Letter to Transportation Committee re American Legion Parkway

Today we sent a letter to the Massachusetts State Legislature Joint Committee on Transportation supporting an act that would change the name of American Legion Highway to American Legion Parkway which we believe would send a better message about traffic safety, particularly when coupled with physical design changes and speed-limit enforcement. Our full letter is available as a PDF and reproduced below.

To: Joint Committee on Transportation
Massachusetts State Legislature
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA, 02133

Re: H.3490. An Act relative to a certain road in the City of Boston, Petitioner Rep R. Holmes

Dear Chair Straus, Vice Chair Keenan and Vice Chair Devers, and members of the committee

I am writing to you today on behalf of WalkUP Roslindale, and to voice our support to Act H.3490, “An Act relative to a certain road in the City of Boston”, sponsored by Representative Russell Holmes. WalkUP Roslindale is a nonprofit organization, spearheaded by a group of Roslindale residents and business owners who aim to make Roslindale the most walkable neighborhood in all of Boston by promoting healthy and equitable transportation and advocating for solutions to the housing crisis in Roslindale and our nearby neighborhoods. 

The road referred to by H.3490 is American Legion Highway (ALH). The road referred to by H.3490 is American Legion Highway (ALH). For decades, it has been one of the nine city roadways protected by the Boston Greenbelt Protection Overlay District (Article 29). The eight other protected roadways all are labeled Parkway, Boulevard, or Way. ALH has tree canopy and waterways along its 2.8-mile length.  It runs through and borders the neighborhoods of Roslindale, Hyde Park and Mattapan. American Legion Highway passes through two school zones, and is anchored by by three expansive and important local greenspaces, Franklin Park, Crane Ledge Woods and the Mass Audubon Boston Nature Center. ALH is surrounded by moderate to high density residential housing.

Eastern Roslindale is bisected by ALH. For several years WalkUP Roslindale has supported the advocacy efforts of the local association, the Mt Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association, with regards to the ALH name change, as well as other safety related changes to the local streetscape.

This city-owned road is not a highway. It has been a designated city parkway for decades.  ALH mostly has a 30 mph speed limit, yet until the introduction of new protected bicycles lanes, and accompanying traffic safety measures, was in the top 3% Boston roads with high speed-related crashes between vehicles, or between turning vehicles and pedestrians. The installation of these new traffic safety measures, which took a significant amount of time and pressure on local officials, have helped significantly in reducing these crashes and injuries. 

The change of name from American Legion Highway to American Legion Parkway will help change the mindsets of legislators, through-travellers, and local residents, from a “no rules” mentality to one of respect, pride and neighborhood improvement.

We vigorously support H.3490, sponsored Representative Holmes, and encourage the committee to approve this Act.

Sincerely,

Adam Shutes

Resident @ 318 Metropolitan Avenue, Roslindale, on behalf of WalkUP Roslindale

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