Comment Letter on Scrub-a-Dub Project at 565-569 American Legion Highway

Back in October, we submitted a short comment letter expressing conditional support for the expansion and reconfiguration of the Scrub-a-Dub Car Wash at 565-569 American Legion Highway. As noted below, there are several design changes that would make this project more friendly to pedestrians — this is especially important given the proximilty of the K-8 Haley Pilot School.

Our full comments are below, also available as a PDF.

October 18, 2021

Boston Board of Appeal
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
Attention: Stephanie Haynes, Executive Secretary
RE: 565-569 American Legion Highway, Roslindale, MA – BOA Nos. 1141110 and 1141111

Dear Ms. Haynes:

I write on behalf of WalkUP Roslindale to express our conditional support for the application by Scrub-a-Dub Car Wash for expansion and reconfiguration of their existing car wash facility at the referenced address (the “Proposed Project”). The expansion and reconfiguration of the car wash use at this location requires zoning relief from the Board of Appeal under both Article 9, Section 9-1 (expansion of the pre-existing car wash use at 565 American Legion) and Article 67, Section 67-11 (car wash use conditional for 569 American Legion) of the Boston Zoning Code. We are aware that the neighborhood association directly involved here, the Mount Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association (“MHCNA”), have submitted a comment letter as of today and so wish to reiterate some of their key points and add our own comments as well:

  1. As MHCNA noted, it is clear that the new, reconfigured design for the Proposed Project is much better than the existing continuous and highly dangerous 140 ft curb cut that pedestrians and cyclists now need to cross, yet the new plan still needs improvement and our support of the Proposed Project is conditioned on certain improvements being made to the plan as described below.
  2. MHCNA rightly observed that the Proposed Project is located in a school zone right across from and near the two crosswalk intersections serving the K-8 Haley Pilot School. This location is also in a neighborhood shopping zone surrounded by residential neighborhoods, and its sidewalks are a key walking route for residents, customers, and employees of the many businesses located within two blocks. The cycling infrastructure recently installed here is also intended to boost cycling safety and use in this corridor.
  3. Instead of being discontinuous and apparently without even marked crosswalks at the 2 proposed 30-foot wide curb cuts (more on that below), we believe that the sidewalk proposed for the edges and the new, wider center median should be fully raised and completely continuous such that pedestrians do not step down to cross the curb cuts, but instead drivers go over the raised sidewalk, similar to the way the new highly popular speed humps slow motor vehicle traffic in the nearby residential areas of this section of Roslindale.
  4. The proposed design for the Proposed Project shows two 30 ft curb cuts. Consistent with MHCNA’s comment, it is our understanding that city policy is to allow a single 20 to 24 ft curb cut for commercial use at a two-way traffic entrance, and no exception should be made here. We further support MHCNA’s observation that the proposed operational design for the Proposed Project could actually be best served by the northern curb cut (right side) being for entry only, and the southern curb cut (left side)for exiting only. These paired one-way curb cuts should be 12 ft each.
  5. Finally, the pavement frontage saved by reducing the curb cuts to 2 12-ft one-way access points should be devoted to meeting the final point that MHCNA raised with respect to the Proposed Project’s location in a Greenbelt Protection Overlay District and directly atop a portion of Canterbury Brook. We would recommend that the brook be daylighted and restored to the maximum extent possible outside of the reduced width curb cuts to help further the resurrection of one of the last remaining perennial streams in the city.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Matthew Lawlor
Resident @ 15 Basto Terrace, Roslindale

President of the Board of Directors of Walkable Urban Place Roslindale, Inc. (d/b/a WalkUP Roslindale)

About WalkUP Roslindale

WalkUP Roslindale, which takes its name from the international movement to foster “Walkable Urban Places,” is a collaborative group of residents dedicated to making Roslindale the most walkable neighborhood in Boston. We advocate for a dynamic, livable streetscape and we support positive changes to our public and private built environment that strengthen walkability and other forms of active mobility as means toward better personal and public health, safety, social capital, economic development, and environmental sustainability. We are led by a board of directors comprised of twenty-three residents and business owners and have nearly 1,000 additional supporters. More information about WalkUP Roslindale and our initiatives can be found at

Copy to:

Ms. Uju Onochie, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services (
District 4 City Councilor Andrea Campbell (
At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu (
At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia (
At-Large City Councilor Michael F. Flaherty (
At-Large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George (

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