WalkUP Roslindale 2021 – Year in Review

And so, with 2021 now in the books, we here at WalkUP Roslindale wanted to take a moment and take stock of the year that was even as we look forward to the new year ahead. Accordingly, in what seems to us to be order of importance, here are the top 5 highlights on what we did, said, and were following in 2021:

  1. We’re now “Official” – In September, we formally incorporated as a Massachusetts non-profit, gathered a formal board of directors, and elected officers, and then held our first formal board meeting. This move was overdue, but took on new urgency following our own diversity, equity, and inclusion self-evaluation over the last 18 months. We saw this step as a fundamental building block for having a more transparent, accessible organization going forward, and it concurrently allowed us to bring on a board that is more racially and ethnically diverse than our informal steering group had been.
  2. We congratulated Mayor Michelle Wu on her victory – In November, we marked the general election victory of Michelle Wu, Roslindale resident and best friend of transit, walking, and biking anyone alive has seen in the mayor’s office in this city, by, what else, advocating for a series of actions that we would love to see her administration take early on. Topping our list was further expansion of bus lanes and transit priority on key bus transit routes across the city, but we also urged more pedestrian priority for traffic signals, converting the neighborhood slow streets program into a citywide, rapid-implementation street safety program, implementing more fare-free buses and finally fixing commuter rail fare inequity, improving motor vehicle parking practices and management, furthering the construction of new affordable housing, and expanding cycling infrastructure. We hope to have the chance to work with Mayor Wu and incoming Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge on all of these issues in the year ahead.
  3. We released the Cummins Missing Middle Street Safety Audit report – We conducted the audit virtually in December of 2020 and January of 2021, but it took some time to pull together the audit reports from all participants and get the report into suitable shape. The principal focus of the report is on the “Octopus” intersection at Cummins/American Legion/Canterbury and its appallingly unsafe walking conditions, despite its location near some key neighborhood destinations. We intend to bring this report and the issues it raises more clearly to the attention of the new administration this year.
  4. We were actively engaged on the 4198 Washington Street Project – We’ve linked to only the last story right here, but we checked in multiple times over the course of the year, as we wrote in favor of the proposal, cheered District 5 City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo’s strong support and ensuing approval by the Boston Planning & Development Agency and then were deeply disappointed by the Board of Appeal’s failure to muster a sufficient majority to approve the project’s necessary zoning relief.
  5. Finally, we welcomed more bus improvements to the neighborhood – These included most importantly the institution of an afternoon bus/bike lane on Washington Street southbound between Forest Hills and Bexley Road (matching the morning northbound lane in this same stretch that was the first of its kind in the city) and significant bus stop improvements in Roslindale Square. We hope there will be more to come on these kinds of improvements in the new year.

– Composed by M. Lawlor

Lower South Street Wins Neighborhood Slow Streets Award

Speeding and other unsafe driver behavior on South Street is a major problem that the Lower South Street Neighborhood Association has been working on for years, including by twice applying to the City’s Neighborhood Slow Streets program. We were thus delighted to learn this area will be one of three communities to receive an award of traffic calming resources in the upcoming year. Check out the neighborhood association’s original 2017 application to the program for more background. We’ve also included a map below of the affected area (outlined in red).

Some of the possible traffic calming measures include speed humps, raised intersections, streamlined signage, better road markings, and ways to make the South Street and Archdale Road intersection safer for pedestrians. Until recently, the City has claimed that speed humps and bumps were not permissible on most city streets (including South Street, but BTD recently changed its policy and indicated that it is open to considering the construction of speed humps on this street.

We understand that BTD will be conducting community outreach over the next few weeks through postcards to every household in the area, Zoom meetings, and perhaps in-person socially distanced events.

Interested residents are invited to sign-up on the City Website for emails about “meetings and project milestones.”  We’ll also post updates here as we receive them.

Lower South Street Area
Lower South Street Slow Streets Area

ALERT LEVEL BACK DOWN TO CLEAR: Snowfall total is well under 4″ (10cm), so no calling out forces

WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative 3.3 enthusiasts and devotees are still welcome and encouraged to help out their neighbors and please post any pictures of cleared areas to our facebook account or tweet them out and tag @walkuprozzie when you do, but we won’t have an official effort this time around. When you’re done shoveling, we encourage you to enjoy some French Toast or other hearty breakfast of your choice. It sure is pretty out there!

*** UPDATE *** LOCATION CHANGE *** WalkUP Roslindale 2020 Kickoff: BTD Transit Team, Round 2, plus goal-setting for 2020 – 14 January 2020 @ 6 pm @ ROZZIE SQUARE THEATRE

 

UPDATE/LOCATION CHANGE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN MOVED FROM THE SQUARE ROOT TO THE ROZZIE SQUARE THEATRE – 5 BASILE STREET, ROSLINDALE. THANKS!

We’re pleased to announce that our friends from the Boston Transportation Department’s Transit Team, led by their director, Matt Moran, will be coming back on Tuesday evening, 14 January 2020, to talk more about their ongoing research and thinking about ways to improve bus service on Washington Street southbound between Forest Hills and the Square as well as their thoughts about the 32 bus on Hyde Park Avenue (and they may or may not hold forth in the magic bus). We’ll have them start us off, and then continue with an open meeting as WalkUP Roslindale starts a new year and a new decade of advocacy around our core issues of walkability, cyclability, transit access, and housing.

MEETING AGENDA:

6:00 to 6:45 pm – BTD Transit Presentation and Q&A.

6:50 pm – Welcome & brief introduction to WalkUP Roslindale.

6:55 pm – Update regarding Cummins Highway Walk Audit.

7:05 pm – WalkUP Roslindale Goal-setting for 2020.

We will wrap up by 7:30 pm.

Please RSVP and spread the word from our Facebook event page.

UPDATE: WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative 3.0 – 2019-2020 – WE’RE A GO FOR WRSCC 3.1 – 3/4 DECEMBER 2019

SEE UPDATES BELOW REGARDING LOCATIONS/DATES/TIMES

With the first flakes now falling, we here at WalkUP Roslindale are standing ready to launch the WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative 3.0 once again for the upcoming winter of 2019-2020. By way of reminder, the WRSCC focuses on clearing snow and ice from bus stops on key routes in and around Roslindale. This year, we will once again look to clear bus stops in key locations and incentivize participation by partnering with our very own Roslindale Village Main Street (using funds provided last year by District 5 City Councilor Tim McCarthy and the Roslindale Business Group) as follows:

  • Anytime there’s a snow event greater than 4” (just over 10 cm), we will pick a suitable morning or evening time as soon as possible after the snow stops flying to meet up at the locations identified below and then descend on and shovel out the identified stops.
  • The incentive we’re offering will once again be $10 Rozzie Bucks coupons for everyone who shows up and lends a hand.
  • BTW, Rozzie Bucks are a great deal — good at many stores and restos in the square and the farmers market to boot!

Scheduled locations/captains are as follows:

  • Washington/Cummins – Steve Gag and Greg Tobin [DONE ALREADY]
  • Washington/Archdale – Ben Bruno [DONE ALREADY]
  • Washington/Cornell – Sarah Kurpiel Lee – Tuesday, December 3, at 4:45 pm
  • South/Walter – Matt Lawlor –  Wednesday, December 4, at 7:00 am
  • Corinth/Cohasset – Alan Wright – Tuesday, December 3, at 3:00 pm (look for Alan anywhere on Corinth from Washington to Belgrade)
  • Washington/Brahms-Blue Ledge – Rob Orthman – Tuesday, December 3, at 8:00 pm

We will firm up these locations, captains, and timing as we see just how much snow we get. Thanks all!

Please sign up on our snow clearance page at http://walkuproslindale.org/snow if you’re interested in helping, and spread the word!

Are we ready to think differently about the Roslindale Municipal Lot?

MEETING DATE/TIME/PLACE: Thursday, September 26, 2019, 6:30 pm @ Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummins Highway, Roslindale (accessible by foot, bike, MBTA Needham Line, several bus routes, Bluebikes, and by car).

As part of the city’s Housing with Public Assets initiative, our city’s Housing Innovation Lab, along with the Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Department of Neighborhood Development, are hosting the initial public meeting on the potential redevelopment of the municipal lot behind the row of stores on South Street between Taft Hill Terrace and the Needham Line tracks. The Housing with Public Assets initiative began in 2018 with an open request for information on how the city could improve its core assets citywide quickly and efficiently. This included an inventory of libraries, fire stations, community centers, and vehicle storage lots such as the Roslindale Municipal Lot. At the same time, the city also indicated that it specifically cared about housing at these locations, meaning that they were about “integrating deeply and moderately affordable units with market-rate units.” To be candid, we think this idea has legs here in Roslindale, even to the point where we submitted a comment letter about this very location as part of the process back in April 2018. We now look forward eagerly to learning more about how the city is thinking about moving forward with generating new housing opportunities by leveraging a significant, underutilized public asset in the heart of our neighborhood, and how community input can help steer their efforts.

It’s our understanding that the project seeks to preserve much if not all of the existing public parking. In anticipation of discussions about the parking impact of this development, WalkUP Roslindale volunteers recently collected snapshots of data on several different times and days. The data show the following:

  • There are 84 general spaces, four handicap spaces and two ZipCar spaces.
  • At every visit there were always general spaces available for more cars to park.
  • On average over 28 spaces were available; the fewest number of spaces ever available for general parking was three (twice), the maximum during weekday business hours was 64 (once).
  • Only six times (~ 7%) were there fewer than 10 general spaces available.
  • Not infrequently (23 out of 83 times, or ~28%) all handicapped spaces were filled, suggesting that the lot would benefit from more spaces being reserved for handicap plates.
  • We did not yet measure turn-over of the spaces, but anecdotally we frequently observed some spaces filled all or most of the day by the same vehicles. We are certain that if the two-hour parking limit was actively enforced and if parking was metered (so that it was accurately not priced as a free resource), the number of available spaces for patrons of local businesses would increase.

While of course our study is not fully comprehensive, we think it’s a good start to have some data as we go into this process.

Where does District 6 City Councilor Matt O’Malley stand on safe and equitable travel on our city’s streets?

Councilor O’Malley is running unopposed, but he did take the time to fill out the questionnaire, as linked below. As for the first question, about how Matt gets around to/from/within his district, he had the following to say:

“I travel throughout my district and the city through a variety of
modes of transportation. Typically, I commute to work to City Hall
and throughout the district via my electric car. Other days, I hold
office hours with constituents on MBTA trains, buses, and/or
commuter rail. I also enjoy using BlueBikes and walking
throughout my community. One of the many benefits of living and
working in the country’s third most walkable city is having
numerous options beyond just a private vehicle, which allows me
to be more connected to my community while reducing my carbon footprint.”

The Councilor’s full responses can be found here.