BRA: Washington St. planning study possible

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) might soon conduct a planning study that would encompass the Washington Street corridor between Egleston Square and Forest Hills, according to BRA spokesperson Nick Martin.

That section of Washington Street has several proposed projects on the horizon, including a 283-unit apartment project called “The Commons” at 3593-3615 Washington St.

“The details are still being worked out, but the study would be a master plan for the area that focuses on land uses and the public realm,” said Martin in an email to the Gazette. “We’re working with neighborhood groups in the area and elected officials in this process.”

Martin reiterated that it is currently a “potential” study.

Luis Edgardo Cotto, executive director of Egleston Square Main Street (ESMS), said he was not aware of the BRA’s study idea. An ESMS board committee recently proposed requesting a similar study for a different area—from Egleston to Jackson Square—via a letter to be sent to Mayor Walsh, but the full board has not reviewed that idea, he said.

Cotto said that his position on the ESMS committee’s study idea is that “full Spanish-only charrettes [should] be included in order to involve the voice of the majority population of our own geographic boundaries.”

Dave Baron of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council’s (JPNC) Zoning Committee said in an email to the Gazette that the group has not been formally contacted. He said he would expect and assume that the BRA would work with the JPNC and the community, if the study is approved.

“A real planning initiative for that part of the Washington Street corridor is something that many folks in the Stony Brook/Forest Hills area have been calling for and organizing around for some time, so if it happens I think it will be welcome news,” said Baron.

But not everyone is enthused about the potential study. Richard Heath, a resident of Forest Hills, called the idea “terrible” in an email to the Gazette.

“The last entity I want to see involved in the Washington Street corridor is the BRA,” said Heath. “They mucked up Forest Hills badly enough. This scheme will throw together two completely different communities into a forced marriage.”

He said that the Egleston Square does not need to be planned and to do so will endanger the neighborhood “with gentrification and ruin it.”

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