It took some time, but the Cummins Missing Middle Walk Assessment Report has finally been released. The full report is below and also available as a PDF. We’ll be using this report to organize around and advocate for pedestrian and other non-auto safety improvements on this critical “link for people” in our neighborhood. Thanks!
We’ve posted on this topic previously and have expressed our own support in a comment letter earlier this year and now we’re gratified to see the following statement from District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo in support of the proposed project, released earlier today and quoted here in full:
“Today a project by Arx Urban at 4198-4206 Washington Street in Roslindale goes before the BPDA Board.
“I am in full support of this project.“This project sets important benchmarks that are in line with the values and priorities I believe developments in our neighborhoods should have and should promote. At least 40% of the units will be income restricted between 30-90% Area Median Income and the developers are seeking to and have stated publicly that their goal is to eventually have 100% of the unit’s income restricted. The city currently only mandates 13%.“This project will be sustainably built. A 100% electric building, with solar power, approaching Passive House standards. While also widening sidewalks around the property and creating a courtyard with greenspace on Washington Street. They have also entered partnerships with two local businesses with long term, below market leases and will showcase the Rozzie Square Theatre, an already existing wMBE business, that will invite innovation in the arts and provide a forum for diverse voices.“Arx Urban has also taken meaningful steps to engage the community and implement feedback. They’ve reduced the height to four stories from an initial seven. Set the building back from the Sumner School by 51’ and collaborated with the school on a mural and improv classes. They have also agreed to several measures to improve pedestrian experiences and safety.“I have heard from opponents who are most staunchly opposed to this project because it lacks onsite parking. And while I believe that is a valid concern, I believe it is outweighed by the truly transit oriented nature of Roslindale Square. I believe in prioritizing the housing of people and a project like this, that provides truly affordable housing on this scale, makes that goal available to those who most need it.
“Our city has been, and continues to be, in a housing crisis that has been headlined by displacement and a lack of truly affordable housing. As a Councilor I will continue to advocate for projects that make remedying that issue, with strong commitments to income restricted units, a priority.”
We have been working for many years with our elected leaders to make the Roslindale Gateway Path a reality and were delighted to learn that Sen. Mike Rush has successfully pushed through an amendment to this year’s state budget bill allocating $100,000 toward development of the path. Rep. Liz Malia and her staff are on board to help see this through on the House side. This is a significant step forward for the path, which we hope will be fully funded in the coming years.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.”
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 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 email@example.com) and make yourself eligible for $10 in Rozzie Bucks from our good friends and sponsors at Roslindale Village Main Street. Thanks everyone!
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.
Housing advocacy is part of WalkUP Roslindale’s mission so we are speaking up to urge our supporters to help get a pending housing stability bill passed before the legislative session runs out at the end of July. House Bill 5166 and Senate Bill 2992 would, among other things, extend the moratoriums on evictions and foreclosure for a year after the COVID state of emergency ends. Please email or call both your representative and senator to support this important legislation — and please do so quickly! You can find your legislators by address at this website.
This week, we sent a short comment letter in support of the City of Boston’s application for a “LAND” Grant to support the acquisition of 108 Walter Street in Roslindale for an urban wild. Details about the project can be found from the Roslindale Wetlands Task Force; see also this notice concerning a recent public meeting on the project from the Boston Conservation Commission. Our full letter appears below or can be downloaded as a PDF.