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December 19, 2019

Study: Central Mass. MBTA stations could support 18K more housing units

Photo/Grant Welker A new study says the area around Union Station can support 1,514 new housing units.

A nonprofit study released Thursday shows potential for more than 18,000 extra housing units along the three commuter rail lines serving Central Massachusetts, with most in MetroWest.

The Massachusetts Housing Partnership, a Boston nonprofit working with communities to find solutions to provide housing in the Bay State, examined 261 MBTA stations in Massachusetts, including 15 on the Worcester, Fitchburg, and Franklin commuter rail lines.

At 11,339 units, the nine-page study found the biggest concentration could be built on the Worcester line in Ashland, Framingham, Hopkinton, Natick, and Southborough. Union Station in Worcester could support another 1,514.

Acton, Fitchburg Leominster, Littleton, and Shirley has space for 5,249 on the Fitchburg line. There’s space for another 1,725 in Franklin on the Franklin Line.

When all of the stations in Greater Boston are included, an opportunity is for up to 253,000 new units, which would ease a growing housing shortage and ease traffic, researchers wrote.

The survey analyzed all 261 transit stations because the benefits of transit-oriented development. By encouraging concentrations of housing, jobs, services and recreation in transit-accessible locations, regions can increase transit ridership, which in turn can serve to enhance the viability and cost-effectiveness of transit.

The study’s authors say TOD increases access to work, services, and other destinations by increasing mobility, which is especially important for low-income households. Additionally, an increase in transit use results in a reduced reliance on single-occupancy vehicles, a positive outcome for the environment and traffic congestion the survey said.

“Walkable, transit-rich neighborhoods are increasingly sought after across the demographic spectrum, including young professionals and older households hoping to down-size,” the study said. “Creating more of these neighborhoods could serve to reduce cost pressures and competition for the limited number of existing places of this type, perhaps even helping to curb displacement of low-income households.” 

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December 20, 2019

Lets hope there are walkable condominium units near Union Station and not just apartments.

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