In the wake of the driver-on-pedestrian crash on Centre Street in West Roxbury that took the life of neighborhood resident Marilyn Wentworth, there has been a renewed focus on how to make West Roxbury safer for the most vulnerable users of its streets. While much of this focus will be on addressing Centre Street and its manifest problems in the near-term, this is really a neighborhood-wide (indeed, a city-wide) problem. To that end, working with our friends at WalkBoston and walking safety advocates in West Roxbury convened by West Roxbury Main Streets, we’re happy to spread word of a “Ped 101” training and organizing meeting to be held at the Area E-5 Police Station’s community room on Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 pm. Details can be found at the event’s facebook page. We hope to see you and many of our friends from West Roxbury there and then!!
We know WalkUP Roslindale’s walk audit in December 2015 wasn’t the first time members of our neighborhood identified the crosswalk at the intersection of Washington and Basile streets as being in need of safety improvements. Indeed, we recognized at at the time that we were joining a long line of activists who had already called for changes at this important crossing at the northern entrance to Roslindale Square that is the main access point from the west for students going to and from the Sumner School. It was accordingly great to see city contractors out at this intersection in the last few weeks and days reinforcing the recently signed no-parking/standing areas adjacent to the crosswalk, installing curb-ramps, fixing the flashing yellow light, and installing the pedestrian crossing bollard and flexposts in almost all the required areas (the area right on the southbound side is, we believe, awaiting the completion of utility work before flexposts will go in).
We all recognize that there is more work to be done throughout the square and the entire neighborhood to improve walking and cycling and overall safety for all users of our streets. But we will pause for this moment to thank everyone who had a hand this, starting with walkBoston, who took us through the walk audit, and including the Mayor’s Office for Neighborhood Services, Councilors McCarthy and Wu, the Boston Transportation and Public Works Departments, and Roslindale Village Main Street.
As part of the international movement of holding citizen-led walking tours promoting community-based city building during the month of May in honor of pioneer urbanist Jane Jacobs (that’s her in the graphic next to the Jane’s Walk logo) and in collaboration with our friends at WalkBoston, WalkUP Roslindale will be hosting its first-ever Jane’s Walk on Sunday, May 7, 2017 starting at 1 pm at the southeast corner of the Arboretum. We will wind our way along the proposed route of the Roslindale Gateway Path and the proposed Blackwell Path Extension, hopefully connect with a couple of key stakeholders at the Arboretum Road arch, and then hear from WalkUP Roslindale/Rozzie Bikes‘ own Mark Tedrow about walking and cycling connections to the Southwest Corridor and Franklin Park that will result from completion of the ongoing Casey Arborway project at Forest Hills. Hope to see you there!!!
They’ve been a bit crazy, truth be told, as follows:
- “Le Green T est arrivé!!!” For those of us in Peters Hill, the arrival of Green T to the intersection of Walter and South a week ago Thursday means that we now have a community front porch. By all accounts, including their own, the Green T folks were genuinely surprised at the immediate response of our neighborhood to having somewhere to enjoy good coffee, smoothies, and sandwiches in a well-crafted space open to the street. But there you have it. Yours truly (Matt) was patient zero of this particular viral event – I was there promptly at 5:30 am on opening day and I was not disappointed – a tasty latte and a flaky croissant and off we went. The first 4 days were supposed to be a soft opening, but soft it most certainly was not. We have been desperate for something like this, and we were not to be denied the pleasure IMMEDIATELY. It has become an instant focal point over here, the place that fills in the blank for “Meet me at ________ for coffee.” I personally live 2 blocks down and will attest that foot traffic has picked up significantly since the shop opened. Sarah Kurpiel Lee: We most certainly need bike parking asap. Please identify the appropriate location.
- Open Streets? In my own capacity as president of the WalkBoston board of directors, I was caught up in the debate over the possibility of open streets in Boston after the Mayor’s twitter chat last Wednesday raised the issue. Due to various conflicts (the ED was traveling and the communications director had a command performance), I ended up on the local news urging that Newbury Street (and various other streets in town) be considered for temporary, one-day closure this summer along the lines of what recently happened in Paris with the Champs-Élysées and has been happening on Memorial Drive in Cambridge since the 1970s. You can see the piece here. For the record, I think the folks they found on the street said it most directly and effectively. It’s just a good idea. Plain and simple.
- And then there is Vision Zero Boston. I attended the City Council hearing last Monday, but couldn’t stay, so our written comments had to stand as our testimony, as has been reported separately on this webpage. A WalkUP group followed up at the Mayor’s Roslindale coffee our by stressing to his honor how concerned we were about the slow pace of Vision Zero implementation, especially as it applied to Washington at Blue Ledge. It appears that the rapid response at this location may turn into something of a test case for what needs to be done going forward at that location and many, many others around town. As we said in the comment letter, everyone in this city deserves to feel safe on the street on which they live. Everyone. No exceptions. Old, young, rich, poor, all ethnicities. It is one very meaningful way to measure a city’s fairness in dealing with its citizens. And as the post from earlier in the week said, we will need to stay on the city’s various actors (mainly BTD, but also PWD and the BRA) on these issues. The right thing won’t happen by sitting back and waiting for it.
We’re pleased to publish the report documenting the Walk Audit of Roslindale Square that we did with WalkBoston back in December. There are lots of issues to be addressed, but also exciting opportunities to improve the pedestrian environment in and around the central business district. Our next steps will be to set up meetings with the appropriate city officials and elected leaders to begin to address the highest priority items. If you have any thoughts about the report or what our top priorities should be, please leave them in the comments below.
Here’s WalkBoston’s brief announcement at the EventBrite page:
In 2016, WalkBoston is rolling out free, beginner advocacy trainings called “Ped 101” – and we’d love you to come! Our office is located at 45 School Street, Boston, MA 02108 in Old City Hall. Sessions are small group conversation over lunch or drinks and are hosted in our conference room – so please make sure to sign up in advance!
This session is helpful if you’re interested in learning about:
- walkability, urbanism & the associated lingo (what’s a “tight turning radius”?),
- making neighborhoods safer for people walking & running, and
- how you can advocate for change in your own community.
- SIGN UP BY GOING: HERE.
This past weekend, an intrepid group of about two dozen Roslindale walkers itemized the many ways in which the square’s pedestrian environment should be improved, with the help of our friends at WalkBoston. The event was a great success. Stay tuned for a full report and action plan in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please check out this slideshow that was presented to the group before the walk in the 2 Belgrade Ave (former Select Cafe) space; also see WalkBoston’s latest e-news bulletin for their report on the audit. The bulletin also includes lots of other useful information, so be sure to subscribe if you haven’t already.
Would you like to help improve the pedestrian environment around Roslindale Square?
We’re doing a “Walk Audit” foot tour with the help of WalkBoston to identify the most pressing issues with sidewalks, intersections, traffic signals, and crosswalks, so we
can bring them to the attention of the right City departments and GET THEM FIXED!
WHEN: Saturday, December 5, 2015 9am‐11am
WHERE: Starting inside 2 Belgrade Ave
(a/k/a the former “Select Café” and “Emack and Bolio’s”)
WHY: Because a walkable community is a healthy community.
Stay tuned here for any last minute weather announcements.