WalkUP Roslindale Double-Header Coming Up – TransitMatters and Roslindale Gateway Path – 17 September 2023 – 5 pm

Construction has started on the first phase of the Roslindale Gateway Path. This is the scene as of 27 August 2023 looking south from the point of connection with the Blackwell Path.

You read that right! On Sunday, 17 September 2023, WalkUP Roslindale will feature back-t0-back speakers commencing at 5 pm at the Substation in Roslindale Square. The public are invited to these informational sessions.

To start, we’ll hear from Jarred Johnson of TransitMatters, about their transit advocacy plans for the fall and, especially, the recent report they released on “Modernizing the Needham Line: The Case for an Orange Line Extension to West Roxbury.” NOTE: WalkUP Roslindale has not taken a position on any of the report’s recommendations.

To finish, we’ll have a presentation from our own Greg Tobin, WalkUP Roslindale board member, on the City’s progress with implementation of the shared city/arboretum/community vision around the Roslindale Gateway Path, especially the start of construction on the first phase of the path, running from the end of the Blackwell Path at South Street to the underpass at Arboretum Road. The photo above was taken just today – we hope it’s severely dated by the time we get to the 17th of next month!

We’re planning 30 minutes for each of our presentations and Q+A, so everyone should be on their way by 6 pm.

Ever wanted to have a seat at the MBTA table? Here’s your chance!

Well, the time may in fact have come. The recently-passed and now signed Massachusetts Fiscal Year 2024 budget expands the board of the MBTA by two seats, including, most importantly for purposes of this post, one for an appointee of the Mayor of Boston. You can read the full announcement on the City’s website, and we’ve pulled the text here:

Mayor Michelle Wu is seeking ideas and recommendations from residents to inform the City of Boston’s representation on the MBTA Board. Earlier this month, the State Legislature and Governor passed a state budget that created a City of Boston seat on the Board of Directors of the MBTA, giving the City a direct role in the governance of the region’s public transit system. Mayor Wu wants community to be a partner in building this new relationship with the MBTA to best reflect the needs of commuters and riders.

Boston’s economic strength, community well-being, and cultural vibrancy depend on public transportation and the City is ready to partner on the urgent endeavor of building the quality transit that our entire region deserves. In the coming weeks, Mayor Wu will be considering candidates to serve on the Board of Directors, which meets monthly and holds monthly subcommittee meetings. Click here to learn more about leadership at the MBTA. 

Those interested in serving should be: 

  • A resident of Boston
  • A public transit rider
  • Connected to communities of transit riders, including employees, customers, and students
  • Committed to high quality, reliable, and affordable public transportation as a core strategy of economic growth, cultural vibrancy, and quality of life.

We are also asking residents and community members to help inform Boston’s involvement on the MBTA Board. Please submit your ideas and/or interest through this form by Monday, September 5th at 5 p.m. For more information, visit boston.gov/mbta-board

 

Video Recording of District 5 Candidate Forum

On Tuesday, June 18, 2023, we cosponsored a forum for the candidates running to represent District 5 (much of which is in Roslindale) on the City Council. The candidates were (alphabetically) incumbent Ricardo Arroyo, Enrique Pepén, Jose Ruiz, and Jean-Claude Sanon. In case you missed the forum, a video of the event is below. You can also read a summary on Universal Hub. Our own Rob Orthman asked questions about our priority housing and transportation issues about 39 minutes into the event.

District 5 Candidate Forum Tomorrow – Tuesday July 18, 2023 – 7pm

We are co-sponsoring a District 5 City Council candidate forum tomorrow night, Tuesday, July 18, from 7pm-8:30pm. Other co-sponsors include Forum for Racial Equity via Educational Experiences in Hyde Park, Hyde Park Neighborhood Association, Keep Hyde PArk Beautiful, Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association, Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale, RozzieBikes, and the Ward 18 Democratic Committee. Four candidates, eight community organizations, and lots of questions!

Every councilor impacts policy citywide by the votes they take, the policies they put forth, and the committees they serve on, so this election impacts everyone, even if you’re not a D5 voter.

To join on Zoom, register here. And don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, September 12!

Arborway Bus Maintenance Meeting – In Person – TOMORROW – 22 June 2023 – 6 pm at English High School

We’re boosting the signal on this one kind of late, but better late than never. If you’re able, please do attend and show your support for our beleaguered transit agency and their attempts to move forward with electrification of their bus fleet by, among other things, replacing the Arborway bus garage with a fully modern facility while making significant land available for development of sorely needed new housing for our city. Thanks!

The MBTA is pleased to announce a public meeting to discuss replacement of the Arborway Bus Maintenance Facility.  The in-person meeting is scheduled for:

Thursday, June 22, 2023

6 PM – 8 PM

The English High School – Auditorium

144 McBride Street

Boston

At this meeting, MBTA project staff will provide an overview of the 15% design plans for the new bus maintenance facility and electrification project. The MBTA is designing the facility to support a 100% battery electric bus (BEB) fleet. BEBs will reduce emissions and improve the air quality around the facility and routes served. The new facility will be located next to the existing facility, on the site of 500 Arborway, and will open up 6.5 acres for housing and other development. The new facility will expand the fleet size to serve additional routes in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. This will provide capacity for 60-foot buses that carry greater numbers of riders on busy routes.

The MBTA encourages public participation and invites all to join this meeting. The MBTA will facilitate a Q&A period to respond to inquiries and gather public feedback about this project. 

This meeting will be held in person. Please click here to register so that we can account for attendance and accommodate accessibility needs.

For questions and comments, you can email us at arborwaybus@nullmbta.com.

Accommodations

Haitian Creole and Spanish interpreters, translated materials, and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services will be provided for this meeting. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be provided via Zoom.

Accessibility accommodations and language services will be provided free of charge, upon request, as available. Such services include documents in alternate formats, translated documents, closed captioning, and interpreters.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation and/or language services, please email publicengagement@nullmbta.com or call tel:  857-327-3282. Requests should be made at least 10 days before a meeting.

Para más información o para pedir arreglos razonables y/o servicios lingüísticos, por favor envíe un e-mail publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

如需进一步了解或要求合理的便利设备和/或语言服务,请电邮 publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

Para mais informações, ou para solicitar serviços de acesso e/ou linguísticos em termos razoáveis, contactar por email publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

Pou plis enfòmasyon oswa pou mande yon aranjman rezonab ak/oswa sèvis lang, tanpri voye yon imèl bay publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

Comments on Roslindale Parking and Curb Use Plan

Over the past two years, the City has conducted a study of parking and curb use in and around the Roslindale central business district. It recently published a proposed plan for comment coming out of that study. Our comments are below (also available as PDF), and we encourage everyone to submit comments by the April 7, 2023 deadline. We generally support the proposed changes, and offer pedestrian safety improvements and other changes we hope will be implemented in connection with the new plan.

Read More

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

 

WalkUP Roslindale comment letter on 4198 Washington Street

 

Hyde Park Ave Safety Walk – January 28 at 1pm (Forest Hills Station)

We’re happy to see City Councillors Kendra Lara and Ricardo Arroyo, along with the Boston Transportation Department and neighborhood resident Nathan Eckstrom, are leading a safety walk on January 28th at 1pm, focusing on road safety issues along Hyde Park Avenue. The walk will meet at Forest Hills Station (Upper Level). Advance registration is recommended. More details here:

Safety Walk Poster