THOUGHTS ON ONE CHARLESTOWN PROJECT
“No community wants density: It means more pedestrians, more crowded buses. But as for my story: I was commuting 60 miles every day to work in Charlestown because I couldn’t afford to live here. I’ve finally become able to afford a low-rent apartment in Charlestown, and I walk to work, though I suspect I won’t be here for long, as at some point the city will condemn it and/or rents will go up.
The reason we have so much car traffic into Boston is because people can’t afford to live here: There simply isn’t enough supply. There are no easy answers to the housing crisis, but keep in mind that every unit that doesn’t get built means one more person driving into the city. One Charlestown’s high-density proposal isn’t ideal for everyone, but nothing is. It’s the best place in Charlestown to put a high-density apartment complex: It overlooks an industrial wasteland across the river and doesn’t intrude into the historical areas, and the current architecture on the site is anything but historic.
Boston is becoming, and Charlestown already is, a city divided between the wealthy and those in public housing, and nothing in between. If we are to make any progress on this front, we need to build taller, and build fast, and there will be many problems along the way, but consider me one voice in Charlestown who thinks the Boston Globe’s editorial on Charlestown NIMBYism was spot on. The community always gets input into new development, but the people who can’t afford to live in the community don’t, so somebody should speak up for them.