Could Assembly Square Outlets Affect Rutherford Ave Redesign?

The Neighborhood Council has asked the city to look at whether the outlet store proposal will change traffic projections for the Rutherford Ave project.

Last week the Globe reported that dozens of outlet stores are on the horizon for Assembly Row -- a new development for the massive retail project in Somerville that could have an impact on the city's plans for redesigning Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue.

Mark Rosenshein, who heads up the development committee for the Charlestown Neighborhood Council, said he called city planners as soon as he read about the outlet store proposal.

"We know they've planned for a lot of retail all along, Rosenshein said. "But this is different retail. I want to know what the city's consultants can share with us," I'm sure [they] can tell us a regular retail store generates x number of cars per hour, but an outlet store generates x+y, for example."

In other words, outlet shops might bring a higher volume of traffic -- or at the very least, a different pattern than city planners anticipated when proposing the and traffic light changes at Sullivan Square.

"The big question is, is there a difference between outlet traffic and regular retail traffic within the range of what we [anticipated]," Rosenshein said. "Even if the answer is no, that's great. Because we know about it today."

According to the Globe story, developers at Assembly Row (Federal Realty Investment Trust) said they expect to open as many as 50 outlet stores at the $1.5 billion complex. Assembly Row is designed to be a mixed-use neighborhood with offices, stores, hundreds of homes, , and a park on the Mystic River.

Rosenshein said he it's likely the city will share new data related to the Assembly Square project at the next community meeting on Sullivan Square, which (as far as Patch knows) is not yet scheduled.

Joseph November 21, 2011 at 05:24 PM
Wait a second Mark Rosenshein. You made it very clear that this subject was closed for further discussion, did you not? That there were no additional funds for further traffic studies. Figures and data from 2008 was acceptable and accurate. That you and the CNC made your decision and further input would not be allowed. That after 18months of discussion, it was too late for our voices to be heard. That you and the CNC didn’t have any power. Why are there rules for you and the CNC, and another set for us residents? Seems like this discussion is now reopened, does it not Mr. Rosenshein? Hypocrisy at its finest.
Julia Gaynor November 21, 2011 at 06:49 PM
Thank you, Mark, for making sure this is looked into on behalf of the residents of Charlestown. It does seem if they're planning outlet stores on par with Wrentham, this could have a much bigger impact than initially thought. I look forward to hearing more at the next community meeting.
Dan November 22, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Maybe we need to pass the hat around at the meeting to collect the needed funding to get the traffic study done. If we get the needed video collected by volunteers I'm sure $30,000 should more than cover the labor cost by the city to analyze the videos.
William Brewster November 22, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Also curious about the impact on Main Street which will, in essence, become one giant off-ramp... as if it isn't already.
Dan December 02, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Paul - Not sure if I see Main St as the giant off ramp, but I do see it likely more traveled (as well as Bunker Hill) when Rutherford becomes choked up. The real issue here is there a way for us to get in & out of our community in a timely fashion or not during the peek hours.
Joseph December 02, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Yeah Dan - get rid of the rotary. The traffic that backs up on Rutherford and Main Street is due to people being unable (and afraid) to merge into the rotary in a somewhat orderly fashion. And currently, due to the backup on 99 blocking the rotary.
Dan December 02, 2011 at 09:27 PM
Joseph - I was for the rotary if it was better laid-out. The problem is there is not enough space for the number of vehicles entering and exiting per the number of spokes it needs to have (per the traffic engineers) that was way back when the first meetings took place after the big dig was almost done. Thats also when the first idea of a real tunnel was put forward from Austin St to Sullivan Sq. instead of an exposed underpass (like we have now) The real Q is - Can the surface design as outlined really handle the added load the new direction the assembly Sq development is now going. Haven't herd a word from Mark Rosenshein on what his take is on this.
nick czech November 29, 2012 at 06:27 PM


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