Fish begin journey to ocean in Wellesley
Fuller Brook Park in Wellesley saw another type of running on Marathon Monday. The public park, which is near Olin College, had a fish ladder installed in its titular brook to help fish migrate from freshwater to the ocean. The most common fish is the alewife, a type of herring. They spawn in the freshwater but live in the ocean and are also the namesake of many places in Massachusetts, most notably the terminal station of the Red Line. The park itself is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead’s nephew, John Charles Olmstead.
Airbnb targets Boston Councilwoman over short-term rental regulations
Last Tuesday, April 17, Airbnb sent out an email to thousands of Boston customers targeting councilwoman Michelle Wu. Wu, the President of the City Council, has spoken out in favor of short-term rental regulations as the Council debates on the topic. The Boston City Council has been debating short-term rental regulations, and Airbnb did not weigh in on the debate until it sent this email. The email has drawn a lot of criticism, and Wu’s supporters were quick to criticize the company. One of the main points of the email was that Wu was in support of a 30-day limit on short-term rentals when the owner is not home. Wu and District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards proposed to amend Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s ordinance regulating short-term rentals, thereby restricting short-term rental market practices. While there was talk of a 90-day cap, Wu never mentioned the number 30 and told The Boston Globe that the Council was staying away from caps. Airbnb changed its tune within 24 hours, indicating its desire to work alongside the Council on regulations, but members on the Council, including Wu, are wary. Adding to this tension is Boston’s extremely tight housing market. Citizens worry that without regulations, housing that is desperately needed could effectively be turned into hotel rooms instead.
Wellesley Commuter Rail stations hope to become more accessible
All three Wellesley stops on the Commuter Rail—Wellesley Farms, Wellesley Hills and Wellesley Square—have warnings on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) website that say the stations have “significant accessibility barriers.” The MBTA has begun to create its Plan for Accessible Transit Infrastructure (PATI) to remedy this issue, but it is still in the early stages. The PATI external advisory board has stressed improvements for bus stops and the subway since these branches have heavier ridership than the Commuter Rail. However, the Wellesley Square station could see improvements quickly if proposals for developing the two adjacent parking lots go through.
Wellesley development firm has big ideas for Newton
There is a stretch of Newton that runs parallel to the Massachusetts Turnpike and looks like it has been architecturally frozen in time. Washington Street is made up of mostly one- or two-story commercial buildings that have not been changed since they were built decades ago. Robert Korff, who has lived in Newton since 1995 and owns the development firm Mark Development, has big plans for the area. This month, he began demolishing certain buildings and wants to build it up to be more pedestrian friendly and enjoyable. The most solidified component of the project right now is a five-story, 140-unit apartment complex called Washington Place. While the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber president Greg Reibman agrees that the area needs to be “reenergized,” Korff’s plans have received criticism; some residents believe the Washington Place project is too large for a small town like Newton and worry about the traffic it could cause. Newton City Councilor Emily Norton and resident Fred Goldstein are also apprehensive. Norton fears too much power is being given to Korff, and Goldstein feels that these projects will make it even harder to find affordable housing in the already expensive city.