Some thinking about walkable neighborhoods and why “affordable” neighborhoods are about more than just housing costs…

 

Why walkability is not a luxury

This is a longish read from Rob Steuteville at Public Square and it glosses over some of the deeper issues on disinvestment in our cities in the second half of the 20th century and the hard set of issues that arise from displacement as demand and investment return. But I commend it to help frame the ongoing debate here in Boston and in Roslindale about growth, walkability, and what makes a neighborhood affordable.

If you concentrate on just housing costs, you’re missing half of the direct cost picture and much of the indirect environmental and public health costs. To know if a neighborhood is truly affordable, both housing and transportation costs need to be considered, and then environmental and health impacts have to be layered in on top of that. On this basis, one finds that neighborhoods that seem expensive really aren’t that expensive and neighborhoods that seem affordable really aren’t that affordable. Discuss.

SAVE THE DATE: Roslindale District Councilor Forum set for January 24, 2018

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It took a bit longer than anticipated at first, but we have now scheduled the Roslindale district councilor forum. January 24, 2018 will be a Wednesday evening and we will be pleased to gather with Councilors Campbell, McCarthy, and O’Malley to discuss the new council term and share our mutual vision and collective priorities on the active mobility issues that matter to Roslindale.

Time and place are currently TBD, but stay tuned – they will be announced soon!

Fall 2017 Pool Mini-Tourney with 21st-ranked All Time Urbanist Jeff Speck!! 11/9 @ 8:30 pm at Napper Tandy’s Roslindale

We’ll gather at approximately 8:30 pm on Thursday, November 9, at Napper Tandy’s in Roslindale for some pool and discussion with our friend and fellow Boston region resident Jeff Speck. Jeff is the highly respected author of The Walkable City and other popular works on the urban condition, including Suburban Nation, which he co-wrote with new urbanist giants Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. Jeff was also recently ranked 21st on planetizen.com’s ranking of all-time great urbanists. Bring quarters and your thoughts about how we can make Roslindale a more walkable,  bikeable, and transit-friendly community.

WalkUP Roslindale Key Bus Stop Snow Clearance Collaborative – Version 1.0

Will you join us?

WalkUP Roslindale is looking to organize a collaborative group of neighbors who will help us clear snow from a handful of our neighborhood’s key bus stops whenever we have more than 4″ of snow this winter.

As we all know, snow clearance is often an issue at bus stops throughout the region. That doesn’t mean we should ignore it and hope that our seniors, young people, and everyone in between miraculously manage to safely board their buses at stops rendered unsafe by snow and ice.

The key bus stops we’re proposing to focus on this winter are:

  1. Cummins Hwy @ Hyde Park Av/30 & 14 toward Mattapan/Hyde Park
  2. Cummins Hwy @ Hyde Park Av/30 toward Roslindale
  3. Hyde Park Av @ Cummins Hwy/34 toward Hyde Park
  4. Hyde Park Av @ Cummins Hwy/34 toward Forest Hills
  5. Belgrade Av @ Robert/Multiple outbound buses
  6. Washington St @ Cummins Hwy/Multiple inbound buses

That breaks down geographically into 2 collaborative teams – one in Roslindale Square and one at the intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway. Rob Guptill (email: rguptill2000@nullyahoo.com) has volunteered to be the team coordinator for the Roslindale Square group and Matt Lawlor (your correspondent, email: matthew.j.lawlor@nullgmail.com) has volunteered to be the team coordinator for HP/Cummins. The plan is to blast a call to snowshoveling arms over our email list and social media accounts whenever we make the call for the collaborative teams to shovel the following morning. That said, both Rob and I would love to hear directly at the email addresses above from anyone who is interested in helping us provide this important service to our neighbors so we can be sure of a core group of ready and willing collaborators. We would love your support for this effort!! 

FURTHER UPDATE: October 3rd Roslindale-focused At-Large City Council Candidates Forum – Additional Participant & Questions

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:

  1. 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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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?

IMPORTANT UPDATES: Roslindale-focused City Council Candidates Forum – Tues., Oct. 3 @ 6:30 pm @ RCC

 

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!!!

Join GirlTrek on 10/6 for a Fannie’s Army Walk


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).

Roslindale Film Series – Fall 2017 Edition – October 19 and 30

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!