Dot Ave is proper place for larger developments

To the Editor: 

As is often the case, hindsight is better than foresight. I wish the neighbors proximal to Shawmut Station could have met to develop a shared vision of development. I would predict we would agree on the values of increasing affordable housing and reducing global warming - summarized succinctly by my neighbor as “people, good; cars, bad.”

Myself, I would have loved to see a solar village of 8 or so 1 to 3 family homes – affordable obviously – sharing solar resources, giving pride of ownership, and providing a premier vision of Mayor Wu’s Green New Deal. The juices start to flow; could it be linked to other green living resources? (Little known fact – the Shawmut Gardens are a medicinal garden – after winter come to the Saturday morning clean-ups to learn more). But then again, as a gerontologist, my mind also goes to cutting edge senior housing and services to “age-in-place” on the red line. I could keep going and I would love to have heard my neighbors’ visions. “You live in Dorchester, you throw a stone, you hit a community activist.” It seems everyone here is involved in a non-profit and has great ideas for enhancing the community.

Alas, now we are stuck responding to a 400-page proposal and taking sides, with those who worry about impact being called NIMBY-ish names. Count me as one of the people worried about traffic and parking – but please don’t read that as being pro traffic, parking, or cars and against people “in my backyard.” I would love to T to work, walk to the grocery, and not have lost countless hours in parental chauffeuring (although it is the best time to learn about teen life). Taking the T to work would double my commute time with transfers. Getting the weekly groceries would require a very large push-cart and good all-weather clothes to haul the groceries a mile from Lamberts and beyond. I’m sure someone could point to other solutions for the parental chauffeuring and other trips. But now my mom hackles are getting raised. It’s okay to ask for more from working parents as long as you don’t value a person’s (usually a woman’s) time.

I admit it: I own a (hybrid!) car and I drive. And alas, I get stuck on Centre and Allston – the intersection of the proposed project. It is two-way traffic with one lane of travel, a Dorchester oddity which still frustrates my Midwest sensibilities, while I like the “let me wave you on” friendliness it can imbue. That is my lived experience; please keep your NIMBY in your pocket.

The proposed building - 74 units, 100-200 people, no in-house amenities, narrow not-Dot Ave streets - seems unlikely it will have the “zero” impact on traffic which Trinity insists upon given the cars we still sometimes need and the ever-increasing deliveries we now receive.  Moreover, it feels like a missed opportunity for creating a radically innovative and community unifying asset that achieves the goals of affordable housing and transportation equity, while leading on the “Green new-deal” right here in good old Dorchester. Trinity’s project at Ashmont was innovative at the time, but I don’t agree we should duplicate it here. Can we innovate 2.0 for Shawmut? 

- Jenny Moye
Mather Street, Dorchester

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