In The News

WGBH News   |  Oct 10, 2017   |  By Robin Washington
How Boston Is Trying To Make Its Intersections Safer Try to cross most Boston intersections and you know the drill: Press the button — and wait. The standard in Boston has been for the walk signal to come up only after cars get their green. For Brendan Kearney of the advocacy group WalkBoston, that’s a problem. “I shouldn’t walk up to an intersection, wait my turn, then realize once the traffic starts going the other direction that I was supposed to push a button, then have to wait another whole cycle,” he said. To Kearney, the system is potentially dangerous because if people have to wait too long, they’ll decide the buttons don’t work and cross against the light. In Cambridge, there’s a different approach. Like in many cities, the walk signals there come on automatically with the green light, and there’s no need to push a button. “We try to have as few push buttons as possible in the city of Cambridge,” said Cara Seiderman, the city’s transportation program manager. The city also has something called the leading pedestrian interval, or LPI, a safety measure that allows “people to get a head start as they are crossing the street,” Seiderman said. It works by having the walk signal come on three to seven seconds before the green, giving pedestrians control of the intersection ahead of turning cars. A New York study cited by WalkBoston shows that the technique leads to 60 percent fewer accidents. While Cambridge has been using LPI for more than 20 years, Boston has hesitated — until now. Read More
BU News Service   |  Sep 30, 2017   |  By Antonia DeBianchi
Art Starts a Dialogue on Climate Change at the MFA Adi Nochur, a panelist and project manager for WalkBoston, an organization dedicated to making walking in Boston more safe and sustainable, pointed to how the recent hurricanes that impacted Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, Florida and Houston were related to climate change. He said art could help to open up a broader conversation about what to do next. “This isn’t just about flooding. This isn’t just about the environment,” Nochur said. “It’s about what are the impacts on our communities if we don’t actually address this issue?” Read More
The Daily Free Press   |  Sep 28, 2017   |  By Megan Forsythe
MFA engages residents in City Talks forum on climate change Adi Nochur, a program manager at WalkBoston, said during the forum that climate change is an issue that is expansive and requires a lot of different people to confront and challenge it. “Addressing climate change is such a multifaceted struggle where we expend our energy,” Nochur said. “We need people who are going to be working on all of those different front lines and lending their skills and capacities in whatever unique way they can contribute. We need to recognize on a local level we can tangible progress we are able to make victories on a local level.” Nochur said forums like this are important to show people that they can come together to tackle big systematic issues like climate change. “Really being able to give people a sense of how they can come together and get involved and take action on these issues … [is] going to make us think about our practices moving forward,” Nochur said. “It’s important to create spaces like these for dialogue.” Read More
Wicked Local   |  Jul 3, 2017   |  By Conor Powers-Smith
Melrose seeks Complete Streets via roadway improvements Public outreach, including at last year’s Victorian Fair and Sally Frank’s Farmers’ Market, helped the city focus on the most pressing projects, with further input from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, and advocacy groups like the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition and Walk Boston. Read More
Jamaica Plain Gazette   |  May 26, 2017   |  By Beth Treffeisen
Residents demand slower, safer streets “This really gets to the heart of a lot of people’s lives around the city,” said Wendy Landman, who is the executive director of WalkBoston. “If you’re scared to let your 10-year-old cross the street even if you live on a residential street it makes a difference.” Brendan Kearney, who is the communications director of WalkBoston, believes that the City isn’t doing enough to ensure that these Slow Streets get implemented. “The Neighborhood Slow Streets has definitely struck a cord with neighborhood groups across the city,” said Kearney. “The staff is working incredibly hard…but they’re spread too thin.” He believes that best practices that work and have been established elsewhere around the U.S. and the world is something that BTD can tap from. During the hearing they asked for the department to consider taking on more staff dedicated to Vision Zero. “Signs don’t do everything,” said Kearney. “You need to make physical changes in the streets too.” Landman added, “There are many, many, projects that can come at much lower costs.” Read More
Beacon Hill Times   |  May 26, 2017   |  By Beth Treffeisen
Residents Demand More Slow Streets for Boston Neighborhoods “This really gets to the heart of a lot of people’s lives around the city,” said Wendy Landman, who is the executive director of WalkBoston. “If you’re scared to let your 10-year-old cross the street even if you live on a residential street it makes a difference.” Brendan Kearney, who is the communications director of WalkBoston, believes that the City isn’t doing enough to ensure that these Slow Streets get implemented. “The Neighborhood Slow Streets has definitely struck a cord with neighborhood groups across the city,” said Kearney. “The staff is working incredibly hard…but they’re spread too thin.” He believes that best practices that work and have been established elsewhere around the U.S. and the world is something that BTD can tap from. During the hearing they asked for the department to consider taking on more staff dedicated to Vision Zero. “Signs don’t do everything,” said Kearney. “You need to make physical changes in the streets too.” Landman added, “There are many, many, projects that can come at much lower costs.” Read More
Boston Globe   |  May 24, 2017   |  By Joan Vennochi
Boston needs to figure out how to share the roads Yet Walsh’s overall reaction to the controversy is also disappointing. Instead of stewing self-defensively, he should meet with advocates like Becca Wolfson of Boston Cyclists Union and Brendan Kearney of WalkBoston. They are capable of dialogue, not diatribe, and want to talk about issues like dangerous intersections, the need to fix signal timing, and creating more protected bike lanes. “This really is about making Boston a city where it is safe for people to get around no matter how they are doing it,” said Kearney. Read More
Boston Globe   |  May 21, 2017   |  By Dante Ramos
The myth of the beleaguered Boston driver It’s easy to blame crazy cyclists or headphoned jaywalkers for getting hit by cars, but the victims are often children and elderly people. Calls for personal responsibility also mask the underlying issue: Many streets and intersections in Boston aren’t properly designed for the mix of people using them. On the radio show, Walsh took a call from a Jamaica Plain resident who bemoaned rampant jaywalking in the Longwood Medical Area, near South Station, and elsewhere. “It’s impossible to drive without everybody running out in front of you,” the caller said. “It’s dangerous.” The other possibility is that, when throngs of transit commuters pour out of South Station every morning and jaywalk across the street, they’re sending a message of their own: We’re focusing too closely on the needs of motor vehicles, and not enough on all the people around them. Read More
Boston Globe   |  May 19, 2017   |  By Nestor Ramos
Street safety comments walk Walsh into trouble Others said Walsh’s comments were based on misconceptions and inaccuracies. Though the mayor’s comments focused on people wearing headphones or darting in and out of traffic, data show that at least four of the 15 pedestrians killed in Boston last year were over 65. Two others were children under 3. The ages of five of the 15 victims have not been released, according to data from the pedestrian advocacy group WalkBoston. --- The city committed to a Vision Zero policy in 2015. The concept, said Brendan Kearney, communications director for WalkBoston, “is grounded in the premise that people make mistakes — so the streets should be designed to minimize injury and loss of life no matter how people are getting around.” “We should not be blaming the people that were hit and killed,” Kearney said in an e-mail. Read More
Boston Globe   |  May 18, 2017   |  By Nestor Ramos and Steve Annear
Bump for Walsh on city’s mean streets The city committed to a Vision Zero policy in 2015. The concept, said Brendan Kearney, communications director for WalkBoston, “is grounded in the premise that people make mistakes — so the streets should be designed to minimize injury and loss of life no matter how people are getting around.” “We should not be blaming the people that were hit and killed,” Kearney said in an e-mail. Read More
Boston Magazine   |  May 1, 2017   |  By Rachel Slade
Boston Traffic Sucks—Here’s How to Fix It Those goals are shared by local transportation advocates. WalkBoston’s Kearney, for one, believes many of the city’s intersections offer opportunities to prioritize increasing mobility over moving cars. At Park Street, “the sheer number of [pedestrians] is so much greater than the number of vehicles going down Tremont,” he says. “Those light cycles should be shorter. Instead of waiting a minute and a half and then getting a long pedestrian walk signal, why not cut that to 60 seconds, or 45 seconds?” Read More
Boston Globe   |  May 1, 2017   |  By Renée Loth
One legacy of Jane Jacobs: community walks around the globe “We want to get people more devoted to the idea that this is their neighborhood,” said [WalkBoston Board President] Matt Lawlor, cofounder of WalkUp Roslindale, the local advocacy group organizing the walk. “If you don’t speak up for it, who will?” Read More
Boston Globe   |  Apr 15, 2017   |  By Andy Rosen
Opening of new park is new era for Emerald Necklace “This series of changes along the Emerald Necklace is terrific,” said Wendy Landman, executive director of the group WalkBoston. “It’s creating all sorts of connections that have been missing, or fixing things in the system that haven’t been working.” There will always be disagreement and negotiation over the competing needs of drivers and pedestrians, but advocates for bicyclists and walkers say the recent changes represent a generational shift in how residents and leaders think about parks. Read More
Wicked Local Melrose   |  Feb 13, 2017   |  By Jeannette Hinkle
Melrose pursues grant to increase transportation connectivity A recent condition assessment of every Melrose road conducted by the engineering department, a free citywide bike-ability assessment by the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition and a free WalkBoston and Watson Active assessment on accessibility of Melrose schools for pedestrians and bicyclists will all be entered into the GIS before the city determines its priority projects for Complete Streets. Read More
Somerville Times   |  Feb 2, 2017   |  By Jennifer Mazzola
Letter to the Editor The past year has been a tumultuous one filled with surgeries, physical therapy, scars, and a lot of tears as I recovered from what happened to me that night. I have joined organizations such as WalkBoston and Livable Streets, that fight for safety on our roadways, for all of us who use them. Read More
WCVB News (TV)   |  Jan 26, 2017   |  By Rhondella Richardson
Steps being taken in Boston to curb crashes involving pedestrians In recent months, Boston has seen a spike in car crashes involving pedestrians. [See video interview at link.] Read More
Boston Herald   |  Jan 25, 2017   |  By Brian Dowling and Meghan Ottolini
Striking Level of Carnage "It's a small staff in the planning department with these large tasks ahead of them and these wonderful, audacious goals that are bold and would make the city a better, livable place, but I don't think they have the staff or the funding to implement these things," said Brendan Kearney, of WalkBoston, a member of the city's Vision Zero task force. Read More
BostInno   |  Jan 18, 2017   |  By Brendan Kearney
Pricier Boston Parking Meters Should Be Just the Beginning The City of Boston recently rolled out a performance parking initiative that includes flexible parking meter pricing in the Seaport and Back Bay. Prices will be lower on streets that consistently have availability, while the meter price will be higher on streets that are often filled. You may be able to park a little further away to save a few quarters, which frees up a spot closer for someone who needs it – or doesn't mind paying a little more. Kudos to Mayor Walsh. The city is on the right track with a pilot project like this one. Boston is home to an innovation economy. We should be pushing for more pilot projects to change how our streets and curbside spaces are allocated. Read More
Boston Globe   |  Jan 6, 2017   |  By Andrew Ryan
New South Boston zoning could mean more parking and slow down development “They should be reducing these parking minimums,” said Brendan Kearney, communications manager for the pedestrian advocacy group WalkBoston. “The city of Buffalo just removed parking requirements entirely. You don’t think of Buffalo as a paragon of forward urban thinking, but if Buffalo can do it, why not Boston.” Read More
The Bulletin Newspapers   |  Dec 14, 2016   |  By Jeff Sullivan
Pedestrian safety hot topic at transportation policy briefing The Boston City Council Committee on Parks, Recreation and Transportation met last week to hold a transportation policy briefing that focused on pedestrian services and safety. The meeting was focused on decreasing traffic collisions and fatalities involving pedestrians in the city. Wendy Landman, executive director for WalkBoston, said the most critical factor in pedestrian collisions is that of speed. She said that a pedestrian’s chance of survivability in a crash at 20 miles per hour (mph) is 90 percent, while at 40 mph, it’s 10 percent. “That difference, bringing speed down from 40 mph to 20 mph, or thereabouts, is critically important to making a safe walking environment,” she said. “It’s something we’re seeing actually around the world. City planners and transportation planners are thinking very hard about transportation speed because that’s what is the most basic element of a safe walking environment.” Read More

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