The Somerville Patch summarized the proposals for the new hotel in Davis Square. If you care about the future of Davis Square, you should be paying attention to this news.
There are big changes afoot in Somerville. I see those changes as attitudinal. The battle between drivers and T-users has, I hope, settled into a state of mutual respect. Because of scarcity of open land in Somerville, parking lots are the development battlefield.
Since 1983, I’ve lived – on and off — near Davis Square, Somerville. When I got there, the Red line was finally coming. The train that went over Holland Street – along what is now the bike path – was already gone. The big Chinese restaurant that served huge, sweet drinks was still there (where the Citizen’s Bank is now.) There was a department store. There was a McDonald’s. There was no Farmer’s market.
Ten or more years ago, the Assembly Square development battle had to do with transit-centered development versus car-dependent commerce and the need to have adequate parking. Early plans for growth in Somerville assumed that cars would fade away as transit improved. At a house party on Assembly Square all those years ago, I remember being told that it was unreasonable for me to think I can drive from Davis Square to Assembly Square and park there; instead, I should be taking two buses. You can guess what I thought, and said about that.
Since then, we are still waiting for the Green Line and we are still waiting for the Orange Line stop at Assembly Square, and the bike path into Boston is still a tangled rail line.
The culture is changing around us. Many of my clients are choosing car-free lifestyles that rely on public transit (and ZipCars.) However, the expectation that there be parking for those with cars is here to stay. I am pleased that the plans to build a hotel in Davis Square considers creating parking to replace the lost lot. I am less pleased that only one of the plans takes a serious look at finding a venue for the Farmer’s Market.
Are you watching? Do you have an opinion? Does your Alderman know your opinion?