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!
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:
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.
UPDATE/LOCATION CHANGE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED FROM THE SQUARE ROOT TO THE ROZZIE SQUARE THEATRE – 5 BASILE STREET, ROSLINDALE. THANKS!
We’re pleased to announce that our friends from the Boston Transportation Department’s Transit Team, led by their director, Matt Moran, will be coming back on Tuesday evening, 14 January 2020, to talk more about their ongoing research and thinking about ways to improve bus service on Washington Street southbound between Forest Hills and the Square as well as their thoughts about the 32 bus on Hyde Park Avenue (and they may or may not hold forth in the magic bus). We’ll have them start us off, and then continue with an open meeting as WalkUP Roslindale starts a new year and a new decade of advocacy around our core issues of walkability, cyclability, transit access, and housing.
6:00 to 6:45 pm – BTD Transit Presentation and Q&A.
6:50 pm – Welcome & brief introduction to WalkUP Roslindale.
6:55 pm – Update regarding Cummins Highway Walk Audit.
7:05 pm – WalkUP Roslindale Goal-setting for 2020.