We sent a letter and gave live testimony this week at a City Council committee hearing on sidewalk snow clearance (more background from Streetsblog Mass). Our full comment letter is below, you can also watch the entire 2+ hour video, or just jump to City Councillor Matt O’Malley’s shout-out to WalkUP Roslindale or WalkUP Roslindale member Matt Lawlor’s testimony toward the end of the hearing. In brief, sidewalk snow clearance is critical to better walkability in Boston and our current system is completely broken. Read on for more.
We’ve been following a proposed development at 4198 Washington Street (the building that is currently home to Droubi’s Pita Bakery, Rozzie Square Theater, Delicious Yogurt, and Dragon Chef) with interest. The developer proposes to replace the building with a new six-story, mixed-use building with 39 residential units, 4,500 square feet of retail, a custom-built community theater space, as well as ample bicycle parking. The BPDA is holding a virtual public meeting this Wednesday, February 24, 2021, from 6pm-7:30pm to discuss the proposal and receive feedback. You’ll need to register in order to attend.
We are generally in favor of the project since it will provide much-needed housing right in the heart of Rozzie Square, without creating the induced demand for more cars that would occur with dedicated parking spaces. We also understand that the developer is working to secure funding that would allow it to income-restrict at least 40% of units, a goal we support enthusiastically. We look forward to hearing more about the project at this upcoming meeting, after which we plan to send a comment letter with our collective feedback.
We encourage everyone who would like to see more housing (without more cars) in Roslindale to attend and speak up at this meeting.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
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 email@example.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.
We are pleased to publish a report documenting the Walk Audit of a portion of Cummins Highway (between Washington Street/Roslindale Square and Rowe Street) performed by members of WalkUP Roslindale in December 2019. We identified many opportunities to dramatically improve safety along this stretch including converting one way streets to two way streets, increasing the number and safety of street crossings, and repositioning bicycle lanes between parked cars and the sidewalk. Please check out the report to read our specific recommendations for each intersection. Our next steps will be to set up meetings with the appropriate city officials and elected leaders to begin to address the highest priority items. If you have any thoughts about the report or what our top priorities should be, please leave them in the comments below or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please download and share the full PDF version of the report, or read on for details.
As long-time WalkUP followers know, we’re big supporters of bus lanes, and were delighted by the relatively quickly deployment and extraordinary success of a morning in-bound dedicated bus lane on Washington Street from Roslindale Square to Forest Hills. It’s been clear from day one, though, that an evening outbound lane is at least as necessary–if not more so–given the extreme congestion in that direction during normal times. We are happy to report that the City is now moving forward with (virtual) public meetings to discuss an outbound lane and receive community feedback. In advance of next week’s meetings, you can check out a BTD presentation to WalkUP from January which started to explore some of these ideas.
The following meetings are scheduled for next week; click on the links below for flyers with more details:
- Merchant Focused Meetings
- Community-Focused Meetings
Please attend the meeting most appropriate for your interest and speak out in support of this excellent idea!
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.
- Do I understand that not being racist isn’t the same as being anti-racist?
- Why am I so afraid to be brave enough to confront my power and privilege?
- 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?
- What am I doing every single day to force myself to think about racism and white supremacy?
- 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:
- ACLU Massachusetts
- Bikes Not Bombs
- Black Lives Matter Boston
- FANG Bail Fund
- Massachusetts Bail Fund
- Mass Action Against Police Brutality
- Spokehouse – Bowdoin Bike School
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.
Back in May, we posted a survey on proposed improvements to the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. The Parks Department is now hosting a public meeting (over Zoom) this coming Tuesday, June 9, from 7pm-9pm:
Join us at an online community engagement meeting for the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. The focus of the capital project is wetland restoration, but will also include some entrance and trail improvements. We’d love for you to join us in our online presentation with a question and answer session afterward. Interpretation and translation services are available to you at no cost. If you are attending this event and need these services, please contact Laura Cawley at the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at Laura.Cawley@nullboston.gov or 617-961-3013.
You can find the Zoom link for the event on the city event page.
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 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.