Advocacy Opportunity – Boston City Council Sidewalk Snow Clearance Hearing – 10 am, March 16 via Zoom

Yes, the hearing – under the subtitle “Supplemental Sidewalk Clearance Program During Snowstorms in Boston” – will be held by the council’s Committee on City and Neighborhood Services during the day, but it will be over Zoom. Anyone interested in testifying or offering public testimony should send an email to committee liaison Juan Lopez (email juan.lopez@nullboston.gov) to request the zoom link, sign up to testify at the hearing, and/or to submit written comment separately. Your friends here at WalkUP Roslindale will be there, with bells on, and we’ll post our written testimony after the hearing. We have long-standing, well-documented thoughts about the consistently awful, incredibly short shrift our city gives to people walking, biking, and taking transit during and after any significant snowfall. This is the first opportunity we can recall where the public is being invited to speak to our city’s administration about just how bad it is out there and what we believe can and should be done. We hope you can participate! PS And we’d like to give a special note of thanks to Councilor Bok for issuing the call for this hearing. It’s way, way, way past time to do better in what is supposed to be “America’s Walking City.”

WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative – Version 4.4 – Back at it again…

We have snow falling again this evening and we are accordingly calling out our forces again – If we hit 4″ (10cm), please do what you can to clear out bus stops, crosswalk ramps, and other paths for our neighbors. If you make it out and get it done, send us before and after pictures (email Matt at mlawlor@nullrc.com) and make yourself eligible for $10 in Rozzie Bucks from our good friends and sponsors at Roslindale Village Main Street. Thanks everyone!

WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative, Version 4.3 – You know the drill by now…

We have snow falling again this afternoon and though it isn’t yet sticking on the motor vehicle travel lanes of our streets, it does appear to be accumulating on sidewalks and other paths. We are accordingly calling out our forces again – If we hit 4″ (10cm), please do what you can to clear out bus stops, crosswalk ramps, and other paths for our neighbors. If you make it out and get it done, send us before and after pictures (email Matt at mlawlor@nullrc.com) and make yourself eligible for $10 in Rozzie Bucks from our good friends and sponsors at Roslindale Village Main Street. It is worth noting that we here at WalkUP Roslindale are aware that there is an ongoing debate and plenty of advocacy ground to cover as to how priorities are set and how we as a city clear snow and ice. We acknowledge that this collaborative is barely scratching the surface of what is needed. But we think we have to start somewhere and take action.

WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative – Version 4.2 (Virtually, Socially Distanced Yours)

Friends, yes, we are lined up for some significant snowfall this afternoon/evening and overnight tonight. And so, once the snow has stopped flying, we are calling out all of our WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative Version 4.2 forces in a virtual, socially distanced way to don a face covering, pick up a shovel, and safely and calmly dig out a bus stop, a curb ramp, or a neglected sidewalk or bike lane wherever in Roslindale they may be, then send us a picture of the dug out locations at mlawlor@nullrc.com. We’ll be happy to give you our deep, undying thanks and connect you with $10 in Rozzie Bucks from Roslindale Village Main Street as a reward. Thanks!

Streetsbooks MASS upcoming event – Angie Schmitt and “Right of Way” – 13 January 2021

We very much encourage everyone who tunes in to us here at WalkUP Roslindale to sign up and attend the upcoming book club virtual gathering being held by Streetsblog MASS with joint sponsorship from WalkBoston. The event, to be held on the evening of 13 January 2021 at 7:30 pm, will feature author Angie Schmitt to discuss her recently published book Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America. There is no charge to attend the event, though everyone is welcome to start off the new year right by donating whatever they are willing/able to either Streetsblog MASS or WalkBoston.

The event page on the Streetsblog MASS website, with information on how to register, can be found here. And don’t forget that our neighborhood’s newly-launched bookstore, Rozzie Bound, can also be paired with an order for the book through Bookshop.org.

EXAMPLE ADDED: WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative – Version 4.1 (Virtually, Socially Distanced Yours)

Boston Yeti' spotted shoveling snow has become an online sensation

Friends, our good buddy Boston Yeti is telling us that we may have some significant snowfall overnight tonight and so, once the snow has stopped flying, we are calling out all of our WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative Version 4.1 forces in a virtual, socially distanced way to don a face covering, pickup a shovel, and safely and calmly dig out a bus stop or two wherever in Roslindale they may be, then send us a picture of the dug out stop(s) at mlawlor@nullrc.com, and we’ll be happy to give you kudos and, possibly, a reward if we can work out the details with a key provider of certain discount coupons for neighborhood businesses. Thanks!

As an example, below are photos of the before and after for a bus stop access point that your correspondent shoveled out late yesterday at South & Walter. Would love to post photos from others on their efforts! – mjl

 

Cummins/Canterbury/HP Av Walk Audit Now Virtual & Rescheduled – 14-21 December 2020

Finally following up on our rescheduled walk audit for the triangle bounded by Cummins Highway, Canterbury Street, and Hyde Park Avenue – with special focus on the so-called “missing middle” on Cummins between Canterbury/American Legion and Rowe Street – WalkUP Roslindale is proud to announce that we will be holding this walk audit virtually over the week starting on Monday, December 14th at 7 pm with a “Pedestrian 101” presentation over zoom, followed by individual, self-guided walk audits and reporting of observations/recommendations during the following 7 days, and then a regroup to discuss results over zoom on Monday, December 21st, also at 7 pm.

Please contact Matt Lawlor at mlawlor@nullrc.com if you’re interested in participating so that we can provide you with a link to the initial zoom meeting. We would thrilled to welcome anyone of any age who has an interest in making this part of our neighborhood safer for everyone using its streets. We are also proud to be partnering with Roslindale Village Main Street to offer $10 Rozzie Buck coupons for participation in each of the 3 phases of the audit.

Special thanks to WalkBoston for lending us their platform and expertise on conducting virtual walk audits.

Recent Roslindale Black Lives Matter Protests and WUR’s Direction Going Forward

Working backwards, actually, here are 3 photos from WUR steering group members from the joint RISE/Progressive Roslindale/West Roxbury June 4th Silent Vigil for Black Lives, which Universal Hub covered here: Hundreds turn out for boisterous vigil in Roslindale. And yes, the lower police presence as compared to the West Roxbury vigil on June 1 was noticeable. A few days earlier, on May 31, the American Legion/Mt. Hope corridor section of Roslindale had also held their own vigil/protest, complete with pizza delivered to the participants courtesy of a passing and supportive UPS driver (photos again supplied by a WUR steering group member):

Recognizing that both events are part of what is now a clear, undeniable, peaceful, determined, growing, coast-to-coast wave of public outpouring of frustration, anger, and, ultimately, solidarity sparked by the police murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day but decades and even centuries in the making, we feel compelled to do two things:

First, to pledge that the work we do going forward in advocating for a more walkable, welcoming, and sustainable Roslindale must be informed, in all ways and at all levels, by a central commitment to fight, every day and over the long haul, for a more just, equitable, and, yes, non-racist society – transportation and housing advocacy does not exist in a racism-free vacuum and we can’t ever ignore that; and

Second, to endorse the following formulation from one of our long-standing partners, LivableStreets Alliance, on the initial, but only the initial, steps we must take to make good on this pledge, specifically as follows:

How to be a White Ally 

Being anti-racist requires constant, active, uncomfortable work and self-examination. What actions can you take as an individual in your own life? Who are you talking to about white supremacy and police brutality? Are you calling in your family members, friends, colleagues? Where are you spending your money? Are you donating to Black-led organizations and supporting Black-owned businesses? If you are choosing to attend demonstrations, are you using your body to intervene and stand between police and Black protestors to protect them or de-escalate potentially violent situations?

Tamika Butler, Toole Design’s Director of Equity and Inclusion/Director of Planning for California, shares five questions for white people to hold, answer, and act on every day in her most recent blog post.

  1. Do I understand that not being racist isn’t the same as being anti-racist?
  2. Why am I so afraid to be brave enough to confront my power and privilege?
  3. What am I waiting for to decenter whiteness and realize just because I have never experienced it (or seen the research to prove it) doesn’t mean it isn’t real?
  4. What am I doing every single day to force myself to think about racism and white supremacy?
  5. What am I doing every single day to stop the killing of Black people?

If you are in a position to do so, we urge you to consider donating to these organizations that are on the frontlines of the work for racial justice in Boston:

Where We Are; Where We’re Going

To be candid, we struggled writing this, in part because so many of the statements issued in the last few days feel hollow, and statements in and of themselves don’t make change. It’s easy to call out the racist, violent actions of others. It is much harder to look inside and acknowledge your own contributions to upholding white supremacy culture.

LivableStreets is a majority-white organization, and we know we have a long way to go towards becoming an anti-racist organization. Writing a statement isn’t the real work. Working towards dismantling racism and white supremacy in everything that we do is.

We will continue to address racial equity in small and larger ways. For us this means reforming our hiring and board recruitment practices and examining our culture and communication norms. It means centering our advocacy on the most vulnerable and oppressed, not on the loudest voice in the room. And it means supporting legislation like An Act Relative to Pedestrian and Traffic Stop Data, a bill sponsored by Sen. Chang-Diaz designed to prevent racial profiling in all traffic stops.

There is much more work to be done. You should anticipate hearing more from us about these issues in the coming days and months. For now we hope you will consider taking action in one or several of the ways listed above.

At WalkUP Roslindale, we are aware of the need to look both internally – at how we’re led and structured – and externally – at the organizations with whom we partner and how we approach projects and initiatives. Like LivableStreets, we are a majority-white organization that needs to do more to make sure our own leadership reflects the diversity of our neighborhood, especially black and brown voices. We will stick with this work and we will let you know our progress going forward.