WOODBOURNE—The Woodbourne Neighborhood Association (WNA) welcomed itself into the neighborhood by welcoming a representative from the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) to its inaugural meeting Oct. 4 at the Young Achievers School on Patten Street. A standing-room-only crowd filled the auditorium.
Patten Street transportation problems dominated the meeting, which ended in a vote supporting a BTD plan. Community beautification and crime issues, the sale of the Hyde Park Avenue MBTA parcel and the Young Achievers School’s expansion desires were also on the agenda.
“We want to build a better sense of community,” said Annie Finnegan of Patten Street, who chaired the first meeting of the new group.
Committees dedicated to specific issues such as crime and beautification projects as well as a cohesive organization to raise community awareness are planned group initiatives, according to Finnegan.
“The group is starting now because a group of neighbors had been kicking around the idea saying, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if…,’” said Finnegan. “We needed to do this now. There is too much going on, especially with Patten Street,” she said.
Excessive traffic on Patten Street caused by the street’s narrow character is causing Patten Street residents to park their cars on the sidewalk, resulting in parking tickets, according to Richard Hardy of the traffic management, design and engineering section of the BTD.
Hardy said he surveyed the number of vehicles on Patten and noticed more people come up Patten from Bourne Street.
Hardy proposed to change Patten Street to a one-way street from Wachusett to Rodman streets, heading toward Bourne Street.
The one-way plan would stop traffic coming from Bourne Street from driving along Patten Street. It would also reduce the width of the street occupied by moving vehicles, allowing more space for parking.
“The goal is to reduce traffic on Patten Street by making it one-way and allowing the people who live on Patten Street to park without getting ticketed,” said Hardy.
Residents on Patten Street are enthusiastic about the change, according to Finnegan, who went door to door to discover her neighbor’s opinions herself, she said.
“We did not make the one-way any farther because, if you did, the residents on Eldridge [Road] would have to drive around the block to get to their house and we didn’t want that,” said Hardy.
“The change may increase traffic on other side streets around the area such as Eldridge Road, but we will do a 60-90 day trial period,” he said.
The WNA voted to approve Hardy’s proposal 32-10. The changes are scheduled to take place in early November, according to the BTD.
Crime watch and beautification
Replacing empty tree-wells and reducing crime through neighborhood watches and programs, as well as graffiti removal were some of the ideas the WNA proposed.
At the meeting e-mail addresses were collected. According to Finnegan, the e-mail list will serve as a way to post crime tips. The e-mail will be anonymous. No one will know who sent it or who it was sent to. “It is a way to discourage criminals from targeting our area,” said Finnegan.
Hyde Park MBTA
Finnegan said WNA members should be well represented at the Forest Hills Improvement Initiative meeting Oct. 21. [See JP Agenda.]
“The sale and development of the Hyde Park [Avenue MBTA] parcels will have a permanent effect on the character of the neighborhood…but the process is not just about selling the parcel it also about what people in the neighborhood want to see built there,” said Finnegan.
On behalf of the parents of children of The Young Achiever’s School, a city-wide pilot school dedicated to science and mathematics, located on Patten Street, Don Gillis said school officials and parents are thinking about the process of acquiring the St. Andrew’s property. They want the WNA to be involved in development planning, he said.
St. Andrew the Apostle Church and school sit on a vacant 3-acre lot on Walk Hill Street. According to Finnegan, the entire property cannot be developed and Young Achiever’s School officials and parents are thinking about different ways to make efficient use of the area.
“Our interest is to be a good neighbor,” said Virginia Chalmers, the school’s principal.
Finnegan said members of the WNA are interested in the Young Achiever’s School’s desire to acquire the St. Andrew’s property because of the large area of the property. “It’s not just a church and a school. There is land across the street, there is a parking lot on Wachusett Street; and there is a rectory,” she said.
“Whatever happens there has a big impact on the neighborhood,” said Finnegan. “The neighborhood has to be ready to know if they want to support the plan or not.”