Orange Line corridor study released

December 7, 2012
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A new study that examined all real estate projects and their expected impacts through 2035 along the MBTA’s Orange Line with the aim of linking their planning and marketing campaigns was released late last month.

The MBTA orange line runs through Jamaica Plain and services Jackson Square, Stony Brook, Green Street and Forest Hills stations. Major developments are currently underway at Forest Hills and Jackson Square stations.

The “Orange Line Opportunity Corridor Report” provides a basic understanding of the current mix of land uses and residents and workers along the corridor as well as projected changes by 2020 and by 2035.

“What are the particular needs of people who live and work in different parts of the corridor?” Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) staffer Meghna Dutta asked at the Nov. 29 announcement meeting on the Northeastern campus. MAPC is the association responsible for preparing the report.

According to the report, the Orange Line corridor is poised to experience a “major wave” of development over the next two decades that may lead to capacity issues.

“Ideally, it’s worth thinking about what’s being developed one or two stops down the way,” said Joe Kriesberg, president of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC).

MACDC represents CDCs—nonprofits that perform community organizing and own or develop real estate. The Jamaica Plain Community Development Corporation, one such CDC, is part of the MACDC and was represented at the meeting.

Among the findings was the fact that almost 1,000 units of affordable housing will expire in that time frame. Concerns about dealing with projected gentrification were immediately voiced by various members of the audience.

MACDC representatives expressed a desire to meet and share their findings with MBTA and city Transportation Department (BTD) members as well as private developers working along the corridor. They also stated a hope to sit down with the mayors of all five cities served by the orange line, though no plans were yet in place.

The line is studded with major developments, both proposed and under way. They include gigantic redevelopments at Jackson Square and the former Filene’s store site at Downtown Crossing. Development is especially heavy in Boston, where the line is flanked with vacant parcels taken by eminent domain in the 1970s, when it was originally going to be an interstate highway.

The report, along with more information on the project, is available at mapc.org/orange-line-corridor.

Correction:  This article has been changed to correct a mis-identification. MACDC commissioned the report, MAPC prepared it.

  • Ciboney

    The Orange Line already is experiencing major service challenges! The amount of passengers has increased in the last few years. Most of the trains are full during rush hours; I mean “packed.” By the time the inbound trains arrive at Stony Brook or Jackson Square there is no space and they cars are very uncomfortable due to lack of space between passengers. And this is not counting stations (Stoney Brook) where most of the entrance machines are broken 90% of the time. (When the MBTA finally fixes them, they get broken again in days and for weeks!)