WalkUP Rozzie members have been working for some time (in person and online) to distill our mission and principles. The outcome of that effort is below, and we’d love to get your thoughts! Leave a comment here or email us directly at email@example.com. If you support our mission, please sign up as a supporter (your information will be kept confidential and you will receive only very infrequent email); follow us on Twitter; join us on Facebook; and/or sign up for our higher-volume discussion list.
This list was updated on October 6, 2015; find the original draft here.
We will make Roslindale the most walkable neighborhood in Boston, in collaboration with our neighbors. We strongly believe that walkability is a fundamental of great neighborhoods. Improving the walkability of our neighborhood will have positive impacts on public health, safety, social capital, economic development, and environmental sustainability. Although we speak only for ourselves, we seek improved walkability for everyone because we believe it will benefit everyone. In order to get there, we need to think both big and small. Immediate action is needed to improve crosswalks and sidewalks, organize events to bring people together around a shared vision for our neighborhood, encourage the calming of vehicular traffic, and demonstrate how the future might look by making temporary changes today. Long term, we must be proactive in addressing how our neighborhood evolves in the face of the regional development boom, and how walking interacts with all the other forms of getting around. A central conviction of WalkUP Roslindale is that common goals are better achieved together than separately and will provide evident and tangible benefits to all. To do this, we will seek partnerships and collaborate with our fellow residents and engage a broad array of community groups, businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, and city and state agencies to advance our mission.
SEVEN STATEMENTS OF PRINCIPLE
- Walking is an essential mode of travel, and we seek to promote it on its own and as part of an active transportation network along with bicycling and transit. We support public and private projects, policies, and efforts that advance the essential travel mode of walking on its own and in concert with bicycling and transit throughout Roslindale because these modes collectively increase the accessibility of our neighborhood, support local economic development, enhance the safety, livability, and functioning of the streetscape, and help mitigate the detrimental environmental effects of automobile use. We must also make our streets safe and friendly for children, the elderly, and people with mobility or sensory disabilities. We fully support the city’s adoption of Vision Zero, the policy goal to completely eliminate deaths and serious injuries from vehicular traffic on streets. And we look with eager anticipation toward working with the city on arriving at a shared vision and implementing GoBoston 2030, the city’s new comprehensive mobility plan.
- More residents, businesses, and people working in and visiting Roslindale will increase vitality. We support thoughtful, smart growth in residential and commercial intensity centered on key nodes in our neighborhood, particularly, Roslindale Square, Weld/Centre, Belgrade/Bellevue/WR Parkway, Washington/WR Parkway, Washington/Metropolitan, Cummins/HP Avenue, the American Legion Highway corridor, and the Forest Hills/Washington Street corridor. Compact, intense use of land is an essential component of lively and safe neighborhoods, supporting local businesses, and a regional approach to environmental sustainability. We also support measured, careful growth in our established residential areas to sustain and improve their vitality as well.
- Parks and natural areas help make our neighborhood vibrant. We support balancing growth with a vision of health and beauty offered by integrating this growth into a network of green spaces, as recognized by landscape pioneers such as Frederick Law Olmsted. Roslindale has a great wealth of parks and natural areas. But we recognize that they are not evenly distributed in our neighborhood or equally well maintained, and there are many natural areas that require protection and enhancement. We support balancing the needs for housing, development, and growth with the need for places which offer opportunities for active recreation as well as refuge. These include parks, playgrounds, urban wilds, dog parks, community gardens, green corridors/greenways/parkways, and other green spaces. Support for high quality green space and a cleaner environment goes hand in hand with support for smart growth – we are convinced that these goals must be pursued together.
- We support development that promotes walkability. We support giving each proposed development a review on its own merits. If zoning relief (conditional use permit/variance) is needed for a development we believe advances the principles described here, then we will support granting that relief. As the city moves forward with a new comprehensive plan/rezoning process under the ImagineBoston 2030 banner, we advocate that the new plan and zoning be responsive to our neighborhood’s growing, diverse population and the ongoing housing shortage/affordability crisis throughout the city.
- We support mixed uses that promote walkability. We support a mutually-supportive mixing of uses within Roslindale’s key nodes: commercial (office, retail), residential, institutional, and modern industrial, among other uses, should be closely connected. We support local commercial enterprises and shops as a general matter, though each situation requires consideration on its own merits, and we should be mindful of the need for our commercial districts to have customers throughout the day, not just evenings and weekends.
- We support mixed housing that promotes walkability. We support mutually-supportive mixed housing types throughout all parts of our neighborhood – multifamily, 3-family, 2-family, single-family (townhouse/detached), at a range of price points, including affordable, middle income, and market rate. In major residential projects, we support going beyond the baseline 15% affordability standard the city currently uses. Many of us chose Roslindale because it is among the most diverse neighborhoods in the city by many measures, and new development should strengthen and enhance our unique cultural, ethnic, racial, linguistic, and economic mix.
- Contextual yet forward looking design makes for a more walkable environment. We support great design, regardless of style. Roslindale has a relatively consistent early 20th century “colonial” architectural character and set of building types (gabled rooflines, strong street walls, parking in the rear or underneath, massing that is modulated by architectural features, beloved public parks and squares), and new construction should be designed to fit within that context at its best while also being creative and forward looking in a way that embraces the 21st century. We view thoughtful and walkable urban design that connects and enhances the private and public realms as an absolute necessity.