JPA Discusses Several Community Matters

The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) met virtually on June 6, where members discussed a multitude of topics ranging from the MBTA to the Forbes building to roadway issues.

Better Bus Project

JPA member Franklyn Salimbene spoke about proposed changes to the 39 bus as part of the MBTA’s Better Bus Project.

Right now, the 39 bus begins at Forest Hills, travels down Centre St., S. Huntington Ave., and Huntington Ave., and terminates at Copley station.

“The T is proposing that when the 39 gets to Francis St. at Brigham Circle,” it will take a left onto Brookline Ave., then take a right towards the Landmark Center, then cross the BU bridge over to Central Square in Cambridge, down Prospect St. to Union Square, terminating at Porter square, he said.

“I can understand what the T is proposing,” Salimbene said. “There’s no sense running parallel service” when the E line serves Huntington Ave. as well.

“The problem with it of course,” he said, is that there is “no longer a direct one-seat ride to downtown,” and people would have to walk over to the Orange Line if they do not live near the Heath St. stop.

He also said that this newly proposed route “runs through 20 or 25 signalized intersections plus the traffic on Brookline Ave.,” and the MBTA is proposing a 15-Minute headway for this route.

The MBTA plans on beginning to implement some of these route changes in 2023, adding more and more in subsequent years. The agency is also accepting testimony on the bus proposal via [email protected]

Additionally, the 41 bus is proposed to be eliminated, but the 38 bus would run the 41 route over to Nubian Square, Salimbene said.

“I think we should not be blindsided by the T’s claims to assert and to have us believe that they’ll have 15 minute headways on this torturous route from Jamaica Plain to Porter Square,” said JPA member Kevin Moloney. “They can’t do it on the 39 bus on its own current route.”

The JPA discussed this issue further, coming to the conclusion that several people would like to see ridership data as well as how often the bus routes are able to stick to their schedules.

Salimbene said that he has sent a list of questions to the MBTA, and hopes to have a response to share by the next JPA meeting.

Salimbene also talked about the fact that he and others have testified in favor of extending the E line up to the Hyde/Canary Square area, adding that the proposed lack of service on the 39 bus “speaks favorably to extending the Green Line to the top of S. Huntington Ave.”

Discussion of Inviting DCR to Meetings

The JPA has discussed having a DCR representative attend JPA meetings to discuss issues like the Jamaicaway.

Salimbene also suggested having a member of the state police attend as well to report on accidents on the Jamaicaway. He said that even if these representatives came quarterly, that would be helpful.

He said he will be in touch with either Rep. Nika Elugardo or Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s office “to try to get that to happen.”

JPA Chair Kay Mathew said she has “made some attempts at outreach. Not only did I not get a positive response, I didn’t get any response. I’ll still be trying to reach out to someone.”

As far as the letter for markings for parking on Centre St. goes, which was discussed at the May meeting, JPA member Kevin Moloney said that he has drafted the letter and once Mathew looks at it, it’s ready to be sent.

He also discussed restarting the JPA Centre St. Business Committee, which, in the past, had dealt with things like alcoholic beverage and common victualler licenses.

“I think it’s important that we reconstitute that committee,” Moloney said. He volunteered to be on it, as did Salimbene, Kelly Ransom, and Michael Reiskind. A chair will be designated at a later date.

Forbes Building

Quentin Davis gave an update on what’s going on with the Forbes Building, saying that owner Paul Clayton is “talking about putting together a preservation plan,” per an article in the Boston Bulletin.

“He sent notices to more than half the people in the building with a rent increase effective July 1,” Davis said, with the average increase nearing $50 per month.

She said that the Tenant Association is asking Clayton to postpone the increase in rent while the preservation plan is being worked out. The rent increases will affect the 13A tenants and “some of the tenants at will.  An all-tenant informational meeting was held outside in the yard at the Forbes building on Thursday.

Davis suggested that the JPA send a letter “backing up the letter that we’re sending” saying to postpone the rent increase. She said that the Tenant Association wants to be “part of the negotiation.”

The JPA decided that they would like to see the Tenant Association’s letter before sending one of their own, and Davis said that she could send it to Mathew once it is ready.

JP Neighborhood Council and JP Business and Professional Association

JPA member Michael Reiskind, who is also a member of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC) and the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association (BAPA), said that the JPNC did not have anything “specific to the Pond area,” but it did elect a new member and also discussed the Forbes building and the BPS receivership issue.

JP BAPA discussed a new restaurant that’s coming to the former Carrot Flower location. It will be called Flavor Boom, and offer “quickly prepared Asian and Mediterranean food,” Reiskind said.

There was also a proposal to “fill the empty 7-Eleven space at the end of Burroughs St. on Centre St.,” Reiskind said. The proposal is for a recreational cannabis dispensary called Prolific Cannabis. He said it would take a year or a little over a year for the applicants to receive all of their licenses.

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