WUR’s Preview of Issues on the 43 Lochdale Road Proposal

The rescheduled BPDA-hosted community meeting for this 36-unit residential development is coming up on Tuesday evening, May 28, at 6:30 pm at the Menino Community Center, 125 Brookway Road.

We encourage attendance at this meeting. This will be a consequential development, located under half a mile from the end of the Orange Line, and as of now we at WalkUP Roslindale have the following concerns that we intend to raise on Tuesday evening:

1.     Parking

  • As proposed, this project is overparked. The parking ratio should be reduced from 1:1.28 to 1:1 (or less). Zero parking projects have recently been allowed in Roslindale Square, and this location is under a half mile (<10 minute walk) from Forest Hills Station (Orange Line) and steps from bus stops serviced by a dozen bus routes. Excessive parking will induce car ownership and car use, moving our neighborhood and our city away from the mode shift and greenhouse gas reduction goals to which we have committed. Reducing the amount of parking also has direct implications for the next issue.

2.     Affordability

  • The space saved from the above parking recommendations should be used to increase overall unit count and the number of affordable units.
  • Parking should be unbundled from the residential units to increase affordability.
  • We are aware that RISE’s Housing Justice group will be particularly focused on pushing the developer to increase both the percentage of affordable units and the level of affordability offered. We support RISE Housing Justice on these related issues and will make our views known at the meeting.

3.     Environment

  • Environmental cleanup/remediation appears to be needed on the proposed project site. While we recognize that environmental cleanup is not specifically a zoning issue, we do want to hear what the developer has to say both about what they have found and how they intend to deal with it.
  • Although the project has dropped below the Large Project Review threshold and is technically required to meet only building code-based green building requirements, we would support a call for this project to exceed those standards and approach Net Zero/Zero Plus/LEED standards.

4.     Surrounding Neighborhood

  • The developer should assist financially with ongoing efforts around the Roslindale Gateway Path/Arboretum Road Entrance as this will be a significant amenity for residents of the development and the broader surrounding neighborhood.
  • The developer should provide support for the overall improvement of Lochdale Rd, Arboretum Rd and Kitson Rd (the private way running along the site, parallel to Washington St). The developer’s application mentions a “9-foot walkway/bike path to be created as part of the project” on Kitson Rd. We would like to hear more about what is contemplated here.

Robert Street Bridge Meeting TOMORROW (Monday, 29 April 2019)

We encourage everyone to attend the Robert Street Bridge replacement project’s public meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, 29 April 2019, at 6:30 pm at the Roslindale Community Center (6 Cummins Highway). There should be an opportunity to influence the final design of the project as well as learn more about what the MBTA has planned for the construction period and how it will affect both access to Robert Street and Roslindale Square as well as service on the Needham Line. [NOTE: Photo courtesy Universal Hub.]

More of this please: District 6 Councilor Matt O’Malley to hold MBTA office hours – 19 Feb 2019

This is a welcome new way to communicate with constituents that we hope catches on for all of our councilors (also recognizing that Councilor Wu has been directly communicating through social media about her personal MBTA experiences for some time now). According to Go Boston 2030, the transit mode share for Roslindale residents’ work trips exceeds 25%, so this appears to be a great investment of the councilor’s time and a way to meet and take the pulse of this substantial slice of the neighborhood (a portion of which Councilor O’Malley does represent). We encourage everyone to attend, and tell us how it went in the comments!

Recap on WalkUP Roslindale Key Bus Stop Clearance Collaborative – Version 1.2

Overall, and no surprise to anyone, but there was a lot of snow out there this morning. The vehicular portions of streets were generally in good shape thanks to the city’s long-standing practice, so thanks go to the city’s own crews and their team of contractors responsible for plowing those areas. The sidewalks and the bus stops on them were another matter. The stops themselves on Hyde Park Avenue were in decent shape, though plowed in. At the other stops we cleared, the conditions at the start ranged from bad to horrendous. Clearly, more advocacy and work are needed to bring more attention and resources to clearing the walking and transit-related portions of streets — the sidewalks and bus stops — that are the city’s responsibility and enforcing the obligations of private property owners on the balance of our sidewalks. Plenty of folks we saw out this morning either walking or waiting for the bus were doing so in the cleared vehicular parts of the streets because the sidewalks and bus stop areas were unusable. This is hardly news if you’ve walked around Roslindale after a major snowfall. But it’s now 2018, combating the manifest impacts of climate change on this coastal city should be a top priority, and we need to move faster to encourage the shift to more walking and transit use that GoBoston 2030 is meant to promote. More needs to be done a lot faster.

So, my crew (Greg Tobin and yours truly) started the morning at Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway. The first bus stop we hit was on Hyde Park Avenue going northbound:

 

Sidewalk was clear on the other side of this. Pretty good start.

Next, we confirmed Greg’s good shoveling out on Cummins going westbound before Hyde Park Avenue and on Hyde Park Avenue going southbound after Cummins:

Then things started to significantly deteriorate. We walked up Cummins from Hyde Park Av., over the bridge over the MBTA/Amtrak tracks (the sidewalks on the bridge were shoveled and treated – right to the presumed property line),  and dug out the 2 bus stops (east and west on Cummins) — neither of which or the sidewalks leading to them had been touched. Plowed in and completely unpassable, so the best we could do was create landing pads for the 2 stops:

 

We then made our way over to Roslindale Square to join Steve Gag and Rob Orthman and finish up their work at the major bus stop at Washington Street, heading northbound, at Cummins, in front of the Roslindale Community Center. When I passed by in the morning, the sidewalk had been partially shoveled but the shelter hadn’t been cleared and there was no way to access buses when they stopped – plowed in. Here we can see Steve and Greg working on clearing the corner and several shots of the cleared bus shelter and paths to board buses, and then below that, the cleared stop in front of the florist on South Street:

Finally, on the way home, I first walked up South Street and encountered a massive, sidewalk-blocking snow mound on South Street abutting the Village Market parking lot. Hopefully this has been cleared by now.

And then, to finish off the WURSC Collaborative 1.2, I dug out a landing pad for the stop where multiple buses come in at Robert/Belgrade/Corinth, on the same side as the commuter rail station. As can be seen from the photos, the sidewalk on Belgrade was completely plowed in and I can report that no clearing had occurred this evening. It is to be hoped that this sidewalk and bus stop will be cleared as soon as possible.

WalkUP Roslindale Key Bus Stop Snow Clearance Collaborative – Version 1.0

Will you join us?

WalkUP Roslindale is looking to organize a collaborative group of neighbors who will help us clear snow from a handful of our neighborhood’s key bus stops whenever we have more than 4″ of snow this winter.

As we all know, snow clearance is often an issue at bus stops throughout the region. That doesn’t mean we should ignore it and hope that our seniors, young people, and everyone in between miraculously manage to safely board their buses at stops rendered unsafe by snow and ice.

The key bus stops we’re proposing to focus on this winter are:

  1. Cummins Hwy @ Hyde Park Av/30 & 14 toward Mattapan/Hyde Park
  2. Cummins Hwy @ Hyde Park Av/30 toward Roslindale
  3. Hyde Park Av @ Cummins Hwy/34 toward Hyde Park
  4. Hyde Park Av @ Cummins Hwy/34 toward Forest Hills
  5. Belgrade Av @ Robert/Multiple outbound buses
  6. Washington St @ Cummins Hwy/Multiple inbound buses

That breaks down geographically into 2 collaborative teams – one in Roslindale Square and one at the intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway. Rob Guptill (email: rguptill2000@nullyahoo.com) has volunteered to be the team coordinator for the Roslindale Square group and Matt Lawlor (your correspondent, email: matthew.j.lawlor@nullgmail.com) has volunteered to be the team coordinator for HP/Cummins. The plan is to blast a call to snowshoveling arms over our email list and social media accounts whenever we make the call for the collaborative teams to shovel the following morning. That said, both Rob and I would love to hear directly at the email addresses above from anyone who is interested in helping us provide this important service to our neighbors so we can be sure of a core group of ready and willing collaborators. We would love your support for this effort!! 

Of Millennials, Transit Accessibility, and our regional transit provider

mbtaThis article from yesterday’s Globe – Access to MBTA influences where millennials work, live – is an eye-opener, even for someone who already recognizes the massive shift in habits and preferences that Millennials (in this case, 660 of our friends and neighbors between the ages of 20 and 37 from the greater Boston area) are exhibiting on auto use and transit access:

  • A combined 96% of respondents to the MassINC/ULI survey reportedly put transit access in the somewhat/very important category on where they want to live, and
  • A combined 93% of respondents to the survey reportedly put such access in the somewhat/very important category on where they want to work
  • Just 24% reported driving alone as their mode of travel to work

Big numbers, without question, that reflect that access to the MBTA, despite its shortcomings, is viewed as an indispensible amenity and driver of locational decisions among a very large cohort in our population (and, by extension, the companies that want to employ them and the developers who want to build their housing). As someone a bit older who would fall into the very important category on transit access myself, I hope this and similar information on the importance of the T to our region’s livability and economy will spur all of us to advocate for and support new initiatives, funding, and service in the days ahead. Among the other things we all need to do, it’s time to help the T work better.