2017 – WUR’s year in review

With the books now closed on 2017, let’s take a moment to reflect on another year in the life of WalkUP Roslindale, your neighborhood walk-bike-transit-Y/QIMBY (Yes/Quality in My Backyard) citizens group. In the opinion of your humble correspondent, below are the top 7 highlights of the year just concluded. Comments, corrections, and additions are always welcome!

  1. Washington Street Operational Bus Improvements Pilot – It came late in the year (and on just 2 Tuesday mornings in December). But the first test of a bus-only lane (shared with people on bikes as well) on Washington Street from Roslindale Square to Ukraine Way from 7 am to 9 am was a widely-hailed successful proof of concept. Bus riders saved significant time, people riding bikes in the corridor generally approved of the shared lane, and the Boston Transportation Department and the MBTA showed they could work quite well together on the first such test case in an outlying neighborhood. It is hard to overstate how big a deal this is — there are several corridors around Boston that desperately need the kind of low-upfront-capital but meaningful time-saving improvements to bus service that was demonstrated for the first time in this city here in Roslindale. A full 2-week pilot is reportedly planned for the spring. Dates and specifics are still TBD. WalkUP Roslindale will do everything it can to support the full pilot and ultimately implementation of a permanent set of improvements. We appreciate the advocacy and support of the proposal from City Councilors Wu and McCarthy as well as BTD’s strong performance on the 2 days of the operational pilot. Special thanks are also owed to LivableStreets Alliance for their persistent advocacy, particularly their Street Ambassadors, who teamed with certain WUR diehards (Messrs. Tedrow, Gag, and Tobin come to mind) on outreach this fall and then during the operational pilot.
  2. Mt. Hope-Canterbury gets Roslindale’s nod for the Neighborhood Slow Streets Program – A grand total of 47 applications were submitted to BTD’s program to install new neighborhood slow streets areas around Boston. Five applicants were picked, and our own Mt. Hope-Canterbury area in eastern Roslindale made the cut. We look forward to seeing the work of MHC stalwarts Lisa Beatman and Rick Yoder and their neighbors in that part of our neighborhood come to fruition in their new NSS by year-end. And herewith our periodic reminder that everyone in Boston deserves to live on a safe street. Everyone on every street in every neighborhood.
  3. Roslindale’s First Street Mural – Our neighborhood’s first street mural was laid down in June at the intersection of Conway and South streets, on the Peters Hill side of the MBTA commuter rail station. This was a great community building event and collaboration with the Mayor’s Mural Crew staff (especially Heidi Schork), BTD, Roslindale Village Main Street, Cornell Coley (Roslindale’s Artist-in-Residence), and our own Rachele Rosi-Kessel, Rebecca Phillips, Mandana Moshtaghi, and Ann-Marie Lawlor.
  4. At-Large City Councilors and Candidates Forum on Active Mobility Issues – WUR was significantly gratified to pull together a forum featuring all 8 current councilors and candidates in October to discuss active mobility issues affecting Roslindale and the city at large. Attendance was strong and we were able to livestream the forum as it was progressing. Particular thanks are due for this event to the Roslindale Community Center for making their downstairs meeting room available for an extended period on the evening of the forum.
  5. Green Shoots Pedestrian Improvements in Roslindale Square – WUR’s late 2015 collaboration with WalkBoston on a walk audit of Roslindale Square finally bore fruit in the spring of this year when key improvements were made to the Basile/Washington crosswalk (including fix the blinking yellow light, installing a handicapped accessible ramp and daylighting with flexposts) and Belgrade/South (including no parking in the area between the crosswalks and daylighting with flexposts). In addition to these major changes, we also saw a new crosswalk near the Robert Street underpass for the MBTA and a new crosswalk center delineator on Belgrade near Robert/Corinth. We hope to see more improvements around the square in the coming year.
  6. Roslindale Gateway Path continues to make progress and draws major foundation support – The early spring saw the release of the 10% design for the Roslindale Gateway Path at a community meeting at the Arnold Arboretum’s Weld Hill research facility, followed a couple of months later by an announcement of formal collaboration with the Arboretum Park Conservancy on a combined Roslindale Gateway/Blackwell Path project. The combined path effort then had the good fortune, with support from LivableStreets Alliance, the Arboretum and BTD, to obtain funding from the Solomon Foundation for advancing the design to the 25% level. Look for the release of the 25% design at some point this spring.
  7. Smarter residential development continues across the neighborhood – Last, but not least, WUR advanced our Y/QIMBY agenda in support of residential development that we thought worthwhile, especially 874-878 South Street (around the corner from your correspondent’s house), 32 Cummins Highway (down the block from the post office), and 4281 Washington Street (the Brayton’s Upholstery building). Our city is growing and need to welcome new residents by building new units form them instead of making them compete with existing residents over existing units.

Roslindale Gateway Path & Blackwell Path Extension – Now combined and on the move!

Rozzie Gateway Path Entrance (image courtesy Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc.)

We last updated folks on the progress of the Roslindale Gateway Path when we, along with our partners LivableStreets Alliance, the Arnold Arboretum, and Roslindale Village Main Street, released the conceptual design study back in April of this year. Since then, we have discussed more seamlessly weaving together and unifying the RGP with the Blackwell Path Extension that the Arboretum Park Conservancy has been promoting on roughly the same timeframe. Those discussions resulted in a joint meeting with city officials in June 2017 to put the combined project squarely on their radar and just a few days ago the decision by the Solomon Foundation to provide $29,000 in funding to advance the combined project to 25% design. The Arnold Arboretum will be facilitating this work with Solomon and the design consultants at Horsley Witten Group and we look forward to releasing and publicly discussing this design when it is released later this year. So, special thanks to Solomon and the Arboretum for keeping the momentum up on this effort!

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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Your WalkUP Roslindale May 2017 Look-ahead — BUSY!

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!

Jane’s Walk Planned – Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 1 pm – Start at the southeast corner of the Arboretum

As part of the international movement of holding citizen-led walking tours promoting community-based city building during the month of May in honor of pioneer urbanist Jane Jacobs (that’s her in the graphic next to the Jane’s Walk logo) and in collaboration with our friends at WalkBoston, WalkUP Roslindale will be hosting its first-ever Jane’s Walk on Sunday, May 7, 2017 starting at 1 pm at the southeast corner of the Arboretum. We will wind our way along the proposed route of the Roslindale Gateway Path and the proposed Blackwell Path Extension, hopefully connect with a couple of key stakeholders at the Arboretum Road arch, and then hear from WalkUP Roslindale/Rozzie Bikes‘ own Mark Tedrow about walking and cycling connections to the Southwest Corridor and Franklin Park that will result from completion of the ongoing Casey Arborway project at Forest Hills. Hope to see you there!!!

 

Arboretum Gateway Path Tour and Feedback Session This Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 10am at Mendum Street Gate

Rozzie Gateway Path Entrance (image courtesy Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc.)

Rozzie Gateway Path Entrance (image courtesy Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc.)

RSVP Link


Saturday, December 3, 2016
10am-11am
Meet at Mendum Street Gate


Join WalkUP Roslindale along with representatives from the Arnold Arboretum and path design consultant Horsley Witten Group for a site tour of the proposed Arboretum Gateway Path, focusing on the segment closest to Roslindale. We’ll provide updates on progress for this initiative which will improve access to the park from Roslindale Square, as well as provide a better active transportation link between Roslindale and Forest Hills. We’re also eager to get your feedback on path design, including surface materials, lighting issues, and proposed routes. This will be an opportunity to meet fellow Roslindale residents who love to walk. And at present, the weather forecast is good!

Meet at the Arnold Arboretum, Peters Hill at the Mendum Street Gate (corner intersection of Mendum and Fairview) at 10am, this Saturday, December 3. The event should run about an hour. RSVP so we can plan for the group size, and spread the word.

Two Greenway Partner Sites are in Roslindale!

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.

4 Minutes for Walkability — What is it, how is it achieved, and what’s it good for?

If you have time to click on this link at grist:

The key to fighting climate change and mortality? Walkable cities.

read the intro, and then watch the short video — I believe that’s a 4 minute time commitment in total — you’ll find it worth your while. An excellent summary of what makes a place walkable, how it’s achieved, and what it’s good for. Enjoy and then get out there and get to it!

Gateway Path Tour June 2016

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.