Washington Street Evening Bus Lane Public Meetings June 15 and 16, 2020

As long-time WalkUP followers know, we’re big supporters of bus lanes, and were delighted by the relatively quickly deployment and extraordinary success of a morning in-bound dedicated bus lane on Washington Street from Roslindale Square to Forest Hills. It’s been clear from day one, though, that an evening outbound lane is at least as necessary–if not more so–given the extreme congestion in that direction during normal times. We are happy to report that the City is now moving forward with (virtual) public meetings to discuss an outbound lane and receive community feedback. In advance of next week’s meetings, you can check out a BTD presentation to WalkUP from January which started to explore some of these ideas.

The following meetings are scheduled for next week; click on the links below for flyers with more details:

Please attend the meeting most appropriate for your interest and speak out in support of this excellent idea!

Recent Roslindale Black Lives Matter Protests and WUR’s Direction Going Forward

Working backwards, actually, here are 3 photos from WUR steering group members from the joint RISE/Progressive Roslindale/West Roxbury June 4th Silent Vigil for Black Lives, which Universal Hub covered here: Hundreds turn out for boisterous vigil in Roslindale. And yes, the lower police presence as compared to the West Roxbury vigil on June 1 was noticeable. A few days earlier, on May 31, the American Legion/Mt. Hope corridor section of Roslindale had also held their own vigil/protest, complete with pizza delivered to the participants courtesy of a passing and supportive UPS driver (photos again supplied by a WUR steering group member):

Recognizing that both events are part of what is now a clear, undeniable, peaceful, determined, growing, coast-to-coast wave of public outpouring of frustration, anger, and, ultimately, solidarity sparked by the police murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day but decades and even centuries in the making, we feel compelled to do two things:

First, to pledge that the work we do going forward in advocating for a more walkable, welcoming, and sustainable Roslindale must be informed, in all ways and at all levels, by a central commitment to fight, every day and over the long haul, for a more just, equitable, and, yes, non-racist society – transportation and housing advocacy does not exist in a racism-free vacuum and we can’t ever ignore that; and

Second, to endorse the following formulation from one of our long-standing partners, LivableStreets Alliance, on the initial, but only the initial, steps we must take to make good on this pledge, specifically as follows:

How to be a White Ally 

Being anti-racist requires constant, active, uncomfortable work and self-examination. What actions can you take as an individual in your own life? Who are you talking to about white supremacy and police brutality? Are you calling in your family members, friends, colleagues? Where are you spending your money? Are you donating to Black-led organizations and supporting Black-owned businesses? If you are choosing to attend demonstrations, are you using your body to intervene and stand between police and Black protestors to protect them or de-escalate potentially violent situations?

Tamika Butler, Toole Design’s Director of Equity and Inclusion/Director of Planning for California, shares five questions for white people to hold, answer, and act on every day in her most recent blog post.

  1. Do I understand that not being racist isn’t the same as being anti-racist?
  2. Why am I so afraid to be brave enough to confront my power and privilege?
  3. What am I waiting for to decenter whiteness and realize just because I have never experienced it (or seen the research to prove it) doesn’t mean it isn’t real?
  4. What am I doing every single day to force myself to think about racism and white supremacy?
  5. What am I doing every single day to stop the killing of Black people?

If you are in a position to do so, we urge you to consider donating to these organizations that are on the frontlines of the work for racial justice in Boston:

Where We Are; Where We’re Going

To be candid, we struggled writing this, in part because so many of the statements issued in the last few days feel hollow, and statements in and of themselves don’t make change. It’s easy to call out the racist, violent actions of others. It is much harder to look inside and acknowledge your own contributions to upholding white supremacy culture.

LivableStreets is a majority-white organization, and we know we have a long way to go towards becoming an anti-racist organization. Writing a statement isn’t the real work. Working towards dismantling racism and white supremacy in everything that we do is.

We will continue to address racial equity in small and larger ways. For us this means reforming our hiring and board recruitment practices and examining our culture and communication norms. It means centering our advocacy on the most vulnerable and oppressed, not on the loudest voice in the room. And it means supporting legislation like An Act Relative to Pedestrian and Traffic Stop Data, a bill sponsored by Sen. Chang-Diaz designed to prevent racial profiling in all traffic stops.

There is much more work to be done. You should anticipate hearing more from us about these issues in the coming days and months. For now we hope you will consider taking action in one or several of the ways listed above.

At WalkUP Roslindale, we are aware of the need to look both internally – at how we’re led and structured – and externally – at the organizations with whom we partner and how we approach projects and initiatives. Like LivableStreets, we are a majority-white organization that needs to do more to make sure our own leadership reflects the diversity of our neighborhood, especially black and brown voices. We will stick with this work and we will let you know our progress going forward.

Public Meeting on Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild Improvements Tuesday, June 9 7pm-9pm

Back in May, we posted a survey on proposed improvements to the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. The Parks Department is now hosting a public meeting (over Zoom) this coming Tuesday, June 9, from 7pm-9pm:

Join us at an online community engagement meeting for the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. The focus of the capital project is wetland restoration, but will also include some entrance and trail improvements. We’d love for you to join us in our online presentation with a question and answer session afterward. Interpretation and translation services are available to you at no cost. If you are attending this event and need these services, please contact Laura Cawley at the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at Laura.Cawley@nullboston.gov or 617-961-3013.

You can find the Zoom link for the event on the city event page.

Roslindale Silent Vigil for Black Lives – Tomorrow, 4 June 2020, @5:30 pm – Adams Park, Roslindale Square

Two organizations with whom we share principles and goals – Roslindale IS for Everyone (RISE) and Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale – have invited everyone in our neighborhood to participate in a silent vigil for black lives tomorrow, Thursday, 4 June 2020, at 5:30 pm on the sidewalks in and around Adams Park (center of Roslindale Square).  In terms of format, it seems this will closely resemble the all ages silent vigil at the Centre Street/W.R. Parkway rotary this past Monday evening, as covered by Universal Hub – “People peacefully call for justice for George Floyd.” More information can be found on the event’s facebook page.

We encourage everyone to attend with a face covering and their own sign and maintain safe distancing. Thank you and hope to see you there.

Comment letter on Boston Transportation Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2021

Last week, we sent a comment letter to the Boston City Council Committee on Ways & Means concerning next year’s operating budget, with a focus on transportation. We were particularly happy to see some proposed funding for the Roslindale Gateway Path. Other WalkUP priorities include the Washington Street Bus Lane, an American Legion Corridor bike network, and implementation of Neighborhood Slow Streets in the Mount Hope/Canterbury area. Our detail comments are below; a PDF version of the letter as sent is also available.

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Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild Park Capital Improvements Survey

The Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild Park is a 10-acre nature sanctuary, located near Weld between Centre and Walter Street. The Boston Parks and Recreation Department is working on capital improvements to the park in collaboration with landscape architecture firm Crowley Cottrell. They’ve asked us to spread the word about an online survey seeking community feedback about these planned improvements. Please take the survey at the links below and spread the word to neighbors.

A message from WalkUP Roslindale about COVID-19 and Roslindale Cares – One way to help our neighbors in these difficult times

Like pretty much everyone these days, WalkUP Roslindale has been preoccupied over the last couple of weeks with responding to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic sweeping our city, commonwealth, and country. As we pull together and do what must be done to protect our families, friends, and neighbors, we have effectively put our ongoing advocacy initiatives on hold. For now, this is as it should be. As we continue to move forward, a couple of items to consider:

  • City of Boston Coronavirus/COVID-19 Information Summary: Some of us joined a 1000-volunteer city-wide information flyer drop to every household in the neighborhood. Joe Coppinger at the Mayor’s Office posted on twitter about the effort. The flyer was in several common-in-Boston languages in addition to English. Here’s an image of the English-language version:

  • Roslindale Cares: We have also tried to be on the lookout for organized assistance efforts that we and our fellow Rozzidents with the availability and willingness can join. We’re happy to see that Roslindale Cares – our neighobrhood’s mutual aid network – has launched. Go to the website, check them out, and see what works for you to help out our neighbors.

WalkUP Roslindale/West Rox Walks Comments to DCR on Centre Street/Walter Street Intersection

WalkUP Roslindale teamed up with West Rox Walks to offer comments on proposed safety improvements for the Centre Street/Walter Street intersection near the Arnold Arboretum and Sophia Snow Place. This is consistently the most dangerous stretch of road in our neighborhoods and is currently an unpleasant and risky experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. As this road is maintained by the Commonwealth, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”) is handling the redesign and taking comments. In its most recent presentation, DCR offered three alternatives for the intersection. Only one of those options (“Alternative 1”) is acceptable in our view; and that design could still benefit from several modifications as detailed below. The deadline for comments is today (Thursday 3/5/20), so if you’d like to add your voice, please submit a brief note on the DCR comment website.

Full letter below. (PDF version also available). You can also check out DCR’s February 13, 2020 PowerPoint presentation about these various options.

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Spring 2020 Gateway Path Update – New 25% Conceptual Plan, Demolition Started at Bussey Brook Meadow

The Roslindale Gateway Path remains one of WalkUP Roslindale’s signature initiatives and a top priority. As we approach the five year mark since its conception (along with WalkUP itself), we’re starting to see concrete progress. Please excuse the pun.

Notably, we recently received a revised 25% conceptual plan for the path from our partner consultant, Horsley Witten Group. As you will see below, the path course has been modestly revised, and more details about eventual construction filled in. Click on the image to see an (extremely) high-resolution detailed version.

Updated 25% Design Plan for Roslindale Gateway PathMeanwhile, demolition work on the new Bussey Brook Meadow entrance to the path–at the end of Arboretum Road off of Washington Street–recently started:

Demolition of Bussey Brook Meadow Entrance to Arboretum

We are looking ahead to break ground for this segment of the path sometime this summer. The other major update is that design work is moving forward on the grand boardwalk connecting the Peters Hill segment of the path – this segment will connect the intersection of Bussey and South Street to the Bussey Brook Meadow. Renderings of this section are expected in June 2020. Blow-up of this section below, with the new, improved Arboretum Road entrance on the bottom right:Boardwalk Section of Bussey Brook Path