Southwest Corridor to Roslindale and Beyond

Photo used under Creative Commons License from Rand Snyder
Southwest Corridor Park (photo republished under Creative Commons License from Rand Snyder)

The Parkland Management Advisory Committee, created in the 1970s to advise on the Southwest Corridor Park planning process, recently conducted a survey of corridor users. Lots of interesting results, including several relating to the sometimes challenging interactions between pedestrians and bicyclists, but perhaps most relevant here:

57% of survey respondents live or work in Jamaica Plain, 23% in the Back Bay or South End, 16% in Roxbury, 5% in the Fenway neighborhood and 14% in other neighborhoods or cities. Among the other neighborhoods and cities, Roslindale was the most frequently mentioned.

Emphasis added (note that Roslindale wasn’t offered as a “checklist” option).

Once the Casey Overpass project is complete, entering the Southwest Corridor at Forest Hills should be a pleasant experience. The path is already a heavily-used nonmotorized highway from Southwest Boston to downtown; it is possible, for example, to take bike paths and wide bike lanes all the way from the Southwest Corridor to the water’s edge in the Seaport via the Melnea Cass bike path, Silver Line shared bike lane on Washington Street, and the Fort Port channel path across from the central USPS facility. Lots remains to be done to improve this thoroughfare (perhaps a topic for a future blog entry) but it’s a decent start.

But thousands of users who start out beyond Forest Hills have few pleasant options to reach the start of the corridor. It’s possible to walk or bike through the Arboretum, but that route is around 2x-3x longer than the straight shot from Rozzie Village to Forest Hills. Let’s envision a dedicated straight-shot path (e.g. through the arboretum, or along one of the rail rights-of-way), Hubway stations at both ends, and the phenomenal community, health, social, traffic, and mobility benefits that would come to both JP and Roslindale from that connection. Much crazier ideas have been implemented–we can and will make this happen.

Rozzie Bike Corral Meeting June 10

In honor of Roslindale hero Steve Gag, Roslindale Village Main Streets supporters raised several thousands dollars to kick off a campaign to install a bike corral in Rozzie Square. The proposal is to replace one car parking space with ten bike spaces (note the ratio!). This investment in infrastructure is important both for the direct utility it brings and for the message it sends–better bike and ped infrastructure changes mindsets, bringing people out on foot and bike, resulting in a virtuous self-reinforcing circle.

The City of Boston is hosting a public meeting on June 10, 6pm-7pm, at the Roslindale Community Center, to present the city’s plan. If you share the WalkUP vision, come to learn more about the project and support this step in the right direction.