Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Mass housing growth
Housing availability is the most pressing issue facing Eastern Massachusetts. There simply isn't enough. The housing stock is limited by regulations on new development, building heights, parking minimums and other restrictions which I am sure the governor's office knows better than anyone. Eastern Massachusetts is a technology hub and attracting lots of well educated talented people who will add to the area's economy but there isn't anywhere to live driving up the prices. Rising house prices aren't good for Eastern Massachusetts economic growth which is based on technology and in particular technology start-ups which don't generate high salaries immediately but may later. So early stage workers cannot live here limiting the region's future economic growth. Limiting housing, driving up prices is not helping long time local Massachusetts families. I am from out of the area but I have talked to locals who say how sad it is that none of the children who grew up in these neighborhoods stay because they can't afford the housing. They are in essence pushed out by the incoming technology workers. When I moved to the Boston area I knew it was a big city and didn't expect to move into a large house with a big yard, I expected a condo in a taller building but there are barely any of those available and they are tremendously expensive due to the limited supply. We need to permit and encourage building more housing. The program must be regional and not just the city of Boston which can't supply enough housing alone. Limiting housing in the suburbs restricts access to many of the best schools in the area. The new housing must be walking, bicycling, and transit oriented to avoid adding more traffic to the already congested roads. The new housing should be taller, denser, close to transit, mixed use to reduce driving trips. More transit oriented housing would add to city tax bases, increase riders on the T (and T ridership revenue) and could possibly reduce road traffic if people moving in from distant commuter locations. The increased tax and T ridership revenue could be used to improve the transit system which would encourage people already here to use the T trains even more. I know people are driving and avoiding the T because the Orange, Red and Green subway lines are particularly unreliable and in need of improvement.