WalkUP Roslindale now supports 874-878 South Street, Up for Hearing at Zoning Board of Appeal Today (10/31/17)

Revised 874-878 South Street Rendering

Revised 874-878 South Street Rendering

Back in late August, WalkUP Roslindale reluctantly withheld its support for a proposed project at 874-878 South Street. Although we believe additional housing supply is badly needed around Boston and in Roslindale in particularly–one of our seven founding principles is to support mixed housing that promotes walkability–we are not an uncritical “YIMBY” group that will necessarily say “yes” to any development whatsoever, no matter its defects. The original design proposed for this development was sorely lacking, and we offered what we hoped would be constructive feedback to make this development a more positive contribution to the neighborhood.

Fortunately, the developer took several of our comments to heart and has now proposed a revised design which, while not perfect, is much improved. In view of these improvements, WalkUP now supports the proposed project’s request for zoning relief, which will be heard today, October 31, 2017, at 9:30am at City Hall, Room 801. You can read the developer’s response to our letter and see the revised design here.

Our detailed comments below, also available as a PDF letter.

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Two Important Events: Hubway Roslindale TONIGHT (10/26) and Green Transportation Rally Saturday (10/28)

First, a reminder that the City is hosting a bike share workshop tonight, October 26, 2017, at 6pm-8pm at the Roslindale Community Center. Details:

Our public bike share system is getting bigger and even better! In Boston, we are adding more than 70 new stations over the next two years.

We need your help finding great places in Roslindale for bike share stations! We will focus on Roslindale and nearby neighborhoods during the workshop. We will have materials available so that you can discuss all neighborhoods under consideration for the expansion.

You do not need to be a resident of Roslindale to attend this workshop.

Second, City Councilor-at-Large (and Candidate) Michelle Wu is hosting a Get Out the Vote Green Transportation Rally this Saturday, October 28, 2017, at 2pm, starting near the Stony Brook MBTA stop on the Orange Line. Details:

Join us at 2pm on Saturday 10/28 for our GOTV Green Transportation Rally! Join climate justice advocates, safe streets champions, healthy community activists, and supporters as we celebrate the accomplishments of the last four years, and share our ideas for improvements we can make in the future. Halloween costumes and bicycles encouraged.

After a brief speaking program, we will go on a bike ride and walk to a local eatery in JP.

While WalkUP Roslindale doesn’t take official positions on candidate elections, we can certainly get behind an event where safe street champions will share ideas for improvements to Boston streets.

Hope to see you all at both events. Spread the word.

Two October Meetings for a Better Roslindale: BPL 10/17 6pm and Hubway (at RCC) 10/26 6pm

Two weeks from today, on Thursday, October 26, 2017 at 6pm, there will be a public meeting to provide information and solicit feedback on Hubway bike-share locations for Rozzie, at the Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummins Highway. Bike-sharing provides a key connection between other sustainable modes of transportation–we envision it as being especially helpful in facilitating travel between Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, as well as the Arboretum in between. Show up and show your support!

Also important is a meeting next week, on Tuesday, October 17, at 6 pm: the Boston Public Library will host the first community advisory committee meeting to discuss the design for the estimated $6.4 million renovation of the Roslindale Branch at our branch location at 4246 Washington Street. We are very much looking forward to this long-needed investment in our community! The library is a vital meeting place and anchor of Roslindale Square. Please attend and provide your input.

WalkUP-sponsored city councilor forum a success

WalkUP was thrilled to host an engaging forum on Tuesday night with the incumbent councilors and candidates for Boston City Council At-Large. All eight candidates were in attendance: Councilors Annissa Essaibi-George, Michael Flaherty, Ayanna Pressley, and Michelle Wu, and challengers Domingos DaRosa, Althea Garrison, William King, and Pat Payaso. We appreciate their unanimous participation as well as the packed room and viewers on our Facebook livestream! It’s clear our neighborhood is very engaged in local politics and passionate about the issues discussed.

The forum focused on transportation and housing issues pertinent to Roslindale. One consensus point was the need for a robust and safer bike system in Roslindale and Boston. Candidates expressed particular support for the Arboretum Gateway Path and planned expansion of Hubway bike sharing to Roslindale. No candidate, however, explicitly said he or she would support the removal of parking spots to create such protected bike lanes where necessary. Another consensus point was the need to significantly improve the American Legion corridor pedestrian and bike experience. Several candidates gave credit to the community advocates along American Legion for their work and recent Slow Street neighborhood designation.

Although all eight candidates agreed on the urgency of our ongoing housing crisis, they disagreed on how to treat parking at new developments. Several candidates expressed a view that more parking is needed at each new development. They also want each individual parking spot ‘bundled’ with a corresponding housing unit, which significantly raises the overall cost of the unit–a decent ballpark estimate is about $50,000 in development costs for each additional space. WalkUP is of the belief, based on data and experience, that a better strategy is to price parking separately so that only unit owners who need a space are required to purchase one. This helps keep the overall cost of the units down for those who do not need a vehicle and reduce the overall number of cars at a site. To the concern that individuals will just park on nearby public ways, some candidates want the city put a price on its resident parking permits. Currently, the city provides as many resident parking stickers as a resident wants for no charge. Councilor Wu, for example, wants the city to charge for the permits and cap the amount of permits per resident to better manage these public parking resources.

We also learned some interesting tidbits about the councilors and candidates. Councilor Pressley does not own a car and that informs her view of the need for better public transit across the city as a social equity issue. Candidate King lives on American Legion Highway and sees firsthand the need to improve it. Councilor Essaibi-George owns a small business in Dorchester which informs her concern for the negative effects an Amazon headquarters could have in Boston. In fact, all the candidates interestingly expressed reservations about efforts to attract Amazon to the city.

Our neighbor Adam Gaffin attended the forum and provides his review on Universal Hub. We appreciate his attendance and that of other media members! Stay tuned for a forum later this month with the district councilors who represent Roslindale.