Just a few weeks ago, Mayor Menino was beaming as he helped cut the ribbon at Dorchester’s new Four Corners station, one of the fruits of the MBTA’s $200 million campaign to revamp the struggling Fairmount Line. Attracting more riders to the commuter rail line, which now has new stations and lower fares, could be a major economic boost to Dorchester — as long as the city holds up its end of the bargain by seeding the area around stations with new housing and businesses. Menino took a step in the right direction by scrapping an ill-considered plan to turn prime city-owned real estate near the Uphams Corner station into a utility pole storage area.
The property, formerly the Maxwell Box Company, has been controlled by the city since 2010; it had previously been identified as an ideal site for residential development. Given the city’s housing needs, and the lot’s proximity to the station, using the land for transit-oriented development should be a no-brainer.
Instead, until recently the city was considering turning the land into a permanent facility to store spare streetlights. Thankfully, after an outcry, Menino’s spokeswoman said the city will put out a request for proposals for the site. The administration should pick one that unlocks the potential of the property.