FURTHER UPDATE: October 3rd Roslindale-focused At-Large City Council Candidates Forum – Additional Participant & Questions

There is one further update to make since the last time we posted about the forum: we received word late yesterday that Pat Payaso, the 8th and final candidate for at-large city council, will be participating in the forum as well. Accordingly, all of the current councilors and candidates will be taking part.

In addition, we have circulated the following questions to each of the candidates. We intend to ask of them these questions in turn:

  1. How can Boston address the high cost of housing in our city? Should there be more development (to increase supply), a higher affordable-unit requirement, as part of the inclusionary development policy rent control, or other measures? How do you view the situation specifically in Roslindale—is there anything different about the problem here versus elsewhere in the city, and any different solutions we should be looking at for Roslindale specifically?
  2. Our neighborhood is heavily dependent on bus service for mass transit given the infrequency of the commuter rail and lack of Sunday service. What ideas do you have about making buses work better in Roslindale? How can you make those things happen given state control of the overall MBTA system? Do you support the City’s proposed pilot, which ranked high on the GoBoston 2030 project list, to improve bus service on Washington Street between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills by having exclusive bus-only lanes replace the parking lane northbound in the morning and southbound in the evening? Why or why not?
  3. The American Legion corridor has been identified as one of the least pedestrian- and bike-friendly areas in our neighborhood. What specifically do you think can be done to improve the situation there and how would you propose to make it happen? Do you support a vision for the American Legion corridor that would seek to reduce vehicle speeds and provide more infrastructure for walking and cycling along the concept of a parkway as opposed to a highway in that area?  Why or why not?
  4. What are your thoughts about the impact of Amazon considering the Boston area for its headquarters? How do you think Amazon’s arrival would affect housing and transportation in Boston generally, and more specifically how do you think it would affect Roslindale? Should we be trying to convince Amazon to pick Boston? If so, how would you go about doing that?
  5. Parking has long been a controversial issue in Boston, including Roslindale. What do you see as the impacts of off-street parking requirements for new development on housing affordability and vehicular traffic congestion? Do you have any ideas about creative parking policy that could help make our neighborhood more accessible for everyone regardless of  what mode of transportation they use? Do you support a fee for residential parking permits that could fund neighborhood improvements? Why or why not? Would you support metered parking in the prime spots in the square to make those businesses more easily accessible for people who chose to drive and to fund neighborhood improvements?

WalkUP Testimony at City Vision Zero Hearing

The Boston City Council held a hearing today on Vision Zero and traffic calming in the city. WalkUP Roslindale attended and submitted testimony, reproduced below and available as an official PDF. The preliminary take-home is it’s going to take a lot of work and pushing our officials zealously to really turn the ship in the right direction.

Update 1: Video of the hearing now available.
Update 2: Check out this comment letter from our friends at the Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association.
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Two Immediate Opportunities to Speak Up for a More Walkable Roslindale


To achieve our goal of making Rozzie the most walkable neighborhood in Boston, we need to seize every opportunity to speak up. We are leading some efforts ourselves (such as the Gateway Path initiative) but others require attention, leadership, and vision from our Mayor and City Councilors. Two upcoming events present opportunities to be heard on important walkability issues:

  • Mayor Walsh recently announced the dates for his 2016 “coffee hour” series, where the Mayor will visit each neighborhood to hear from residents. All participants will enjoy coffee[1] and breakfast provided by Dunkin’ Donuts and fresh fruit from Whole Foods. In addition, each family in attendance will receive a flowering plant grown in the city’s greenhouses and a raffle prize from Dunkin. The Roslindale event is this coming Wednesday, May 18 at Adams Park, from 9:30am-10:30am. Show up and tell the Mayor we need safer streets for walkers, better transit and bicycle infrastructure, improved parks, and the like!
  • The City Council hearing on the city’s Vision Zero efforts is scheduled for this coming Monday, May 16th, at 3pm in the Iannella Chamber, 5th Floor, City Hall. The order for hearing was sponsored by Councilor Matt O’Malley. The docket to be discussed is item 0509, “order for a hearing regarding traffic calming measures and the Vision Zero Boston program.” Show up to testify if you can; written comments may also be made part of the record and available to all councilors by sending them to ccc.prt@nullboston.gov and daniel.shea@nullboston.gov.
Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Speaking of coffee: Roslindale just took a big step up, going from zero to two full-blown coffee shops. Both P.S. Gourmet Coffee and the Green T Coffee Shop opened in the past week or so. Be sure to visit both by foot or bicycle and welcome them to the neighborhood!

Rozzie Votes!

Distirct 5 Voting ResultsFollowing up on our entreaty to Get Out and Vote to show political engagement, we’re delighted to report that District 5 (the district with the greatest coverage of Roslindale) had the highest number of total votes for district councilor (7,551) in the city, followed closely by District 4, which also covers part of Roslindale, with a total of 7,026 votes for the district councilor position. And to finish out the pack, District 6, which also includes several Roslindale precincts, had the third-greatest number of voters (6,808) for district councilor–for an uncontested seat! Voter turnout in many Roslindale precincts was at or well above 20% — a striking contrast with other parts of the city, e.g., Allston/Brighton, for which the majority of precincts had single-digit percentage turnout, some as low as nearly 1%.

Great job to everyone for doing their civic duty. Now let’s take this level of activation and visibility to continue to demand a more walkable neighborhood.

Congratulations are also due to yesterday’s winners, including Roslindale resident Michelle Wu who finished a strong second in the city-wide at-large contest, District 5 Councilor Tim McCarthy who bested his opponent by a nearly 2:1 margin, District 4 Councilor-Elect and first time candidate Andrea Campbell who likewise had a substantial margin over her incumbent opponent, District 6 Councilor Matt O’Malley who ran unopposed, as well as the other three winners in the at-large race: Ayanna Pressley, Michael Flaherty, and Annissa Essabi George.

Relevant links:

Get Out and Vote!

Casting BallotThis is a reminder that tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015) is election day in Boston. You can find your polling location here. Of particular interest to this group should be the city-wide at-large election (five candidates vying for four seats), District 4 (Dorchester/Mattapan/Roslindale – two candidates running for one seat), and District 5 (Roslindale/Hyde Park – two candidates running for one seat). Complete list of candidates here.

This election cycle was lower profile than the last few since only City Councilors are up for election (no higher offices), and many of those seats are uncontested. This does not mean you should just skip the vote, however — to the contrary!

First, a lower visibility election means your vote counts more. The District and At-Large seats could easily be decided on the basis of hundreds, dozens, or even single votes. Most Roslindale residents live in a contested district (D4 or D5), plus the disputed city-wide slots, and thus there is a real race that will be resolved tomorrow.

Second, these offices matter. The impacts of decisions at the federal or even state level on our daily lives are typically dilute. A city councilor can impact what happens right on our streets and around our neighborhoods–playgrounds, sidewalks and crosswalks, paths, stop lights, snow removal, community policing, trash and recycling collection, development and transportation policy, etc. We need competent and responsive people serving; if not, our quality of life will suffer more than if we elect a subpar United States Senator.

Third, neighborhood voter turnout is critical to getting attention from whoever wins. It is basic logic that elected officials listen best to those who vote, and will spend the most time, effort, and political capital addressing the needs of those in voter-rich areas. For this reason, it may matter less whom you vote for than that you vote at all. Even if you live in an uncontested district, you should turn up and be counted for this important reason.

Fourth, voting is a social event. Meet your neighbors! In fact, meet the people you’re voting for (and against). This is the official opportunity to connect with other engaged citizens and be part of the process.

WalkUP Roslindale doesn’t endorse candidates. We will note that we have met with a variety of candidates (both serving and hoping to serve) and thus far the reception has been all positive. The most useful thing you can do tomorrow to help bring continued attention and more walkability to Roslindale is cast your ballot.

We’d also ask that you retweet and share/like this entry on Facebook once you’ve voted (or even if you plan to vote).

City Council Candidates Forum October 14, 2015 at Roslindale Community Center

Boston City Council Candidates Forum Poster

Boston City Council Candidates Forum Poster

Election day is November 3, 2015. There are only a few contested races this time around; five candidates for the four “at-large” city council positions, as well as two candidates running for for District 5, which covers much of Roslindale, and District 4, which touches on a corner of the neighborhood. Even though there is no high visibility office up for grabs (e.g. Mayor, Governor, President), it’s absolutely crucial that we all get out and vote — elected people pay close attention to which areas vote in the highest numbers, so just getting to the polls at all helps our neighborhood get the attention it needs from the city. Moreover, election season is the perfect time to bring top priority concerns to candidate’s attention–such as our goal to make Roslindale the most walkable neighborhood in Boston.

Against that background, Progressive WRox/Roz is hosting a city council election forum next Wednesday, October 14, 6:45pm, at the Roslindale Community Center. Voters can meet and hear from the five candidates running for City Council At-Large (Annissa Essaibi George, Michael Flaherty, Stephen Murphy, Ayanna Pressley, and Michelle Wu), the contenders for District 4 (Andrea Campbell and Charles Yancey, TBD), and the candidates for District 5 (Tim McCarthy and Jean-Claude Sanon). District 6 Councilor Matt O’Malley will also participate, although he is running unopposed. The evening will include mingling with candidates at the start and end, statements from the candidates, and Q&A. The evnet is co-sponsored by a number of Roslindale and West Roxbury neighborhood organizations and local media.

Please show up to this forum and make sure these candidates know that walkability is a top concern in our neighborhood!

Boston City Council Public Hearing on Bicycle Infrastructure 9/14/15 at 4pm

City Councilor-at-Large Michelle Wu reported in her August 12, 2015 council meeting notes that fellow Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley called for a hearing on cycling infrastructure in the wake of the Anita Kurmann tragedy:

Cycling Infrastructure: Councilor Pressley called for a hearing on planned and ongoing improvements to the city’s cycling infrastructure. She noted the need to follow up on the 2013 report identifying dangerous intersections in the city, especially after the recent fatal crash at Beacon St and Mass Ave, and wanting to understand how the new Chief of Streets and Transportation Director roles fit into cycling infrastructure planning. The matter was assigned to the Committee on City & Neighborhood Services and Veterans Affairs for a hearing.

That matter has now been set down for a public hearing on Monday, September 14, 2015, at 4pm in the Christopher Iannella chamber at City Hall. Councilor Pressley is particularly interested in the personal experiences of cyclists in the city. Although there has been a lot of focus on downtown issues of late, we need to speak up and make sure Rozzie is represented!

If you’d like to speak at the hearing, please drop a note to James Sutherland. They will also accept written testimony if you can’t make the hearing live.

Complete details reproduced below; copy of official notice linked here. There’s also a Facebook page for the event. Spread the word. Continue reading