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

WalkUP Roslindale Comment Letter on 3992-3996 Washington Street

3992-3996 Washington Street Rendering
3992-3996 Washington Street Rendering

This week, we sent a comment letter on a proposed 18-unit housing development at 3992-3996 Washington Street, about halfway between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills at the intersection of Archdale Road near Guira y Tambora. While we are always happy to welcome new housing to the neighborhood to help mitigate the region-wide housing crisis, the proposed development suffers from similar shortcomings of many other recent proposals — too much valuable land dedicated permanently to car storage, insufficient commitment to affordability and needed density, and only minimally compliant green-building efforts. We still support the overall project, but hope that the City and developers will not miss this opportunity to build for the 21st century, rather than the 20th. Immediate and major change in how we plan land use and transportation decisions are critical to achieving the vision set out in GoBoston 2030 and the greater Imagine Boston 2030 plan.

Our detailed comments below (PDF version also available).

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Hyde Park Ave Open House – this Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 7pm at the Hyde Park Police Station

Speak up for safety and transit improvements for Hyde Park Ave! The City of Boston is holding an open house next week to gather feedback about conditions on Hyde Park Ave between Forest Hills Station and Wolcott Square. Please spread the word.

Can you speak up about the need for safety improvements for people walking and biking and dedicated bus lanes?

Hyde Park Ave Open House
Tuesday, February 11, 7:00 pm
@ Hyde Park Police Station
1249 Hyde Park Ave, Hyde Park, MA 02136

Hyde Park Ave is the crucial link between Roslindale and Hyde Park. This road serves several bus routes and over 10,000 bus riders every weekday. Crashes involving people walking, biking, and driving happen regularly along this corridor, and a stretch of it is on the City of Boston’s Vision Zero High Crash Network map. If you support a Hyde Park Ave that improves bus service and is safer for all, please let the City of Boston know!

Not able to attend the open house? BTD has launched a survey to collect feedback.

Thanks to our friends at Livable Streets for the event announcement.

City-sponsored Open House on Roslindale Transportation and Housing – TOMORROW – 30 January 2020 – 6 to 8 pm – Roslindale Substation

We urge everyone who is able to make it to attend tomorrow night’s city-sponsored open house to learn more and share ideas about both transportation and housing issues in our neighborhood. Here’s the listing from the Department of Neighborhood Development’s webpage:

Latest Update

Join the City of Boston (Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston Transportation Department, Boston Planning & Development Agency and Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services) at an Open House community meeting for a conversation about how housing and transportation can work together in Roslindale.  This open house will explore the questions, concerns and ideas raised during a September 2019 community meeting regarding Housing with Public Assets at the Roslindale Municipal Parking Lot.

This open house will provide an opportunity to have smaller group discussions with residents, business owners and representatives from city departments responsible for housing production, transportation and neighborhood planning.

Date: Thursday, January 30, 2020
Time: 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location: Roslindale Substation
Address: 4228 Washington Street, Roslindale, MA 02131

ALERT LEVEL BACK DOWN TO CLEAR: Snowfall total is well under 4″ (10cm), so no calling out forces

WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative 3.3 enthusiasts and devotees are still welcome and encouraged to help out their neighbors and please post any pictures of cleared areas to our facebook account or tweet them out and tag @walkuprozzie when you do, but we won’t have an official effort this time around. When you’re done shoveling, we encourage you to enjoy some French Toast or other hearty breakfast of your choice. It sure is pretty out there!

Presentation from WalkUP’s first BTD Transit Team Meeting of 2020

We had a full house at the Rozzie Square Theater on Tuesday night this week to hear from Boston Transportation Department Transit Director Matt Moran about planned mobility upgrades for Roslindale. The two points of focus of Matt’s presentation were the Washington Street corridor (between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills) and Hyde Park Avenue (between Wolcott Square and Forest Hills). Bus riders depend heavily on both corridors; moreover, although they outnumber car drivers, they are stuck in the same stand-still traffic at rush hour. The improvement that appears to be the closest to fruition is a southbound afternoon bus/bike-lane on Washington Street, but several improvements for mass transit riders and cyclists are planned for both streets.

We’re pleased to share BTD’s complete presentation from the event, which outlines several other planned improvements in addition to the bus/bike lane. Now it’s our job to make sure the City gets positive and encouraging feedback from residents. Change can’t come soon enough!

It CAN be done – Oslo, Norway (pop. approx. 673,000) reaches Vision Zero for pedestrians and cyclists in 2019

The whole article – Vision Zero! Norwegian Capital Completely Quashes Road Deaths – which comes from our friends at StreetsblogUSA is worth reading;

If you’re following along at home, that’s a city with almost 100,000 more residents than Boston that had a year in which the only fatality on its streets and roads was from a single-car crash in which the driver piloted his car into a fence. And how did they get there? Here are your money grafs:

Oslo’s status as a pedestrian and cycling safe have[n] didn’t occur overnight. The road to Vision Zero was paved with a mix of regulations that lowered speed, barring cars from certain areas, expanding its bike network, and added traffic calming measures around schools.

The most significant move Oslo officials made was devising a plan in 2015 to restrict cars from its square-mile city center and hike fees for entering and parking around the city’s core. Tolls rose in 2017 as the city removed 700 parking spaces and replaced them with 37 miles of bike lanes and pocket parks. The city center ban went into effect in early 2019 despite misgivings, but it was regarded as a model for other metropolises six months later. Cities around the U.S. have been slow to follow up on such success, though New York and San Francisco recently added a car-free thoroughfare to its transit mix.

To review, that was (i) reduce automobile speeds; (ii) restrict private cars from the city center and increase the fees for entering and parking around the city’s core; (iii) remove parking spaces; (iv) install pocket parks and bike lanes; and (v) focus traffic calming measures around schools, particularly with so-called “heart zones” that prohibit motor vehicle pick up and drop off of schoolchildren immediately near schools.

The chart showing Oslo’s progress from 41 traffic deaths in 1975 to just 1 in 2019 can be seen here:

Traffic Fatalities – Oslo, Norway – 1975-2019 (Credits: StreetsblogUSA; Aftenposten, Oslo, Norway).

And where are we in Boston in reaching our 2030 Vision Zero goals? Stuck at 10 traffic deaths in both 2019 and 2018, with the same distribution of 7 pedestrian fatalities and 3 motorist fatalities. One death is too many, but the continued elevated pedestrian death toll from traffic violence on our streets is especially troubling in the place that considers itself “America’s Walking City.” The precise mix of continued changes we need here may differ from Oslo’s, but it is worth noting that their approach is heavy on reducing vehicle speeds through design, especially reducing the amount of the city’s streets given over to motor vehicle travel lanes. We clearly have more hard work ahead in the next decade if we’re going to reach our own target of zero deaths by 2030.