Vision Zero Coalition Letter to Mayor Walsh

On May 16th, 2017, City of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was interviewed on WGBH radio. In the wake of the recent fatal hit-and-run crash that killed Rick Archer on Comm Ave and an uptick in pedestrian fatalities in Boston and nationwide, Mayor Walsh urged people who walk and bike in the city to take more personal responsibility. Mayor Walsh said that residents were placing too much blame on his administration to solve the problem.

The following is the Vision Zero Coalition’s letter to the Mayor in response to his comments. WalkUP Roslindale is a Coalition member.

If you would like to respond personally to the Mayor, please contact the Mayor’s office. Vision Zero is about designing streets that can account for human error, not blaming the most vulnerable road users. #VisionZero #StreetsAreForPeople #WeAllWalk

Letter from the Coalition to Mayor Walsh

May 17, 2017

Mayor Martin Walsh
City Hall
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Vision Zero

Dear Mayor Walsh:

When you announced the Vision Zero Action Plan in December 2015, we were proud to be your constituents. You demonstrated leadership when you stated:

“We know how to build safer streets. We know how to protect our most vulnerable road users, who are suffering disproportionately because of speeding traffic and distracted drivers. With this Action Plan, I am saying it’s time to act. It’s time to commit to eliminating fatal and serious traffic crashes from our daily experience.”

Which is why we were dismayed by your comments Wednesday afternoon on WGBH Radio.

On behalf of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition we invite you to work with us to fully fund and implement Vision Zero in Boston. We ask that you join us on Friday morning at 8 AM for a moment of silence for victims of traffic violence on City Hall Plaza. On behalf of those victims, we also ask that you apologize for the comments you made on the air.

Our streets are in crisis.

In 2016, fifteen people died while walking on Boston’s streets; a record-breaking high for pedestrian fatalities. We are on track to see even higher numbers in 2017. Crashes overall are up. On average, at least two to three people walking are hit in a crash that results in an EMT call every day.

We need action from you and your administration, not victim-blaming. When you said on the air, “Pedestrians need to put their head up when they’re walking down the street, take your headphones off … you’ve got to understand, cars are going to hit you,” you were reiterating a narrative that doesn’t stand up to the crash data your administration collects.

Most of the people killed while walking were children or older adults. In 2016, of the 10 pedestrian victims whose ages we know, four were older than 60 and two were younger than 3 years old.

This Coalition and your constituents look to you for action.

A week ago, hundreds of people attended the City Council’s FY18 budget hearing for the Boston Transportation Department to call for increased resources to make streets safer for everyone. After the hours of questions from the council and public testimony, it’s clear from all sides – Boston is falling behind.

In your interview with WGBH, you said that the city is doing “everything we can,” but we know Boston is being eclipsed by peer cities in both resources and implementation. The City of New York spends about $20 per person on Vision Zero annually, and San Francisco spends $75 per person annually. Both cities have seen declines in overall traffic fatalities despite a troubling rise in fatal crashes nationwide. Boston is spending less than $5 per person, this is not enough.

Forty-seven neighborhood groups applied for Neighborhood Slow Streets, a signature program of Boston’s Vision Zero initiative. Your FY18 budget recommendation only provides resources to implement two to three in the coming year.

At the current rate of implementation it will take more than 20 years to respond to just the first round of applications. Safety should not be a privilege afforded to only some Boston neighborhoods.

We recognize that there are many competing budget priorities and that rapid change on our streets will cost money. This year we suggest drawing on the parking meter fund. In the long term, we are here to work with you to diversify and increase the revenue streams available for transportation, for example through increased parking revenues.

Simply put, the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, and the thousands of people we represent, feel strongly that the 2018 transportation budget as currently proposed is insufficient to reduce the number of fatalities and serious crashes on our streets.

We hope you will take this opportunity to recommit to leading Boston as a Vision Zero city.

Thank You,

Vision Zero Coalition
Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition members

CC: Boston City Council
Chief of Streets Chris Osgood
Transportation Commissioner Gina Fiandaca
Chief of Staff Dan Koh
Press
Public

New “Fun-Sized” Target Community meeting tonight (Thursday, May 18, 2017 7pm) at Roslindale Community Center

Rendering of Expected Roslindale Target Store

Rendering of Expected Roslindale Target Store

Target is replacing Staples at 4165 Washington Street soon. They are holding a community meeting tonight, Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 7pm at the Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummins Highway.

While the new lease may be a done deal, there is still an opportunity to use this changeover to urge badly-needed walkability improvements in this part of the neighborhood. One likely concern of residents will be increased traffic on an already congested block; the best way to mitigate this impact is to make it easier for people who prefer to walk or bike to Target to do so.

We at WalkUP Roslindale brainstormed a quick list of ideas that Target should implement to make the new store a net positive for the neighborhood. These initial thoughts are below, but please add other ideas in the comments or show up tonight and speak up for walkability!

  • Sponsor Roslindale Village’s Hubway
  • Provide a bike corral or rack, sufficient for both Target employees and customers
  • Rearrange parking area exit and entrance to be safer for pedestrians on Washington Street
  • Provide an outdoor sitting area, more than a bench or two–a well designed area
  • Add crosswalk from Target to other side of Washington Street
  • Improve sidewalk area with more attractive streetlights, greenery and trees
  • Help repave badly-damaged Washington Street from Firth Road up to the square (see our earlier post on this topic)
  • Restripe bicycle lanes for same stretch as lines have nearly disappeared
  • Better crosswalk markings – including bollards to prevent people from parking in the cross walk
  • Removal of “Bike Lane Ends” sign in front of business
  • “Don’t block the box” square for entrance to Bexley Road so southbound traffic can turn and not back up

Official WalkUP Roslindale Comment Letter – 32 Cummins Highway

Rendering of Proposed 32 Cummins Highway Project

Rendering of Proposed 32 Cummins Highway Project

Yesterday, we sent a comment letter to the Zoning Board of Appeal (technically the “Boston Board of Appeal” under the statute) on a proposed development less than a block from Roslindale Square on Cummins HighwayThe project is a 9-unit residential building with 12 off-street parking spaces. While we generally supported the requested zoning relief and appreciate the architectural design and walkability features like secure bicycle storage, we would also to see this and other projects do more to provide affordable units (none are promised here) as well as better support for walkability and enabling a car-free lifestyle. More details on this below.

We hope many of you will agree with some if not all of the points made below. Either way, however, we’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Continue reading

Roslindale Gateway Path 10% Conceptual Plan, and onward!

Last night, WalkUP Roslindale and partners held a public event to unveil the Roslindale Gateway Path 10% Conceptual Plan to the public, and we are happy to share both the slideshow presentation, the plan itself (plus appendices) with the world here. The meeting was held at the beautiful Weld Hill Research Building in the Arnold Arboretum, and was well attended by stakeholders, media, neighbors, and other interested members of the public. The reception was enthusiastic, with many thoughtful questions and constructive suggestions after the formal presentation. A few photos below.

Note that this is truly a “10% conceptual plan”–thus really a starting point with a lot of work remaining. We are working through various issues, particularly on the northern end of the path where it will meet Blackwell Path Extension and South Street/Bussey Street/Archdale Road. We’d love to hear more ideas about how best to deal with this trickier part of the path, as well as other suggestions or ideas you might have for making our vision a reality.

Gateway Path Slideshow
Gateway Path Slideshow
Gateway Path Slideshow
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Community Meeting on 43 Lochdale Road, 42 units, rescheduled to Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 6:30pm at Roslindale Community Center

A couple of weeks back, a community meeting on a proposed 42-unit residential project at 43 Lochdale Road (off Washington Street, near Forest Hills) was postponed at the last minute. The meeting has just been rescheduled for Thursday, May 25, 2017, at 6:30pm at the Roslindale Community Center (6 Cummins Highway). You can take a look at the thoughts we shared back in April; in brief, while housing is desperately needed around Boston, especially near transit hubs like this location, we would very much like to see the developers of this project better consider walkability and transit access given the density and location of the project. More free parking necessarily means more cars and traffic; instead, we’d like to see investment in walking and bicycling infrastructure (as well as complementary amenities like Hubway and ZipCar), to make sure it is as easy as possible for residents to live car-free so close to the orange line. Please sure your thoughts in the comments here, and attend the community meeting on May 25!

Roslindale Gateway Path 10% Conceptual Plan Public Meeting – Monday, May 8, 2017 6:30pm at Weld Hill Building in Arboretum

WalkUP Roslindale is excited to announce another milestone toward making the Roslindale Gateway Path a reality. After completing a vision report (two-page summary) with students from the Tufts Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning program just about a year ago, we raised donations to fund a “10% conceptual plan” for the path by an engineering firm, the Horsley Witten Group (“Sustainable Environmental Solutions”). This study has just wrapped up and we are holding a public event on Monday, May 8, 2017 at 6:30pm at the Weld Hill Research Building in the Arnold Arboretum, 1300 Centre Street, to present the final product and invite more community feedback and support.

Our past events for this project have had a big turnout, and we hope this one will as well. As a preview of the report, a couple of images below show in more detail the proposed route for “section 1” of the path, starting at the Roslindale Village Commuter Rail stop, as well as a visual rendering of a section of the path.

Please RSVP so we can prepare for the right size group! Spread the word, and don’t forget to join for a Jane’s Walk in the area of the path the day before (May 7).

Proposed Route Path for Section 1

Proposed Route Path for Section 1

Visual Rendering of Proposed Path

Visual Rendering of Proposed Path

Roslindale Village Film Series – Citizen Kane on Saturday, April 8, 2017 6:30pm at the Roslindale Community Church

Join the Roslindale Film Series next Saturday, April 8, 2017, 6:30pm, at the Roslindale Community Church (25 Cummins Highway) for the next installment in the Resilience & Resistance series: five films exploring authoritianism, nationalism, and attacks on core democratic principles. We’ll be watching Citizen Kane, the third in the series:

“Citizen Kane” (Dir. Orson Welles, 1941)
Considered a masterpiece of world cinema (as well as Donald Trump’s “favorite film”), Orson Welles wrote, directed, produced, and starred in this fictionalized account of media tycoon
William Randolph Hearst.

Suggested donation is $5, to benefit the Roslindale Food Pantry.

See you at the movies!

Reminder – 874-878 South Street Community Meeting This Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 6:30pm at the Roslindale Community Center

Just a reminder that the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services is holding a community meeting this Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 6:30pm at the Roslindale Community Center (6 Cummins Highway) regarding a proposed development at 874-878 South Street (near the intersection with Walter). Details:

874 South Street (Currently)

874 South Street (Currently)

Slow Streets Community Meeting Successful

Neighborhood Slow Streets Application PacketDespite inclement weather, we had a good turnout for Monday night’s Slow Streets info session. For anyone who was unable to make it, please check out the slides from the presentation.. Let’s put Rozzie on the map as the next neighborhood to take this important step toward Vision Zero!