Hungry for a public market in Boston

The Globe floats the idea of a genuine public market for Boston (but in its Saturday edition, so you may have missed it). City officials want to site it alongside the Rose Kennedy Greenway, near the current microscopic-and-misanthropic Haymarket area:

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Two firms have filed proposals to redevelop the Blackstone Street property and both have included ground-floor space for a food market and cafe. Adjacent land near the weekend Haymarket, known for its cheap produce and seafood, is also being considered for a second public food building.

"It's a missing piece of the city's fabric," said Don Wiest, the president of the Boston Public Market Association. "The products we have to sell in Massachusetts are second to none, and we have an opportunity to create what should be one of the great public markets of North America."

This would be a long-overdue addition to the city. Visit the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal to see what a great public space this could be. But I do think the Greenway spot is probably way too small. Jean-Talon is far from downtown Montreal, and it still gets large, steady crowds because of its size and selection. There are also dozens of gourmet shops specializing in cheese, ice cream, wine, baked goods, etc. that surround the vendors of fresh fruit and vegetables. It would seem ideal to leave room for such shops to spring up around a Boston market, especially given the growing foodie culture here. Has the city considered a market spot somewhere on the T in, say, Dorchester? I fear that there's too much focus on a public market as a tourist attraction, when its success would really depend on steady business from city residents.