Comment letter on Boston Transportation Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2021

Last week, we sent a comment letter to the Boston City Council Committee on Ways & Means concerning next year’s operating budget, with a focus on transportation. We were particularly happy to see some proposed funding for the Roslindale Gateway Path. Other WalkUP priorities include the Washington Street Bus Lane, an American Legion Corridor bike network, and implementation of Neighborhood Slow Streets in the Mount Hope/Canterbury area. Our detail comments are below; a PDF version of the letter as sent is also available.

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Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild Park Capital Improvements Survey

The Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild Park is a 10-acre nature sanctuary, located near Weld between Centre and Walter Street. The Boston Parks and Recreation Department is working on capital improvements to the park in collaboration with landscape architecture firm Crowley Cottrell. They’ve asked us to spread the word about an online survey seeking community feedback about these planned improvements. Please take the survey at the links below and spread the word to neighbors.

WalkUP Roslindale/West Rox Walks Comments to DCR on Centre Street/Walter Street Intersection

WalkUP Roslindale teamed up with West Rox Walks to offer comments on proposed safety improvements for the Centre Street/Walter Street intersection near the Arnold Arboretum and Sophia Snow Place. This is consistently the most dangerous stretch of road in our neighborhoods and is currently an unpleasant and risky experience for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike. As this road is maintained by the Commonwealth, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”) is handling the redesign and taking comments. In its most recent presentation, DCR offered three alternatives for the intersection. Only one of those options (“Alternative 1”) is acceptable in our view; and that design could still benefit from several modifications as detailed below. The deadline for comments is today (Thursday 3/5/20), so if you’d like to add your voice, please submit a brief note on the DCR comment website.

Full letter below. (PDF version also available). You can also check out DCR’s February 13, 2020 PowerPoint presentation about these various options.

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Spring 2020 Gateway Path Update – New 25% Conceptual Plan, Demolition Started at Bussey Brook Meadow

The Roslindale Gateway Path remains one of WalkUP Roslindale’s signature initiatives and a top priority. As we approach the five year mark since its conception (along with WalkUP itself), we’re starting to see concrete progress. Please excuse the pun.

Notably, we recently received a revised 25% conceptual plan for the path from our partner consultant, Horsley Witten Group. As you will see below, the path course has been modestly revised, and more details about eventual construction filled in. Click on the image to see an (extremely) high-resolution detailed version.

Updated 25% Design Plan for Roslindale Gateway PathMeanwhile, demolition work on the new Bussey Brook Meadow entrance to the path–at the end of Arboretum Road off of Washington Street–recently started:

Demolition of Bussey Brook Meadow Entrance to Arboretum

We are looking ahead to break ground for this segment of the path sometime this summer. The other major update is that design work is moving forward on the grand boardwalk connecting the Peters Hill segment of the path – this segment will connect the intersection of Bussey and South Street to the Bussey Brook Meadow. Renderings of this section are expected in June 2020. Blow-up of this section below, with the new, improved Arboretum Road entrance on the bottom right:Boardwalk Section of Bussey Brook Path

WalkUP Roslindale Comment Letter on 3992-3996 Washington Street

3992-3996 Washington Street Rendering
3992-3996 Washington Street Rendering

This week, we sent a comment letter on a proposed 18-unit housing development at 3992-3996 Washington Street, about halfway between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills at the intersection of Archdale Road near Guira y Tambora. While we are always happy to welcome new housing to the neighborhood to help mitigate the region-wide housing crisis, the proposed development suffers from similar shortcomings of many other recent proposals — too much valuable land dedicated permanently to car storage, insufficient commitment to affordability and needed density, and only minimally compliant green-building efforts. We still support the overall project, but hope that the City and developers will not miss this opportunity to build for the 21st century, rather than the 20th. Immediate and major change in how we plan land use and transportation decisions are critical to achieving the vision set out in GoBoston 2030 and the greater Imagine Boston 2030 plan.

Our detailed comments below (PDF version also available).

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Hyde Park Ave Open House – this Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 7pm at the Hyde Park Police Station

Speak up for safety and transit improvements for Hyde Park Ave! The City of Boston is holding an open house next week to gather feedback about conditions on Hyde Park Ave between Forest Hills Station and Wolcott Square. Please spread the word.

Can you speak up about the need for safety improvements for people walking and biking and dedicated bus lanes?

Hyde Park Ave Open House
Tuesday, February 11, 7:00 pm
@ Hyde Park Police Station
1249 Hyde Park Ave, Hyde Park, MA 02136

Hyde Park Ave is the crucial link between Roslindale and Hyde Park. This road serves several bus routes and over 10,000 bus riders every weekday. Crashes involving people walking, biking, and driving happen regularly along this corridor, and a stretch of it is on the City of Boston’s Vision Zero High Crash Network map. If you support a Hyde Park Ave that improves bus service and is safer for all, please let the City of Boston know!

Not able to attend the open house? BTD has launched a survey to collect feedback.

Thanks to our friends at Livable Streets for the event announcement.

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Presentation from WalkUP’s first BTD Transit Team Meeting of 2020

We had a full house at the Rozzie Square Theater on Tuesday night this week to hear from Boston Transportation Department Transit Director Matt Moran about planned mobility upgrades for Roslindale. The two points of focus of Matt’s presentation were the Washington Street corridor (between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills) and Hyde Park Avenue (between Wolcott Square and Forest Hills). Bus riders depend heavily on both corridors; moreover, although they outnumber car drivers, they are stuck in the same stand-still traffic at rush hour. The improvement that appears to be the closest to fruition is a southbound afternoon bus/bike-lane on Washington Street, but several improvements for mass transit riders and cyclists are planned for both streets.

We’re pleased to share BTD’s complete presentation from the event, which outlines several other planned improvements in addition to the bus/bike lane. Now it’s our job to make sure the City gets positive and encouraging feedback from residents. Change can’t come soon enough!

WalkUP Roslindale Comment Letter on 780 American Legion / Home for Little Wanderers Project

Today, we sent a comment letter to the BPDA to comment on a proposed project at 780 American Legion Highway (a road that we hope someday will be renamed to and remade as American Legion Greenway). This is the current site of the Home for Little Wanderers, a nonprofit that provides services to at-risk children and young adults. The proposal would be a major development, including 22 units of youth housing as well as 93 units of market rate and workforce rental units and owner-occupied town house condominium units, and new offices for the Home.

We are generally supportive of the project but note it is critical for the City to work with the MBTA to improve transit options in this currently under-served area. Just this week, the Mayor called for a 50% reduction of car use by 2030; higher density projects like this can help achieve that goal as long as they are accompanied by a substantial investment in improved pedestrian, bicycle, and transit options.

Our full letter is reproduced below. (PDF version available here.)

Read full letter