Birch Plaza finally gets where it needed to go and we are THANKFUL!

Conversion of the one-block section of Birch Street from Corinth to Belgrade has been long in the making, it’s true, and it’s also true that we have been steadfast supporters of this idea from its inception. And now that the planters and bench seating have arrived and been filled in with birch trees and other plantings by the city, we are simply delighted with the results. It’s a strong improvement over the prior condition, eliminates what had been a dangerous left turn onto by motor vehicle operators onto Belgrade and provides another great gathering space in our neighborhood for things like Salsa Night in the Square (picture above). Our sincerest, heartfelt thanks to so many folks who helped make this happen, including, in reverse chronological order –

  • Mayor Michelle Wu and her Administration, especially Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge; Jacob Wessel, public realm director for the City of Boston; and ONS Roslindale Representatives Josh McCorkle and Dianna Bronchuk;
  • District 5 Councilor Enrique Pepen;
  • Former District 5 Councilor Arroyo;
  • The Janey Administration;
  • The Walsh Administration;
  • Roslindale Village Main Street; and
  • friend and current WalkUP Roslindale Board member, Adam Shutes, formerly of Boston Cheese Cellar. Great job everyone!

Go Boston 2030 ReVisioned! TAKE. THE. SURVEY!

We’re coming up on 8 years after the initial adoption of the city’s Go Boston 2030 transportation plan and our friends at the Boston Transportation Department are now soliciting input on an update they’re calling “Go Boston 2030 ReVisioned.” As their webpage states:

Go Boston 2030 has guided the City of Boston’s transportation investments since its launch in 2017. More than half of the projects in the plan are already completed or in design. Now, Go Boston 2030 ReVisioned is an opportunity to evaluate our progress, and stake our path toward Boston’s transportation future.

To put a finer point on things, BTD sees 3 main components for the update:

The plan’s targets include improving safety, expanding access, and reducing emissions. Go Boston 2030 ReVisioned will create a webpage where we’ll report annually on our progress.
Some Go Boston 2030 projects are complete, some are still in design, and some have yet to start. Go Boston 2030 ReVisioned will track existing projects and identify new ones that advance our goals.
Two years of city-wide community engagement informed Go Boston 2030. Go Boston 2030 ReVisioned will conduct focused community engagement to reach underrepresented communities.
Check it all out and TAKE THE SURVEY on their webpage. It only takes about 7 minutes!

REMINDER: Squares + Streets – Public Meeting at Community Center on July 17, 2024 6pm-8pm

Squares and Streets Logo

REMINDER: We’re a week out from this critical, initial big reveal meeting. We strongly encourage our supporters to attend, take in this first cut from our city’s planners, and then advocate for our core pro-housing, pro-walk, bike, and transit mission. Make sure to register in advance at the bolded link below. Thanks!

The BPDA recently announced the next public meeting on the Squares + Streets planning process. It will be held on Wednesday, July 17, 2024 from 6pm-8pm at the Roslindale Community Center at 6 Cummins Highway, across from Adams Park.  Details:

There will be an in-person public meeting to receive feedback on the draft ideas and recommendations for the Roslindale Square Squares + Streets Plan. This ‘ideas reception’, designed to be a drop-in style event, provides an opportunity for the community to share their reactions to a series of recommendations derived from previous community engagements, including small business support, housing production and stabilization, transportation improvements, open space and cultural programming, and the design and land use factors that will inform Squares + Streets zoning in Roslindale Square. Spanish interpretation services will be available, and childcare is available upon request with at least 2 weeks’ notice.

Attendees are encouraged to register in advance.

Grand Opening of Walter Street Path Saturday, 6/22/2024 at 1pm

Celebrating New Beginnings Walter Street EventThis coming Saturday, June 22, 2024, at 1pm, the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association and the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force are hosting Celebrating New Beginnings for 104-108 Walter Street with the grand opening of the new Walter Street Path to the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild area and its ecological restoration along with the start of the renovation/construction phase creating four units of affordable home ownership with Habitat for Humanity. We supported this project, which advances equity as well as climate resiliency, and encourage other supporters to attend this opening event. There will be fun, snacks, wetlands walks, info tables, and of course, a ribbon-cutting.

Flyer available here.

Spread the word!

Three Good News Items for your Tuesday!

We sometimes have the opportunity to write about actual newsy items happening around our neighborhood and today is such a day as we have 3 good ones for everyone:

  • Sweeties has landed!

We were all sad to see Stephanie Ortiz move out of the area and Jimmie’s exit the square’s retail scene, but our sadness is now somewhat lessened by the arrival of their successors at 46 Corinth Street – Sweeties and their new “delightfully social” ice cream/fruit mix-ins concept. They’ve soft opened in the last few days. Go on down and give them a try. You won’t be disappointed!

  • Rozzidents for More Rozzidents warms our hearts

As part of the pro-housing movement ourselves, we are greatly encouraged by the emergence of “Rozzidents for More Rozzidents” as part of the advocacy ecosystem here in Roslindale. On their facebook page, they describe themselves as “A group advocating for secure, abundant, and affordable housing in Roslindale, Boston, and beyond.” We couldn’t agree more with these sentiments and their buttons and stickers are supercool.

  • We’re tabling! This Saturday – 8 June 2024! At the Farmers Market!

That’s right. Come find us anytime between 9:00 am and 1:30 pm this Saturday in Adams Park (we think; either there or Birch Plaza). We’ll be there with our table, banner, street chalk, and goodies, ready to talk about our mission, activities, and what’s next. Hope to see you there!

Virtual Visioning Session for Squares + Streets – Tomorrow – 7 May 2024 @ 6-8 pm

The BPDA will be hosting a virtual visioning session tomorrow night, 7 May 2024, from 6 to 8 pm (Register here). The session parallels last week’s in-person session. BPDA staff describe the session as an opportunity “to collaborate with the community on generating ideas for potential planning and zoning recommendations for the Roslindale Square Squares + Streets Plan. This session will include a summary of existing conditions analysis, feedback received to-date and community visions for different topic areas, as well as hands-on activities to contribute your ideas for potential recommendations.”

More information about the session can be found here.

Squares + Streets Update – Visioning Workshop right ahead – 29 April 2024 – 6:00 pm at the RCC

We’ve just had an informative zoning session, anchored by a really useful zoning primer presentation, and now we’re on to a visioning workshop. Information pulled from the BPDA’s recent newsletter email directly below. Attendance is encouraged if you can make it!

Roslindale Square Squares + Streets Visioning Workshop Register 
Monday, April 29 | 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM | Roslindale Community Center BCYF | 6 Cummins Highway | Roslindale, MA 02131

The BPDA is hosting an in-person visioning session to collaborate with the community on generating ideas for potential planning and zoning recommendations for the Roslindale Square Squares + Streets  Plan. This session will include a summary of existing conditions analysis, feedback received to-date and community visions for different topic areas, as well as hands-on activities to contribute your ideas for potential recommendations.  

[Learn more about this event]

ATTENTION: Mayor’s Neighborhood Coffee Hour – 25 April 2024 – 9:30 am to 10:30 am in Adams Park

This one snuck up on us, but very much worth attending to connect with the Mayor and City staff and our neighbors. Here’s the official write-up from the city’s website:


Mayor Michelle Wu and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department host the 2024 Neighborhood Coffee Hour Series in local parks citywide from April 22 to June 26.

Mayor Wu’s Neighborhood Coffee Hours are a unique opportunity to speak directly with the Mayor and staff from City departments about open space and their neighborhoods. Dunkin’ will be on-site to fuel the local community with freshly brewed Iced Coffee and Donuts. Dunkin’ will brew up even more fun with gift card giveaways. Residents at each event will also be eligible to win a raffle prize from Dunkin’. In addition, each family in attendance will receive a free flowering plant provided by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, while supplies last. Fresh fruit will be provided by Star Market. Additional support by City Express.

For more information and updates on possible weather cancellations, please contact the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at 617-635-4505, on our social channels @bostonparksdept on XFacebook, and Instagram, or by visiting the Parks Department website.

Another installment of Squares + Streets Roslindale News – Foundational Zones Adopted by Zoning Commission, Upcoming Zoning Meeting on 24 April 2024, and AHMA’s initial analysis online

Three things to know:

  1. Squares + Streets Foundational Zones Adopted by Zoning CommissionThis past Wednesday, 17 April 2024, saw the Boston Zoning Commission, by a vote of 7-1, adopt the full set of S+S foundational zones – S-0 through S-5 – into the Boston Zoning Code as Article 26, along with a broad range of other modifications to the code. WalkUP Roslindale submitted its own comment letter and your correspondent testified in favor at the hearing, along with District 5 Councilor Enrique Pepen, among others supportive of the proposal. Congratulations and thanks to the city planning line staff who worked so hard to get these building blocks roughed into shape and to Director of Planning Aimee Chambers, to BPDA Director Arthur Jemison, and to Mayor Michelle Wu for supporting this work and leading the effort to get the initial step all the way over the line. Now, we turn in true earnest to the small area planning process here in Roslindale Square to figure out how best to land these zones within a framework of city policies, programs, and ordinances that will make our neighborhood center a better functioning, more welcoming place.
  2. Squares + Streets Upcoming Meeting THIS WEEKZoning Workshop, 6 pm on 24 April 2024, Roslindale Community Center (corner Cummins & Washington). This is going to be an in-person meeting. If you’re reading this, we encourage you to attend for as much of the meeting as possible. BPDA staff describe the agenda and intent as follows: At this workshop, community members will be introduced to zoning as a tool that guides development and will discuss zoning through a community development mindset. The workshop will start with a walkthrough of how zoning works in Boston with a focus on existing zoning regulations in Roslindale Square and proposed zoning in Squares + Streets zoning districts as context. The second half of the workshop will be an interactive, facilitated activity to think about how proposals for community development projects would have to interact with existing zoning regulations in Roslindale Square. By the end of the workshop, community members will have engaged in initial conversations about community development goals that will support future engagement conversations on how the mapping of Squares + Streets zoning districts can support those goals.
  3. AHMA gets the ball rolling on S+S buildout scenarios – Our friends over at Abundant Housing Massachusetts (AHMA), the Commonwealth-wide pro-housing organization, recently released their preliminary analysis of the likely range of new residential units that could result from Squares + Streets in Roslindale Square. Briefly stated, AHMA’s research projects that Roslindale’s Squares + Streets rezoning could result, over the next decade, in 300 to 1700 new residential units. That is a very broad range indeed. AHMA’s projections are presented in accessible PDFs and an interactive online tool. The tool allows users to adjust assumptions and explore rezoning’s impacts on housing production, property tax revenue, and zoning nonconformance. AHMA have also prepared a detailed video walkthrough for navigating the PDFs and interactive tool. AHMA’s analysis identifies underutilized sites on lots larger than 6,000 sq. ft. that are vacant or have older, low-rise buildings, and assumes 25-33% (i.e., up to a third) of these sites will redevelop over 10 years. The most minimal rezoning scenario only studies the transformation of commercial areas into mixed-used districts. By applying the newly adopted S2 District, which permits buildings up to five stories, this could increase Roslindale’s housing stock by 2.5% and Hyde Park’s by 5.7%. The top-of-the-range abundance rezoning scenario explores the potential for mid-to-high density housing and mixed-use projects across the entire Squares + Streets study area. By applying a mix of S2 and S3 Districts, which permit buildings up to seven stories, this could increase Roslindale’s housing stock by 13.4% and Hyde Park’s by 24.4%. More details on the methodology can be found in the PDFs and video walkthrough.AHMA have indicated that they have three goals in releasing these initial housing projections and the accompanying tools:
    • Education – AHMA wants to increase public understanding of how zoning actually translates into building more homes. The better people understand how this process works, the better the chances we can engage in collaborative community planning.
    • Advocacy – AHMA supports the abundance rezoning scenario and believes Roslindale and Cleary Squares can thoughtfully introduce far more homes while maintaining existing residents’ quality of life.
    • Framing the discussion AHMA recognizes that the minimal rezoning scenario fails to adequately address the housing needs in Roslindale and Cleary Squares, but includes it as a plausible lower bound for community discussions.

Upcoming Roslindale Squares + Streets Event this Week – 3 April (Office Hours + BPDA Report Out) and 6 April (Walkshop in the Square)

As we look ahead this week on what’s happening with Squares + Streets in Roslindale Square:

Wednesday 03 Apr 2024

Roslindale Square: Squares + Streets Substation Office Hours
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM, LOCATION: The Substation – Lower level office 2, 4228 Washington St, Boston, MA 02131

Roslindale Square: Squares + Streets Substation Office Hours – Afternoon
01:00 PM – 03:00 PM, LOCATION: The Substation – Lower level office 2, 4228 Washington St, Boston, MA 02131

Roslindale S+S Engagement Report Out Meeting
06:00 PM – 07:30 PM, LOCATION: Virtual meeting

Saturday 06 Apr 2024

Roslindale Square Cultural Assets, Transportation, and Public Realm ‘Walkshop
01:00 PM – 04:00 PM, LOCATION: Adams Park, Roslindale Square

More information on these events as well as sign-up links can be found at the BPDA’s location-specific webpage for Roslindale Squares + Streets HERE. We hope you’ll attend some or all of them so that you can be part of the conversation. Thanks!