Saturday, August 09, 2008

Good Riddance Wonderland Dog Track

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Suffolk Downs and Wonderland may merge, which is a great, great deal for the city of Revere.

All of a sudden, this blighted albatross around my home town's neck may disappear and finally meet the fate we all want: Redevelopment.

Personally, I would love to see dense mixed use on the 36-acre lot, similar to what's being planned on the other side of the Wonderland T station. Open a mix of stores, restaurants and a bar in a spot next to a T stop and across from Revere Beach.

There are some thing Revere should definitely require as part of the deal:

  1. Require the developer to build a commuter rail station. Revere is completely bypassed by the commuter rail, which partially splits the city from it's waterfront. A commuter rail station would fit perfectly at the Wonderland site (which is adjacent to the tracks) and  give people from boston and all along the north shore greater access to the beach and shopping areas. It'll also provide Revere residents with a fast commuting option to North Station.

  2. Connect the proposed commuter rail and Wonderland stations. Have the developer build an enclosed foot bridge and people mover, which could both connect the stations and offer the development unfettered foot access to the beach. Win-win.

  3. Require locally-owned and original dining options. One upsetting byproduct of smart growth has been the generic dining options installed as eateries. Some places have made great decisions to involve local establishments. Station Landing at Wellington Circle, for example, has a new Pizzeria Regina, and people love it. Work with the developers to keep rents down in the retail sections, and demand they give local owners preference in opening businesses. No one is gonna take the Blue Line to Revere to eat at a Friday's.

  4. Keep the buildings closer to the street. Have the buildings front North Shore Road and VFW Parkway, and put the parking in the back. That will keep the tall buildings away from the Sagamore Street residential area, provide a friendlier walking destination, and tie in better with transit traffic to the site and beach.
The state could make some smart decisions here, too:
  1. Secure rights of way to connect the Blue Line with the Commuter Rail line for future expansion into Lynn , Salem, and Peabody. Creating a connector between these lines would greatly reduce the costs of any future Blue Line expansion.

  2. Demand Level of Service upgrades for Route 1A, North Shore Road, and Butler Circle. Presently, the roadway is snarled with commuting traffic, even with a mostly dead track across the way. This could be as simple as eliminating the lights between Wonderland station and the dog track.

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