As we noted a few days ago, WalkUP Roslindale are confirmed to present a community screening of The Street Project, a new documentary from 9-time Emmy-award winning filmmaker Jennifer Boyd, focusing on the movement for safer streets around the US and the world. The screening will take place at 12:30 pm on the afternoon of Sunday, 25 June 2023, at the Rozzie Square Theater on Basile Street in Roslindale Square. So, come on down and support WalkUP Roslindale’s efforts to raise awareness and move the needle around these issues here at home. The screening will feature a community-led discussion about street safety in Roslindale and across Boston where we’ll hear voices from residents, cyclists, advocates, and participation from city planner and Walkable City author, Jeff Speck (invited). Seating is limited to 49 and seats are FREE (with donations through our fiscal sponsor, Roslindale Village Main Street, in any amount encouraged), so get your advance tickets HERE. Special thanks to Courtney and the team at RST for donating use of the theater space without cost. We look forward to seeing you there!
VERY BIG NEWS: BTD’s “Safety Surge” means the end of doling out street safety with an eyedropper…
This was definitely something not to be missed at the start of this week: On Monday, as StreetsblogMass reported, Mayor Wu and the Boston Transportation Department held a press conference in Mattapan to announce that they had laid the groundwork and were now ready to move forward with what they are dubbing a “Safety Surge” on 3 meaningful, citywide safety initiatives, starting more or less right away:
- Speed Humps. A new, comprehensive speed hump program that will roll out 500 new speed humps on residential streets throughout Boston based on analysis of crash day and vulnerable populations instead of the frankly take-it-slow, Hunger Games-like approach of the now-sunsetted Neighborhood Slow Streets program. NOTE: These are not car-frame/axle-jarring speed bumps but instead broader, more rounded humps in the street designed to be negotiated safely without incident as long as the motor vehicle operator is going not more than a safe-for-all-street-users 20 mph. Many (though not nearly enough) have been installed under the NSS program, including several in the Mt. Hope/Canterbury NSS area of Roslindale. We advocated for NSS districts in Roslindale and were fortunate to see some success in bringing the program here, but we have always agreed with Mayor Wu that, from the moment the NSS program was started and the mayor was just an at-large city councilor, it was woefully inadequate to meet the need, shouldn’t have been based on particular kinds of advocacy, and should have just gone citywide as a basic public health and safety measure like piping our sewer output and having lights on our street. We’ve said this before and are glad that this is finally the city’s real goal: Everyone deserves to live on a safe street. Everyone on every street in every neighborhood. As soon as possible. No exceptions.
- Safer Intersections. The goal here is to redesign and reconfigure 25-30 intersections across the city, again based on crash data and vulnerable population information, to prioritize safety. Most crashes happen at intersections, so this work is absolutely critical and we look forward to seeing major, highly dangerous intersections that today act like major obstacles (ahem, the American Legion/Cummins/Canterbury intersection being a big one around here) made safer and more inviting for everyone.
- Safer Signals. This is another in the long-time-coming category. The way signals and control of motor vehicles are undertaken at signalized intersections has been a depressing prospect in this city for as long as your correspondent has lived here. The last citywide policy redo, in 2018, was deeply insufficient to meet the moment and failed move us away from a car-first mindset. The new policy stands a chance of making the changes we need made, especially through leading pedestrian intervals at key signalized crossings, prohibiting right-on-red in more places, and setting an overall goal of safety over motor vehicle throughput.
So, a momentous set of changes and ones that we look forward to following and enjoying with all of our neighbors as they roll out. Stay tuned as that happens.
BTD Better Bike Lanes PLUS: Engagement Opportunities for Poplar Street Improvements (with Spanish translation)
The Boston Transportation Department is seeking feedback on design and implementation of new street safety infrastructure, including a contraflow bike lane on the close-in portion of Poplar Street from Washington Street to Sycamore Street and speed humps from there out to Canterbury Street. See the flyer below. Thanks!
Public Meeting 5 Days Right Ahead – Thursday, 9 March 2023 – Return of 4198 Washington Street
As those who follow this weblog know, WalkUP Roslindale followed this project closely through the public process that unfortunately resulted in an effective ZBA denial in the fall of 2021. (See 2 of our posts below). Now, the owners of the property are thankfully back with a renewed push on redevelopment of this 8,982 square foot site at 4198 – 4206 Washington Street in Roslindale Square. Physically, their proposal hasn’t changed: in place of the existing one-story retail structure, it still calls for construction of a new five (5)-story, mixed-use building containing approximately thirty-one (31) residential units, approximately 6,800 square feet of retail/community theater space, and approximately thirty-eight (38) bicycle storage spaces. The sole change, and it is significant, is that the owners have increased the share of income-restricted residential units from 42% to 61%, such that 19 of the 31 units are committed to be affordable to households earning between 60% and 100% of area median income. Not only is this substantively good on its own and makes an already great project that much better, it is also puts the project into the category of affordable residential developments that the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Executive Order of last fall expressly wants to advance more quickly and efficiently in light of the long-standing housing crisis in our city. In other words, this is exactly the kind of project that the Wu Administration wants to see a lot more of. Its time has come.
You can visit the project’s page on the BPDA website for more information. Most importantly, you can find information on the upcoming public meeting over zoom that is scheduled for this coming Thursday, 9 March 2023, at 6:00 pm. We urge supporters of this worthy proposal to attend the meeting and make your voices heard in support. You can register here.
4198 Washington Street Mixed Use and Affordable Housing Project Rejected by Zoning Board of Appeal Due to Lack of Parking
Calles Lentas de South Street Baja y el Vecindario Cercano
El 17 de noviembre, el plan de Calles Lentas de South Street Baja y el Vecindario Cercano fue aprobado por la Comisión de Mejoramiento Publico, Public Improvement Commission (PIC). Este logro fue la culminación de años de abogacía por parte de residentes y el trabajo del equipo de Calles Lentas de Boston, Boston Slow Streets team. Estos avances serán construidos en 2023. Vea las especificaciones:
Después del voto, el Jefe de Calles, Jascha Franklin-Hodge tomó un momento para decir unas palabras sobre el compromiso por parte de la administración para reconstruir las calles de Boston incluyendo este extracto:
“Debemos hacer más, debemos hacerlo más rápido – para reconstruir nuestras calles con el fin de que sean seguras y cómodas para todos. Y debemos ver y cambiar las políticas y los procesos que muchas veces resultan en un proceso prolongado y tardanzas excesivas al hacer este tipo de trabajo crítico. Así que solo quisiera decirles a los miembros del público aquí que yo al igual que la administración estamos comprometidos a hacer estos cambios.”
Nosotros aplaudimos esta declaración y hemos incluido una transcripción completa con sus palabras abajo. Mientras el programa de Calles Lentas en Vecindarios, Neighborhood Slow Streets, a sido un programa exitoso, este solo no puede solucionar el peligro a nivel general que viven las personas vulnerables en vecindarios alrededor de la ciudad. Nosotros alentamos a la ciudad que cumplan con su compromiso de acelerar el paso de cambio, y esperamos trabajar en conjunto para brindar calles seguras a Roslindale.
“Antes de que sigamos quisiera quitarme el puesto de presidencia de PIC y usar esta oportunidad para decir algunas cosas de parte de la administración de la Alcaldesa Wu en mi capacidad como su Jefe de Calles y Comisario de Public Works. En primer lugar, quisiera decir gracias a ti Stephanie ([Seskin (Directora de Transportación Activa del Departamento de Transportación de Boston)] y su equipo por todos sus esfuerzos trabajando en este proyecto y durante los últimos años – yo se que estos esfuerzos han involucrado (como hemos escuchado) extensa divulgación pública, juntas públicas, oportunidades para dar comentarios, y múltiples rondas de revisión de diseño. Y llegar hasta este punto ha requerido bastante inversión de tiempo y energía por parte del equipo de la ciudad así que estoy muy agradecido por eso.
En segundo lugar, quisiera decir gracias a los miembros de la comunidad quienes han luchado por este proyecto, y quienes han impulsado a la ciudad a crear calles más seguras en los vecindarios por años y por décadas en algunos casos. Pedimos mucho de ustedes, incluyendo venir a esta junta en el medio del día en un Jueves, y eso es solo para obtener algo tan fundamental como una calle donde se sientan seguros.
La tercera cosa que quisiera decir es que la ciudad necesita mejorar. No debería tomar esfuerzos extraordinarios para obtener una básica infraestructura segura en nuestras calles. No deberíamos pedirles que alegen con nosotros por su seguridad o la de sus hijos y vecinos. Casi todos los días escucho de personas en vecindarios de cada parte de Boston sobre el miedo que sienten en nuestras calles – y si, esos sentimientos si importan. Y yo veo las estadísticas – todavía tenemos miles de personas cada año que son lesionadas en nuestras calles y casi todos los años más de una docena de personas mueren en esas mismas calles. Yo se que podemos y debemos hacer más para producir mejor infraestructura que sea más segura en la ciudad de Boston.
Y quisiera decir que lo que acabamos de aprobar, lo que repasamos hoy representa mejores prácticas establecidas para las calles de vecindario. Estas se reflejan en la guía de la ciudad de calles completas: en la guia de calles urbanas de NACTO, en publicaciones de MassDOT, en publicaciones de la Administración Federal de Carreteras, Federal Highway Administration. Estos cambios no son novedosos, no son excepcionales o experimentales, y su eficacia no está en cuestión. Lo que aprobamos hoy son un set de cambios que acercaran a estas calles más cerca hacia lo que décadas de investigación y experiencia han mostrado que resultan en calles más seguras para todos los usuarios. Y entonces, la ciudad siempre aceptara y tomará en cuenta los consejos del público en cualquier proyecto que hagamos, pero la seguridad no debe de estar a debate y no debería de ser tan difícil o tomar tanto tiempo como lo toma ahora para obtener que estos tipos de cambios de seguridad sean implementados en la ciudad de Boston. Así que digo esto para reconocer que nosotros como líderes de la ciudad tenemos trabajo que hacer.
Debemos hacer más, debemos hacerlo más rápido – para reconstruir nuestras calles con el fin de que sean seguras y cómodas para todos. Y debemos ver y cambiar las políticas y los procesos que muchas veces resultan en un proceso prolongado y tardanzas excesivas al hacer este tipo de trabajo crítico. Así que solo quisiera decirles a los miembros del público aquí que yo al igual que la administración estamos comprometidos a hacer estos cambios. Estoy muy emocionado de ver estos mejoramientos ser implementados en Roslindale el próximo año, y eso pasará mientras trabajamos para acelerar el paso de cambio – cambios como estos en vecindarios a través de Boston. Así que gracias, y solo quería tomar un momento para expresar mi posición sobre esto.”
The Lower South Street Neighborhood Slow Streets Project and Boston’s Commitment to Street Safety Citywide
Haga clic aquí para una versión en español de esta publicación
On 11/17/22, the Lower South Street and Vicinity Neighborhood Slow Streets plan was approved by the Boston Public Improvement Commission (PIC). This successful outcome was the culmination of years of advocacy by residents and work by the Boston Slow Streets team. These improvements will be built in 2023. View the specifics:
After the vote, Boston’s Chief of Streets, Jascha Franklin-Hodge, took a moment to make a statement about the administration’s commitment to rebuilding Boston’s streets including this excerpt:
“We must do more, we must do it faster – to rebuild our streets so that they are safe and comfortable for everyone. And we must look at and change the policies and the processes that often result in protracted process and excessive delay in doing this kind of critical work. So I just want to say to the members of the public here, you have my commitment and the administration’s commitment to make these changes.”
We applaud this statement and have included a transcription of his full remarks below. While Boston’s Neighborhood Slow Streets has been a successful program, it does not by itself sufficiently address the widespread danger posed to vulnerable street users in neighborhoods across the city. We encourage the administration to follow through on this commitment to accelerate the pace of change, and look forward to being a partner in bringing safer streets to Roslindale.
“Before we move on I would like to take off my hat as PIC chair and use this as an opportunity to say a few things on behalf of Mayor Wu’s administration in my capacity as her Chief of Streets and Public Works Commissioner. First off, I want to say thank you Stefanie [Seskin (Active Transportation Director in the Boston Transportation Department)] and her team for all the hard work on this project over the past few years – I know that this effort has involved (as we’ve heard) extensive resident outreach, public meetings, feedback opportunities, and multiple rounds of design revisions. And getting to this point has required substantial investment of time and energy by the city team so I’m very grateful for that.
Second, I want to say thank you to the community members who have advocated for this project, and who have been pushing the city to create safer neighborhood streets for years, in some cases decades. We ask a lot of you, including showing up for a hearing in the middle of the day on a Thursday, and that’s just to get something as fundamental as a street where you feel safe.
The third thing I want to say is that the city needs to do better. It should not take extraordinary advocacy to get basic safety infrastructure on our streets. We should not ask you to plead with us for your safety or that of your kids or that of your neighbors. Almost every single day I hear from people in neighborhoods in every part of Boston about the fear they feel on our streets – and yes, those feelings do matter. And I see statistics – we still have thousands of people every year who are injured on our streets. and most years more than a dozen people are killed on those same streets. I know that we can and we must do more to produce better and safer infrastructure in the city of Boston.
And I want to say that what we just approved, what we reviewed today represents well-established best practices for neighborhood streets. These are reflected in the city’s complete streets guidelines: in NACTO’S urban street design guide, in publications from MassDOT, in publications from the Federal Highway Administration. These changes are not novel, they’re not exceptional or experimental, and their efficacy is not in question. What we approved today is a set of changes that bring these streets closer to what decades of research and experience has shown us results in safer streets for all road users. And so, the city will always accept and consider public input on any project that we do, but safety should not be up for debate and it should not be as hard as it is or take as long as it does for us to get these kinds of safety changes implemented in the city of Boston. So I say this to acknowledge that we as city leadership have work to do.
We must do more, we must do it faster – to rebuild our streets so that they are safe and comfortable for everyone. And we must look at and change the policies and the processes that often result in protracted process and excessive delay in doing this kind of critical work. So I just want to say to the members of the public here, you have my commitment and the administrations’ commitment to make these changes. I’m really excited to see these improvements get implemented in Roslindale next year, and that’s going to happen as we work to accelerate the pace of change – changes like these in neighborhoods across Boston. So thank you, I just wanted to take a moment to express our position on this.”
– Jascha Franklin-Hodge (Boston Chief of Streets)
Remarks made at 11/17 Public Improvement Commission meeting
(view the PIC video starting at Jascha’s remarks)
Final Poplar Street Walk Audit Report
We’re pleased to be able to share the final version of the Poplar Street Walk Audit report with everyone. No comments were received since we posted the draft on the 3rd of August, so the final is the same as the draft with just some dressing up (logos and footers added). The report is available in PDF format, and also posted below. We look forward to working with the city on planning and implementing street safety improvements in this critical corridor in our neighborhood.
Poplar Street Walk Audit – Draft report now available for general feedback
Following up on our early May Walk Audit on Poplar Street, conducted with our friends at WalkBoston, we are now able to share the draft report to solicit further feedback on how we might slow motor vehicle speeds and improve the safety of vulnerable street users, especially those on foot.
Please send any comments to <firstname.lastname@example.org> by Monday, 15 August 2022. Many thanks!
Poplar Street Walk Audit – 7 May 2022 – 9 am – BE THERE!!!
For our first walk audit in a bit more than a year, we’ll team up with WalkBoston to take stock of existing conditions and think about street safety improvements on Poplar Street, all the way from Roslindale Square to the intersection with Hautevale Street. Everyone is welcome to come, learn about street safety, and help us think about ways to make our neighborhood a safer, more welcoming place for everyone who wants to use this critical neighborhood street.
Here’s the route we’re planning on auditing:
The walk will start with an intro presentation at WorkHub at the Substation (corner of Cummins & Washington) at 9 am. Please check out and sign up at our facebook event page so we can try to do at least a little of numbers planning. More to come soon. Thanks!
Feedback Opportunity – South/Robert Intersection Safety Improvements – LANA Meeting 14 March 2022 @ 7:00 pm
From time to time, specific street intersections come up for redesign and improvement to promote their safety. We understand that one such case is underway now for the intersection of South and Robert streets in the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association‘s part of Roslindale, directly adjacent to Fallon Field. It’s an intersection that is used fairly frequently by folks on foot to access the playground and other facilities at Fallon, especially smaller children and their families. It also sports one of the more notorious slip lanes in the neighborhood, used by drivers to go from Robert onto South, with a stop sign that, based on this observer’s personal experience, is actually complied with less than 10% of the time. Thankfully, LANA have been advocating for many years for changes here and we understand that the Boston Transportation Department will be unveiling 25% design plans and seeking feedback this coming Monday evening, 14 March 2022, at LANA’s regular board meeting (which will also reportedly feature an appearance by new District 6 City Councilor Kendra Lara). You can sign up to attend the meeting HERE. Hope to see you there! mjl