If the Seaport were part of SimCity, all the advisors would be yelling about the lack of everything

Mayor Walsh, add a fire station to the waterfront

City Councilors Michael Flaherty and Ed Flynn say that with the South Boston waterfront nearing a buildout - what with 20,000 residents forecast for 2030 - it's past time to begin thinking of public amenities, from a police station to a library and schools.

At the city council's Wednesday meeting, Flaherty (at large) and Flynn (South Boston) will ask for permission to begin studying just how the city can give residents and workers in what is now the city's most sterile neighborhood the same sorts of services residents of more established areas get. In their formal request to convene a hearing, they write

The neighborhood is continuing to attract new developments and residents, yet despite the incoming industries, businesses, and restaurants. there is no school. library, community center, fire station. police station. or other similar public facilities in the neighborhood. ...

Public facilities such as libraries, community centers. and schools are important facilities that anchor a neighborhood. while fire and police stations are critical in ensuring the safety of the neighborhood.

The council's regular Wednesday meeting begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.



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PDF icon Waterfront hearing request317.91 KB



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Love the modified SimCity Adviser warning.

But all the cool kids are playing Cities Skylines these days :p


Yeah, yeah

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But there's just something to be said for the classics.

And, hey, that wasn't a modified warning! I downloaded a copy of the game onto my newish laptop (one good thing about buying software through Amazon, I guess), then created a city called "Boston" with a mayor named "Walsh." And then I just built some huge, horrible city until the advisors started popping up to yell about things.



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Well you get a A++ for effort for that.

Slow news day... :p

Make sure you check off "free public transportation" (or make the fares 0), in honor of Councilor Wu



Set taxes and fares to zero and the poll will show that citizens are griping about taxes and fares.

Engines 2, 10, and 39 all

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Engines 2, 10, and 39 all have prety good response times to the South Boston waterfront area. In comparison, all of East Boston only has three engine companies (5, 9, and 56) while all of Charlestown only has two (32 and 50, with 8 from the North End being the nornal third company in). Lack of schools and libraries might be more of an issue than fire response time and coverage. Remember that this area used to be filled with old warehouses that would burn down occasionally, residential use is new, but the need for fire protection there is not new.



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Doesn't Mr. Sim know that downtown gets no amenities! Nobody votes. It's just an ATM for the rest of the city - build a condo or two to generate a few million in taxes - then spend it elsewhere in the city where people actually vote. Mr. Sim must be new around here.


How many kids are in the Seaport?

40? The Seaport is full of DINKs who probably actually want to be recused from paying for public goods like schools and libraries to lower their own taxes. Please tell me more about how neighborhoods full of kids from lower income brackets (including Roslindale!) don't deserve a new school ahead of the Seaport. Absurd false equivalency.

The unofficial spokesperson on Twitter is always crying about how unfair it is that office buildings are being built next to South Station instead of low rise apartments and amenities for residents.



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So let's see- kids in Roslindale have an old school. Kids in the seaport have NO school - so the kids in Roslindale who have the old school should get a new school before the Seaport kids get ANY school ?(which of course could also be used by kids in Southie - do any kids live in Southie?)

Granted - this puts the Seaport on par with Back Bay which also has no school but has "walk zone" elementary schools in the North End, Chinatown and the the South End, none of which are even within a mile of many homes - which in turn puts the Back Bay on par with Logan airport, the Franklin Park Zoo and the cemeteries in the far reaches of West Roxbury in terms of elementary school accessibility.

Airport passengers, caged animals, and dead people. That's not a false equivalency. It's the actual equivalency for kids living downtown.



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what Seaport kids?

How about some facts?


When this document was published, there were 128 residents under 18 in the Seaport. That of course includes pre-school kids so let's just round down to at most 100 residents under 18. Let's further assume that the standard 30% percentage would opt out of BOS, so 70 kids. Roslindale by comparison has 5,873, less the 30% opt out, 4111 kids.

I don't think it's a good idea to build a brand new school for 70 kids and then assume that you can fill it out by busing kids from different parts of town. You like to carp about school costs and inefficiency - suddenly we should just plan for busing? These 70 kids can already go to larger, established schools which are closer to population centers they serve in Southie, South End, etc... The reason why there aren't lots of schools in the neighborhoods you cite is because rich people don't deign to send their kids to BPS and there are very few kids there to begin with.


Selective Statistics

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The seaport is a TINY area and a school in or near the seaport could serve a much larger area (and replace an older nearby school also). The point is that you have the Eliot, the Quincy. Hurley and Blackstone as the "local" schools for downtown. I'm sure a few more for Southie but would have to look them up. Between Southie and downtown - you have 12,000 kids with basically NO elementary schools from the West End to Brighton and only the small number of schools mentioned above just south of the riverside neighborhoods.

The argument that rich people don't send kids to BPS is a separate qualitative issue. But the argument "there are few kids there' is bogus - because there are thousands of kids - and there would be more but when your kid turns 5 or 6 you a) have no nearby schools and b) of the nearby schools, there are only one or 2 that most people would consider sending their kids to.

The rest of the city loves the enormous subsidy they get from downtown tax and other revenues - but then they tell us we don't need or deserve services even when we ask for crumbs compared to what other neighborhoods get.

Subsidy? What a facile argument

If you want to live somewhere where you don't have to part of a large diverse community including poor people, move over to Cambridge. You chose to live in the city in one of the most desirable neighborhoods and complain about the fact that you pay more taxes on your real estate? The streets are cleaner, the crime rate is lower, you have much better access to public transportation but you're the real victim here? For a self-described moderate, you sure sound like an Ayn Rand acolyte.

As for your point b) you assume folks in Mattapan or Roxbury wouldn't prefer better school choices?

More data to refute your selective grouping of statistics:

North End - 392 kids
Beacon Hill - 892 kids
Back Bay - 1058 kids

In the mature rich neighborhoods, the % of population that is kids is 5-10%. There's no reason to assume the new rich neighborhood is going to be any different. You can call that bogus but it's what the facts indicate.

Southie - 5000 kids
South End - 4100 kids

These neighborhoods which you seemingly lumped in with the other rich ones do have a lot more kids to come up with 12k kids and, huh, a lot more schools. Funny thing that.

Yes funny thing that rights are class neutral

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Again, you can slice and dice demographics, neighborhoods and more any way you like. Yes, we live in a diverse community, and Boston fails miserably on providing quality education to large swaths of the population. Even ignoring the qualitative issues of the education, the infrastructure itself clearly discriminates against wealthy neighborhoods.

Doesn't matter - rich or poor - everyone should have equal access to schools.

And yes - effectively it is a subsidy - downtown has long been looked on as an ATM to fund the city's budget (although I will say Walsh is better than Menino on this front - but it's relative off an obscenely low base).

Tell you what - how would the rest of the city feel/cope if the downtown neighborhoods simply "divested" of places like Hyde Park, Roslindale, West Roxbury, Eastie, Charlestown and perhaps a few more areas.

Then we could set up schools, community centers, parks services and more that serve our communities rather than sending money out to Boston's bedroom communities that are only part of Boston due to vestiges of 19th century history?

From the perspective of downtown residents, why can't/should West Roxbury just be its own town or part of Dedham for that matter?

Got it

Slice and dice? You lumped 12000 kids out of the 70k in the city into one fake block. Pointing out that it was incoherent isn't slicing and dicing data - it's try to explain to you why you're wrong.

The end goal of your line of thinking is that the Millennium Tower residents should secede from the city and live in an ivory tower. If you want that, move to Cambridge. This goofy notion that somehow because you live in walking distance to the Prudential tower or financial district means your neighborhood is 'subsidizing' mine is just an absurd interpretation of what a city is. Let me guess, your 'fair' version of Boston would stop right at Mass Ave.

What a fraud to cry about the BPS budget but then demand that we build a school at a cost of $50M+ which will have less than 50% walk zone students requiring the rest will be bused in from other parts of town at additional cost. But since BPS enrollment is flat, I guess we'd have to close a school in a neighborhood with more local kids in order to make sure that your 70 Seaport kids can walk to school in a brand new building.

All across the country, wealthier white residents have been trying to rip up city and town borders to remove themselves from any involvement with educating poorer, browner families. We should be better than that in Boston.


Three things

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1) Not sure about building a new school - that would take way more analysis than we can perform with the information we have access to. What I am saying is that it's a very fair question to ask and the school infrastructure for the riverside communities is literally criminal.

2) Nothing to do with "removing" ourselves from educating poorer, browner families. Note I asked about West Roxbury as one example. Mass Ave is one possible boundary - but I'd also say that Fenway and Roxbury might be included for a variety of reasons (dense urban neighborhoods?). Likewise - very possible that Charlestown and Southie should be excluded as well depending on how you settled the borders and what your criteria are - those are pretty white communities - and increasingly wealthy.

UPDATE 3) one other factual mistake above - enrollment is not flat - BPS enrollment has dropped by 500 students annually for years - and last year it was 1200 (at least in the core, non-in-district charters - i didn't check those). There are thousands of empty seats and most schools are OLD, OLD, OLD. We could easily close way more than one elementary school, build a new one that serves, not an underserved neighborhood - a literally unserved neighborhood, and still have room to close more.

You immediately play the race and the class card - but as I stated - rich white people are entitled to exactly the same rights as "poor brown people" to use your frame of reference. And Boston is ripe for a lawsuit from somebody with standing (i.e. - a downtown resident of any color with children) to force change - if the electorate doesn't get there first.

Why is it not embarrassing

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Why is it not embarrassing that 30% of Boston children don't go to BPS? Why does it not reflect badly on anyone that BPS loses students every year? Why is there never any discussion about maybe making the BPS good enough that parents would like to send their kids to ANY of the schools in the district?
Who is actually held responsible? Seems like its just "So sad, too bad" from everyone.

Is it that Boston doesn't actually want to educate all its children? Maybe Boston only wants to educate the kids it has to, so why make the schools attractive? Could it be that Boston doesn't see it's kids as the future, only as fiscal liabilities? Boston can build shiny new neighborhoods and import its future taxpayers from elsewhere.

Again, please move out to a white, exclusive suburb

So noble of you Mr Galt, to buy an expensive condo and pay taxes on it.

When you lump together the commercial center of New England with super exclusive residential neighborhoods which are not diverse and then proclaim that these things together are generating all the wealth in the city and are being exploited, then you've already played the race card or at least wrapped yourself in the flag of aggrieved white privilege. When you claim that the parts of the city that generate the most wealth should lop off the rest, then you are simply proposing to keep more of that wealth for yourself at the exclusion of others. There's no other way to frame it.

Compromise solution, let's put down one of those portable trailers for the estimated 35 K-5 kids in the Seaport and the 35 8-12 kids can take the T to high school like the rest of Boston. Or more likely an Uber.

Perhaps we can do what is down in subdivisions down south (where most people like you move to avoid seeing poor neighbors) and require developers who put up more than 200 houses to build a school or something like that.

How utterly Galt

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To demand I get reasonable value for my money.

Play back the video, you played the race and class card. Half the people that live in my building are solidly middle class (maybe even me for all you know).

Exploited, no, there are other pockets of exploitation in this city. My pockets are just being picked.

God damn they screwed up the Seaport

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I had such high hopes:

New Sox ballpark on Fan Pier. (Don't get me wrong, I love Fenway, but still, and the courthouse is an abomination on prime real estate.)

Boulevards down to the water a la Commonwealth Mall. Waterfront parks like Christopher Columbus in the N.E.

Human scale frontages emulating Newbury Street or the North/ South End.

Smaller parks interspersed, like the S.E. or Savannah GA.

Of course bigger buildings but set back or more artfully integrated, like the Pru and the Hancock.

Would it have been that hard to put a frigging street car in? From South Station to the airport. Modern version of the Green Line.

I've been going to the Pavilion to see shows for 20 frigging years. They even fucked that up.

Some people should be pilloried on the Common for that master design!

OK, rant over.


No Excuses, Either

There were several similar situations that were built out before the seaport was, including Portland Oregon's Pearl District.

They started with some large anchor buildings with grocery stores and other amenities, THEN brought in the streetcars and bike lanes and the apartments and mixed use and reuse buildings.


Pearl District

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Doesn't the Pearl District have its own set of issues such as crime, trash, and homelessness though? Not sure if that's a great example/model to point to? At least Seaport is clean and low crime.

100% Menino's fault

Given the opportunity to create something great, he put in the Convention Center to cement his 'legacy' Marty sucks but he's an improvement of Menino I'd say.

Someone lives there?

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Hard to believe that people actually live down there. There is plenty of coming and going. But the sorts of things that make a neighborhood, except for a church, are just not there. That's the point eh?

Where would a library, competing churches or a firehouse or police station go anyway?

Where? Easy!

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They're still building. Put those things at street level (or with a street level entrance) in any new building. None of those things need to have a dedicated structure.

The Seaport is only about halfway complete

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It is always interesting to see others comment here and on the Globe, Reddit, etc. about the Seaport, although I wonder how many of them have actually been here. As a resident, I enjoy the excitement of a brand new neighborhood -- watching the new buildings being built, new stores opening, new residents moving in, etc.

It is true that we do not yet have a library or school, but with the exception of a police station (unless you count the State Police barracks) and fire station, just about everything else is already here or is being built.

District Hall, although not permanent, will be here for another 10 years and acts as a fine meeting spot and community center. I wish they would make it a polling place so we would not have to travel to Condon School in South Boston.

I think we do have nice parks including the Harborwalk, a movie theater, bowling alley, restaurants and clubs of all price points, CVS, barbers, beauty salons, florists, gyms, several markets, a rumored Trader Joe's, several breweries, liquor stores, concert pavilion, museums, soon-to-be-built theaters and smaller performing arts spaces, etc.

Could public transit be better? Absolutely. The Silver Line is overcrowded and slow, and should be light rail. Free the ramp!

But overall, I enjoy living here. Is it for everyone? No, but that is up to the individual.



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or we could just revoke the tax exempt status of the church of pedophilia

High hopes and broken promises

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The Waterfront Committee spend thousands of hours with city officials and worked on the seaport public realm plan for almost 3 years and the glossy document (still available?)) was created by the BRA is February of 1999. No one envisioned what you see there today..What a waste of my time.

Thanks, didn't know that.

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I had always suspected it was just neglect of forethought, a hands-off attitude. Hopefully the city has learned its lesson and won't repeat the mistake in Allston.

Police stations?

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The state police have a station and the biggest crime they have is not letting the MBTA buses use their private road. Massport police have a station, the convention center has its own police force as does the MBTA. The Boston police and State police are fighting over who will control the lucrative details in the neighborhood. The problem is too many police protecting the rich and shameless in the seaport.


Exactly. There has been a

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Exactly. There has been a multi million dollar theft in the seaport. Its called Silver Line Way and the greedy pigs at the MA State Police stole it from taxpayers. I would want less police in the seaport since they are the worst criminals you'll find.


The City makes up for it

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by the snow removal in this neighborhood. A day after the snowstorm you would not even know it snowed on the South Boston Waterfront. Compared to the rest of the City........?

Established neighborhoods like Rozzie?

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Roslindale, which has no police station and only one firehouse?

I'm not suggesting that the Seaport should go without these amenities, but let's not pretend that all of Boston's neighborhoods have adequate supports.

The original plan for the

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The original plan for the Seaport included a lot of public and green space and a slightly more sensible building plan. Instead, chunks got bartered away through greed and foolishness and Seaport is just going to end up a rich investor haven with small pockets of habitability. There won't be flood resilience, schools, libraries, or other public goods until one of those rich people grows a conscience and the ability to think more than 5 years into the future.

If the Seaport is approaching full build-out

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There is no way there will be anywhere near 20,000 residents in 2030 or even 2130. The vast majority of what has been built or is under construction is commercial/office space; there are a handful of residential buildings along the waterfront (i.e. Liberty Wharf and Pier 4). There are more if you want to throw in Fort Point but that's not the same neighborhood. 2,000 might be a better estimate.

And as others have pointed out, many of the housing units there are occupied by singles or couples with no kids. Much of the housing -- 1 bedroom apartments -- just isn't suitable for families.

The argument about the area lacking a police station is specious. The Area C-6 station is right at A St. and West Broadway; that's closer to the Seaport than it is to city Point. Engine 10/Tower 3 is right across the Greenway from Fort Point Channel and is arguably the best-suited house for dealing with the tall structures in the Seaport.

And due to terrible

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And due to terrible transportation planning, the fire house at 125 Purchase has to deal with a perpetual traffic jam 12 hours a day to get anywhere.

Those fire trucks were there

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Those fire trucks were there long before the waterfront was developed and they already have the beat they were assigned to protect to take care of. With all the highrise buildings in that area, I think they need at least another new firehouse. In West Rox, they put a natural gas pipeline through the neighborhood and actually removed some of our fire protection and the chief. Walsh needs to fix this Menino mistake.


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Who is pretending that the Seaport isn't intentionally built to be a non-neighborhood? It seems obvious that it's designed to be a sort of longer-term dorm for the single 10%, so it's designed to be uncomfortable for families and people from other neighborhoods, stocked with bars, restaurants, and nighttime lawn games.
I thought the plan was to host these temporary Bostonians, who don't need services, until they move on and spread the tax revenue around to make all of Boston better, though I haven't seen the schools get any better, only the traffic worse.

I'm going to be a bit less measured here and say that I hate how we love our housing segregation here, by age, by income, by race, by life stage. I hate how we design it on purpose and call it good financial practice, or as though a city was a business and not a community. I think it's even more cynical for Flaherty and Flynn to pretend that it's not so.

Currently, there is only one 3 bedroom apartment for sale in the Seaport and it costs 3 million dollars. There is no need for a school in the Seaport. I don't see why the city should invest any more money into a place that is so hard to reach and so exclusive.

Already a Decent Population

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Scott, there's already a nighttime population of over 10,000(last year's numbers). With workers, transients, etc., it must be almost double in the daytime. When a population grows, insurance ratings are affected. Rates rise if public safety protection isn't kept up to the pace with the growing population.