SNA hears about Arborway Yard; proposal for 3514 Washington St. 

The Stonybrook Neighborhood Association (SNA) discussed two projects at its March 14 meeting, including one on the Arborway Yard proposal, as well as one at 3514 Washington St., which members voted not to oppose.


Scott Hamwey and Alexandra Markiewicz of the MBTA were on hand to present the proposal for electrifying the bus facility at the Arborway Yard.

The MBTA has begun construction on the modernization of the Quincy bus facility, so “Arborway is very much our priority now that we’ve got Quincy under construction,” he said.

Markiewicz said that once complete, the Arborway Yard will house “all battery electric buses,” and “almost entirely eliminate emissions from buses in all service in Mattapan, Hyde Park, Roslindale, West Roxbury, and Jamaica Plain.”

The fleet will be expanded from 118 to 200 buses, and capacity will be increased for 60-foot buses as well. She said that Route 32 will be “upgraded to larger buses.” 

She then spoke a little bit about existing conditions at the Arborway Yard. Right now, the facility features bus maintenance and outdoor storage on Washington St., as well as the MBTA archive and materials lab in the building at 500 Arborway. The Pole Yard is used for snow and ice operations as well.

The concept for the new building includes space for 200 electric buses indoors, as well as underground employee parking and eight acres “for future community use.”

The design will also be “sustainable and resilient,” the MBTA said. “We are anticipating that buses would charge in their storage spots,” Markiewicz said.

There was a suggestion to daylight the culvert as a “landscape feature,” and Markiewicz said that the MBTA would “have to look at how deep the culvert is, but they are open to looking into other landscape options as well for the area.

Other concerns were raised about traffic and the need for more housing and retail in that area.

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Omer Hecht came back before the SNA with his proposal to add two residential units on top of the commercial space at 3514 Washington St., which is now home to his photography business, catLABS. 

He said that the building will feature bay windows on Washington St. as well as balconies in the rear and back to back roof decks. 

The entrance to the units will be on Washington St., while there is also a vestibule on the street level for catLABS.

SNA member Fred Vetterlein said that “the facade of that building right now is fairly generic.” He continued, “I just think you could do something a little more interesting.”

Hecht said that he has a glass door instead of a steel door on the street as well as a large window for the store. He said that he “can guarantee” that vinyl siding will not be used on the addition. 

“I think it’s great that we have a small business coming in,” said SNA member Jennifer Uhrhane, but “sounds like this is a placeholder for what you want to do in the future.” She said that “nothing changed in the last month,” though the SNA did provide feedback at the last meeting regarding the design.

“I would hope that you’d be able to come back to us as you move forward with things and keep us updated as you get an idea of final drawings and whatnot of the exterior,” said SNA Steering Committee member Jonathan McCurdy. 

“I’m going to ask the SNA to take a vote today regardless,” Hecht said, adding that the renderings presented are “quite close to what we’re hoping to achieve.”

SNA Steering Committee member Paige Sparks said “I think that the building isn’t the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen in my life, however, I think there’s a good amount of thought that’s been put into it.” She said with the need for housing in the neighborhood and the energy efficiency of the proposal, she is in support. 

“I was a little disappointed,” Uhrhane said. She said she wanted to see some changes made between last time and this time, but none were made. “He took our time last time to present and did absolutely nothing with our feedback,” she said. She added that she does like the fact that his local photography business has moved in and that there will be new housing as well. 

“I’m a little torn on this one,” said SNA member Bill Reyelt. “It seems like there would have been at least some changes from what was presented at the last meeting,” but he also agreed with Sparks’ point of view as well.

SNA member Fred Vetterlein also said that he believes there are “a number of good things” about this proposal and he would be supporting it.

McCurdy said that he would like to see rear drainage added and for the SNA to see final designs once they are available, as well as for the proposal to include dark sky lighting.

The SNA voted 15-1-0 to not oppose the proposal.


Jennifer Uhrhane provided an update on the mural to be painted on the Extra Space Storage building, saying that the painting is expected to begin by the end of the month. 

“That’s huge news.” she said. Weather permitting, the painting will take two to three weeks and a celebration event will occur sometime in May. The SNA is planning that event now as well as working on additional signage for the building.

Fred Vetterlein talked about the Southwest Corridor expansion project, which will connect the new garden to the Southwest Corridor and create a dog park in the area. “We have a list of designers,” he said, and he has emailed “the actual department that distributes land to MassDOT,” which he said needs to be involved to move the project forward.

At 35 Brookley/10 Stonley, which is now being developed by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, Uhrhane said that the project has received some of its funding and the team has reached out to the SNA subcommittee on this project “to let them know that things are moving along.”

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