WalkUP Roslindale Support Letter for 44 Lochdale Road Project

Roslindale Self Storage Improvements Rendering

Roslindale Self Storage Improvements Rendering

Last week, we sent a letter to the Boston Board of Appeal in support of a proposed expansion of a self-service storage facility at 44 Lochdale Road (just off Washington Street near Forest Hills). The full letter is reproduced below. Although we typically focus on housing and retail that will improve street-level vitality and walkability, off-site storage also has its place in vibrant urban neighborhoods, particularly as density increases and some folks chose to live in smaller units and thus need some overflow space. We also see the proposal as a substantial improvement over current conditions; for these reasons, we sent the letter below.

Having received our letter and encountering no opposition (at least at the hearing), the Board of Appeal approved the requested zoning variations on July 25, 2017.

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Community Meeting on 43 Lochdale Road, 42 units, rescheduled to Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 6:30pm at Roslindale Community Center

A couple of weeks back, a community meeting on a proposed 42-unit residential project at 43 Lochdale Road (off Washington Street, near Forest Hills) was postponed at the last minute. The meeting has just been rescheduled for Thursday, May 25, 2017, at 6:30pm at the Roslindale Community Center (6 Cummins Highway). You can take a look at the thoughts we shared back in April; in brief, while housing is desperately needed around Boston, especially near transit hubs like this location, we would very much like to see the developers of this project better consider walkability and transit access given the density and location of the project. More free parking necessarily means more cars and traffic; instead, we’d like to see investment in walking and bicycling infrastructure (as well as complementary amenities like Hubway and ZipCar), to make sure it is as easy as possible for residents to live car-free so close to the orange line. Please sure your thoughts in the comments here, and attend the community meeting on May 25!

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.

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.