Seems worth checking out this very brief survey on means and methods of public involvement over on the Imagine Boston website. If we want a better Boston (including Roslindale), we need to speak up and be heard when the city asks for our participation and ideas, and we might as well start at the beginning.
In honor of Roslindale hero Steve Gag, Roslindale Village Main Streets supporters raised several thousands dollars to kick off a campaign to install a bike corral in Rozzie Square. The proposal is to replace one car parking space with ten bike spaces (note the ratio!). This investment in infrastructure is important both for the direct utility it brings and for the message it sends–better bike and ped infrastructure changes mindsets, bringing people out on foot and bike, resulting in a virtuous self-reinforcing circle.
The City of Boston is hosting a public meeting on June 10, 6pm-7pm, at the Roslindale Community Center, to present the city’s plan. If you share the WalkUP vision, come to learn more about the project and support this step in the right direction.
Today’s Globe features a front-page article Lack of homes on market has prices rising, sales slipping, highlighting the housing shortage in Boston and environs:
The number of single-family houses for sale in Massachusetts plunged 20 percent in April from a year earlier, the 39th consecutive month that inventories have declined from the previous year. That’s according to data released Wednesday by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. …
In some high-demand places, inventories plunged 30 percent or more from a year earlier. In Boston, the number of single-family homes for sale fell 31 percent, in Brookline 35 percent, and in Somerville 40 percent. In Cambridge, the number of condos on the market dove 56 percent, according to the real estate association.
No surprise here. The Boston-area economy is growing much faster than the housing supply, and the crunch is exacerbated by a multi-generational shift toward living in cities and in particular car-less (or less-car) based lifestyles.
To sustain the region’s economic growth, avoid crippling commute times, and improve the quality of life in the city, we need to build a lot more housing. And the only feasible way to achieve that is with increased density (recall that Boston’s population is still far below what it was sixty years ago).
As one of Boston’s smaller neighborhoods, Roslindale can only play a small part in solving this macro problem. But we can be part of the solution–there are surface parking lots near the village that could be homes for people, not just cars. And much of Rozzie Square and areas immediately adjacent the T is filled with very low-rise buildings (often just one story!). With proper transit-oriented/pedestrian-and-bike-friendly development, the addition of a few hundred residents will enhance the vitality of the neighborhood and the shopping district. Let’s make it happen.
These are questions that two massive city-wide planning efforts are trying to answer. On the first couple of questions, Imagine Boston is the first comprehenisve master plan the city has even attempted in the last 50 years. Go Boston 2030 is the city’s new transportation planning process dealing with the second set of questions.
We are standing at a crossroads as a city. What direction will we take in welcoming our new neighbors, business owners and employees, and visitors? How will these new planning efforts be steered in Roslindale? Will we make our community more walkable and bikeable and livable in the process? In the next 18 months or so, the course to 2030 will be largely set. Now is the time to get involved. What ideas do we want to put on the table? This conversation is critical to our future, and we’re reminded by the last post about why that really is.
Universal Hub reports on a potentially deadly hit-and-run against a pedestrian on Washington Street not far from Rozzie Square late Thursday night. While it’s important that BPD bring the perpetrator to justice, we should also take this opportunity to fix the pedestrian environment. Washington Street brings a large volume of pass-through traffic through the village, and features large stretches of road without crosswalks; crosswalks with poor visibility; gridlocked traffic at busy times; and dangerously high-speed traffic (including drag racing) at others. There’s a lot more to say on this topic, but for now let’s just start a conversation about a new vision for the area stretching from Turtle Pond all the way up to the Forest Hills, while we also hope the victim makes a full recovery.
I’ve been keeping my own urban design-focused blog for the last several years under the wordy title of “Restoring the Urban Fabric,” which shortens to “RTUF” (pronounced “ARE-TOUGH”). Herewith, a collection of links to RTUF posts about Roslindale, home sweet home and, for my money, the best neighborhood in Boston pound-for-pound:
The term comes from Chris Leinberger at the Brookings Institution and his most recent set of studies about the demonstrable value premium that the real estate market is attaching to “Walkable Urban Places” or “WalkUPs.” To paraphrase Leinberger’s March 2015 report on WalkUPs in the Boston region (the “WalkUP Wake Up Call – Boston” – available online here), a “Walkable Urban Place” is a place characterized by
- Realtively high intensity of development with
- Multiple and vertically/horizontally mixed uses (housing, office, retail, recreation, education, etc.) located in close proximity to one another,
- Employing multiple modes of transportation (walking, bicycling, transit, and automobiles) that get people and goods to the place, and
- Walkability once you’re there.
In other words, Roslindale Square and the neighborhood that surrounds it.
Between the Walsh Administration’s recent housing report predicting 70,000 new residents needing 53,000 new housing units of all kinds by 2030 and the increasing concentration of new development of all kinds in WalkUPs that Leinberger is forecasting, we are going to see real growth and significant development pressure in Roslindale in the next decade and a half.
WalkUP Roslindale seeks to be a gathering place for those who welcome this new wave of development but know that it has to be done right so that our neighborhood becomes even more livable. Thanks for stopping in!