Ruts and Ridges on Washington Street – WalkUP Coalition Letter

WalkUP Roslindale is always on the lookout for opportunities to join forces with our friends at Rozzie Bikes and Roslindale Village Main Street to improve the walkability, vitality, and livability of our neighborhood. This week, we put together a letter to the Public Works Commission to raise the urgent need to improve paving conditions on Washington Street in Roslindale. The full letter appears below, and is also available in PDF form. Let’s hope we see improvements in this critical and highly-trafficked corridor this year. Demand more!

October 17, 2016

Michael Dennehy
Commissioner Public Works
City of Boston
1 City Hall Square, Room 714
Boston, MA 02201-2024

RE: Resurfacing bus stops on Washington Street in Roslindale

Dear Commissioner Dennehy,

I write on behalf of three neighborhood organizations in Roslindale. WalkUP Roslindale seeks to Roslindale the most walkable neighborhood in Boston. RozzieBikes is dedicated to making Roslindale a better place to bike, including by street improvements, bike parking, bike routes, bike lanes, and mixed-use paths. Roslindale Village Main Street is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that promotes Roslindale Village as an appealing destination and the dynamic center of our community.

Thank you and your department for repaving the portion of Washington Street in Roslindale at the northbound Archdale Road bus stop earlier this summer. The 20,000 people who take the bus on this stretch of road (compromising 60% of roadway users) have a much less jarring ride. However, there are still areas where the paving at the bus stops on Washington Street have been damaged from the 11 MBTA bus lines that use the corridor.

The pavement on Washington Street in Roslindale from roughly Arboretum Road to South St/Firth Street has been damaged by MBTA busses pulling into and braking as they enter their bus stops. We, the undersigned, ask the City of Boston to consider repairing the damaged approaches to the bus stops and the bus stop pavement itself this paving season before the damage gets much worse. Already the ruts and ridges cause busses to bounce around as they pull into bus stops and has made portions of the bike lane very dangerous and difficult to ride. Additionally, the ruts and ridges make
snow plowing and road salting less efficient and the ruts collect rain and melt water that can freeze overnight. See pictures of ruts and ridges at end of letter. Note that these pictures were taken this spring and the pavement has continued to degrade.

Our preference would be to have this portion of Washington Street repaved in its entirety, but we do not see it on the Public Works Department’s online list of streets scheduled to be repaved. This portion of Washington Street was not repaved six years ago when much of it was and while the surface of the travel lanes is reasonable, it is however cut up from many utility repairs, some quite recent. We urge the Department to take advantage of the current low oil prices and warm weather and consider paving more streets than normal this road construction season.

When portions of Washington street were ground up six years ago, much of the street still appeared to have a cobble base layer and we wonder if this may be a factor in the significant ridges, ruts and wash boarded surfaces that have occurred. We have talked informally to people at the MBTA, and they believe that the “gold standard” for bus stops and approaches is a cement concrete apron much like those installed on Washington Street in the South End for the Silver Line. If the concrete apron approach is selected, we suggest that the City of Boston and the MBTA consolidate the Whipple St and Grandfield St stops into a single stop at Fawndale Street as recommended in the A Better City ”Bus Priority Measures Corridor Case Study, Washington Street, Belgrade Avenue, and Center Street” March 2014.

We, in Roslindale, look forward to having a better, smoother, and safer Washington street.


For Roslindale Village Main Streets
Alia Hamada Forrest, Executive Director

For Rozzie Bikes
Mark Tedrow

For WalkUP Roslindale
Matt Lawlor, Resident @ 15 Basto Terrace, Roslindale
On behalf of WalkUP Roslindale Steering Group, including
Ricardo Austrich, Resident @ 843 South Street, Roslindale
Lisa Beatman, Resident @ 180 Mount Hope Street, Roslindale
Darlene Donovan, Resident @ 143 Cummins Highway, Roslindale
Steven Gag, Resident @ 631 South Street, Roslindale
Liz Graham-Meredith, Resident @ 6 Crandall Street, Roslindale
Rob Guptill, Resident @ 44 Birch Street, Roslindale
Diane Johnson, Resident @ 3 Ramsdell Avenue, Roslindale
Adam Kessel, Resident @ 36 Taft Hill Terrace, Roslindale
Sarah Kurpiel Lee, Resident @ 65 Cornell Street, Roslindale
Matt Lawlor, Resident @ 15 Basto Terrace, Roslindale
Mandana Moshtaghi, Resident @ 12 Arborough Road, Roslindale
Robert Orthman, Resident @ 69 Walter Street, Roslindale
Rebeca Phillips, Resident @ 10 Tappan Street, Roslindale
Adam Rogoff, Resident @ 28 Ashfield Street, Roslindale
Rachele Rosi-Kessel, Resident @ 36 Taft Hill Terrace, Roslindale
Mark Tedrow, Resident @ 169 Sycamore Street, Roslindale
Marc Theiss, Resident @ 55 Prospect Avenue, Roslindale
Greg Tobin, Resident @ 1 Sheldon Street, Roslindale
Alan Wright, Resident @ 98 Birch Street, Roslindale
Rick Yoder, Resident @ 180 Mount Hope Street, Roslindale

Copy to:
City Councilor Michael Flaherty (
City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George (
City Councilor Tim McCarthy (
City Councilor Ayanna Pressley (
City Councilor Michelle Wu (
Mayor Martin Walsh (
Chief of Streets Chris Osgood (
Commissioner of Transportation Gina Fiandaca (
Director of Planning Vineet Gupta (
Senior Transportation Planner Charlotte Fleetwood (
Active Transportation Director Stefanie Seskin (
Co-Chair, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics Kris Carter (

Washington Street Northbound near Firth Street (March 2016)
Washington Street Northbound near Firth Street (March 2016)
Washington Street Southbound near Granfield Avenue March 2016)
Washington Street Southbound near Granfield Avenue March 2016)
Washington Street Southbound near South Street (March 2016)
Washington Street Southbound near South Street (March 2016)

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