StreetsblogMASS officially launched today!

And so the growing movement for safer, cleaner, healthier, and more equitable transportation in our neighborhood, city, region, and commonwealth has a new media outlet that will highlight and stick with the stories and issues we care the most about. Mark this date – July 11, 2019 – as the formal start of something that we can all hope will make us better. Take it away, StreetsblogMASS Editor in Chief Christian MilNeil:

The Streetsblog movement has arrived in Massachusetts!

When Streetsblog launched in New York City in 2006, policymakers took it for granted that streets were primarily for motor vehicles: the city had no on-street protected bike lanes and over 300 New Yorkers were dying every year in traffic collisions.

Today, New York is ranked among the nation’s best cities for cycling. Cars and trucks are no longer allowed on Broadway through Times Square, there’s a network of protected bikeways that extends over 100 miles throughout the five boroughs, and the number of people killed by cars has hit its lowest point in a century.

The cities and towns of Massachusetts are ready for a similar transformation.

Massachusetts is already home to dozens of great organizations working on these issues, and there’s been impressive progress in the past decade. The state’s biggest city recently adopted the visionary Go Boston 2030 plan, which sets a target for cutting motor vehicle commutes in half, expanding the regional greenway network, and boosting transit service over the next decade.

And yet, for all the great ideas out there, our region’s leaders are falling short in actually implementing the policies and infrastructure we need. Crashes cause over 4,000 injuries a year in Boston alone, and that number has been increasing in spite of the city’s “Vision Zero” commitment.

There’s compelling evidence that the region’s failure to invest in its transit system and build safer streets is hurting the regional economy and making traffic worse.

StreetsblogMASS will be a place to amplify the efforts of seasoned advocates who have been working on these issues for years, but it will also be a place that invites more people into the safer streets movement and give them the knowledge they need to make a difference, whether they’re a new-to-town college student or a retiree who’s contemplating giving up their car. Safer streets matter to everyone – even motorists – and StreetsblogMASS will strive to be as inclusive as it is engaging.

As your editor, I’ve spent the past six years working as a data reporter for the Portland Press Herald in Maine; I’ve also moonlighted as a transportation and affordable housing advocate for more than a decade. I’m a strong believer in the power local journalism has in holding leaders accountable to the public interest, but I also find that traditional journalism often falls short in addressing the public’s interests in making our cities more equitable and fighting climate change.

Our streets are public spaces: they belong to all of us, not just the few who operate the most life-threatening and polluting vehicles. Making the Commonwealth’s streets safer is a necessary condition for New England to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and it’s also a way to make our cities healthier, safer, more affordable, and more egalitarian.

So – please subscribe to our email newsletterfollow us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed, add us to your bookmarks, or lend us your financial support.

It’s time to build a safer, more connected, healthier Commonwealth – let’s get started.

Join WalkUP Roslindale at Undesign the Red line – Boston City Hall – 8:30 am on July 18, 2019

Undesign the Red line is a collaboration between designing the WE and Enterprise Community Partners that uses an exhaustively annotated and illustrated timeline to take attendees through several decades of housing segregation by race and class across the United States. July 18th will be the last day that the exhibit will be available for public view at Boston City Hall and WalkUP Roslindale wants to make sure we don’t miss this opportunity to learn much more about the origins, practice, and continued effects of redlining in our city. Details for the morning of Thursday, July 18, are as follows:

  • Meet in Adams Park at 7:15 am
  • Walk as a group to Forest Hills Station on the Orange Line
  • Board the Orange Line approx. 7:50 am
  • Arrive at Boston City Hall approx. 8:20 am
  • All interested attendees to meet at the Bill Russell statue on City Hall Plaza at 8:30 am
  • We will then view the exhibit inside City Hall. Plan for an hour to do so.
  • Thanks!

Your 2018 WalkUP Roslindale year in review!

WITH 2018 having drawn to its inevitable close, now seems like a decent enough time to look back on another year in the life of WalkUP Roslindale, your neighborhood walk-bike-transit-Y/QIMBY (Yes/Quality in My Backyard) citizens advocacy group. In the opinion of one member of group management, here are the top 10 things that happened this year. Comments, corrections, and additions are always welcome!

  1. District City Councilor Forum – Although scheduling conflicts kept us from hosting this particular forum in 2017, we did manage to pull off a gathering of the three district councilors who represent various parts of Roslindale – Andrea Campbell (District 4), Tim McCarthy (District 5), and Matt O’Malley (District 6) – that resulted in a lively discussion on a wide range of topics hosted by our own Sarah Kurpiel Lee. You can read the post-mortem at Recap on District City Councilor January 2018 Forum.
  2. Washington Street Bus & Bike Lane – After the 2-day pilot at the end of 2017 and then a full 4-week pilot in May and June of this year, the Mayor announced that the Washington Street bus and bike lane improvement project – which allows for a bus and bike only lane northbound on weekday mornings (5 to 9 am) and has significantly improved travel times for riders on the 9 separate lines that run between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills – would be permanent. This was a big win for better transit in our neighborhood and a significant step forward for better bus service across the region. We were proud to partner with Livable Streets Alliance on surveying riders and building support for the project and reported on it in May in Give Washington Street Bus Lane Feedback and in October in WalkUP Comment Letter on Washington Street Bus Lane.
  3. Safer Walking and Cycling in Roslindale Square – Around the same time that the bus/bike pilot was going on and being made permanent, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) planned and then the Public Works Department resurfaced the key loop of South/Belgrade/Corinth/Poplar in Roslindale Square and installed a targeted set of new crosswalks, daylighting areas, in-street bike lanes, and relocated bus stops. With this set of improvements, a significant majority of the changes we advocated for in our December 2015 Walk Audit with WalkBoston have now been implemented. You can find coverage at Recent Safety Improvements in Roslindale Square – An Explainer and Letter of Support for Pedestrian Safety and Traffic Calming Improvements in Roslindale Square.
  4. Significant Progress on the Roslindale Gateway Path – In late June, we teamed with the Arnold Arboretum and Horsley Witten to release the 25% design for the MBTA-owned section of the path, running from the commuter rail station to the Arboretum border. The meeting was well attended and led to the T’s relatively swift determination that the proposed path route was conceptually approved through its internal canvassing process. Mid-year also saw funding progress as the commonwealth’s legislative session drew to a close in July. First, future funding to the tune of $3 million for path construction was included in the statewide Environmental Bond Bill. Securing these particular funds will require more work going forward, but the good news was just getting started. The FY2019 budget also included $100,000 in earmarked funding to help complete the path’s overall design. And then, to top off the funding story for the year, the city, through BTD, was able to obtain $90,000 in federal grant funding to move to 100% design for the initial extension of the path from its current terminus at the end of the Blackwell Path to the Arboretum Road underpass. An application to the city’s Community Preservation Act committee to fund construction of this extension was submitted in September. Coverage can also be found at Major Step Forward for the Gateway Path.
  5. Y/QIMBY Support and YIMBYtown – We continued to support new projects and concepts that we believed make sense, including 3-7 Poplar (732 South) and RVMS’ Poplar Street Improvements and the possible redevelopment of the Taft Hill Parking Lot. We also participated on the host committee of YIMBYtown 2018, the third annual national YIMBY conference held here in Boston in September. Perhaps the emblematic moment at YIMBYtown was the demonstration by housing justice advocates led by City Life/Vida Urbana at the closing plenary of the conference, voicing concerns about displacement of poorer people and people of color from neighborhoods experiencing an influx of new residents. WalkUP Roslindale hopes to partner with the housing justice initiative at RISE in the coming year to find a unified way forward in our neighborhood. More to come on this topic.
  6. FY2019 BTD Budget – WalkUP Roslindale was truly excited about the passage of an expanded BTD budget for FY2019 that calls for hiring a slew of new planners and engineers focused on issues such as coordinating MBTA service in the city, implementing Vision Zero, and expanding our city’s bike network. While we are still awaiting these new hires, we hope that they will be made soon.
  7. Neighborhood Slow Streets in MHMC – Progress continued on our neighborhood’s winner of the 2017 NSS sweepstakes. Conceptual plans are anticipated to be released in late winter. More information can be found at “Mount Hope/Canterbury” on BTD’s vision zero site.
  8. Blue Bikes in Roslindale! – We finally got our first 4 Blue Bikes stations in Roslindale in late summer – 2 stations in the square, one Belgrade and Walworth, and a fourth at Washington and Archdale. Now, if we could only find a way to get the long-delayed-due-to-construction and now completely inexplicably delayed station slated for Forest Hills, we’d really be talking. You can read more at “New Hubway (Blue Bikes) Locations Announced in Roslindale” and “Blue Bikes Finally Come to Roslindale.”
  9. Walter Street Traffic Calming – After sustained advocacy over many years by members of the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association, 3 new crosswalks were finally installed in the stretch of Walter Street running from Bussey to South. The crosswalks were also accompanied by daylighting and flexposts on Walter itself and on certain of the side streets on Peters Hill. This kind of treatment can and should be extended to all of our major streets.
  10. Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative 1.0+ – Finally, our volunteer snow clearance collaborative had plenty of chances to flex our muscles and get in a good work out shoveling out key bus stops in and around the square and at the key intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway. The shoveling in the square even included the contested sidewalks surrounding the MBTA commuter rail station on Belgrade. We gave the last installment – Collaborative v. 1.5 – a lighthearted touch with a photo of the Boston yeti.

RVMS seeks crowdfunding support for Poplar Streetscape Improvements – Invest in a better public realm!

Our go-getter friends at Roslindale Village Main Street have gone public with their emerging plans to make streetscape improvements to the block of Poplar Street that abuts Adams Park in the heart of Roslindale Square. They have teamed up with our other friends at Patronicity to seek $25,000 in crowdfunding to match $25,000 in funds from MassDevelopment and a further $5,000 from the Boston Main Streets Foundation. Take a few minutes to visit the Revitalizing Poplar Street page on Patronicity, and if you like the concept and the direction they’re headed in, make whatever investment you can in a better public realm for our neighborhood!

WalkUP Roslindale Snow Clearance Collaborative Version 1.5 – It may well happen!

Friends,based on Boston Yeti’s latest observed movements, it looks like we will be called once more to rise up and clear snow for our neighbors come Thursday morning. Stay tuned here for more details as the storm event unfolds in the next 24+ hours. In the meantime, be safe and keep on keeping on, just like the Yeti.

Yours truly, The WUR Management.

WE ARE AGAIN A GO – WalkUP Roslindale Key Bus Stop Clearance Version 1.2

Snowfall from the now-commenced storm will almost certainly exceed our 4″ (10.2 cm) benchmark, so we are going to clear our identified key bus stops.

Accordingly, tomorrow (Friday, January 5) morning at 7:00 am: Meet either

(i) Matt Lawlor at the northwest corner of Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway (Atlas Liquors); or

(ii) Steve Gag at the northeast corner of Washington Street and Cummins Highway (RCC).

Feel free to contact Matt (his email is matthew.j.lawlor@nullgmail.com) or Steve (his email is stevengag@nullgmail.com) directly if you have any questions.

Please dress warmly and bring your own snow/ice clearance equipment and supplies (shovels, picks, icemelt, etc.) to the extent you can. Thanks and hope to see you there tomorrow morning to do some more community service this winter!

TIME AND DATE NOW CONFIRMED – WalkUP Roslindale District Councilor Forum – 6:30 pm on January 24, 2018 @ the RCC

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UPDATE: We have a time and location for the Roslindale District Councilor Forum – we will convene for a conversation with our councilors – Councilors Campbell (soon to be Council President), McCarthy, and O’Malley – at 6:30 pm on January 24, 2018, at the Roslindale Community Center, 6 Cummins Highway (corner of Washington and Cummins in Roslindale Square). We encourage attendees to walk, bike, or take the T to the meeting at parking is limited.