WalkUP Roslindale ally Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association is hosting a visioning session regarding the South and Walter Street Corridor on Thursday, April 7, 2016 from 7pm-9pm at the Weld Hill Research Building, 1300 Centre Street. South and Walter Streets connect Centre Street near Bellevue, West Roxbury at one end back to Centre Street adjacent the Arboretum and Faulkner Hospital at the other end, cutting through one of a densely populated, mostly residential, area of our neighborhood. These streets were historically designed (or more likely re-designed in the car era) to move cars quickly with little concern for pedestrian safety, walkability, and quality of life. There have been some small recent improvements but much remains to be done to reclaim this important corridor. Please show up and share your views!
As noted earlier, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”) held an additional public meeting about potential redesign of the Centre Street Corridor in Roslindale on November 10, 2015. The meeting was reasonably well attended with a robust discussion about the significant problems with existing conditions at the troublesome Walter & Centre Street intersection, among others, and potential design alternatives. The majority of the spoken comments offered were consistent with key WalkUP principles. Although the latest presentation has not (yet) been posted, a copy of the presentation from the 10/7/15 meeting concerning the same area is available on the DCR website. WalkUp Roslindale is working on a formal comment letter advocating in favor of alternative 1 and emphasizing that any design must better incorporate pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure.
The redesign project, which is not currently funded by the state legislature, will not be implemented for at least three years, in the best of circumstances. It is important for Roslindale residents and WalkUP supporters to voice how critical the project is for the walkability and cycleabilty of Roslindale.
The comment period has been extended to November 30, 2015.
DCR should make pedestrian and cycling access and usability a priority in a design and not be treated–as in the existing conditions–as second to automobile use.
A traffic light (alternatives 1 and 2) is an essential component of pedestrian and cyclist safety and must be included.
Key abutters, including the residents, employers and visitors of day care centers, senior housing facilities and a rehabilitation hospital complex require safe, usable and convenient crossing of both Walter and Centre Streets.
We recently learned that the city plans to rebuild the intersection of Walter and Bussey Street, a problematic spot for pedestrians and bicyclists at the edge of the Arnold Arboretum adjacent the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center and not far from the Sophia Snow House on Centre Street. Although the new design represents an improvement, it is a long way from achieving Complete Streets standards and moving us toward Vision Zero: that no one should die or be seriously injured from transportation on our public ways. We are also troubled by the apparent lack of public notice and comment on a project like this that has significant impacts on our quality of life and would benefit from community input.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (“DCR”) recently held a series of public meetings to solicit input about the parkways of the Parkway Area–particularly the Centre Street Corridor, which accommodates 40,000 cars every day. The corridor is poorly designed for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike, and it’s time to fix it.
Although Centre Street brings thousands of cars daily right through Roslindale, no meeting has focused on or been held in Roslindale — until now. Thanks especially to the efforts of neighbor Carter Wilkie, our representatives in the state legislature have arranged for a fourth public meeting, focused especially on the intersection of Centre and Walter Streets, which has had the majority of crashes in recent years — 46 crashes over a three year period! Traffic engineers have determined this intersection violates state safety standards, but funding for improvements will be hard to secure unless people speak up. Previous meetings about this corridor have demonstrated a lack of care for and attention to pedestrians and bicyclists–it’s important that the planned improvements serve everyone, not just those who might be passing through in a motorized vehicle.
We understand (at least) Sen. Rush, Rep. Sánchez, and Rep. Coppinger will all be present at the meeting, so this is an excellent opportunity to be heard on the importance of pedestrian- and bike-friendly infrastructure in one of the worst-designed parts of our neighborhood. We’ll add to this post if we receive confirmation about attendance from any other elected officials. We should turn out in force and advocate for walkability!
Add another ingredient to the mix at what is becoming a hot corner: Green T Cafe just announced they are moving into the former Christos Market space on the corner of Walter and South streets. Some limited activity had been noticeable a few weeks back, but over the past weekend a dumpster materialized (was quickly filled and already replaced) and work appeared to be starting in earnest. The news popped up on the LANA NextDoor group as well as the Keep Roslindale Quirky facebook page, and on Green T’s own website/facebook page. Timing sounds like this fall/winter. This is a big change – the location has been vacant for several years and we have been in desperate need for a neighborhood coffee shop for almost as long.
Green T’s impending arrival signals that there is retail potential at this corner. Further to the recent post about the proposed residential development across South Street, I would suggest again that there is a meaningful basis for more commercial activity at this corner (again, just down the street from where I have lived for 15 years), not less. And one way that the South Street developer might straddle the fence would be to include one or two live/work units on the ground floor street frontage of the building. I suspect, without researching the question, that live/work units at that location (and probably almost everywhere else in Boston) would require a variance from the existing zoning. But the advantages in affordability, flexibility of use and allowing the building to evolve with changing circumstances would be significant. Something to consider here and possibly elsewhere in Roslindale where retail might work but hasn’t been proven yet or has been dormant for an extended period.