During a meeting last summer with Walk Boston, a pedestrian advocacy nonprofit, the staff was invited to Egleston Square to conduct a walk audit. Walk Boston had never done an audit in the Roxbury area, so they were excited to journey to our neighborhood to learn more about how to better serve local pedestrians.
In September 2016, Adi Nochur and Dorothea Hass led the group’s first walk audit in and around Egleston Square. Joined by representatives from the Boston Transportation Department, Department of Public Works, Boston Police Department, Egleston Square Main Street, and Egleston Square Neighborhood Association members, as well as Urban Edge resident leader Judith Lamb, the group walked down Westminster Avenue to Washington Street, pausing to evaluate Washington and Bray Street, before continuing up to the center of Egleston Square.
Over the course of a few hours, the walk audit identified the following issues that they have since recommended to the City of Boston for improvement, including adding crosswalks across Washington Street at Bray Street/Westminster Avenue and across Washington at Beethoven Street; enhancing pedestrian infrastructure at the intersection of Washington Street and Columbus Avenue; and adding No Parking signs at the corner of Westminster Avenue and Wardman Road.
To date, No Parking signs have been added at Westminster and Wardman and on Washington Street at Beethoven to improve crossing visibility, and an audible signal has been added at the crosswalk between Weld Avenue and Dixwell Street. The longer-term improvements, such as the crosswalks at Washington and Beethoven, will be completed sometime in 2017. Due to engineering, drainage, and ADA complaince issues with respect to installing a curb cut, the work is more challenging than anticipated.
Since the audit, the Egleston Walk Boston group has seen several small victories and continues to the engage with various municipal departments. Next steps include applying for a Slow Streets grant, a Public Works engineering study, and a forthcoming Egleston area transportation study that will recommend near-term fixes to the Washington/Columbus intersection as well as broader visioning.