As we noted a few days ago, WalkUP Roslindale are confirmed to present a community screening of The Street Project, a new documentary from 9-time Emmy-award winning filmmaker Jennifer Boyd, focusing on the movement for safer streets around the US and the world. The screening will take place at 12:30 pm on the afternoon of Sunday, 25 June 2023, at the Rozzie Square Theater on Basile Street in Roslindale Square. So, come on down and support WalkUP Roslindale’s efforts to raise awareness and move the needle around these issues here at home. The screening will feature a community-led discussion about street safety in Roslindale and across Boston where we’ll hear voices from residents, cyclists, advocates, and participation from city planner and Walkable City author, Jeff Speck (invited). Seating is limited to 49 and seats are FREE (with donations through our fiscal sponsor, Roslindale Village Main Street, in any amount encouraged), so get your advance tickets HERE. Special thanks to Courtney and the team at RST for donating use of the theater space without cost. We look forward to seeing you there!
VERY BIG NEWS: BTD’s “Safety Surge” means the end of doling out street safety with an eyedropper…
This was definitely something not to be missed at the start of this week: On Monday, as StreetsblogMass reported, Mayor Wu and the Boston Transportation Department held a press conference in Mattapan to announce that they had laid the groundwork and were now ready to move forward with what they are dubbing a “Safety Surge” on 3 meaningful, citywide safety initiatives, starting more or less right away:
- Speed Humps. A new, comprehensive speed hump program that will roll out 500 new speed humps on residential streets throughout Boston based on analysis of crash day and vulnerable populations instead of the frankly take-it-slow, Hunger Games-like approach of the now-sunsetted Neighborhood Slow Streets program. NOTE: These are not car-frame/axle-jarring speed bumps but instead broader, more rounded humps in the street designed to be negotiated safely without incident as long as the motor vehicle operator is going not more than a safe-for-all-street-users 20 mph. Many (though not nearly enough) have been installed under the NSS program, including several in the Mt. Hope/Canterbury NSS area of Roslindale. We advocated for NSS districts in Roslindale and were fortunate to see some success in bringing the program here, but we have always agreed with Mayor Wu that, from the moment the NSS program was started and the mayor was just an at-large city councilor, it was woefully inadequate to meet the need, shouldn’t have been based on particular kinds of advocacy, and should have just gone citywide as a basic public health and safety measure like piping our sewer output and having lights on our street. We’ve said this before and are glad that this is finally the city’s real goal: Everyone deserves to live on a safe street. Everyone on every street in every neighborhood. As soon as possible. No exceptions.
- Safer Intersections. The goal here is to redesign and reconfigure 25-30 intersections across the city, again based on crash data and vulnerable population information, to prioritize safety. Most crashes happen at intersections, so this work is absolutely critical and we look forward to seeing major, highly dangerous intersections that today act like major obstacles (ahem, the American Legion/Cummins/Canterbury intersection being a big one around here) made safer and more inviting for everyone.
- Safer Signals. This is another in the long-time-coming category. The way signals and control of motor vehicles are undertaken at signalized intersections has been a depressing prospect in this city for as long as your correspondent has lived here. The last citywide policy redo, in 2018, was deeply insufficient to meet the moment and failed move us away from a car-first mindset. The new policy stands a chance of making the changes we need made, especially through leading pedestrian intervals at key signalized crossings, prohibiting right-on-red in more places, and setting an overall goal of safety over motor vehicle throughput.
So, a momentous set of changes and ones that we look forward to following and enjoying with all of our neighbors as they roll out. Stay tuned as that happens.
The Street Project will be coming to Roslindale – 12:30 pm on Sunday, 25 June 2023 @ The Rozzie Square Theater
You read that right! More details to follow, but WalkUP Roslindale are confirmed to present a community screening of The Street Project, a new documentary from filmmaker Jennifer Boyd, focusing on the struggle for safer streets around the US and the world. The screening will take place at 12:30 pm on the afternoon of Sunday, 25 June 2023, at the Rozzie Square Theater on Basile Street in Roslindale Square. Suggested donation will be $5.00 to support WalkUP Roslindale’s efforts to raise awareness and move the needle around these issues here at home (special thanks to Courtney and the team at RST for donating use of the theater space without cost). We look forward to seeing you there!
WUR at the Movies – The Street Project – 30 April 2023 – 12:45 pm – Somerville Theatre, Davis Square
It has come to our attention that The Street Project, a new documentary about the safe streets movement across the country, is going to be screened this coming Sunday, 30 April 2023, at 12:45 pm at the Somerville Theatre in Davis Square, as part of this year’s Independent Boston Film Festival. Tickets are only $15 but they’re limited, so get them while they’re still available and take the opportunity to visit a different part of the region!
Dispatch from the Big Change Department: WalkBoston has changed its name and is now WalkMassachusetts!
WalkBoston, the commonwealth’s 30+ year old premiere walking advocacy organization, has decided to fully embrace its long-standing statewide role and has accordingly changed its name to “WalkMassachusetts.” For those of you who’ve been following our little home-grown walking advocacy group here in Roslindale, the outsized role that what is now WalkMassachusetts has played has been obvious. They’ve helped us with walk audits (e.g., Roslindale Square (2016), Poplar Street (2022)), been a fantastic technical resource generally, and led the charge on major efforts around city-level pedestrian safety improvements on our streets and changes in law at the state level to protect all vulnerable road users. We’ll let WalkMassachusetts have the extended last word on why they’ve chosen to take this step and what we can all expect going forward:
“Last year we reaffirmed our Mission and defined our Vision for the future: a Massachusetts where people walking—no matter their race, identity, age, ability, or lived experience—feel safe, connected, and valued on our streets and sidewalks.
“To make our Vision a reality, we established 3 goals:
Goal 1: Advocate for inclusive, safe, and enjoyable places for people to walk.
Goal 2: Work in places where people walking have the greatest need.
Goal 3: Achieve policy and built environment change that is noticeable, replicable, and impactful.
“This led to self-reflection on where and how we focus our work. The conclusion was a continued emphasis on equitably promoting walking across the state and a clear need to move forward as WalkMassachusetts.
“In short, the name has changed, but the mission remains the same: making walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment, and more vibrant communities.”
Comment letter on 18-22 Arboretum Road
Today we sent a comment letter to the BPDA concerning a proposed development at 18-22 Arboretum Road. We support the project overall, and offer comments on affordable units, pedestrian access, and community benefits. Our full letter is below, also available as a PDF.
BTD Better Bike Lanes PLUS: Engagement Opportunities for Poplar Street Improvements (with Spanish translation)
The Boston Transportation Department is seeking feedback on design and implementation of new street safety infrastructure, including a contraflow bike lane on the close-in portion of Poplar Street from Washington Street to Sycamore Street and speed humps from there out to Canterbury Street. See the flyer below. Thanks!
Comments on Roslindale Parking and Curb Use Plan
Over the past two years, the City has conducted a study of parking and curb use in and around the Roslindale central business district. It recently published a proposed plan for comment coming out of that study. Our comments are below (also available as PDF), and we encourage everyone to submit comments by the April 7, 2023 deadline. We generally support the proposed changes, and offer pedestrian safety improvements and other changes we hope will be implemented in connection with the new plan.
Comment Letter on Community Benefits for 18-22 Arboretum Road Development
Last week, we joined with several community partners to send a letter to the BPDA requesting community benefits to accompany the 18-22 Arboretum Road Development, a proposed 230-apartment development just off Washington Street abutting the Arboretum. Our joint letter focuses on funding for the Gateway Path and food pantry certification for an Archdale food distribution site. The full letter is reproduced below.
Public Meeting 5 Days Right Ahead – Thursday, 9 March 2023 – Return of 4198 Washington Street
As those who follow this weblog know, WalkUP Roslindale followed this project closely through the public process that unfortunately resulted in an effective ZBA denial in the fall of 2021. (See 2 of our posts below). Now, the owners of the property are thankfully back with a renewed push on redevelopment of this 8,982 square foot site at 4198 – 4206 Washington Street in Roslindale Square. Physically, their proposal hasn’t changed: in place of the existing one-story retail structure, it still calls for construction of a new five (5)-story, mixed-use building containing approximately thirty-one (31) residential units, approximately 6,800 square feet of retail/community theater space, and approximately thirty-eight (38) bicycle storage spaces. The sole change, and it is significant, is that the owners have increased the share of income-restricted residential units from 42% to 61%, such that 19 of the 31 units are committed to be affordable to households earning between 60% and 100% of area median income. Not only is this substantively good on its own and makes an already great project that much better, it is also puts the project into the category of affordable residential developments that the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Executive Order of last fall expressly wants to advance more quickly and efficiently in light of the long-standing housing crisis in our city. In other words, this is exactly the kind of project that the Wu Administration wants to see a lot more of. Its time has come.
You can visit the project’s page on the BPDA website for more information. Most importantly, you can find information on the upcoming public meeting over zoom that is scheduled for this coming Thursday, 9 March 2023, at 6:00 pm. We urge supporters of this worthy proposal to attend the meeting and make your voices heard in support. You can register here.
4198 Washington Street Mixed Use and Affordable Housing Project Rejected by Zoning Board of Appeal Due to Lack of Parking