Sunday, March 29, 2009

Community Markets

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Two parks in New Bedford's South End Neighborhood are particularly central to their immediate surroundings. Ashley Park (furthest north) faces the Goulette Square commercial district, and Hazelwood Park is midway down Brock Avenue where the Senior Center is located and adjoins the beaches facing Clarks Cove. The creation of a Community Market at either or both of these sites would be an important new community resource. The market brings a new and sustainable routine of picking up fresh food in a social setting. Since so many gardens are already cultivated in the neighborhood, the market would be a place to sell surplus and increase involvement in growing produce, sharing plants, and walking to shopping. Since Spring is in the air, planning needs to begin soon. More postings will follow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Transportation Connection

As a student from the Boston Architectural College , I've spent the past several weeks learning about Smart Growth and how the Brock Ave. project fits under the rubric of Smart Growth urban planning and development. Designing communities that provide a variety of sustainable transportation choices for the people who work and live there is a core principle of Smart Growth. 

The three restored commercial units create opportunities for goods and services to be provided locally, creating a "walkable" neighborhood. The project at 464-468 Brock Ave., although nestled in a predominantly residential area, lies within walking distance of other several other small businesses, shops, a public park, and a senior citizen's community center. The development of walkable neighborhoods provides multiple quality-of-life benefits, including lower transportation costs, greater social interaction, improved personal and environmental health, and a greater range of choices for consumers.

The Brock Ave. site is also favorable in terms of the availablity of mass transit. High quality mass transit services will reduce auto-dependency, alleviating the ever-growing problem of traffic congestion, and will overall improve commuter quality of life. Brock Ave. lies on the SRTA Bus Route 1, a direct route to New Bedford's downtown core. The downtown bus terminal provides the connection to SRTA Bus Route 9 to UMass Dartmouth and Fall River. Also departing from the downtown bus terminal, DATTCO provides daily commuter bus services to Boston, and Peter Pan Bus Lines provides daily commuter services to Providence.

Looking to the future, the Brock Ave. site also lies on the proposed routes for the South Coast Commuter Rail System, currently in the planning phase. The incoming commuter rail system will ultimately connect our small South End project to multiliple urban centers, and holds tremendous promise for the entire community of New Bedford.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

We Get Around

This photo is a stretch of Rte 122A in Grafton, Massachusetts that links two ends of a mill village. We just submitted a proposal to work on streetscape, engineering, and planning to bring this village together. This is one of those landscapes where I look out and see opportunity at the community-scale. It is pocket to be developed. See earlier post
We partnered with Thompson-Farland,, a New Bedford engineering firm, and Community Design Partnership (see ) in Boston. 
This a great Smart Growth Project, and it would be fantastic if we all got to work together on this sustainable site.