We sent a letter and gave live testimony this week at a City Council committee hearing on sidewalk snow clearance (more background from Streetsblog Mass). Our full comment letter is below, you can also watch the entire 2+ hour video, or just jump to City Councillor Matt O’Malley’s shout-out to WalkUP Roslindale or WalkUP Roslindale member Matt Lawlor’s testimony toward the end of the hearing. In brief, sidewalk snow clearance is critical to better walkability in Boston and our current system is completely broken. Read on for more.
Yes, the hearing – under the subtitle “Supplemental Sidewalk Clearance Program During Snowstorms in Boston” – will be held by the council’s Committee on City and Neighborhood Services during the day, but it will be over Zoom. Anyone interested in testifying or offering public testimony should send an email to committee liaison Juan Lopez (email firstname.lastname@example.org) to request the zoom link, sign up to testify at the hearing, and/or to submit written comment separately. Your friends here at WalkUP Roslindale will be there, with bells on, and we’ll post our written testimony after the hearing. We have long-standing, well-documented thoughts about the consistently awful, incredibly short shrift our city gives to people walking, biking, and taking transit during and after any significant snowfall. This is the first opportunity we can recall where the public is being invited to speak to our city’s administration about just how bad it is out there and what we believe can and should be done. We hope you can participate! PS And we’d like to give a special note of thanks to Councilor Bok for issuing the call for this hearing. It’s way, way, way past time to do better in what is supposed to be “America’s Walking City.”
This past week, the BPDA held a public meeting on a proposed development at 4198 Washington Street, the building currently home to Droubi’s Pita Bakery, Rozzie Square Theater, Delicious Yogurt, and Dragon Chef. The developer proposes to replace the building with a new six-story, mixed-use building with 39 residential units, 4,500 square feet of retail, a custom-built community theater space, as well as ample bicycle parking. The meeting was well-attended and many neighbors praised the developer’s thoughtful approach to affordability and transportation. Now that we’ve learned more about the proposal and heard comments from the community, we’ve sent in a comment letter. If you’d like to add your voice, please drop a note to the BPDA project manager, Aisling Kerr (email@example.com) or fill out the BPDA comment form.
Our PDF letter is reproduced in full below.
We’ve been following a proposed development at 4198 Washington Street (the building that is currently home to Droubi’s Pita Bakery, Rozzie Square Theater, Delicious Yogurt, and Dragon Chef) with interest. The developer proposes to replace the building with a new six-story, mixed-use building with 39 residential units, 4,500 square feet of retail, a custom-built community theater space, as well as ample bicycle parking. The BPDA is holding a virtual public meeting this Wednesday, February 24, 2021, from 6pm-7:30pm to discuss the proposal and receive feedback. You’ll need to register in order to attend.
We are generally in favor of the project since it will provide much-needed housing right in the heart of Rozzie Square, without creating the induced demand for more cars that would occur with dedicated parking spaces. We also understand that the developer is working to secure funding that would allow it to income-restrict at least 40% of units, a goal we support enthusiastically. We look forward to hearing more about the project at this upcoming meeting, after which we plan to send a comment letter with our collective feedback.
We encourage everyone who would like to see more housing (without more cars) in Roslindale to attend and speak up at this meeting.
We have snow falling again this evening and we are accordingly calling out our forces again – If we hit 4″ (10cm), please do what you can to clear out bus stops, crosswalk ramps, and other paths for our neighbors. If you make it out and get it done, send us before and after pictures (email Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org) and make yourself eligible for $10 in Rozzie Bucks from our good friends and sponsors at Roslindale Village Main Street. Thanks everyone!
We have snow falling again this afternoon and though it isn’t yet sticking on the motor vehicle travel lanes of our streets, it does appear to be accumulating on sidewalks and other paths. We are accordingly calling out our forces again – If we hit 4″ (10cm), please do what you can to clear out bus stops, crosswalk ramps, and other paths for our neighbors. If you make it out and get it done, send us before and after pictures (email Matt at email@example.com) and make yourself eligible for $10 in Rozzie Bucks from our good friends and sponsors at Roslindale Village Main Street. It is worth noting that we here at WalkUP Roslindale are aware that there is an ongoing debate and plenty of advocacy ground to cover as to how priorities are set and how we as a city clear snow and ice. We acknowledge that this collaborative is barely scratching the surface of what is needed. But we think we have to start somewhere and take action.
Friends, yes, we are lined up for some significant snowfall this afternoon/evening and overnight tonight. And so, once the snow has stopped flying, we are calling out all of our WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative Version 4.2 forces in a virtual, socially distanced way to don a face covering, pick up a shovel, and safely and calmly dig out a bus stop, a curb ramp, or a neglected sidewalk or bike lane wherever in Roslindale they may be, then send us a picture of the dug out locations at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be happy to give you our deep, undying thanks and connect you with $10 in Rozzie Bucks from Roslindale Village Main Street as a reward. Thanks!
We very much encourage everyone who tunes in to us here at WalkUP Roslindale to sign up and attend the upcoming book club virtual gathering being held by Streetsblog MASS with joint sponsorship from WalkBoston. The event, to be held on the evening of 13 January 2021 at 7:30 pm, will feature author Angie Schmitt to discuss her recently published book Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America. There is no charge to attend the event, though everyone is welcome to start off the new year right by donating whatever they are willing/able to either Streetsblog MASS or WalkBoston.
The event page on the Streetsblog MASS website, with information on how to register, can be found here. And don’t forget that our neighborhood’s newly-launched bookstore, Rozzie Bound, can also be paired with an order for the book through Bookshop.org.
With the recent snowfall and the ongoing holidays, we are officially extending the feedback period for the Cummins Missing Middle Walk Audit to Friday, 8 January 2021. Note that we are still going to hold the initial feedback session – Session 2 – on this coming Monday, 21 December 2020, as planned. Thanks!
Friends, our good buddy Boston Yeti is telling us that we may have some significant snowfall overnight tonight and so, once the snow has stopped flying, we are calling out all of our WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative Version 4.1 forces in a virtual, socially distanced way to don a face covering, pickup a shovel, and safely and calmly dig out a bus stop or two wherever in Roslindale they may be, then send us a picture of the dug out stop(s) at email@example.com, and we’ll be happy to give you kudos and, possibly, a reward if we can work out the details with a key provider of certain discount coupons for neighborhood businesses. Thanks!
As an example, below are photos of the before and after for a bus stop access point that your correspondent shoveled out late yesterday at South & Walter. Would love to post photos from others on their efforts! – mjl