Tuesday, February 7, 2017

EDITING FOR CLARITY


I was recently asked by the American Legion Neighborhoods Greenway Coalition to edit a letter urging people to comment on the Mayor's Imagine Boston 2030 plan. The original letter (at bottom below) contained a lot of information, and links to other documents and organizations. My edited version (top below) narrows the focus to what people can do right now to make an impact, mentions the two places in the plan most relevant to their cause, and the only link is to the plan. Click it and let the mayor know what you think!

Hi Neighbors,

The Mayor's Imagine Boston 2030 draft plan is out and American Legion Parkway is included! This plan will become the blueprint for our city, so it is vitally important our voices be heard now. Many voices from our neighborhood need to comment to ensure that American Legion Parkway improvements become a committed part of the plan.

Ten minutes of your time could make a huge difference in getting the city to allocate resources to upgrade our neighborhood’s quality of life, including traffic calming and other public health and safety issues, and "right-sized" development. The comment period may close soon, so please comment today!

To comment, please click the Imagine Boston 2030 Survey link below. There are two important places to mention American Legion Parkway:

Q3 Enhanced Neighborhoods - Protect American Legion Parkway’s green spaces and establish safe walking and bike paths so our neighborhood’s families may safely enjoy this beautiful and vital link in Boston’s extended Emerald Necklace.

Q9 Initiatives: Economy, Energy & the Environment, and Open Space - Recognize American Legion Parkway as the vital green link connecting Franklin Park with the neighborhoods of Roslindale, Hyde Park, Mattapan, Mount Hope and Jamaica Plain, and establish and maintain safe walking and bike paths and pedestrian crosswalks. Protect and enhance its green space by limiting development and cleaning up long-neglected roadside lands and waterways.

Here’s the link: https://surveyplanet.com/580537c1c18cdb234289836e

Thank you for caring about the neighborhood and city we all call home.

Best,
American Legion Neighborhoods Greenway Coalition

Here is the original draft:

Hi Neighbors near and nearer,

The Mayor's Imagine Boston 2030 draft plan is out and the American Legion Hwy/Parkway is included. This plan will become the blueprint for our city. Many voices from our neighborhoods need to comment on the plan to help ensure that American Legion improvements become a "committed" part of the plan, not just a proposal.

They are still asking for comments, but the comment period may close soon. Ten minutes of your time to email them your individual support could make a huge difference in getting the city to prioritize and allocate city, state, and other resources to upgrade our Corridor neighborhoods' quality of life, including traffic calming and other public health and safety issues, and "right-sized" development.

--> To comment, please complete the Imagine Boston 2030 Survey. Please read the two talking points below before starting the survey:

https://surveyplanet.com/580537c1c18cdb234289836e.

Mention the American Legion Corridor's neighborhoods, roadways, and natural assets wherever you can. Refer to the two planning docs below, and also to BPDA Zoning Article 29 below, enforcement of which would solve a lot of our problems, and prevent a lot of future ones (note yellow highlights). Best to also email your comments to the officials at the bottom of this email (We'd also appreciate your comments for archiving).

​1. The Imagine Boston 2030 draft plan mentions the American Legion Greenway on p. 252. Inclusion of American Legion Hwy/Parkway "paves" the way for prioritizing and allocating city, state, and other resources to upgrade our Corridor neighborhoods' quality of life. It states that the city will "undertake a longer term effort to work with key partners to create a “network” of green spaces The Emerald Necklace will be an anchor to a wider network of open spaces that will connect parks city - wide. Streets will be designed as green links, connecting Moakley Park, the Emerald Necklace to Pope John Paul Park, the Neponset, American Legion, the Arboretum, Roslindale Square, and Stony Brook Reservation." http://20222-presscdn.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Ib2030-Vision-Report-WEB-2016-11-17-SPREADS.pdf

2. The Boston Open Space and Recreation Plan 2015 - 2021 mentions on p. 303: "The American Legion Highway corridor includes a mix of large undeveloped or underdeveloped parcels which could function as an open space resource to this community if access and connectivity between parcels is addressed. The Boston Nature Center and Canterbury Brook, which winds through this area, could become the organizing elements of this potential open space improvement."

http://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/Section-7.2.12_tcm3-53002.pdf. My favorite excerpts: 1. Enhance neighborhoods: Improve public realm, strengthen neighborhood services and connectivity, and encourage contextually sensitive development to improve urban vitality and to affirm each neighborhood's distinct identity. 2. Health:

Encouraging a healthy environment, including safe streets and communities that are pedestrian and bike-friendly where it is easy to bike and walk; reducing disparities in health outcomes, increasing access to healthy and affordable food;

https://www.boston.gov/news/mayor-walsh-announces-release-imagine-boston-2030-draft-plan-expand-opportunity-guide-strategic

3. BPDA Zoning Article 29:

GREENBELT PROTECTION OVERLAY DISTRICT

 (has always included American Legion Hwy, just hasn't been enforced)

SECTION 29-1. Statement of Purpose. The purposes of this article are to preserve and protect the amenities of the city of Boston; to preserve and enhance air quality by protecting the supply of vegetation and open space along the city's Greenbelt Roadways; to enhance and protect the natural scenic resources of the city; to protect the city's Greenbelt Roadways from traffic congestion and to abate serious and present safety concerns.

SECTION 29-4. Applicability. Any Applicant seeking a building permit for exterior construction or alteration for a Proposed Project within a Greenbelt Protection Overlay District shall be subject to the requirements of this article where the Applicant seeks to erect one or more buildings or structures having a total gross floor area in excess of five thousand (5,000) square feet; to enlarge or extend one or more buildings or structures so as to increase the total gross floor area by more than five thousand (5,000) square feet; or to Substantially Rehabilitate one or more buildings or structures having, or to have after rehabilitation, a total gross floor area of more than five thousand (5,000) square feet; or to increase the impervious surface of a site by more than two thousand (2,000) square feet in addition to the existing impervious surface.

--> SECTION 29-6. Standards. To obtain a conditional use permit the Applicant shall show that the Proposed Project complies with the following standards in addition to the standards set forth in Article 6: (a) provision for adequate vehicular access, off-street parking and loading and shall not have a significant adverse effect on traffic and parking on the Greenbelt Roadway and adjacent streets; (b) provision for landscaping treatment that ensures that the natural and aesthetic quality of the Greenbelt Roadway area will be maintained; (c) provision for the design of all structures that is compatible with surrounding neighborhood.

SECTION 29-8. Enforcement. The Commissioner of Inspectional Services shall not issue any building permit for exterior construction or alteration for a Proposed Project subject to this article unless the Proposed Project complies with this article.

4. Legislator Contact Info (please save it into your own contacts for future use):

Mayor’s Office

Daniel Murphy, Roslindale Coordinator of Neighborhood Services, 617-438-6592, Daniel.Murphy@boston.gov

Mayor Marty Walsh, 617-635-4500, Mayor@boston.gov

District City Councilors:

Andrea Campbell (D4), 617-635-3131, Andrea.Campbell@boston.gov , D4 Roslindale Liaison Caroline Kimball-Katz, Caroline.Kimball-Katz@boston.gov

Timothy McCarthy (D5), 617-635-4203, Timothy.McCarthy@boston.gov

Matt O’Malley (D3), Matt.OMalley@boston.gov

At-Large City Councilors:

Michelle Wu (President), 617.635.3115, Michelle.Wu@boston.gov

Ayanna  Pressley, 617-635-4217, Ayanna.Pressley@boston.gov

Annissa Essaibi George, 617-635-4376, A.E.George@boston.gov

Michael Flaherty, 617-635-4205, Michael.F.Flaherty@boston.gov

State Senator

Chang-Diaz, Sonia, 617-722-1673, Sonia.Chang-Diaz@state.ma.us

State Representative

Holmes, Russell E., 617-722-2220, Russell.Holmes@mahouse.gov

Commissioner of Parks and Recreation

Chris Cook 617-635-4505  Parks@cityofboston.gov

Commissioner of Transportation

Gina Fiandaca 617.635.4680 BTD@cityofboston.gov

Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space

Austin Blackmon 617-635-3850 environment@boston.gov

Best,
American Legion Neighborhoods Greenway Coalition