Picked up this graphic at a Jeff Speck session at CNU25. Abundantly true of a city like Boston, where it makes no sense that our mayor still isn’t fully behind appropriate funding for active mobility and Vision Zero, or applying, right now, political will to breaking down the institutional barriers that are holding us back.
Yes. That’s Keytar Bear from the Roslindale Craft Beer Cellar opening earlier this year!!
Friends, it’s going to be a busy few weeks upcoming. So, as we close out April and start into May, here are 5 eminently worthwhile events to put on your calendar. We hope to see you at all or at least some of them:
ITEM 1 – Sunday – May 7 at 1 pm – Jane’s Walk – We’ll meet in the southeastern corner of the Arboretum, just down the short slope from the Mendum Street gate and then wind our way northward along the contemplated route of the Roslindale Gateway Path and the Blackwell Path extension, stop and consider ways to work with our neighbors on cleaning up the area around the Arboretum Road underpass, and get a tutorial on the upcoming end-state for walking and cycling connections in the Arborway-Casey area.
ITEM 2 – Monday – May 8 at 6:30 pm – Roslindale Gateway Path Conceptual Design Study Presentation – This will take place at the Arboretum’s Weld Hill building. More information at the link. Pushing the concept to the point of seeing how it might lay out on the ground is an important milestone, and those of us who have been steering this grassroots effort so far are eager to continue the community conversation we started last spring.
ITEM 3 – Tuesday – May 16 at 9:30 am – Mayor Walsh’s Neighborhood Coffee Hour and Fallon Field Playground Ribbon-Cutting – This will be a great opportunity to connect with the mayor and his staff (including our own Dan Murphy from ONS) to thank them for their work on the new playground and discuss other ways we can work together to make our neighborhood a better place.
ITEM 4 – Thursday – May 18 at 7:00 pm – Fun-Size Target Meeting – It’s now official: Staples is closing and Target is proposing to bring their smaller-size store model into our neighborhood. Lots of upside and downside to discuss. To be held at the RCC, this one promises to be interesting.
ITEM 5 – Friday – May 19 at 7:10 am – Bike to Work Day – With Councilor Tim McCarthy! – May 19 is bike to work day throughout the city and the country, and if you work downtown, you can have an extra special treat on this day because our own district city councilor has accepted Rozzie Bikes’ invitation to ride into town from Roslindale Square. The West Roxbury/Roslindale convoy starts at Adi’s Bike World on Centre Street at 7:00 am and then departs Roslindale Square at 7:10 am. The ride ends at an early-morning festival on City Hall Plaza. Be there with your 2-wheeler and join in the fun!
We are delighted that the Boston City Council’s Committee on Parks, Recreation & Transportation has announced a series of public discussions, in partnership with Northeastern University Professor Peter G. Furth, on several critical topics. These discussions will be held in the Iannella Chamber on the 5th Floor of City Hall, and also livestreamed at http://www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/live.asp. Come in person to be part of the conversation, and please spread the word! Kudos to City Council President Michelle Wu for taking the major leadership role to make this happen.
- Tues, Nov. 15th, 12-1:30pm — Low-Stress Bicycle Network
- Tues, Dec. 6th, 4-5:30pm — Pedestrian Service and Safety
- Thurs, Jan. 5th, 4-5:30pm — Systematic Safety — European Vision Zero Principles Applied to Boston
- Thursday, Feb. 2nd, 4-5:30pm — Transit Signal Priority
- Thurs, Mar. 2nd, 4-5:30pm — Parking Management
We are happy to report that flex posts have gone in the ground at Washington & Blue Ledge. Our sincerest thanks to BTD and PWD for moving the Vision Zero crash response here to this milestone. All that remains is the installation of the pedestrian crossing beacon. A couple of photos taken early on Saturday morning.
We were a bit busy this past week, so not much time to post, but wanted to make sure folks knew that both the Arboretum Gateway Path and the American Legion Greenway have been selected by LivableStreets Alliance to be Greenway Partner projects! The selections were made public at the Tour de Streets event a week ago Saturday. Links here:
This means LivableStreets Alliance has committed to working with both WalkUP Roslindale and the American Legion Corridor Coalition and helping them move forward. This is great news and we all deeply appreciate the work LivableStreets Alliance is doing all around the region on the interrelated issues of walking, bicycling, and transit connectivity.
Not Random. The reconfiguration at Washington & Blue Ledge is part of the City of Boston’s ongoing effort to implement the Vision Zero Policy adopted about 18 months ago. Under this policy, which several cities have adopted around the US, our city has set a goal of reaching zero deaths among all users of our streets – drivers and passengers in motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and others in alternative forms of wheeled/motorized transportation – by the year 2030. A major focus of the policy’s implementation is to respond to each crash involving serious injury or death by examining their location and making changes to improve safety. Washington@Blue Ledge is where Roslindale resident Silvia Acosta was killed by a speeding hit-and-run driver while in a crosswalk in mid-January of this year. The reconfiguration that is now under way seeks to reduce motor vehicle speeds and the so-called “double-threat” in the part of the crosswalk that crosses the northbound direction of Washington Street. Reducing vehicle speeds has a huge impact on whether pedestrians survive a motor vehicle crash — your chances of dying increase from
under 10% at 20 mph, to over 50% at 30 mph, to over 80% at 40 mph. The double-threat is something I’m sure we’ve all experienced, where a crosswalk crosses two lanes in the same direction, the car in one lane stops, while the car in the second lane can’t see the pedestrian for whom the stop is being made, posits that they are stopping for no reason, and goes around them, hitting the pedestrian in the process. This is a big step forward for this intersection.
- Not Done. The reconfiguration at this location is not yet done. Boston PWD’s contractor should soon be installing (a) flex posts and bollards to delineate both the painted bump out on the southbound side and the pedestrian median, and (b) a push-button activated flashing beacon signal for the new crosswalk. Those of us who are focused on improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety in our neighborhood are intensely interested in this intersection and will be watching closely in the next few days to make sure these final actions are taken as soon as possible.
- Not Adjusted to Overnight. Observations have been made that the new configuration has not yet taken hold and some drivers are still using the new bike lane as if it remains a motor vehicle lane. While unfortunate, this is not surprising. The installation isn’t done yet, and the experience around town is that getting drivers to comply with new roadway configurations takes time and patience. If vehicle speeds are slowing as drivers adjust, see point 1, above. The intent is that the new configuration will reduce vehicle speeds permanently by narrowing the travel lanes and improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety.
A highly dedicated group of over 15 walkers/cyclists attended the WalkUP Roslindale/Rozzie Bikes led tour of the proposed route of the Roslindale-Arboretum Gateway Path as part of the ongoing LandLine tour series this summer. Photo gallery below.
We (your co-hosts, Alan Wright and Matt Lawlor) were honored with the presence and commentary of Nina Brown from the Arboretum Park Conservancy, who spoke about APC’s efforts on extending the Blackwell Path, and from Matthew Jordan (Director of Finance) and Andrew Gapinski (Manager of Horticulture) from the Arnold Arboretum, who gave us a sense of the Arboretum’s perspective and continued support for the RAGP concept. Peter Sutton, from MassDOT Planning, represented the LandLine Coalition.
We started at the northern end of the Blackwell Path, across from Forest Hills station, and wound our way down the Blackwell Path, its proposed extension route, and then up Peters Hill and into the densely-wooded MBTA property adjacent to the Needham Line tracks to the shelter at the southern end. We owe special thanks to Peter and key MBTA staff, especially Mark Boyle (Director of Real Estate), for allowing us to access this portion of the route on very short notice. We concluded our tour at the recently-installed bike corral on Cohasset Street in Roslindale Square, which is getting brisk use along with the adjacent parklet. We look forward to more opportunities to walk/bike the proposed Gateway Path route with neighbors and friends from Roslindale and around the region.
Just a reminder that WalkUP Roslindale members Alan Wright and Matt Lawlor will be leading a ride/walk along the approximate route of the proposed Arboretum Gateway Path this coming Friday, June 24, 2016 starting at 4 pm at the Forest Hills entrance to the existing Blackwell Path. The ride/walk is part of MAPC’s LandLine summer rides. More info can be found here. We would love to see a strong turnout for this event!
It took longer than it should have given the level of community support, but many community partners, starting with RVMS but including Street Ops, the offices of councilors McCarthy and Wu, Boston Transportation Department, the BSA Foundation, RozzieBikes, and your own WalkUP Rozzie, have finally succeeded in placing a bike corral next to the parklet at Fornax. The ribbon-cutting was yesterday and we had an excellent turnout. RVMS Executive Director Christina DiLisio made the point that several thousand dollars have been raised and is now available for more bike infrastructure in the square generally, so hopefully this is just a sign of much more to come.
They’ve been a bit crazy, truth be told, as follows:
- “Le Green T est arrivé!!!” For those of us in Peters Hill, the arrival of Green T to the intersection of Walter and South a week ago Thursday means that we now have a community front porch. By all accounts, including their own, the Green T folks were genuinely surprised at the immediate response of our neighborhood to having somewhere to enjoy good coffee, smoothies, and sandwiches in a well-crafted space open to the street. But there you have it. Yours truly (Matt) was patient zero of this particular viral event – I was there promptly at 5:30 am on opening day and I was not disappointed – a tasty latte and a flaky croissant and off we went. The first 4 days were supposed to be a soft opening, but soft it most certainly was not. We have been desperate for something like this, and we were not to be denied the pleasure IMMEDIATELY. It has become an instant focal point over here, the place that fills in the blank for “Meet me at ________ for coffee.” I personally live 2 blocks down and will attest that foot traffic has picked up significantly since the shop opened. Sarah Kurpiel Lee: We most certainly need bike parking asap. Please identify the appropriate location.
- Open Streets? In my own capacity as president of the WalkBoston board of directors, I was caught up in the debate over the possibility of open streets in Boston after the Mayor’s twitter chat last Wednesday raised the issue. Due to various conflicts (the ED was traveling and the communications director had a command performance), I ended up on the local news urging that Newbury Street (and various other streets in town) be considered for temporary, one-day closure this summer along the lines of what recently happened in Paris with the Champs-Élysées and has been happening on Memorial Drive in Cambridge since the 1970s. You can see the piece here. For the record, I think the folks they found on the street said it most directly and effectively. It’s just a good idea. Plain and simple.
- And then there is Vision Zero Boston. I attended the City Council hearing last Monday, but couldn’t stay, so our written comments had to stand as our testimony, as has been reported separately on this webpage. A WalkUP group followed up at the Mayor’s Roslindale coffee our by stressing to his honor how concerned we were about the slow pace of Vision Zero implementation, especially as it applied to Washington at Blue Ledge. It appears that the rapid response at this location may turn into something of a test case for what needs to be done going forward at that location and many, many others around town. As we said in the comment letter, everyone in this city deserves to feel safe on the street on which they live. Everyone. No exceptions. Old, young, rich, poor, all ethnicities. It is one very meaningful way to measure a city’s fairness in dealing with its citizens. And as the post from earlier in the week said, we will need to stay on the city’s various actors (mainly BTD, but also PWD and the BRA) on these issues. The right thing won’t happen by sitting back and waiting for it.