Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blog Post No. 2013-1: Updates on Roslindale Square

First of all, happy 2013 to the members of RTUF Nation! It has been a busy January for your faithful correspondent, so this month's post is coming later than is typical, though it may be followed quickly by an update to this update.

Now, with the formalities out of the way, here's the latest urban fabric news from God's Country (a.k.a, Roslindale Square):

"Traffic" Sculpture Installed

So, it took almost 3 years, but the public art that I referenced in a truly vintage April 2010 post about Alexander the Great Square's almost pitch-perfect traffic improvements has finally arrived. You can see photos of the installation last month here at Wicked Local, and you can view a video from the sculptor here: George Greenmayer Video. RTUF management has a policy against commenting on art and architectural style, but I will say that I am fond of it and it can certainly stay. Public art is, in and of itself, a powerful statement about a community's respect for itself.

Substation Redevelopment Proposal

Meanwhile, redevelpment of the former trolley substation that is, for all intents and purposes and despite its derelict state, the architectural heart of Roslindale Square, looks poised to take a very major step foward toward reality, though much changed in focus since last it crossed the old radar screen. Instead of the stand-alone substation, done on a shoe-string as a kind of event-space-in-the-raw, we are now looking at a much more substantial project and project site that now includes redevelopment of the adjacent F.J. Higgins Funeral Home on Washington Street, with the attendant parking lot that wraps around the substation onto Cummins Highway. To say that the mixed-use project now proposed is right up your correspondent's alley would be an understatement. How the urban design responds to this site, which is critically important for the square, will be a very big deal. That design will presumably be available at the upcoming community meeting, and I'll do a follow up then.