The Town of Brookline engaged the Community Growth & Land Use Planning class from the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT during the fall of 2015. The class was asked to develop a vision for the Route 9 East corridor near Brookline Village, explore several land use scenarios, and submit a plan of recommendations and implementation strategies to make the vision a reality. The Route 9 East corridor — also known as Boylston Street — has been a focus area for discussions for many years. However, the Town of Brookline does not have a comprehensive, proactive design and development vision to guide change along the corridor. The Town recognized the current opportunity to build off of momentum created by the development of the Homewood Suites hotel, One Brookline Place, and the MassDOT Gateway East roadway improvements to develop a proactive strategy to shape corridor development. A comprehensive vision for the area is needed to harness this momentum into the kind of development and public realm improvements that the town desires and needs. To achieve this vision, the Town of Brookline tasked the class with considering the following objectives for Route 9 East:
• Expand the tax base and increase commercial and retail activity
• Increase housing supply as feasible
• Improve safety and accessibility for pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular modes of transportation
• Enhance the public realm and visual environment.
The work for this plan was conducted during the fall semester at MIT from September to December 2015. There were three main stages of the project:
• Analysis of Existing Conditions (September to October): Conducted an initial client meeting, site visits, stakeholder interviews, and research on background information and the history of the study area. This stage culminated in the first presentation to the public.
• Preliminary Recommendations and Feedback (October to November): Created a development strategy, identified catalyst sites, and provided a framework for zoning changes and public realm improvements. These recommendations were included in a second presentation to the public.
• Final Recommendations and Report (December): Identified a final set of recommendations that were transcribed into a final report for use by the Town.