This week, we sent a brief comment letter to the Zoning Board of Appeal concerning a proposal by the Cooperative Bank to demolish two nearby homes and replace them with a parking lot (BOA- 1431753). In short, we believe our neighborhood is in dire need of more places for people to live, not more spots to store cars. Our full letter is reproduced below, also available as a PDF.
July 18, 2023
Re: 12 Amherst Street, Roslindale
Dear Members of the Zoning Board of Appeal:
We are writing as board members of WalkUP Roslindale to respectfully oppose the application of the Cooperative Bank to demolish a two-family home at 12 Amherst Street in Roslindale and replace it with parking.
WalkUP Roslindale is a neighborhood organization of Roslindale residents and business owners seeking to create a more walkable, thriving community. Part of our mission is to encourage new housing development and to protect existing housing stock. We are concerned that the neighborhood could lose two homes at a time when housing supply in Roslindale and in all of Boston remains insufficient to meet demand to live here. This is a primary driver of escalating housing costs and rents.
We believe the Cooperative Bank’s proposal is very much the opposite of what should be happening in Roslindale. Our neighborhood does not need less housing and more parking. This is particularly true in Roslindale Square, the community’s thriving business and civic district. We respectfully note that the Cooperative Bank already has an existing parking lot on its property and for years has leased additional parking spots in a lot mere steps from the bank. This is all in addition to ample on-street parking located in the vicinity of the bank as well as many nearby bus lines with frequent service, a commuter rail stop, Blue Bikes stations, ZipCars, the free short-term municipal lot and the paid MBTA full-day lot. We believe the Cooperative Bank has sufficient existing parking and alternatives to driving to satisfy its business needs and should be able to do so without knocking down a neighborhood home.
We appreciate that the Cooperative Bank is a longstanding community bank but must oppose this on principle. We respectfully ask the ZBA to reject it. Alternatively, if you do choose to support the application, we request a proviso for design review related to the intersection of Amherst St and Belgrade Ave, as it is too wide and has poor sightlines for drivers and pedestrians, thus creating a safety hazard. Thank you kindly for your consideration.
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 steering group of about thirty residents and have nearly 1,000 additional supporters. More information about WalkUP Roslindale and our initiatives can be found at www.walkuproslindale.org. We recognize that no single group of people can be said to speak for our entire neighborhood – instead, please take these comments as representing the collective support of our steering group members resulting from our mission and principles.