Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Dream for Market Street

Tatiana’s is perfectly positioned right off Route 1A for out-of-town travellers, and they’re a great example of the potential of Market Street. That stretch from 1A to City Hall is ripe with spaces that can be developed into small to medium-sized general admission venues. And as an added bonus, a budding music scene can boost the appeal for bigger acts needed to fill Lynn Auditorium in City Hall.

In encouraging this kind of development on Market Street, we won’t have to endure the issues Salem has been dealing with from developers placing condos and apartments in, amongst and directly above popular night-spots. When that happens, people tend to move in to be a part of the action, or maybe just for the cool-factor, only to complain later about the noise and other inconveniences caused by what tempted them to live there in the first place.

Market Street venues would be just far enough from residential buildings to not annoy the neighbors with late night reveling, but close enough for those of us who live in DTL to walk there in a couple of minutes or quickly retreat to our domiciles for quiet when we’ve had enough. To me, that truly is the best of both worlds and the right way to develop for “Mixed use.”

And for those who travel here, in addition to parking on both sides of the street, an agreement could be drawn up with the Shaw’s lot. The MBTA lot is also a great deal at a mere $4. Compare that with parking in Boston! The Commuter Rail is also an option, with the Central Square stop being right in the middle of things. Walk down the stairs and turn the corner!

As for another advantage, anyone who plays out in Boston, Cambridge or Somerville can tell you that places for original acts are drying up. Sometimes it’s more profitable to have a cover band, or even just an i-Pod plugged into a house system playing un-inspired dreck while serving $14 martinis. Mediocrity reigns in the Boston scene, save for a few gems like Church in the Fenway.

But original live music prefers a place with an edge, like the old Kenmore Square, and boy do I miss the old Kenmore. The place needed work, but the wrong work was done. It was transformed into something completely unremarkable and Kenmore lost its soul. Lynn doesn’t have to lose its soul to make a comeback. (It doesn’t have BU to contend with, for one thing).

And Market Street is also a great place for, dare I say it, more restaurants, cafes and bars. Again, they are just a smidge out of range from disturbing the neighbors, and with presumably lower rents, they can also be more affordable.

I’m excited, because we have a rare opportunity to do “Mixed-use” right in DTL, by combining residential development and night-life so they may co-exist peacefully, but again, as long as we keep the lessons of Salem and other redevelopments in mind (Link to Salem News on Downtown Salem and Marina Bay Quincy).

Artist: The Fleshtones

Song: Destination Greenpoint


  1. I am glad that the Blue Ox and Tatiana's and Brothers are on Market Street, but I would love to see downtown developed by NSCC and Gordon College - there is not enough parking, scenic open 'quaint' spaces for today's city concepts and to attract new retail/restaurants. What helped to revitalize Lowell and Salem were the growth of the colleges there (among other things) - NSCC needs to expand and offer more programs with more buildings. I would love to see neighborhood areas spring up around the city - Lewis Street/Broad Street, Boston Street (incorporate Manning Bowl), Wyoma Square, Lynnway, Common Street all have open areas that can be redeveloped with outdoor restaurants, open concepts and be turned into thriving neighborhood-diverse businesses. Market Street/Washington Street buildings are outdated for retail/restaurants - look at downtown Boston. Lowell and Salem had to close down streets to get their open concepts for restaurants/shops and allow people to walk around.

    Make more classrooms, offices, apartments in the downtown area.

  2. Anon, I agree that expansion further into DTL by NSCC and Gordon can help a great deal. It's a shame that the NSCC campus was built the way it was. It seems so isolated from the rest of the area.

    I seem to be in the minority opinion when it comes to parking, though. I guess I spent too many years circling blocks in Boston and it just seems so much easier in DTL. The MTBA lot is never full, and the municipal lots are plentiful and never full. They could be managed better, though. I park on the streets downtown and in three years, I think I only had to circle around again to find parking a few times, and that was when special events were happening in some of the storefront churches.

    There are plenty of buildings here that would have the necessary charm to bring more people and business, if only they were fixed up a bit by their owners. If Mayo did a better job with keeping up their holdings in the area, I bet they'd lease more storefronts. The city needs to pressure Mayo to do so.

    But, we have enough missing buildings and parks where great theatres once stood for "Open space." needs. We need to fill in the missing spaces of our streetscapes.

    As far as closing down streets go, it's what killed what was left of Union St. and I do not believe it's helping Downtown Crossing very much. On the other hand, it would be great to expose some of the old cobble stone on Munroe and Andrew Streets.. it has that warmth and charm people like.

    But yes..more classrooms, offices, more things..:)

  3. I think your on to something with having more entertainment. We need something to encourage us to break the monotony in city life. Maybe entertainment helps erase the realities. Market Street needs cleanup and signage control. Thinking of Salem, they have some great hot spots, and no one even blinks to think about the worst neighborhoods on 'the point' and surrounding areas.

  4. Aikaterini,

    I agree that Market Street needs cleanup. Jamie Marsh in Community Development agrees, as well. In fact, money from a grant is available to business owners on Market St that need help with signage improvements. I do not know why that program is going nowhere. Perhaps it's poor communication, or perhaps some store owners aren't on board with the idea of it.

    Are you famliar with the Main Streets in Boston? We could use one of those programs. I was living in Allston-Brighton at the time Brighton Street was spruced up between Comm. Ave and Harvard St. I also saw the benefits of the program on Centre and South Streets in Jamaica Plain.

    I agree your comment on Corey's blog about the ugliness of the parking garage and how it may keep people from realizing what's further into Downtown. The garage could be masked by building on the empty grass area right in front of it. Something with storefronts and professional offices and NSCC classrooms above could work, and it would also attract more people to the sculpture park in front of NSCC.

  5. I've an inexpensive idea too for the parking garage. It's on my list to share.
    I once worked for Finegold Alexander & Assoc., who designed the building. unfortunatly my career began there after the building completed. I am familiar with most streets in Boston, Roxbury and the gorgeous 'Emerald Necklace'. One of the best places to study architecture.

    Going back to signage control, I think it's about time the city enforced the change. The grants are good, and they might notice the grants even more, if/ when they get a warning.

    I didn't want to point fingers at all the bad businesses, but it's gotten out of control all over the city. Have you seen the corner of Essex St & Easter ave? check out the huge sign covering the facade.
    p.s. funny you mentioned. I just wrote to Jamie Marsh today

  6. Did you ever read my opinion piece on the Sign Ordinance? There's a difference between signage control and out-of-control enforcement. Even people with nice signs, like David Waller's awesome displays in the Prime building, were bullied by ISD for not conforming to gold-on-black. Tatiana's has the only decent awning on Market St, and they were bullied by ISD for a while for not being plain gold on black. Tacos Lupita had a great painted sign that was both colorful and tasteful. It fit with the building. The compliant replacement sign does not fit with the building. It's flat and ugly.

    I think ISD had to be told to back off and the Sign Ordinance Committee had to take a step back and review.

    I do agree with you that something has to be done, however, and I'm not afraid to call out an example, either. Dragon Inn has awnings that are about to rot off of the building, and it's one of the first things one notices turning onto Market from the Lynnway. The city would help them, and I find it hard to believe that Dragon Inn's owners would want to turn down better signage.

    Here's the link to the LH editorial -

  7. thanks for the link. I agree with you. When I talk Signage control, it is for out-of-control enforcement.

    Historic districts have their own zoning laws. They try to preserve the historic feel of the street, even on window sill styles and window muntin profiles. Not sure of all the conditions of the cases you mentioned, but sounds like its not a historic district issue.

    The Marlbehead zoning laws are well written concerning out-of-control signage-control. Something I hope to see here in Lynn someday

  8. what do you think of this?

  9. I like the idea of a screen - so simple but it makes such a big difference. I responded in more detail on your post.

  10. have you seen this?

  11. It's been a while since I've seen those plans. I don't remember disagreeing with them, except that I hated what Sasaki showed for examples of structures. The architecture looked institutional and sterile. I guess those are just example structures, though.

    I would like to see them again. I think I'd have a more informed opinion of them now.

  12. What Lynn needs to do is identify opportunities for enhansing genuine feelings of citywide community and neighborhood pride and cohesiveness. A strong, user-friendly, and 24/7-active downtown would go a long way.


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