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!

Advocacy Opportunity – Boston City Council Sidewalk Snow Clearance Hearing – 10 am, March 16 via Zoom

Yes, the hearing – under the subtitle “Supplemental Sidewalk Clearance Program During Snowstorms in Boston” – will be held by the council’s Committee on City and Neighborhood Services during the day, but it will be over Zoom. Anyone interested in testifying or offering public testimony should send an email to committee liaison Juan Lopez (email juan.lopez@nullboston.gov) to request the zoom link, sign up to testify at the hearing, and/or to submit written comment separately. Your friends here at WalkUP Roslindale will be there, with bells on, and we’ll post our written testimony after the hearing. We have long-standing, well-documented thoughts about the consistently awful, incredibly short shrift our city gives to people walking, biking, and taking transit during and after any significant snowfall. This is the first opportunity we can recall where the public is being invited to speak to our city’s administration about just how bad it is out there and what we believe can and should be done. We hope you can participate! PS And we’d like to give a special note of thanks to Councilor Bok for issuing the call for this hearing. It’s way, way, way past time to do better in what is supposed to be “America’s Walking City.”

WalkUP Roslindale comment letter on 4198 Washington Street

This past week, the BPDA held a public meeting on a proposed development at 4198 Washington Street, the building currently home to Droubi’s Pita Bakery, Rozzie Square Theater, Delicious Yogurt, and Dragon Chef. The developer proposes to replace the building with 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. The meeting was well-attended and many neighbors praised the developer’s thoughtful approach to affordability and transportation. Now that we’ve learned more about the proposal and heard comments from the community, we’ve sent in a comment letter. If you’d like to add your voice, please drop a note to the BPDA project manager, Aisling Kerr (aisling.kerr@nullboston.gov) or fill out the BPDA comment form.

Our PDF letter is reproduced in full below.

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Public Meeting on 4198 Washington Street Development this Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 6pm, via Zoom

Rendering of 4198 Washington Street Proposed DevelopmentWe’ve been following a proposed development at 4198 Washington Street (the building that is currently home to Droubi’s Pita Bakery, Rozzie Square Theater, Delicious Yogurt, and Dragon Chef) with interest. The developer proposes to replace the building with 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. The BPDA is holding a virtual public meeting this Wednesday, February 24, 2021, from 6pm-7:30pm to discuss the proposal and receive feedback. You’ll need to register in order to attend.

We are generally in favor of the project since it will provide much-needed housing right in the heart of Rozzie Square, without creating the induced demand for more cars that would occur with dedicated parking spaces. We also understand that the developer is working to secure funding that would allow it to income-restrict at least 40% of units, a goal we support enthusiastically. We look forward to hearing more about the project at this upcoming meeting, after which we plan to send a comment letter with our collective feedback.

We encourage everyone who would like to see more housing (without more cars) in Roslindale to attend and speak up at this meeting.