Birch Street Plaza: Pop-up to Permanent

Birch Street Plaza Pop-up to Permanent

Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS), the City of Boston, A Better City, business owners, and other community partners came together  to transform Birch Street in Roslindale into a street for people. This spring, we began work with a landscape architecture firm, Merritt Chase, on the design of the project. Based on the community’s and businesses’ input, the “Birch Forest” concept was selected. This design included trees, planters with seating, and movable chairs.

In early May, Merritt Chase tested the design concept on the street as part of a week-long pop-up event to speak directly to community members and business owners. This pop-up plaza acted as an experiential community meeting where business owners, residents, and visitors could give feedback directly to the City, RVMS volunteers, and the architects. On the weekend, there were games for young people, a street fair, and live music. The response from everyone was overwhelmingly positive.  We collected a total of 238 surveys and 80% were in support of the project.

This summer we will be going through the City of Boston’s approval process to review the final design. Our plan is to work with the City to implement a 1-3 year semi-permanent pilot plaza within a year of this pop-up to be installed sometime between Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

Project Timeline

  • Open Birch Street event (4 separate one-day Saturday events): Summer 2018
  • Holiday Market on Birch St. (1 weekday evening event): December 2018
  • Pop-up Plaza (1 week): April 29th to May 5th
  • Design process: Winter:  Spring 2019
  • City approval process: Summer 2019
  • Plaza installation: By Spring 2020

Project Team

  • Roslindale Village Main Street
  • Birch Street and abutting business owners
  • City of Boston
  • Merrett Chase
  • A Better City

Questions / Comments?

If you have questions or comments about this tactical public realm project, please email the City of Boston’s Public Realm Director Jacob Wessel at

Birch St. Pop-Up Plaza Schedule & FAQs

Birch St. Pop-Up Plaza Schedule & FAQs

This week (April 30th – May 5th) Birch Street between Corinth & South Streets will be closed to cars and opened for people as we install and test the future locations of plaza elements including paving, seating, and trees. The Birch Street Pop-up Plaza is free and open to the public. We have asked people to provide feedback on the temporary pop-up design. Visit the space and give us feedback! Here is the full program schedule for the week:

Tuesday, April 30th – Friday, May 3rd
* Enjoy a cup of coffee, breakfast, or lunch on the patio seating provided on Birch Street.
* 12:00pm-2:00pm – Meet and greet with the designers from Merritt Chase during their outdoor office hours.
* 11:30am-1:30pm or 5:00pm-7:00pm: Give feedback directly and in-person by chatting with volunteer from WalkUP Roslindale or RVMS.

Thursday, May 2nd, 5:00-7:00pm: Steel Pan Drum Performance with Charleston Sarjeant
Friday, May 3rd, 5:00-7:00pm: Local musician and performer Yoni Gordon
Saturday, May 4th, 5:00-7:00pm: Chamber music with Resident Musicians & Students from musiConnects
Sunday, May 5th: 3:00-5:00pm: Singer-songwriter duo performance by The Boston Imposters

Saturday, May 4th, 10:00am-2:00pm: Shop the street at local businesses and from local artists and makers. Lists of businesses participating: Boston Cheese Cellar, Birch St. House & Garden, Joanne Rossman- Purveyor of the Unnecessary & the Irresistible, Solera, A Shrine to Wine, Roslindale Soap Company, Fire Garden Pottery, Pop Teez, and Christoph Gervais – Twisted Tree Photography.
* 9:30am-11:00am: Outdoor office hours with City Councilor-at-Large and Roslindale Resident Michelle Wu
* 11:30am-1:30pm or 5:00pm-7:00pm: Give feedback directly and in-person by chatting with volunteer from Walk UP Roslindale or RVMS.
* 12:00pm-2:00pm – Meet and greet with the designers from Merritt Chase during their outdoor office hours.

Sunday, May 5th, 10:00am-12:00pm: Entertainment for all with big, giant, beautiful bubbles thanks to Mr. Vinny the Bubble Guy.
10:00am-12:00pm: Dig for Dinos on Birch Street with Birch St. House & Garden and Proof Handmade! They will have an excavation site set up on the plaza. While kids are digging for fossils, shop Proof Handmade, a local line of STEM inspired clothing for infants, toddlers and young children. There will also be an outdoor photo booth set up with dinosaur props.
* Corn-hole, hula hoops, jump ropes, and colorful chalk will be available for fun on the street
* 11:30am-1:30pm or 5:00pm-7:00pm: Give feedback directly and in-person by chatting with volunteer from Walk UP Roslindale or RVMS.
* 12:00-2:00pm: Meet and greet with the designers from Merritt Chase during their outdoor office hours.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long will the Birch Street Pop-up Plaza be installed?
• 6 days, between Tuesday, April 30th and Sunday, May 5th.

Is the Birch Street Pop-up Plaza temporary?
• Yes, what you see this week is temporary. We are testing the location of future seating elements, trees, and paving for the future semi-permanent Birch Street Plaza.

When will the future semi-permanent Birch Street Plaza be installed?
• Late 2019.

Will the future semi-permanent Birch Street Plaza be made out of milk crates?
• No. The milk crates are temporary and are being used to quickly and inexpensively test the location of future wooden seating elements. Similarly, the tape you see on the ground is testing a future paving pattern and the wooden dowels are testing the location of future trees. The milk crates and the wooden dowels will be re-used/recycled by the City of Boston.

What will the future permanent Birch Street Plaza look like?
• A picture of the draft design is on the front of the feedback card and includes seating, trees, new paving, and overhead lighting.

How can I provide feedback?
• The design team is collecting feedback on the draft design this week. Do you have ideas for the future permanent plaza? Jot down an idea or provide a sketch on the feedback card, take a picture of your card and email the picture to Roslindale Village Main Street at

Will parking be removed for the future permanent Birch Street Plaza?
• Yes. 12 legal parking spots will be removed for the future permanent Birch Street Plaza. Public parking in Roslindale Village is available in the municipal lot, accessible from Taft Hill Terrace, a three minute walk from Birch Street. There is also enforced 2-hour street parking to encourage parking turnover.

Who is responsible for this event?
• The Birch Street Pop-up Plaza and the future permanent Birch Street Plaza process and project is being led by the City of Boston, A Better City, and Roslindale Village Main Street. Merritt Chase has been hired as the landscape architects to lead the design and installation. Funding for the project has been generously provided by the Barr Foundation.

What has been the planning process for Birch Street Plaza?

• Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS) has been working with the community since Summer 2018 on the pedestrianization of Birch Street, with the goals to benefit the greater Roslindale Village community and to bring more foot traffic to Birch Street.

• In Summer 2018, Birch Street was closed to traffic seven times for Open Birch Street events. Surrounding businesses provided positive feedback, including reporting increased sales and foot traffic during the events. RVMS has additional data on attendance and feedback, available upon request. Prior to 2018, Birch Street had been closed for seasonal one-day events including the Holiday Market, the Emerald Society 5K, and the Fall Festival.

• In January 2019, RVMS, the City of Boston, and A Better City hired Merritt Chase as the landscape architects to design the Birch Street Pop-up Plaza and the future permanent Birch Street Plaza.

• In February and March 2019, Merritt Chase and the stakeholder team met with Birch Street business owners and Roslindale Village residents to gather input and present initial design options.

• This week, the team is gathering feedback from the larger community and will incorporate the feedback into the final Birch Street Plaza design. The design for the future permanent Birch Street Plaza will be finalized in Summer 2019.

Volunteer & Business of the Year – 2018

RVMS Volunteer & Business of the Year

Each year, Boston Main Streets districts select a Business and Volunteer of the Year of the prior calendar year (in this case, 2018), and recognize their contributions to the community during an award ceremony with the Mayor in June or July. This year, we were able to celebrate both our business and volunteer of the year at our Annual Meeting on Tuesday, March 19th at the Roslindale House.

Both entities were voted on by our Board of Directors due to their demonstrated creative community engagement and supported the mission of RVMS throughout 2018.


Joanne Rossman (6 Birch Street) has been a Roslindale Village business for the past 19 years! She is highly involved in many of our events — especially our Holiday Market on Birch Street. She has a fabulous storefront that adds to the quirky character of our neighborhood. Joanne also has fab marketing skills and holds unique events like pajama parties, book readings, and JP Honk performances. Her shop is absolutely a destination for gift-givers and the curious-minded.


Vinny has given an inordinate amount of time as part of our Marketing Committee during 2018 on a year-long video series — a visionary project that highlighted many of our local businesses, as well as engaged with business owners, our board members, and volunteers. He committed to setting up, filming, editing, and publishing a set of themed videos each month for all of 2018. The final products are incredibly well-done and contribute significantly to our effort to showcase our neighborhood and support local businesses.

Open Birch & A Better City

Open Birch & A Better City

In December 2018, A Better City, in collaboration with RVMS, local business owners, and the City of Boston’s Public Realm Director released a Request for Qualifications for an Urban Design Proposal to pedestrianize Roslindale’s Birch Street. We are excited to share that we’ll be working with the firm Merritt Chase, whose previous work includes Bow Market in Somerville and Lawn on D (while with the design firm Sasaki Associates).

Local business owners on and around Birch Street in Roslindale Village have the vision to transform the north, short business section of Birch Street into a permanent, fully landscaped, useable, and pedestrianized community space. RVMS is happy to advocate and support this effort alongside the business owners in the district. As a first step in this process, local business owners and RVMS are looking to reclaim incrementally this segment of the street by closing it to vehicular traffic and installing a semi-permanent pedestrian plaza.

RVMS agrees with local business owner Joanne Rossman as she states that, “Birch Street has long been a forgotten street, which only seems to be used for day-long parking. Converting Birch St. to a pedestrian plaza would give an openness to the area, create a wonderful space for spring, summer, and winter events, as well as enhancing Roslindale’s pedestrian access to all the shops on Birch St. and in the Square — and to the beautiful Arnold Arboretum. I can’t wait for this vision to be fulfilled.”

The closure of Birch Street to vehicles is not new to the businesses and residents of Roslindale. In 2018 alone, there were 7 closures of the street to vehicular traffic, including last summer’s ‘Open Birch’ by RVMS to highlight the potential of Birch Street as a pedestrian plaza; the RVMS December Holiday Market; the Roslindale Business Group’s September Fall Festival; and the annual staging of the the Emerald Society’s Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day 5K road race.

“The Holiday Market, Fall Festival, and Open Birch have all shown how Birch St comes alive when it is transformed into a pedestrian area. The creation of this permanent space in the heart of Roslindale gives visitors and residents a place to sit and relax away from traffic, as well as providing a venue for events — just like these — run by RVMS, the City of Boston or local businesses,” says Boston Cheese Cellar owner, Adam Shutes.

We are so excited to be part of this process. RVMS and other stakeholders in the community will be meeting with Merritt Chase for the first time soon, and we’ll keep you up-to-date on the progress of this blossoming proposal of the pedestrianization of Birch Street!

We’re Hiring a Farmers Market Assistant

We’re Hiring a Farmers Market Assistant


RVMS is seeking a Farmers Market Assistant to attend each weekly market on Saturdays and support the Farmers Market Manager with set up, at-market issues, and break down.

Each Saturday, the FM Assistant will be at the market from 8:00am-3:30pm to set up the RVMS table and assist vendors, oversee the RVMS area and market generally, and clean up/break down. Other responsibilities involve the managing of the children’s area and other entertainment, welcoming and greeting customers, and actively working to expand our contact list at the market.

Training occurs at the market itself and the Winter Market is every Saturday (snow or shine) until March 30th.  The position is a paid position, starting at $12/hour, for 7.5 hours per week.  This position is available beyond the Winter Farmers Market, heading into the Summer Farmers Market season (June through November, 7:00am-2:30pm) where a Market Assistant would be needed for Market Saturdays in Adams Park for the same amount of hours and pay each week.

Specific Responsibilities:


  • Report and work collaboratively with the Farmers Market Manager each week during the Winter/Summer Market Season.
    Must be willing and able to work outdoors and to safely lift and carry 50 pounds.
  • Develops and maintains good working relationships with RVMS staff and volunteers, market farmers and vendors, Sons of Italy staff, consumers, and community members.
  • Assists vendors, community representatives, and consumers by providing market-related information, conflict resolution, and general aid as appropriate.
  • Reviews and enforces market rules and policies.
  • Establishes a consistent space to set up and operate the Market Manager’s table. 


  • Arrives at 8:00 am for market set-up and stays until break down is finished, around 3:30 pm.
  • Places directional signs promoting the market around the community at key locations prior to opening on each market day, and removes those signs at the close of market.
  • Operation of the market manager’s table:
    • Setting up the table each week.
    • Displaying and distributing promotional materials for RVMS.
    • Conducting SNAP/Rozzie Bucks transactions and issuing reimbursements to vendors at the end of market day.
    • Displaying and selling RVMS merchandise. Maintaining written record of merchandise sales.
  • Returns RVMS tables and other equipment to the RVMS office after market.
  • Assists with restoring the Sons of Italy’s layout of tables, and cleaning up (sweeping, mopping) as necessary.
  • Maintains a written record of EBT/HIP transactions and weekly vendor reimbursements.

To apply, please fill out our application and be ready to upload a resume, cover letter, and three references.

Thank you & Farewell to Ellie Greenler

Thank you and farewell to Ellie Greenler

Not only are we saying goodbye to the warm and colorful seasons of the RVMS Farmers Market,  but we will also be saying thank you and farewell to our Farmers Market Manager, Ellie Greenler. Ellie was promoted at her other part-time job at the Boston Public Health Commission as a full-time Case Management Coordinator in the Homelessness Services Department. We are so proud of her — and we will miss her in the office and in Adams Park dearly! Ellie brought both compassion and energy to all of 2018 — she managed both this year’s Winter and Summer Farmers Markets with pure joy and a go-getter attitude. When you visit the last market of the 2018 season on November 17th (THIS Saturday), be sure to give Ellie a hug or high-five and wish her lots of luck in her new endeavors. We love you, Ellie!

This also means we’re hiring — and if you’re interested, you would be trained by this amazing woman. 

New Business Profile: Studio Luz Architects

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Studio Luz Architects

Architects Hansy Better Barraza and Anthony Piermarini relocated their Fort Point practice, Studio Luz Architects, to Roslindale Village (67 Poplar Street, next door to the Treasure Chest) just a few weeks ago. Studio Luz is “an agile, forward thinking practice that strives to link social responsibility, sustainable construction practices with built material expression.”

Both Hansy and Anthony are familiar with how warm and welcoming the Rozzie community is because they also live here! When asked why they moved their practice from Downtown, they both explained, “More design, less commute.” They walk to work now and “shop a lot more at Village Market for groceries, PS Gourmet for coffee, Romano’s for tacos, ice cream at Jimmies Cafe with their kids, and they buy gift cards for their clients at Sophia’s Grotto.”

You may recognize the work of Studio Luz (as well as their nonprofit BR+A+CE) when you remember the Big Hammock that made its home at the RVMS Farmers Market three and a half years ago. Other work includes large residential projects in the South End and Bay Village, their energy-efficient home in Roslindale, and the Harpoon Brewery Beer Hall, to name a few.

Studio Luz is also part of the City of Boston’s Office of Economic Development’s ReStore Program, led by Steve Rumpler, where the focus is on preserving and improving Boston’s storefronts and helping local businesses thrive. Hansy and Anthony enjoy being a cultural community resource and have actually both served as volunteers on RVMS’s Design Committee in 2010, supporting the beautification efforts of our business district.

We are excited to welcome back Studio Luz in this new way – and happy that this community-minded architecture firm found Roslindale as its perfect home. Keep an eye out for pop-up exhibitions in their windows soon – they hope to highlight the work of Latinx leaders and people of color.

Studio Luz Architects
67 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA 02131

New Business Profile: Veras Multi Service

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Veras Multi Service

Alexandra Veras recently opened Veras Multi Service at 11 Poplar Street, one of Roslindale Village’s newest businesses! We visited Alexandra and let us know that she is a Notary Public specializing in primarily supporting customers with filling out immigration forms in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. 

Alexandra has a passion for helping family, friends, and the immigrant community by providing a helping hand in for paperwork of all kinds — filling out the FAFSA, filing taxes for Uber Drivers, applying for citizenship or public housing — and much more. There are also stations for printing, which is great for the community since we lost that service at Staples. She also let us know that she lived in Roslindale for 14 years and that she “never dreamt to be on Poplar Street in front of Adams Park. It’s amazing!” 

You can learn more about Veras Multi Service by stopping by to say hi, visiting her website, or calling her at (617) 506-7272.

Veras MultiService
11 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA 02131

Partners in Preservation Results

Partners in Preservation Results

A huge thank you to those who voted every day during the Partners in Preservation competition, which included 20 Main Street districts and a building in need of preservation funding. We were happy to put a spotlight on the Roslindale Congregational Church, UCC — a beautiful historic building in our neighborhood and their accessibility project to build a ramp, lift, and wheelchair-accessible bathroom. Unfortunately, we fell short by just a few votes and ended the competition in 12th place — the top 11 contenders received full-funding. 
While this is disappointing, we are happy to have connected with our neighbors at the RCC and built stronger partnerships throughout Rozzie and the City of Boston. We were also able to fund an iPad and popcorn machine for the church (especially helpful for their First Friday events in Roslindale) as well as professional photos of the Church that they can use for their website and outreach efforts. 
More importantly, we were able to highlight all of the amazing communities that meet and hold events in this historic Rozzie space. We want to thank Mayor Walsh for taking time out of his day to visit us at the Partners in Preservation Open House as well as all of the volunteers and community groups, especially Heather Garcia, Sue Whitehead, Liz Sherva, Erin Doherty, Anthony Giordano, Liz Graham-Meredith, Kathy Sullivan, Vinny Fieg, Elizabeth Fieg, Pastor Jason Donnelly, Sue Donnelly, the folks from Roslindale Open Studios, Roslindale Food Pantry, RISE (Roslindale is For Everyone), Scouts of America, Adoptive Parents, and Historic Boston, Inc. Thank you for your help in promoting this event by volunteering your time to help apply for the grant, be interviewed, support with social media and videography, march in the Roslindale Parade, table at the Farmers Market, table at the Open House, spread the word to close friends and distant family to get out the vote. 
We are happy to have connected with so many amazing people during this project, and while it would have felt better to have won the funding, we will continue to support the RCC as it seeks alternative ways to fund this preservation project and help make this remarkable building accessible to everyone.
Many thanks,
Alia Hamada Forrest
RVMS Executive Director

Revitalizing Poplar Street

Revitalizing Poplar Street

Read our project updates here.

Let’s work together to enhance the sidewalk across from Adams Park: encourage foot traffic, provide community gathering space, and benefit local business. View our Patronicity Campaign for more info and a video!

With this campaign, we aim to improve and beautify the Poplar Street sidewalk that runs alongside Adams Park in the heart of Roslindale Village. This project will boost pedestrian and retail traffic, enhance green space, create a place for people to meet, and better link this stretch of Poplar Street to Adams Park. This initiative is possible with the generous support of the Boston Main Streets Foundation and MassDevelopment, the state’s economic development and finance agency. Roslindale Village Main Street (RVMS) intends to raise $25,000 in support of this highly visible initiative. With your help we can reach this goal! If we do, MassDevelopment will match our funds with an additional $25,000 and the Boston Main Streets Foundation will contribute $5,000 toward this important project.

The Project

Through the tireless efforts of residents, business partners, and Roslindale Village Main Street, Roslindale’s Main Street district has become the bustling, vibrant, heart of the neighborhood. These efforts have been so successful that The Boston Globe Magazine frequently cites Roslindale as one of the city’s best neighborhoods in which to live.

While many blocks in Roslindale have benefited from numerous improvement projects, the Poplar Street stretch of sidewalk between South and Corinth Streets, across from Adams Park suffers from neglect and fails to serve as an attractive pedestrian way. It’s poorly lit at night. It lacks impact and flare during the day. This project will remedy these problems.

This initiative will brighten Poplar Street, add attractive design elements, and make other material improvements. Such enhancements to this popular thoroughfare will draw increased foot traffic to local businesses, and instill a sense of community pride among the people of Roslindale. This project will also link Poplar Street to Adams Park, adding needed space for people to gather and interact during community events at the park, such as the weekly Farmers’ Market.

What We Plan To Do

With funds from this campaign, Roslindale Village Main Street will implement the following improvements*:

  • Work with local artists to paint sidewalk murals to beautify the street.
  • Add seating that will encourage people to rest, eat, converse, and mingle.
  • Add planters to sidewalks and seating areas in order to create a more pleasant and beautiful environment.
  • Place bicycle racks to support increased bicycle traffic and reduce parking needs.
  • Install new recycling and trash containers to reduce litter.
  • Install decorative lighting to better illuminate the sidewalk at night.
  • Add lighting and improved wayfinding to the informational kiosk.

*These improvements are subject to review and approval by the relevant city departments.

How You Can Help

Our friends, neighbors, and local businesses make Roslindale great. This project will make Roslindale a wonderful place to visit and an even better place to live. Here’s how you can help:

  • Donate: this project will only succeed with your financial support. Every dollar you donate will be matched with $1.20 by MassDev and Boston Main Streets if we reach our goal!
  • Spread the word: tell friends and neighbors about this campaign. Share it on social media.
  • Volunteer: Roslindale Village Main Street flourishes thanks to the hard work of our friends, neighbors, and business partners who donate their time. Contact us to find out how you can help.