Allston Village Main Streets is a vibrant commercial district of Boston that serves a diverse population of college students, long-time residents, and immigrants. While the district has a strong mix of service and retail establishments and a growing cluster of dining destinations, its image is often described as “grungy and perceptions of safety issues and dirty streets prevail.
•How to enhance existing assets to convey that Allston Village Main Streets is “more than meets the eye”
•How can we bring public officials to the table to solve problems around garbage pickup, street and public realm maintenance
•How can more parking be provided in the district?
•Can open space be found in this dense district to allow the street to “breathe?”
•How can the district retain its appealing freshness and edge but lose its “grungy” image?
•What recruiting can be done, and in which sectors, to fully utilize ground floor spaces in many of the buildings?
Challenges were met by conducting demographic and sales gap analyses to understand the relationship between existing businesses and the needs of the community. Opportunities were identified for the capture of additional business in clothing, food markets and home furnishing sales. The team also spent time developing recruitment brochures that capture the strengths of Allston Village Main Streets’ businesses and market area. The resulting plan, “More than Meets the Eye: Allston Village Strategic Development Plan” outlines streetscape improvements, business recruitment strategies, and a shared parking strategy to take advantage of the strengths of the district.
•Created new slogan for the district: “More than Meets the Eye” that encourages residents, potential businesses, and shoppers to see beyond the “grunge” to the underlying strengths of the district.
•Created a “share-a-lot” strategy to encourage the use of underutilized private parking spaces for public use during peak business hours, particularly in the evening when restaurant traffic is at its highest levels.
•Created succinct recruiting flyers to draw attention to the strengths of the district and lure businesses to consider locating in AVMS.
•Focused on the gateways to the district to create a friendly and safe pedestrian environment and set the image of the district.
•Recommended the creation of hyper-local task forces that encourage business and property owners to take greater ownership of the district by playing a critical role in improving the maintenance and management of the public realm.
*Susan Silberberg was a faculty advisor