The MBTA is trying to sell off our open space

Having been present at Mayor Thomas Menino’s 2008 State of the City speech, I was inspired by his desire to change Boston from Beantown to Greentown. Gov. Deval Patrick has also insisted that Massachusetts become a green leader in our country.

However, here in the Forest Hills area of Jamaica Plain, some of the rare green spaces are being offered for sale and development by the MBTA.

Although other uses have been identified for those parcels, the lots are still currently zoned as open space. According to the City of Boston’s own zoning code, open space is to be permanently protected. Article 33: Open Space states that the purpose of designating open space is: “to prevent the loss of open space to commercial development; to restore Boston’s conservation heritage of Olmsted parks.”

Livability indexes state that the quality of life in an area can be determined by the square feet of green space per 1,000 persons. The T would like to increase density, while decreasing our open space.

The T wants to sell the parcels at the junctions of Ukraine Way and Hyde Park Avenue and the junction of Ukraine Way and Washington Street on the west side of Ukraine heading towards Hyde Park or Roslindale. With the additional sales of the two parking lots at Forest Hills, they want to build 700 housing units!

Once a green space is gone, it’s gone for good! When was the last time you heard of a building being razed to make land for a park?

People who travel through Forest Hills already know the congestion we experience here. Those rare green open space parcels offer a bit of respite from that daily congestion.

I am hoping that the mayor and the governor both step up to the plate and follow their convictions to keep Boston green by stopping the sale and rezoning of our public resources. I hope they prove to us that actions speak louder than their easily uttered words.

And I hope that Jamaica Plain’s citizens all rise up against this potential loss and let the T and the Mayor’s Office know how they feel.

Ken Pope
Jamaica Plain

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