Washington Street Bus/Bike Lane Extension Coffee Hours Next Week

We are happy to report that BTD is looking to extend the existing inbound Washington Street Bus/Bike Lane in Roslindale from Albano Street to Poplar Street. This bus lane would help address severe congestion on Washington Street on the approach to Poplar Street. A few details provided by BTD:

  • The bus lane would be in effect from 5 AM to 10 AM and would affect parking only during those times.
  • The bus lane would support MBTA bus routes 34, 34E, 40, and 50. This would improve the commute time for over 1,700 riders who use this stretch of road in the morning commute hours.
  • Boston Public School Buses and emergency vehicles could also use the bus lane.

BTD is hosting two coffee hours next week at the Square Root Café. We encourage folks to drop by to support this well-needed extension!

  • Wednesday, October 26 from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM
  • Thursday, October 27th from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM

See also this BTD flyer for these events in English, Spanish, and Creole.

Vision Zero – Vote Yes on Ballot Question 4 for Safer Roads

WalkUP Roslindale is a member of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, a broad coalition of nonprofits and community groups who share the goal of ending traffic injuries and deaths across Massachusetts. As the November election nears, we wanted to boost the Coalition’s support for Ballot Question 4, which would allow otherwise eligible residents the ability to obtain driver’s licenses, regardless of immigration status. The Coalition’s full statement is below:

The Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition stands in strong support of the Yes on 4 for Safer Roads ballot campaign to uphold the common-sense law known as the Work and Family Mobility Act.

This law was enacted earlier this year and allows qualified residents, regardless of immigration status, to apply for a standard driver’s license. As a Coalition focused on improving street safety, we know this law will meaningfully improve road safety for everyone, and will dignify all our residents with the freedom to travel safely and legally. Voting YES on ballot question 4 in November will preserve this law, improve mobility, and ensure more drivers on our roads are trained and licensed.

A YES vote on ballot question 4 will:

  1. Support safe mobility access in our communities, ensuring that all workers and families can safely and legally make essential trips like dropping off kids at school and getting to work, medical appointments, and the grocery store, and;
  2. Uphold the regulatory framework that ensures all drivers have passed a road test, bought insurance, and have a form of verified identification.

Read our full statement here.

Here’s how you can learn more + get involved: 

We hope you will vote YES on question 4 on the ballot this November!

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition
http://www.visionzerocoalition.org

RED ALERT: It’s now official – MBTA to close down Orange Line for 30 day “accelerated” repair effort on tracks and signals

UPDATE: 17 August 2022

The MBTA Commuter Rail “Surge” Schedule for Forest Hills (plus Hyde Park and Ruggles) to Back Bay and South Station (and back) is now available. It can be found here.

Here’s a selected station pair – Forest Hills and South Station only – total travel time is about 13 to 15 minutes:

INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS – WEEKDAYS

5:31am, 6:34am, 6:42am, 7:16am, 7:34am, 7:42am [BIG GAP], 8:34am, 8:42am, 9:14am, 9:31am, 9:42am, 10:16am, 10:31am, 10:42am [BIG GAP], 11:31am, 11:47am, 12:17pm, 12:31pm [BIG GAP], 1:31pm, 1:47pm [BIG GAP], 2:36pm, 3:18pm, 3:36pm [BIG GAP], 4:36pm [BIG GAP], 5:36pm [BIG GAP], 6:36pm [BIG GAP], 7:36pm [BIG GAP], 9:16pm [NO MORE INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS AFTER 9:16PM]

OUTBOUND FROM SOUTH STATION – WEEKDAYS (Applicable line noted in parentheses)

6:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 7:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 8:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 9:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 10:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 11:50am [BIG GAP] (Needham), 12:50pm (Needham), 1:05pm (Stoughton) [BIG GAP], 1:55pm (Needham), 2:05pm (Stoughton), 2:25pm (Wickford), 2:55pm (Needham), 3:25pm (Providence), 3:55pm (Needham), 4:25pm (Providence), 4:55pm (Needham), 5:00pm (Stoughton) [BIG GAP], 5:55pm (Needham), 6:00pm (Stoughton) [BIG GAP], 6:55pm (Needham), 7:00pm (Stoughton), 7:25pm (Wickford), 7:55pm (Needham), 8:00pm (Stoughton), 8:25pm (Providence), 9:00pm (Stoughton), 9:20pm (Needham) [BIG GAP], 11:00pm (Needham) [NO MORE OUTBOUND TO FOREST HILLS AFTER 11:00PM]

INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS – WEEKENDS [BIG GAPS THROUGHOUT]

6:31am, 6:36am, 8:36am, 8:51am, 10:36am, 10:51am, 12:36pm, 12:51pm, 2:36pm, 2:48pm, 4:36pm, 6:36pm, 8:36pm [NO MORE INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS AFTER 8:36pm]

OUTBOUND FROM SOUTH STATION – WEEKENDS [BIG GAPS THROUGHOUT]

7:15am, 9:15am, 11:15am, 12:20pm, 1:15pm, 2:20pm, 3:15pm, 4:20pm, 5:15pm, 6:00pm, 7:15pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm [NO MORE OUTBOUND FROM SOUTH STATION AFTER 10:15PM]

UPDATE: 15 August 2022 – NEW MBTA FLYERS NOW AVAILABLE:

Orange Line Shutdown – ENGLISH

Orange Line Shutdown – SPANISH

Orange Line Shutdown – HAITIAN CREOLE

 

 

NOTE: For travel between Roslindale and Downtown, the best bet is almost certainly going to be the Commuter Rail from either Roslindale Village, Forest Hills, or Bellevue. Without coming completely out and saying it, the T is essentially going to allow for free boarding of the system based on flashing a Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket. They are now clear that they won’t be checking the value on these passes, so basically anything will work here.

PRIOR POST FOLLOWS

Among the many issues unfortunately plaguing our region’s transit system, the state of the Orange Line’s tracks and signals has been an ongoing concern for several years as slow zones have multiplied all along the line, increasing travel times significantly and contributing to the sense of an agency on a downward trajectory at exactly the wrong time. We simply can’t afford a transit system that doesn’t work.

Today, the MBTA admitted reality, made it official, and announced a 30-day shutdown of the entire Orange Line, from Forest Hills to Oak Grove, starting at 9 pm on Friday, 19 August 2022, and ending on Monday, 19 September 2022. The MBTA’s announcement can be found here. We’ve pulled the whole thing into this post to highlight key items in planning for Roslindale residents during this period and we encourage everyone to sign up for “Orange Line Transformation Updates” with the button in the post from the T:

  • Commuter Rail Access/Fair Fares: Service is being added on other lines so that they will stop more frequently at both Forest Hills and Ruggles, but beyond that, the T providing that riders can also take the Commuter Rail from Roslindale Village or Bellevue for the same price as riding the subway/bus. Just show your Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket when boarding.
  • Substitute Bus Service: There will be free substitute bus service in 2 parts – Forest Hills to Back Bay and North Station to Oak Grove. How well the City of Boston and the T coordinate bus transit priority for these shuttles will be a key part of what happens here and how much pain riders have to endure. We will watch closely for announcements here.
  • Other Travel Alternatives: We’re also keenly interested in how well the T coordinates increasing service on key regular bus routes that could provide replacement service, such as the 39 from Forest Hills, and what the City does on bulking up Blue Bikes and safe cycling generally along the Southwest Corridor and on Washington Street from the square to Forest Hills.

 

FULL MBTA ANNOUNCEMENT:

 

As part of the Orange Line Transformation Program, we’re accelerating important reliability upgrades during a 30-day shutdown of the entire line starting at 9 PM on August 19. Regular Orange Line service will resume on Monday, September 19.

During this acceleration, crews will complete multiple projects more than five years faster than originally planned.

Why We’re Doing This Work

Upgrades to Orange Line tracks and signals will improve safety, increase reliability, and provide smoother trips for riders.

During this 30-day shutdown, a number of service alternatives will be available.

Crews will begin work at 9 PM on Friday, August 19. Regular service will resume on Monday, September 19.

Commuter Rail

The Commuter Rail may be the best option for many Orange Line riders. During this shutdown, riders can simply show their CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to conductors to ride the Commuter Rail in Zones 1A, 1 and 2. All Commuter Rail stops along the Orange Line are accessible.

Providence Line trains will make additional stops at Forest Hills:

  • On weekdays, 24 Providence Line trains will stop at Forest Hills
  • On weekends, 10 Providence Line trains will stop at Forest Hills

Haverhill Line trains will make additional stops at Oak Grove. Check back here for more information about this schedule coming soon.

For service on the south side of the Orange Line and to Downtown, riders can take the Needham Line, which stops at:

For service on the north side of the Orange Line, riders can take the Haverhill Line, which stops at:

 Shuttle Buses

Orange Line train service will be replaced with free, accessible shuttle buses:

Check back here for additional shuttle bus service information.

 Green Line

Riders are encouraged to use Green Line service in the downtown Boston area at Government CenterPark StreetBoylstonArlington, and Copley stations.

Neighborhood Impacts

The loudest work will occur when crews cut rails with a saw and tamp the track to the proper elevation.

Contact Us

For questions or comments related to this project, please email the Orange Line Transformation team at OLT@nullmbta.com.

To report construction issues or noise complaints, please call the OLT project hotline at 617-222-3393.

Sign Up for Orange Line Transformation Updates

To get project news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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.

Read More

Please help support housing at 59-63 Belgrade Avenue

Please contact the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) and your elected officials to show your SUPPORT for badly-needed new housing at 59-63 Belgrade Avenue.

This proposal will replace the Folsom Funeral Home, which is closing, and will provide:

  • 31 new apartments, a mix of one and two-bedroom units
  • 6 income-restricted apartments
  • Ample on-site bicycle storage
  • New transit-oriented housing directly next to the commuter rail and Roslindale Square

Please send a polite, brief support email in your own words to the following individuals with the subject line: “Please Support 59-63 Belgrade Avenue”

This is an important infill proposal that will provide needed new transit-oriented housing, displace no one from the site, and enhance the entrance to Roslindale Square on Belgrade Ave. WalkUP Roslindale previously submitted a comment letter in support of the project to the BPDA.

Please submit your support emails before Friday, August 19th! The ZBA hearing will be held virtually on Tuesday, August 23rd.

Thank you!

Not an official WalkUP Roslindale Event, but very good to see this starting: Group bike ride into City Hall from Roslindale Square with Mayor Wu – 8 am this Thursday, 11 August 2022

Michelle takes a selfie with members of the mayor’s BPD detail team

[Photo credit @wutrain.]

For the first of what we hope will be many community group bike rides with Mayor Wu to come, Adams Park in Roslindale Square will be the starting point on this coming Thursday morning, 11 August 2022, at 8 am. This ride is open to everyone, all ages and types of riders of bicycles. Other key details:

  1. There will be no set agenda; just a bike ride with the mayor to get from Roslindale into downtown.
  2. There’s a sign up sheet available here, so we can gauge numbers and plan accordingly.
  3. In words, the route will run from Adams Park (Cummins/Washington side) in Roslindale Square up Washington Street to Forest Hills, then take the Southwest Corridor Bike Path to Ruggles, then Columbus Avenue, left on Dartmouth Street, right on Boylston Street, and finally a left back onto Washington Street and into the southern end of City Hall Plaza.
  4. A link to a graphical depiction of the route can be found here.
  5. We expect numbers sufficient enough to need ride marshals to keep us all together safely, so keep an eye out, and try to arrive by 7:45 am if possible to help the organizers get organized.
  6. Follow this twitter thread for more updates as they become available.

Thanks and hope to see you there!

Mt. Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association Comments on FY2023 Boston Transportation Budget

The City of Boston is finalizing the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which begins on July 1, 2022. We intend to submit comments soon (ideas welcome!) but in the meantime we wanted to share this letter sent by Rick Yoder and WalkUP Board Member Lisa Beatman on behalf of the Mt. Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association and the American Legion Corridor Coalition.

Read More

UPDATE: NEW LOCATION: Join Mayor Wu at her Neighborhood Coffee Hour for Roslindale – 9:30 am, 9 June 2022 at UPSTAIRS AT THE SUBSTATION

LOCATION CHANGED TO UPSTAIRS AT THE SUBSTATION – WASHINGTON & CUMMINS.

We encourage everyone to attend this coffee hour, meet the mayor and her staff, put names to faces, and let them know about your priorities and concerns. We hope to see YOU there. LINK TO: Mayor’s 2022 Coffee Hour in Roslindale.

We Need a New Zoning Board of Appeal

Open Letter to Mayor Wu from WalkUP Roslindale

WalkUP Roslindale calls on Mayor Michelle Wu to appoint new members to the City of Boston Zoning Board of Appeal.

The Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) membership is fundamentally opposed to the Mayor’s climate, transit, and housing justice agenda. In the past few months, the ZBA has rejected multiple new 4-story residential buildings proposed on Washington Street in or near Roslindale Square. This area has many existing 4-story buildings, is served by almost a dozen bus routes with dedicated rush hour lanes, and is less than a mile from the Forest Hills MBTA Station. In these rejections, ZBA members primarily insisted on additional car parking over more affordable units or improved commercial spaces for local businesses. These sorts of ZBA decisions are crippling the mayor’s stated agenda to incentivize developers to build affordable, mixed-use, transit-friendly projects in our neighborhood and across the city of Boston.

Forcing developers to dedicate more space to car storage exacerbates the housing crisis, makes new housing more expensive, and harms our community. Insisting on excessive off-street parking in new developments already well served by transit reduces the total possible number of housing units and particularly the number of income-restricted units built. In the most egregious recent example, we saw the ZBA reject a development at 4198 Washington Street which far exceeded the City’s mandated goals for income-restricted housing on site and would have provided new spaces to multiple small businesses owned by Asian-American proprietors. ZBA members wanted parking to replace both housing and commercial space on site. We have seen similar reasoning in other recent denials by the ZBA in Roslindale including, but not limited to, proposals at 4164 Washington Street and just last week at 4025 Washington Street. Some ZBA members demanded more parking on site and rejected the projects as too dense, an implausible assertion in a corridor full of similar three and four-story buildings.

These ZBA decisions are harming Roslindale, a neighborhood in desperate need of new housing. As active residents of this community, we have watched as housing prices and rents have continued to skyrocket in our neighborhood and across the city. We have participated in community processes for each of these proposed developments, attended meetings, submitted comment letters, and testified in support. These proposals have garnered strong support from the Boston Planning and Development Agency, local elected officials, and organizations. Nevertheless, all this work comes to a crashing halt once these proposals reach the ZBA. The ZBA is acting outside its scope, enforcing its own self-made transportation policy prioritizing vehicles over people, and at times seemingly acting with the individual interests of some members in mind. To that last point, we note that the ZBA chairwoman lives in Roslindale and has repeatedly voiced opposition to projects in Roslindale Square that, in her opinion, may adversely affect parking for unspecified members of the community. At this point, we cannot help but question these decisions and at times the motivations behind them.

The current decision-making process in this city for most development proposals is untenable. Rejection of such urgently needed mixed-use developments elevates the needs of cars above the needs of Boston’s residents — a 20th century view of development and the city that is out of step with the needs of today. By forcing developers to go back to the drawing board to add more parking to projects, we are sending the message that cars, and their associated human health, environmental, and social problems, still dominate over many more critical human priorities, most notably housing for people.

Mayor Wu has the power to appoint new members to the ZBA immediately, subject to City Council confirmation. Eleven of the thirteen members, including the chairwoman, are holdover appointments on expired terms from the prior mayoral administrations. While we understand the city has many pressing needs, surely the creation of new, transit-friendly housing must be high on that list. To that end, we call on Mayor Wu to nominate a new slate of ZBA members to the City Council who take a more holistic view of the city, understand its changing needs, and do not prioritize vehicle storage over homes for people.

Our current zoning regimen is fundamentally at odds with the needs of our city and neighborhood. The overly restrictive zoning effectively forces everything through a zoning relief process that is tilted toward preserving the status quo at a moment in time when the status quo desperately needs to be changed, especially as it relates to our relationship with individual motor vehicle use and ownership. Meanwhile, the cost of housing continues to skyrocket. We not only need a new ZBA, we need new zoning rules that facilitate by right the development of new, transit-friendly, and more affordable housing. We know and respect that the Mayor and city are undertaking a review of development processes and seeking a new Director of Planning for the city. While we support those efforts, we firmly believe a change in the makeup of the ZBA cannot wait for these processes to finish. Mayor Wu needs to act now to appoint new ZBA members who support her housing agenda and that of the voters who handed her a strong mandate to change the status quo in Boston.

WalkUP Roslindale Board of Directors

About WalkUP Roslindale:

WalkUP Roslindale, which takes its name from the international movement to foster “Walkable Urban Places,” is a collaborative group of Roslindale residents and business owners 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 our board of directors and have over five hundred additional supporters. More information about WalkUP Roslindale and our initiatives can be found at walkuproslindale.org.