency--both for convenience and redundancy. There'll be no place you could go from ORH that BOS won't go 2-to-3 times more frequently.

That leaves pitiful little operations like DirectAir or Spirit or Allegiant or JetBlue's lonely dailies to leisure destinations (Florida, GA, SC). For that, a direct highway is necessary, but even then might not be sufficient.
I live just down the hill from the airport. To me it is all but dead. As much as I hope that life returns to ORH, I doubt it ever will, even with Massport at the helm. Unless BOS gets an insane increase in traffic that it cannot handle, Worcester will never be what it used to be.

The city is too wimpy to bring up the access road issue again. Which seriously is going to bleed that airport dry of any business. (I did create a map for a crazy pitch for an access road for the hell of it, but this or any version won't ever happen in my lifetime - https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...I.k85yUbczVkPo)

(Side note - I did post a few crazy transit pitches for Worcester over in the appropriate thread here and I put a park and ride at the airport for the commuters coming down the hill from Paxton and points north because there's space up there)

As for Worcester being an autotopia at this point. That is the most accurate thing about Worcester I have EVER read. I wish I could walk to work, the store, and everywhere else, but so long as the WRTA has anemic routes and the public transit options aren't there, I can't. (I gladly take the T in Boston when I can, because I hate driving there.) City ordinances that require X amount of off-street parking per business do not help either.

Worcester really needs to solve its own fundamental flaw - it's a city that acts like it's a town, and that is the biggest issue facing Wormtown in terms of economic development. I would love to see something similar to the building density of Boston, but I doubt that'll ever happen. The city council is too concerned about preserving green space. (Not that I disagree with preserving green space, but there's a tipping point where there becomes more green space than is practical. Hell the parks department can't maintain the parks they have now.)

Last edited by WormtownNative; 01-27-2015 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:01 PM   #31
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Re: Worcester Improvements

i lived in worcester off of lake and my yard was the former right of way for the streetcar line that shared track off union station, split off around plantation near rt 9 and headed east to hit the lake (where the park is now - was a theme park - not as big as white city but had a special streetcar line). my yard had a 19th century icehouse with primitive insulation and where ice from the lake was stored, to be transported to the neighborhood or chucked onto the trains rolling by. in the ice house were the tracks from the line that the landlord had dug up, and the neighbor's yard still had the tracks. you can see the row if you look at a satellite image.

at any rate, i think buses are the answer for worcester. i dont see it having the right density for light rail. they should really spruce the buses up, focus new development downtown and in a few target areas, and build up key bus routes. then, maybe (along with some real hardcore redesign of roadways and development patterns, esp along key roads like the northern part of plantation - god, how horrid it is by umass) maybe maybe one light rail line. i think if they could do some well designed, urbanistic redesign of the wastelands behind plantation ridge, possibly they could do a LR from union the umass, then phase ii from union down south main or chandler. but i would stick with buses. make them good. focus development. and rework all of city hall, what a disaster - they wont even fluorinate their water in worcester. what a joke.
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Old 01-27-2015, 11:59 PM   #32
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Like I said about that crazy transit pitch - it is just that, a crazy transit pitch. If anything what I threw out there would be more of an economic development tool than an actual transit service.

As for the future of Worcester's transit system, it needs to be a faster headway system, and the WRTA needs better marketing for itself (not the ad revenue it takes in). I know a few years ago this discussed signal prioritization for buses, but I'm not sure if anything was ever done towards that.

Here's the visual of their current routes: http://www.therta.com/wp-content/the...system-map.htm
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Old 01-28-2015, 11:44 AM   #33
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
Here's the visual of their current routes: http://www.therta.com/wp-content/the...system-map.htm
Based on where the employment is in the City of Worcester, I'd say they need a single trunk line with frequent, all day service.

Holy Cross Stadium
Clark University
Main St
Union Sta
DCU Center/ Medical Center
UMass Hospital
Saint Gobain
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:20 PM   #34
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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WPI, developer eye former Boys Club building
By Nick Kotsopoulos TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
nicholas.kotsopoulos@telegram.com
Add a comment

WORCESTER — Winn Development Co. has entered into an agreement with the city that temporarily gives it exclusive developer status for the potential acquisition and redevelopment into office space of the former Lincoln Square Boys Club.

Under the agreement, Winn has been granted a nonbinding period of exclusivity during which it may access the property to explore the feasibility of its plans for the building.

That exclusivity runs through April 30, according to City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr.

During that period, Winn will have the exclusive right to make an offer to purchase the property. At the same time, the city has agreed not to market or otherwise advertise the property for sale, or solicit or accept any proposals or offers with respect to the sale of the property from any other parties.

"The discussion between the city and Winn are preliminary and nonbinding," Mr. Augustus said. "As the city has done previously, Winn has been granted a license to enter upon the property to conduct due diligence and determine the feasibility of its plans."

Winn is interested in turning the building into 40,000-square feet of tenantable office space, according to Gilbert Winn, chief executive officer of Winn Companies.

He said the preference is to have one tenant for the building due to the complexities and costs involved in separating the stairwells and other historic features for two or more tenants.
FULL ARTICLE

Winn is the same company that redeveloped the former Worcester Voke into lofts. Not sure if I'm enthused at the prospect of office space, but I can see the problem in making it retail or apartments.
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Old 01-31-2015, 12:23 AM   #35
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Not gonna lie - Im all for preservation but honestly with the urban renewal scars that whole area around main and Lincoln would be better off if this guiding were just finished off and the entire footprint redesigned. It's a great building but is no longer able to contribute given the roadways, etc. Id rather just see it torn down and three new buildings built on the footprint instead. The other old, monumental survivors in the area are less awkwardly placed and could be kept if the roadways themselves were radically brought back to pre-1960... But this particular building is going to be a tired eyesore no matter what they do.
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:52 PM   #36
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Re: Worcester Improvements

Found a few things on the city's website:

The Developer's toolkit to build in the city - explaining the process from start to end: http://www.worcestermass.org/uploads...book-FINAL.pdf

The "Theatre District" Master Plan - I'll be doing some serious reading into this, as I am of the opinion that it's not a Theatre District until there's several theaters.

http://www.worcestermass.org/uploads...aster-Plan.pdf
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Old 01-31-2015, 11:55 PM   #37
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Not gonna lie - Im all for preservation but honestly with the urban renewal scars that whole area around main and Lincoln would be better off if this guiding were just finished off and the entire footprint redesigned. It's a great building but is no longer able to contribute given the roadways, etc. Id rather just see it torn down and three new buildings built on the footprint instead. The other old, monumental survivors in the area are less awkwardly placed and could be kept if the roadways themselves were radically brought back to pre-1960... But this particular building is going to be a tired eyesore no matter what they do.
The north end of Main St. does need a redesign. But there is a lot of open space and plenty of redevelopment opportunity up there (the Auditorium, the old Courthouse, and the aforementioned Boy's Club). Hell, it should be evaluated to see if we even still need the tunnel anymore, and if we don't (more than likely), take steps to remove it and redesign the street layout with it removed.
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:34 AM   #38
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Originally Posted by WormtownNative View Post
The north end of Main St. does need a redesign. But there is a lot of open space and plenty of redevelopment opportunity up there (the Auditorium, the old Courthouse, and the aforementioned Boy's Club). Hell, it should be evaluated to see if we even still need the tunnel anymore, and if we don't (more than likely), take steps to remove it and redesign the street layout with it removed.
Lots of space on Main Street as well in the form of parking lots. I would hate to see nicer buildings come down while there is still plenty of land for development in the area. I think there is an argument that the Boys Club space might be better used for something else someday but jumping the gun and ripping it down feels like a terrible idea. Plus, the old Morgan building, the police station, and the parking garage are all bigger offenders in that intersection. Why target the Boys Club building with those other three monstrosities on the same intersection?
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Old 02-01-2015, 02:16 PM   #39
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Lots of space on Main Street as well in the form of parking lots. I would hate to see nicer buildings come down while there is still plenty of land for development in the area. I think there is an argument that the Boys Club space might be better used for something else someday but jumping the gun and ripping it down feels like a terrible idea. Plus, the old Morgan building, the police station, and the parking garage are all bigger offenders in that intersection. Why target the Boys Club building with those other three monstrosities on the same intersection?
When I talking about removing "it," "it" was the Salisbury to Main St. tunnel. I'm not too entirely sure about demo'ing the old Boy's club yet. That parcel seems to be a bit too big for the building that sits on it.

As for the parking lots on Main St., I agree entirely. And there needs to be something done with the garage at the end of Main as well. WPD headquarters may take some time, but there were rumblings from the city council about either renovating or building a new headquarters, with offices for the FBI and every other federal agency.

Not sure which building the Morgan building is (the only one that comes to mind is the manufacturing facility over on Crescent St.).
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Old 02-01-2015, 04:32 PM   #40
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Re: Worcester Improvements

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Not sure which building the Morgan building is (the only one that comes to mind is the manufacturing facility over on Crescent St.).
He's talking about the MCPHS building that's across from the police station on Belmont. It used to be owned by Morgan Construction.
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