Or so suggests a new report from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which shows rents set to spike around the new Green Line stops a-comin' in the near, near future. What's more, if the report is to be believed, Somerville's 20-year master plan, SomerVision, seems powerless to stop the spikes. In other words, meet New Cambridge.
Here are where what the report calls the "transit-induced rent increases" will be felt the most:
[A]round Ball Square, College Avenue, Route 16, Union Square, and Washington Street, where monthly rents could increase more than 25 percent and as much as 67 percent. Overall, we expect that 700 to 800 lower-income renter households will be forced to dedicate over 30 percent of their income to housing costs, and conditions will worsen for the 3,600 lower-income renters in the GLX corridor who are already housing cost-burdened. In other words, just about every planned stop for the Green Line will bring the very real possibility of rent hikes due to the greater desirability of the apartments around those stops (it's the dark side of transit-oriented development).
Moreover—and here is where the report turns alarming or alarmist, depending on your point of view—the 6,000 new housing units that Somerville imagines in its 20-year SomerVision plan will do little to alleviate this rapid rise in rents and the ensuing exodus of lower-income households. That is, the report says as many as 9,000 new units will be necessary to offset the negative effects of the spikes—a rather staggering number for a city the population of Somerville. For comparison, Boston's latest longer-term housing plan calls for 30,000 units.
The entire report can be read through here as a monster PDF. Its executive summary (also a PDF) is through here. And Boston.com has a response from Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who assures everyone everything's fine.
· SomerVision Sees 6,000 New Homes, Lots of Green Line Riders [Curbed Boston]
· The Green Line Extension Is Really Happening [Curbed Boston]
· Somerville's Downward-Facing Doghouse and Hub's Apt. Future [Curbed Boston]