There is one further update to make since the last time we posted about the forum: we received word late yesterday that Pat Payaso, the 8th and final candidate for at-large city council, will be participating in the forum as well. Accordingly, all of the current councilors and candidates will be taking part.
In addition, we have circulated the following questions to each of the candidates. We intend to ask of them these questions in turn:
- How can Boston address the high cost of housing in our city? Should there be more development (to increase supply), a higher affordable-unit requirement, as part of the inclusionary development policy rent control, or other measures? How do you view the situation specifically in Roslindale—is there anything different about the problem here versus elsewhere in the city, and any different solutions we should be looking at for Roslindale specifically?
- Our neighborhood is heavily dependent on bus service for mass transit given the infrequency of the commuter rail and lack of Sunday service. What ideas do you have about making buses work better in Roslindale? How can you make those things happen given state control of the overall MBTA system? Do you support the City’s proposed pilot, which ranked high on the GoBoston 2030 project list, to improve bus service on Washington Street between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills by having exclusive bus-only lanes replace the parking lane northbound in the morning and southbound in the evening? Why or why not?
- The American Legion corridor has been identified as one of the least pedestrian- and bike-friendly areas in our neighborhood. What specifically do you think can be done to improve the situation there and how would you propose to make it happen? Do you support a vision for the American Legion corridor that would seek to reduce vehicle speeds and provide more infrastructure for walking and cycling along the concept of a parkway as opposed to a highway in that area? Why or why not?
- What are your thoughts about the impact of Amazon considering the Boston area for its headquarters? How do you think Amazon’s arrival would affect housing and transportation in Boston generally, and more specifically how do you think it would affect Roslindale? Should we be trying to convince Amazon to pick Boston? If so, how would you go about doing that?
- Parking has long been a controversial issue in Boston, including Roslindale. What do you see as the impacts of off-street parking requirements for new development on housing affordability and vehicular traffic congestion? Do you have any ideas about creative parking policy that could help make our neighborhood more accessible for everyone regardless of what mode of transportation they use? Do you support a fee for residential parking permits that could fund neighborhood improvements? Why or why not? Would you support metered parking in the prime spots in the square to make those businesses more easily accessible for people who chose to drive and to fund neighborhood improvements?
UPDATE 1: District 5 Councilor Tim McCarthy has just informed us that he will be unavailable for the October 3rd forum because he will be testifying on that day before congressional hearings about the airplane noise issue in Washington, DC. We wish Tim luck in DC fighting for us on this important neighborhood concern. We are accordingly going to reschedule that panel for a date TBD later in October.
UPDATE 2: At-Large City Council candidate William King has let us know that he will be able to participate in the forum. This is great news and we look forward to an informative evening on October 3rd.
UPDATE 3: We will use the time from 6:30 to 7:15 pm to have an open forum discussion coordinated by WalkUP Roslindale, so please feel free to come early and help us identify and move forward on the issues that matter to you.
As we’ve previously announced, the forum will address the issues we focus on — active mobility and new housing and commercial development in our neighborhood. We see these issues as inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing.
Hope to see you at the forum! If you’re interested in attending, please let us know on our facebook page event entry. Thanks!!!
From time to time, we take some extra time to publicize what we think are worthy walking or cycling or transit-related events around the area. There’s one of those coming up next month with GirlTrek Boston’s participation in the Fannie’s Army series of walks to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary civil rights (especially voting rights) activist Fannie Lou Hamer. Here’s information on the walk and how to sign up. The walk will be from 6 to 8 pm, starting and ending at the Roxbury YMCA at 285 Martin Luther King Boulevard. Note that participation in GirlTrek walks is limited to women (though you need not be a GirlTrek member).
Third Rail may not be coming to the Substation, but the Roslindale Film Series most definitely is. RVMS just announced that there will be 2 classics on offer in the Substation in October — first, on Thursday, October 19 at 7 pm, they will be showing the technicolor pioneer The Wizard of Oz, and then, second, on Monday, October 30 at 7 pm, we will have Ghostbusters in all of its mid-1980s ironic absurdity.
WalkUP Roslindale has long supported showing feature-length movies in the square and we are excited about this most recent development. We urge everyone to attend and to walk, cycle, or take transit to get there as parking is limited! But bring your own seating and refreshments!
Help the Healy Field Community Garden reach its $25,000 matching grant goal!
We talk a lot about how smarter, well-designed, and dense mixed-use development will advance our vision of making Roslindale the most walkable neighborhood in all of Boston, but it’s important to remember that high quality and accessible open space is also a critical ingredient for a Walkable Urban Place. Indeed, density and open space are two sides of the same coin. As urban designer and walkability advocate Julie Campoli states in her book Made for Walking:
The structural elements illustrated throughout Made for Walking – streets, blocks, sidewalks, and connected open spaces together with the intricate mixing of uses – make walking and biking convenient and enable mobility with a vastly reduced carbon impact. These qualities, combined with a comfortable streetscape, create the type of pedestrian-oriented environment that lures people out of their cars. A few other physical qualities may not contribute directly to lowering a place’s carbon footprint but are also essential ingredients in a successful urban neighborhood. These elements, which can be designed in a place to add value, include the things all of us need in varying degrees – greenery, privacy, variety, and a sense of spaciousness.
To this end, we are happy to support the Healy Field Community Garden effort. After several years of outreach and dozens of meetings, the Friends of Healy Field are poised to create a garden space for children and adults, including a gathering space for community-wide events. The friends have gotten support from Healy Field abutters and neighbors, over 500 Roslindale petitioners, 60+ participants in the community design process, Boston’s Parks Department and Boston’s Mayor Walsh. Now MassDevelopment is offering to match the $25,000 FOHF plans to raise through this campaign. Please consider contributing whatever you can toward this major $25,000 matching grant, and spread the word!
WalkUP Roslindale is an enthusiastic member of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition. The Coalition is largely comprised of tax-exempt non-profit organizations or informal associations like WalkUP Roslindale, and does not endorse candidates. We do, however, want to find out where candidates stand on key walking, biking, and transit issues, and to that end distributed a survey to all official candidates in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Springfield, and Lynn to give them a chance to weigh in. The results were made public today.
Rozzie residents should be particularly interested to see the survey results for the Boston Mayoral Candidates, the City Council At Large Candidates, as well as for District 4, District 5, and District 6, all of which at least touch on our neighborhood. If you like your candidates’ responses, let them know–and if they didn’t respond, or you see room for improvement, let them know that as well. With elections coming up soon on Tuesday, November 7, 2017, it’s time to start paying attention!
WalkUP Roslindale is pleased to announce our Roslindale-focused City Council Candidates Forum, to be held on Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at 6:30 pm at the Roslindale Community Center (corner of Washington Street and Cummins Highway).
The forum will address the issues we focus on — active mobility and new housing and commercial development in our neighborhood. The 3 district councilors who represent our neighborhood – Councilors Andrea Campbell (District 4), Tim McCarthy (District 5), and Matt O’Malley (District 6) – have all been invited. Councilor McCarthy has committed to participate, Councilor Campbell is TBD (she returns from maternity leave at the end of September and her schedule is unsettled), and we are waiting to hear from Councilor O’Malley. We have also invited all of the incumbent At-Large Councilors – Councilors Annissa Essaibi-George, Michael Flaherty, Ayanna Pressley, and Michelle Wu – and the 4 challengers – Domingos DaRosa, Althea Garrison, William King, and Pat Payaso. Thus far, we have commitments from Councilors Essaibi-George, Pressley, and Wu, and candidates DaRosa and Garrison.
We will provide updates as we get closer to the event. We encourage everyone who is interested to attend! Thanks!
We have long awaited the arrival of the Hubway bike sharing system in Roslindale–and it finally appears to be time! The City has scheduled two community meetings to provide information and solicit feedback on proposed station locations. It is important that our leaders and our community see a turnout of support for expanding access to the system.
The first Roslindale meeting will be this Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at 6pm at the BCYF Menino Center (the Archdale Community Center), 125 Brookway Road.
The second meeting is Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6pm at the Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummins Highway.
Spread the word!
Architectural rendering of proposed 874-878 South Street development (right side)
This week we sent a comment letter on a proposed residential project at 874-878 South Street, located at the “corner of South Street and South Street”–across from Green T Coffee Shop and adjacent the Hong Kong 888 Cafe, where South Street becomes Walter Street and turns into South Street. We’ve covered this development before in this space, going back at least as far as our first round of feedback back in July 2015, and the latest plans were circulated at an abutter meeting in March. We are typically aligned with “YIMBY” groups and inclined to support residential development, because density both promotes walkability and creates more desperately needing housing opportunities.
Our eagerness to support development is neither unlimited nor uncritical, however. In the case of this project, WalkUP is withholding support for the zoning relief requested by the developer based on a design that is sorely lacking. We are likely to get only one crack at each of these new buildings in our lifetimes, so it behooves us to get it right. We are hopeful that the developer will take our constructive criticism to heart and improve the proposed designed before its zoning appeal hearing, which is likely to be scheduled in October. We’ll post updates here as we get them, either on the design or the hearing date. In the meantime, our full comments are below and also available as the PDF letter as submitted to the Board of Appeal.