And so, with 2021 now in the books, we here at WalkUP Roslindale wanted to take a moment and take stock of the year that was even as we look forward to the new year ahead. Accordingly, in what seems to us to be order of importance, here are the top 5 highlights on what we did, said, and were following in 2021:
- We’re now “Official” – In September, we formally incorporated as a Massachusetts non-profit, gathered a formal board of directors, and elected officers, and then held our first formal board meeting. This move was overdue, but took on new urgency following our own diversity, equity, and inclusion self-evaluation over the last 18 months. We saw this step as a fundamental building block for having a more transparent, accessible organization going forward, and it concurrently allowed us to bring on a board that is more racially and ethnically diverse than our informal steering group had been.
- We congratulated Mayor Michelle Wu on her victory – In November, we marked the general election victory of Michelle Wu, Roslindale resident and best friend of transit, walking, and biking anyone alive has seen in the mayor’s office in this city, by, what else, advocating for a series of actions that we would love to see her administration take early on. Topping our list was further expansion of bus lanes and transit priority on key bus transit routes across the city, but we also urged more pedestrian priority for traffic signals, converting the neighborhood slow streets program into a citywide, rapid-implementation street safety program, implementing more fare-free buses and finally fixing commuter rail fare inequity, improving motor vehicle parking practices and management, furthering the construction of new affordable housing, and expanding cycling infrastructure. We hope to have the chance to work with Mayor Wu and incoming Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge on all of these issues in the year ahead.
- We released the Cummins Missing Middle Street Safety Audit report – We conducted the audit virtually in December of 2020 and January of 2021, but it took some time to pull together the audit reports from all participants and get the report into suitable shape. The principal focus of the report is on the “Octopus” intersection at Cummins/American Legion/Canterbury and its appallingly unsafe walking conditions, despite its location near some key neighborhood destinations. We intend to bring this report and the issues it raises more clearly to the attention of the new administration this year.
- We were actively engaged on the 4198 Washington Street Project – We’ve linked to only the last story right here, but we checked in multiple times over the course of the year, as we wrote in favor of the proposal, cheered District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo’s strong support and ensuing approval by the Boston Planning & Development Agency and then were deeply disappointed by the Board of Appeal’s failure to muster a sufficient majority to approve the project’s necessary zoning relief.
- Finally, we welcomed more bus improvements to the neighborhood – These included most importantly the institution of an afternoon bus/bike lane on Washington Street southbound between Forest Hills and Bexley Road (matching the morning northbound lane in this same stretch that was the first of its kind in the city) and significant bus stop improvements in Roslindale Square. We hope there will be more to come on these kinds of improvements in the new year.
– Composed by M. Lawlor