Discuss: What is the Biggest Issue in Jamaica Plain?

(Jamaica) Plain and simple — what is the biggest issue in Jamaica Plain?

At the Wake Up the Earth Festival, Jamaica Plain News asked people to name what they think is the biggest issue in JP. And several topics continued to come up.

Overwhelmingly people said either gentrification or housing affordability. Other issues were named as you can see below. What do you think is the biggest issue — and more so, how do we address that issue? Please add your comments below the article.

  • Dog parks
  • Gentrification
  • Climate change
  • Affordable housing
  • Displacement
  • Cost for things
  • The character of the neighborhood
  • Traffic
  • Trees being cut down
  • Pricing out the people and businesses that make JP interesting
  • Evictions of low-income folks of color, especially in the Washington Street corridor
  • Boston Public Schools
  • Scott

    1. Crime and public safety (speeding, reckless driving)
    2. Traffic
    3. Overcrowding

    • Eric Herot

      Overcrowding? Really? In a neighborhood with mostly 1, and 2 family homes with yards?

      • Scott

        Trains are crowded, stores are crowded, parks are crowded, roads are crowded, doctors offices are crowded, restaurants are crowded, playgrounds are crowded, and the pond is crowded.

        • Eric Herot

          I don’t think the stores or restaurants would see that as a problem. And you have a funny idea about crowded if you think that our parks already have too many people in them. I could put a picnic blanket down almost anywhere in the Southwest Corridor park on any random Saturday afternoon without even having to look for a space. I guess you’d prefer if there were no people in your parks at all?

          And anyway, even if this were true, we could always build MORE parks with all of that additional tax revenue we’d be bringing in with that added density. Suburbs don’t really have that luxury.

  • Eric Herot

    1. Too little housing
    2. Too much unused private parking
    3. Roads designed for cars, not people.

    • Scott

      Too little housing? Really? In a neighborhood with 1125 units for rent, 72 for sale, and multiple public housing projects? Oh and guess who drives and rides in autos? People!

      • Seth

        Yes, too little housing. These available units you refer to are mostly very expensive, meaning that demand is far outpacing supply.

        JP is a really nice place to live, and more people should be able to live here! One man’s “crowded” is another man’s “bustling.”

        • Scott

          Folks who want cheap/free housing will always outpace supply. People should spread out across the Commonwealth. Overcrowding overburdened urban areas has negative health and environmental effects. Infrastructure is already strained and if there is a catastrophic event here good luck with the “Evacuation Route”

          • Seth

            It strikes me that your “top JP issues” are just generic gripes about life in a city. Perhaps you’d enjoy spreading out across the Commonwealth yourself?

          • Eric Herot

            We have another word for that kind of “spreading out.” It’s called sprawl and it costs more money than it brings in: http://thecostofsprawl.com/ and that’s without even counting externalities (like CO2 emissions from all of the driving it encourages and habitat destruction). Also, with people “spreading out” like that, driving becomes the only way to get anywhere, which of course means more traffic and the need for more roads, which costs a lot of money. You know what’s cheaper? Making it easier for people to live in walkable communities (like JP) and paying a lot LESS money to upgrade the subway system. The nice thing is, people are already trying to do this, we just need to make it easier for them.

            And with a vacancy rate of ~5% I think we can definitively say that JP does not have enough housing to meet growing demand.

            And you know who drive and ride in autos the least? People who live near transit!!!

          • Scott

            Seems like the folks around here drive a hell of a lot. I don’t see how you get from sprawl to suddenly lower T costs. People are just going to have to live elsewhere, maybe you and Seth could get a little love shack out by Tanglewood.

          • Eric Herot

            60% of Bostonians commute to work by some method other than driving. 20% do not own cars at all. Parking use near train stations suggests that this number is much higher in those areas. Why don’t we make the people who insist on driving everywhere live out by Tanglewood so that we can preserve the scarce land around the train stations for those of us who don’t want to have to depend on a car.

  • Paul Spears

    I’m probably alone here, but towing due to street cleaning is probably my least favorite thing about the town. I’ve lost $500 to the clowns who think a perfectly clean street is a good excuse to tow my car at 8:05 AM on a Monday. Almost lost my job and had my life wrecked by these jokers–I know it’s nothing compared to what some people suffer from mugging and theft but it still depresses me. I want to like Jamaica Plain, I really do, but I will probably move if these extortionists continue gouging me.

    • Jo-Anne

      Frankly, I think it’s worse that there are no parking restrictions or towing on cleaning day where I live in JP (Pondside area), which means that the street cleaner runs down the middle of the street 3x every Tuesday but doesn’t address the debris that accumulates along the side of the roadways.

      • malena

        Wow, this is interesting. Do you mean people on the pond side don’t get towed? We in Central JP are getting towed all the time just like Paul explains. I have contacted our reps and they agree that they would rather that we get a ticket. I’d rather pay the $’s directly to the city than to a towing company.

    • Hugo_JP

      So when would be the right time to tow your car? 8:10? 8:15?
      The regulation clearly says “no parking 8-12”.

    • Eric Herot

      I think towing is a thing that needs to happen but dinging people $162 every time it happens seems unnecessarily excessive to me.

      • Hugo_JP

        Towing cars that impede street cleaning seems harsh especially when compared against cars blocking fire hydrants which can be a safety issue but only warrants a ticket.

    • Lowerthan

      Sign up for towing notices. I get an email from the city (In addition to my own calendar notices) so that you can plan ahead. The problem isn’t street cleaning, it’s that you didn’t move your car.

      Maybe we need a system like Cambridge where they drive down the street with a megaphone before the towing starts.

    • Doris

      Absentminded people can sign up for email or text reminders regarding street sweeping. I don’t think it’s the City’s fault that you almost lost your job; learn to take some personal responsibility. People who think they’re too good to move their car on sweep day can just continue to whine and pay the fines, I guess.

    • CentralJP

      Oh my god you are nothing but a big crybaby. Grow up.

  • return

    Affordable housing for sure. Who can afford to live in those thrown together condo buildings they keep making? I grew up in JP. I hate that I can barely afford to live here anymore and the apartment I do have is too small to really enjoy.

    • Doris

      Those new buildings going up across from Forest Hills Station are particularly hideous; I can’t believe those weirdos on the JPNC allowed that garbage to go up.

  • Econ 101

    Crime and Public Safety. People need to stop shooting each other. I shouldn’t hear gun fire at midnight like last Saturday.

  • Scott

    I think litter is a big one. Center Street (and many residential streets) can look pretty unattractive at times with crushed plastic beverage bottles, styrofoam cups, plastic shopping bags, and all manner of paper goods strewn along the curbs and blowing in the breeze.

  • Malena

    1)Too many dogs, especially in Central JP, so that it increases the likelihood that some lazy, inconsiderate person leaves the poop out there to contaminate the environment and give all dog owners a bad name.
    2)Lack of affordable housing which is ruining the character of JP. It only stands to reason that the people who can afford to buy a condo in a triple decker for $550,000 (just happened in one of the streets crossing Spring park and Boylston) would attract, for the most part, people of a certain class that couldn’t be bothered with being neighborly, who are territorial, entitled and just not interested in being part of a community in a true sense. Before you write to say not everyone is the same, I agree. But it’s undeniable that JP is turning into Cambridge – hip, desirable for proximity to art and culture, snooty and unaffordable.

    • Scott

      “territorial, entitled and just not interested in being part of a community” This aptly describes the scum that commit all the crime in JP.

    • Jeremy

      The biggest issue is crime, which is being perpetuated by those who keep crying for “affordable housing.” Those that whine about this are renters, not owners. If you own, you would know what more affordable housing and more crime does to property value. It’s the city. Living in the city is expensive. If you can’t afford it, move out. If real estate and rents in the city are out of my budget, then I will move to the suburbs. I won’t cry for more affordable housing. Do you go to the Mercedes dealer and whine that you can only afford a Ford, and demand that they sell you a Mercedes for the price of a Ford? (I don’t mean you specifically, when I say you, I am speaking in broad terms). Why do those on assistance or who decided to earn their living in a field that they know doesn’t pay well deserve an advantage over those who can afford more? If I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. And why do you assume that those who make less are “more neighborly?” It’s funny that those who claim to be open-minded are the those making the broad stereotypes.

  • Monster

    People need to stop stealing packages off my porch.

  • Monster

    As evidenced in this thread, holier-than-thou urban sanctimony is a growing problem in JP.

  • supply&demand band

    the absolute biggest issue in JP right now is the so called affordable housing advocates who do nothing to create affordable housing. In fact they are trying to make it so nothing gets built and prices keep going up because there is not enough supply to meet demand and therefore they stay in business and can do their paid job of protesting. They claim to represent the community but they are a nothing more than the communities worst nightmare. Their behavior is deplorable at public meetings and they brainwash young people in to protesting for them. it is truly sad. I hope one day they will stop. We need to more young professionals to occupy JP and raise families here. #CityLife you can’t hide, we can see your NIMBY side! totally pathetic. cant even believe the city responds to this BS.