Saturday, January 9, 2010

Salem Jail Progress—and Parking?

Salem Jail, new windows, January 2010

The Salem Jail project is progressing with coverage in the Salem Gazette, “Old Salem Jail Moves Towards Reopening”, and the Salem News, which is reporting on the developers’ recent proposal to reconfigure the greenspace at the Veterans’ Riverway for parking

This is the area:

Greenspace for parking? At a recent community meeting (that I wasn’t at), the developers want to reconfigure at least part of this space for parking.  Otherwise, they say, the restaurant long proposed and long desired, won’t happen.

Quote from the News:

"The way we'd envision it is to retain a large percentage of the green space and have it landscaped in such a way that it's attractive," said David Goldman, a principal at New Boston Ventures.

Goldman said the parking lot would be an important selling point to lure in a restaurant for the first floor, a requirement the city imposed to keep the historic building publicly accessible.

New Boston Ventures has wanted this from the start.  They had wanted to configure this space in July 2008, when the bypass road was nearing completion and had gone to high-level officials in MassHighway (now MassDOT.)

The neighbors will be involved;  my colleague Charlie Reardon was at that meeting and suggested parking for the senior housing (45 St. Peter/109 Bridge) across from the Jail.

People in my building have long wanted more parking, and one neighbor of mine even proposed the greenspace as parking lot well before Charlie did.

This is nuts. 

That greenspace changes everything about the new road, moderating its influence and making a natural anchor and focal point for the immediate St. Peter St. neighborhood.  It won’t be long before New Boston looks at the plans again and decides they want the whole area for parking.  Who could be against parking?

But despite what the Salem News thinks in its editorial, this will happen anyway.  No one wants to lose the restaurant, or incur anger from senior citizens.  (And if they did lose the restaurant we can count on the Salem News to blame the city anyway.)

1 comment:

Rick said...

I was none too happy about the plans myself. My can't restaurant-goers park up the street at the Museum Place? It's not that far.