A cloudy but not too cold day. We had six stalwarts (see photo below, one of our number had to leave a couple minutes earlier) and note that the Dynamic Duo of Guptill and Tedrow kept their perfect record intact. Being out at this location, which was the subject of a Vision Zero Rapid Response installation after Silvia Acosta’s death last year, reminded us that we need to follow up, repair the broken/missing flexposts, and move toward making the installation permanent. And so on we go!
It’s been almost 2 years, but the 874-878 South Street proposal that was the subject of a WUR long-form blog post in July 2015 is finally returning with a revised proposal.
The meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 28, at 6:30 pm at the Roslindale Community Center. Flyer for meeting here.
Based on what was said by the property owner and his attorney at the LANA meeting a week or so ago, it sounds like the proposal will be for 9 residential units with 18 off-street parking spaces. For those keeping score at home, that’s a reduction from the original proposal of 6 residential units and an increase of 3 off-street parking spaces. Revised plans were not available at the LANA meeting, though they will reportedly be available this coming Tuesday.
For the record, I continue to live 2 blocks from this location. From my own perspective and given this location within walking distance of the commuter rail station and Roslindale Square, the revised unit count is lower than it should be and the number of off-street parking spaces is at least 4 spaces too many. I would really prefer a 1-to-1 space to unit ratio at this location. While I recognize some neighbors see this issue differently, on-street parking issues at this location and along the stretch of South Street and the intersecting streets toward the commuter rail are relatively minimal, except on Sunday mornings. Increasing the parking space count here may prevent there ever being an issue from this development related to on-street parking, but it will tend to increase vehicle traffic by encouraging car ownership by development residents and, to the extent automatically included with each unit, will increase the cost of each unit in the development. Accordingly, in addition to wanting to see the revised design, I will be interested in a discussion of the parking space count, how the revised plans locate those spaces on the site, what kind of space is left over, and how much consideration is or isn’t being given to bicycle parking and encouraging bicycling and walking as well as zipcar and transit use.
No peppy name this time. This will be the fourth and final installment of our standout series. The location this time is at the main southern entrance to our neighborhood and the place where our neighbor, Silvia Acosta, was killed by a hit and run driver while crossing Washington Street in a crosswalk. It would be great to top last week’s 14 participants, so feel free to bring a sign along with yourself and your great attitude. Thanks in advance!!!
Here’s the photo:
I count a total of 13 in the photo who held signs (there are a couple of fellow travelers mixed in) and one of our number took it, so that’s 14 – one more person than we had signs. Messrs. Guptill and Tedrow are in the running for perfect 25 mph standout attendance!!!
We here at WalkUP Roslindale have been talking up BTD’s Neighborhood Slow Streets (NSS) program since they released the application package a few weeks ago. We even went so far as to host a workshop a bit over a month ago to inform and encourage our neighbors all across this great neighborhood to band together and apply. At this point, we are aware of at least 4 separate NSS applications in Roslindale that are in production and almost certain to be submitted by the March 24 deadline. They are listed below with contact information, their draft area maps, and, where available, links to the online surveys for residents in those areas to weigh in on their concerns and support for the concept of making our residential streets safer through calmed traffic:
Longfellow Area (from Knoll to Congreve, between Centre and South/Walter plus the spur of South from the Walter-South intersection to the commuter rail station): LINK to survey. Contact: Rob Orthman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lower South Street (South/Bussey intersection down through the Archdale bridge, covering the side streets between South and Washington to Firth and then crossing Washington to pick up the side streets between Florence and Washington down to Cummins). SURVEY LINK. Contact: Steve Gag, email@example.com.
Metropolitan Hill/Beech Street (Metropolitan to Beech, Washington to Poplar): LINK here. Contact: Sarah Kurpiel Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mount Hope/Canterbury (residential side streets off of American Legion, from Walk Hill and Mount Hope to Cummins). Contact: Lisa Beatman, email@example.com.
The forecast is for much warmer weather. I am accordingly hoping we won’t look this cold:
And your faithful correspondent will stand a round of coffee/hot chocolate at Green T to all participants promptly upon conclusion of the standout at Noon!!! BE THERE, BEYOND THUNDERDOME!!!!!
WalkUP Roslindale’s Standout #2 is ON. Location is noted above. We’ll convene near the fire station on the Cummins side and fan out around the intersection for an hour of promoting the new citywide default speed limit. Though the forecast looks chilly, we will forge ahead. We would love to see you there, so bundle up and come on down!!!
PS Last week’s standout received positive coverage in this week’s Roslindale Bulletin: WalkUP reminds everyone 25 is the limit!
REPORT FROM THE FIELD OF THE SECOND STANDOUT: Very cold again!! Standout participants numbered six — Mses. Beatman, Phillips, and (Lynn), and Messrs. Guptill, Tedrow, and Lawlor. On to #3 – Walter/South!!
Take 5 minutes to:
- Read this article in the Herald: Battle for safer streets: Nine pedestrians hit in Boston in 1 day.
- View this local TV news piece from WCVB: Steps being taken in Boston to curb pedestrian crashes.
Here’s the upshot: Policy and aspirations in this city around walking and cycling and safer streets for all are not being met with resources. When the Herald takes note and publishes a front page article on the 9 pedestrian crashes that occurred on a single day last week and then local tv devotes as much time as they just have to the same issue, it begins to feel like the time may finally have come to really do what needs to be done to make our streets safer and better for all users. The municipal fiscal year starts every July 1. The FY2018 budget will be developed and approved in the next handful of months. The Vision Zero line item in the current FY2017 budget is $3.1 Million for a city of about 670,000 people. As the TV piece indicates, that’s woefully inadequate. On a per capita basis, it’s on the order of a third of NYC’s vision zero budget and 1/25th of San Francisco’s. Let that sink in. More to come on this.
On this World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims (according to the World Health Organization, 1.2 million people killed every year by traffic violence and 50 million injured), we are dismayed to report another serious pedestrian crash in our neighborhood. On Friday, a nine-year old boy was hit by a car shortly after stepping off his school bus at the intersection of Metropolitan Ave and Kittredge Street. The most informative media report comes from WCVB: Boy recovering after being hit by car in Roslindale. We extend our sympathy to the boy and his family, and wish him the speediest possible recovery.
Although it looks like the child will recover, we must remember it is predictable and indeed certain that crashes like this will happen again and again until and unless we do more than pay lip service to Vision Zero Boston. A quick look at the intersection, which is in the middle of a slope just past a peak limiting line-of-sight visibility, reveals a stark absence of critical infrastructure to protect people on foot: no crosswalk, no traffic calming, no curb bump-outs, not even a stop sign on the main street in a densely settled area with chronic speeding problems. There are dozens (perhaps hundreds) of intersections like this in Roslindale alone, and the fact that people keep getting hit and occasionally killed by cars in them is a reminder that these incidents are crashes, not accidents.
It’s time to demand more. We can’t just wait for someone to be seriously or fatally injured on a one-off basis to take a look at specific street crossings, and then spend a year patching up that one spot. Sign the Vision Zero Petition, speak to your neighbors, and tell your elected leaders and appointed bureaucrats at every possible opportunity that it’s time to proactively address road safety across the entire city. There are plenty of successful examples to follow, but at the rate we’re going now it will be a century or more before we realize the core Vision Zero principle: No loss of life is acceptable.
I wasn’t able to take pictures, but I did verify this morning that the flashing pedestrian beacon has finally been installed at the reconfigured crosswalk at Washington and Blue Ledge. In addition, the lane striping that had been torn up by recent utility work has also been restored. While I have, at times, expressed frustration with the pace of the response to the tragedy at this location, the end result here is definitely a substantial improvement from a pedestrian safety perspective.
Thanks again to the city’s transportation and public works departments, and their consultants and contractors, for developing a plan, taking on this installation, and getting it done.
We can only hope that we don’t have to do any more rapid responses in Roslindale and elsewhere in the city. Instead, it would be great to step up the effort to turn Vision Zero from policy to reality — to take the lessons learned about planning and process here and apply them to all of the many, many places around our neighborhood where we know dangerous pedestrian and bicycle conditions exist.