Lower South Street Wins Neighborhood Slow Streets Award

Speeding and other unsafe driver behavior on South Street is a major problem that the Lower South Street Neighborhood Association has been working on for years, including by twice applying to the City’s Neighborhood Slow Streets program. We were thus delighted to learn this area will be one of three communities to receive an award of traffic calming resources in the upcoming year. Check out the neighborhood association’s original 2017 application to the program for more background. We’ve also included a map below of the affected area (outlined in red).

Some of the possible traffic calming measures include speed humps, raised intersections, streamlined signage, better road markings, and ways to make the South Street and Archdale Road intersection safer for pedestrians. Until recently, the City has claimed that speed humps and bumps were not permissible on most city streets (including South Street, but BTD recently changed its policy and indicated that it is open to considering the construction of speed humps on this street.

We understand that BTD will be conducting community outreach over the next few weeks through postcards to every household in the area, Zoom meetings, and perhaps in-person socially distanced events.

Interested residents are invited to sign-up on the City Website for emails about “meetings and project milestones.”  We’ll also post updates here as we receive them.

Lower South Street Area
Lower South Street Slow Streets Area

Support housing stability legislation before time runs out at the end of July

Housing advocacy is part of WalkUP Roslindale’s mission so we are speaking up to urge our supporters to help get a pending housing stability bill passed before the legislative session runs out at the end of July. House Bill 5166 and Senate Bill 2992 would, among other things, extend the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosure for a year after the COVID state of emergency ends. Please email or call both your representative and senator to support this important legislation — and please do so quickly! You can find your legislators by address at this website.

More background:

Comment letter on LAND Grant Application for Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild

This week, we sent a short comment letter in support of the City of Boston’s application for a “LAND” Grant to support the acquisition of 108 Walter Street in Roslindale for an urban wild. Details about the project can be found from the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force; see also this notice concerning a recent public meeting on the project from the Boston Conservation Commission. Our full letter appears below or can be downloaded as a PDF.

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Cummins Highway Walk Audit Results

We are pleased to publish a report documenting the Walk Audit of a portion of Cummins Highway (between Washington Street/Roslindale Square and Rowe Street) performed by members of WalkUP Roslindale in December 2019. We identified many opportunities to dramatically improve safety along this stretch including converting one way streets to two way streets, increasing the number and safety of street crossings, and repositioning bicycle lanes between parked cars and the sidewalk. Please check out the report to read our specific recommendations for each intersection. Our next steps will be to set up meetings with the appropriate city officials and elected leaders to begin to address the highest priority items. If you have any thoughts about the report or what our top priorities should be, please leave them in the comments below or write to us at audit@nullwalkuproslindale.org.

Please download and share the full PDF version of the report, or read on for details.

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Washington Street Evening Bus Lane Public Meetings June 15 and 16, 2020

As long-time WalkUP followers know, we’re big supporters of bus lanes, and were delighted by the relatively quickly deployment and extraordinary success of a morning in-bound dedicated bus lane on Washington Street from Roslindale Square to Forest Hills. It’s been clear from day one, though, that an evening outbound lane is at least as necessary–if not more so–given the extreme congestion in that direction during normal times. We are happy to report that the City is now moving forward with (virtual) public meetings to discuss an outbound lane and receive community feedback. In advance of next week’s meetings, you can check out a BTD presentation to WalkUP from January which started to explore some of these ideas.

The following meetings are scheduled for next week; click on the links below for flyers with more details:

Please attend the meeting most appropriate for your interest and speak out in support of this excellent idea!

Recent Roslindale Black Lives Matter Protests and WUR’s Direction Going Forward

Working backwards, actually, here are 3 photos from WUR steering group members from the joint RISE/Progressive Roslindale/West Roxbury June 4th Silent Vigil for Black Lives, which Universal Hub covered here: Hundreds turn out for boisterous vigil in Roslindale. And yes, the lower police presence as compared to the West Roxbury vigil on June 1 was noticeable. A few days earlier, on May 31, the American Legion/Mt. Hope corridor section of Roslindale had also held their own vigil/protest, complete with pizza delivered to the participants courtesy of a passing and supportive UPS driver (photos again supplied by a WUR steering group member):

Recognizing that both events are part of what is now a clear, undeniable, peaceful, determined, growing, coast-to-coast wave of public outpouring of frustration, anger, and, ultimately, solidarity sparked by the police murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day but decades and even centuries in the making, we feel compelled to do two things:

First, to pledge that the work we do going forward in advocating for a more walkable, welcoming, and sustainable Roslindale must be informed, in all ways and at all levels, by a central commitment to fight, every day and over the long haul, for a more just, equitable, and, yes, non-racist society – transportation and housing advocacy does not exist in a racism-free vacuum and we can’t ever ignore that; and

Second, to endorse the following formulation from one of our long-standing partners, LivableStreets Alliance, on the initial, but only the initial, steps we must take to make good on this pledge, specifically as follows:

How to be a White Ally 

Being anti-racist requires constant, active, uncomfortable work and self-examination. What actions can you take as an individual in your own life? Who are you talking to about white supremacy and police brutality? Are you calling in your family members, friends, colleagues? Where are you spending your money? Are you donating to Black-led organizations and supporting Black-owned businesses? If you are choosing to attend demonstrations, are you using your body to intervene and stand between police and Black protestors to protect them or de-escalate potentially violent situations?

Tamika Butler, Toole Design’s Director of Equity and Inclusion/Director of Planning for California, shares five questions for white people to hold, answer, and act on every day in her most recent blog post.

  1. Do I understand that not being racist isn’t the same as being anti-racist?
  2. Why am I so afraid to be brave enough to confront my power and privilege?
  3. What am I waiting for to decenter whiteness and realize just because I have never experienced it (or seen the research to prove it) doesn’t mean it isn’t real?
  4. What am I doing every single day to force myself to think about racism and white supremacy?
  5. What am I doing every single day to stop the killing of Black people?

If you are in a position to do so, we urge you to consider donating to these organizations that are on the frontlines of the work for racial justice in Boston:

Where We Are; Where We’re Going

To be candid, we struggled writing this, in part because so many of the statements issued in the last few days feel hollow, and statements in and of themselves don’t make change. It’s easy to call out the racist, violent actions of others. It is much harder to look inside and acknowledge your own contributions to upholding white supremacy culture.

LivableStreets is a majority-white organization, and we know we have a long way to go towards becoming an anti-racist organization. Writing a statement isn’t the real work. Working towards dismantling racism and white supremacy in everything that we do is.

We will continue to address racial equity in small and larger ways. For us this means reforming our hiring and board recruitment practices and examining our culture and communication norms. It means centering our advocacy on the most vulnerable and oppressed, not on the loudest voice in the room. And it means supporting legislation like An Act Relative to Pedestrian and Traffic Stop Data, a bill sponsored by Sen. Chang-Diaz designed to prevent racial profiling in all traffic stops.

There is much more work to be done. You should anticipate hearing more from us about these issues in the coming days and months. For now we hope you will consider taking action in one or several of the ways listed above.

At WalkUP Roslindale, we are aware of the need to look both internally – at how we’re led and structured – and externally – at the organizations with whom we partner and how we approach projects and initiatives. Like LivableStreets, we are a majority-white organization that needs to do more to make sure our own leadership reflects the diversity of our neighborhood, especially black and brown voices. We will stick with this work and we will let you know our progress going forward.

Public Meeting on Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild Improvements Tuesday, June 9 7pm-9pm

Back in May, we posted a survey on proposed improvements to the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. The Parks Department is now hosting a public meeting (over Zoom) this coming Tuesday, June 9, from 7pm-9pm:

Join us at an online community engagement meeting for the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. The focus of the capital project is wetland restoration, but will also include some entrance and trail improvements. We’d love for you to join us in our online presentation with a question and answer session afterward. Interpretation and translation services are available to you at no cost. If you are attending this event and need these services, please contact Laura Cawley at the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at Laura.Cawley@nullboston.gov or 617-961-3013.

You can find the Zoom link for the event on the city event page.

Roslindale Silent Vigil for Black Lives – Tomorrow, 4 June 2020, @5:30 pm – Adams Park, Roslindale Square

Two organizations with whom we share principles and goals – Roslindale IS for Everyone (RISE) and Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale – have invited everyone in our neighborhood to participate in a silent vigil for black lives tomorrow, Thursday, 4 June 2020, at 5:30 pm on the sidewalks in and around Adams Park (center of Roslindale Square).  In terms of format, it seems this will closely resemble the all ages silent vigil at the Centre Street/W.R. Parkway rotary this past Monday evening, as covered by Universal Hub – “People peacefully call for justice for George Floyd.” More information can be found on the event’s facebook page.

We encourage everyone to attend with a face covering and their own sign and maintain safe distancing. Thank you and hope to see you there.

Comment letter on Boston Transportation Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2021

Last week, we sent a comment letter to the Boston City Council Committee on Ways & Means concerning next year’s operating budget, with a focus on transportation. We were particularly happy to see some proposed funding for the Roslindale Gateway Path. Other WalkUP priorities include the Washington Street Bus Lane, an American Legion Corridor bike network, and implementation of Neighborhood Slow Streets in the Mount Hope/Canterbury area. Our detail comments are below; a PDF version of the letter as sent is also available.

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