We’re official!

More than six years have passed since WalkUP Roslindale was informally launched, growing out of some even more informally-organized community conversations. We recently decided it is time to make it official: we are proud to announce we are now incorporated as a Massachusetts nonprofit organization (technically “Walkable Urban Places Roslindale”, but you can still call us WalkUP Rozzie).

This newly-formed nonprofit is governed by a board of 23 Roslindale residents and business owners, most of whom were previously members of our “steering committee” before the incorporation. We are still working out our structures and processes, but we have elected an initial slate of officers and chartered two board subcommittees that should cover most of our mission. These are listed below:

  • Officers (Executive Committee)
    • President – Matt Lawlor
    • Vice-President – Adam Kessel
    • Secretary – Kathryn Ostrofsky
    • Treasurer – Mandana Moshgathi
  • Initial subcommittees
    • Transportation (chaired by Adam Kessel)
    • Housing & Development (chaired by Rob Orthman)

We’ve also selected board members to be “liaisons” or representatives to our various partners and elected officials, including each of the district city councilors covering Roslindale (4, 5, and 6), the Mayor’s office/Neighborhood Services, Roslindale Village Main Street, Roslindale Leaders Meeting, Roslindale Business Group, and the Vision Zero Coalition taskforce.

Stay tuned for more announcements soon about our plans for the coming year.

Roslindale Porch Fest – Saturday, September 25, 2021

Roslindale Arts Alliance is sponsoring Roslindale Porch Fest, this Saturday September 25, 2021 (rain date Sunday Sept. 26) from 1:30-5:30pm. Brochures are available at Square Root Coffee Shop. Rozzie Bikes is coordinating a group ride to a number of Porch Fest locations. If you’re interested, meet on the green at Adams Park at 1 PM (Helmet required). We hope everyone will get out and explore the porches of Roslindale by foot or by bike this weekend!

RoslinTrails Walk – Saturday, October 9, 2021 – 12:30 pm – Roslindale Square/Cummins

Following up on today’s impressively successful RoslinTrails bike ride, we here at WalkUP Roslindale will do our part to launch this great concept from our friends at Roslindale Village Main Street and host a walk starting in the square on Saturday, October 9, at 12:30 pm. Our route will take us out on Cummins Highway (tentatively dubbed “RoslinTrails Route 1”) to Hyde Park Avenue and then back via a route running along HP Av to Blakemore Road, Florence Street, Firth Road, and Washington Street. Particular stops are being worked out and more details including an event registration page will be forthcoming. We look forward to seeing as many of our friends as can join us!

More on Roslindale Bus Improvements

Many of you no doubt have noticed the extensive road/sidewalk construction in progress on Poplar Street by Adams Park. This project is one of several changes underway to improve bus service through Roslindale Square. If you’re interested in better understanding what’s going on, check out these two MBTA flyers:

The change with the most immediate impact is that the Route 30 outbound bus no longer needs to go all the way around Roslindale Square but instead will just go down Poplar Street before turning onto Washington Street briefly and then on to Cummins Highway. Prior to being moved up, the bus stop on Poplar Street was closer to Corinth Street (past the fork), making it impossible to turn left onto Washington Street. The new design will allow the bus to turn left at the fork and thus avoid an unnecessary trip around the entire square.

District 5 Councilor Ricardo Arroyo’s Statement of Support on 4198 Washington

We’ve posted on this topic previously and have expressed our own support in a comment letter earlier this year and now we’re gratified to see the following statement from District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo in support of the proposed project, released earlier today and quoted here in full:

“Today a project by Arx Urban at 4198-4206 Washington Street in Roslindale goes before the BPDA Board.
“I am in full support of this project.
“This project sets important benchmarks that are in line with the values and priorities I believe developments in our neighborhoods should have and should promote. At least 40% of the units will be income restricted between 30-90% Area Median Income and the developers are seeking to and have stated publicly that their goal is to eventually have 100% of the unit’s income restricted. The city currently only mandates 13%.
“This project will be sustainably built. A 100% electric building, with solar power, approaching Passive House standards. While also widening sidewalks around the property and creating a courtyard with greenspace on Washington Street. They have also entered partnerships with two local businesses with long term, below market leases and will showcase the Rozzie Square Theatre, an already existing wMBE business, that will invite innovation in the arts and provide a forum for diverse voices.
“Arx Urban has also taken meaningful steps to engage the community and implement feedback. They’ve reduced the height to four stories from an initial seven. Set the building back from the Sumner School by 51’ and collaborated with the school on a mural and improv classes. They have also agreed to several measures to improve pedestrian experiences and safety.
“I have heard from opponents who are most staunchly opposed to this project because it lacks onsite parking. And while I believe that is a valid concern, I believe it is outweighed by the truly transit oriented nature of Roslindale Square. I believe in prioritizing the housing of people and a project like this, that provides truly affordable housing on this scale, makes that goal available to those who most need it.
“Our city has been, and continues to be, in a housing crisis that has been headlined by displacement and a lack of truly affordable housing. As a Councilor I will continue to advocate for projects that make remedying that issue, with strong commitments to income restricted units, a priority.”

Roslindale Bus Improvements

We’re a bit late to acknowledge these recent improvements for bus service in Roslindale:

  • Washington Street Bus Lane: Building on the incredible success of the inbound morning bus lane on Washington Street, BTD expanded earlier this year to an afternoon outbound bus lane. Starting in late April, BTD added red paint to the southbound bus lane between Arboretum Road and Firth Road/South Street. This paint makes the bus lane more visible and prominent. The bus lane is operational between 2PM and 7PM on weekdays and enables buses to have a more reliable trip and save travel time. We’ve included some photos of the first night of striping below.
  • Roslindale Village Bus Stops: Work began in May on bus stop bump-outs on Poplar Street and Corinth Street. Once completed, these bus stops will be fully ADA accessible and provide better passenger amenities such as benches, shelters, and real time arrival information. They are also better located to permit smoother flow of buses through the square, and should shave off a few minutes of travel time for some bus lines that will no longer have to go all the way around Roslindale Square in order to head south on Cummins Highway.

We’re also happy to see the old Needham Line bridge over Robert Street has finally been replaced.

Thanks to all the folks at the MBTA and BTD (especially the transit team) for their hard work in seeing these projects through!

 

Progress on Gateway Path funding thanks to Sen. Rush and Rep. Malia

We have been working for many years with our elected leaders to make the Roslindale Gateway Path a reality and were delighted to learn that Sen. Mike Rush has successfully pushed through an amendment to this year’s state budget bill  allocating $100,000 toward development of the path. Rep. Liz Malia and her staff are on board to help see this through on the House side. This is a significant step forward for the path, which we hope will be fully funded in the coming years.

Comment Period re-Opened for 4198 Washington Street and Drop-In Session This Monday Evening

We’ve previously publicized our support for the proposed mixed-use project at 4198 Washington Street — see our detailed comment letter here.

We recently learned that the BPDA has responded to some efforts to organize against this project by re-opening and extending the comment period for this proposal to May 3rd. We strongly encourage supporters of this project to submit comments through the BPDA portal or to aisling.kerr@nullboston.gov.

As a reminder, this project will provide 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. We have heard the project may be down-sized by a story and shrunk to fewer units due to some opposition. We strongly urge the developer to not “down-size” the building and recommend supporters submit similar comments to the BPDA.

The developer Arx Urban is seeking to income-restrict at least 40% of the units in the new building. Only 12% of the total housing stock in Roslindale is income-restricted, compared to 27% of total homes citywide. While we are generally supportive of new housing in Roslindale Square, we are particularly supportive of this project for that reason. We also do not want to see a smaller project given the loss of income-restricted units that would entail.

The developer is hosting a drop-in session to answer any remaining questions this Monday, April 26 evening in Adams Park from 5:30pm-7:30 pm. Please wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Attendees can receive a free yogurt or ice cream from Delicious Yogurt for their trip home too!