Category: Announcement

Lunch & Learn: Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking

Lunch & Learn: Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking

Please join the Stepping Strong Injury Prevention community for a special event:
Creating Safer Communities for Walking and Biking

September 9 | 12:00pm
Virtual Link:

Featuring presenters from Boston City Council, University of California San Francisco, WalkBoston, and Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition. The mission of the Stepping Strong Injury Prevention Program is to reduce the burden of injury by advancing evidence-based prevention activities through community outreach, research of best practices, and training of healthcare professionals at the Brigham and beyond.

FAQs – Beat The Bay State Team Challenge (November 2021)

FAQs – Beat The Bay State Team Challenge (November 2021)

Have a question about the Beat the Bay State Team Challenge? We’ve put together a list of Frequently Asked Questions! If you have a question that is not answered below, send us a message through the RunSignUp page (contact form at the bottom of the registration page) so someone can get back to you.

Last updated: Friday, September 17th, 2021

Virtual Team Challenge FAQs

Q: Can I sign up a friend or family member when I’m signing up? 

Yes! You can register multiple people in one transaction on RunSignUp. 

However,  if you are creating a team, we recommend doing that first in a transaction without registering any additional people. (When creating a team, it prompts you to also create a fundraising page for the team – if you were to register other people in the same transaction, it would require a fundraising page to be created for those people, too. While fundraising is optional, creation of the page is required during team registration.) 

Q: How do I log my miles? 

There are two ways you can do it. Remember, you need to be registered for the Beat the Bay State on RunSignUp in order to submit your miles.

1st way — It can be done through the RunSignUp results page for Beat the Bay State, which can be found on the top bar of the registration site. Click RESULTS on the top bar, and then the orange “Submit Virtual Results” button at the top of that page. The next screen will have participant lookup fields where you can search for your name. You will be able to submit miles you’ve covered by walking or running on the next screen by clicking the “Log Activities” button. This is also the best way to do it if one family member is logging miles for multiple people. (If you can’t find your name through the search, you may not be registered for the event yet.) 

2nd way — If you are logged in to RunSignUp with the same info you used to sign up for Beat the Bay State, you can go to your profile: https://runsignup.com/Profile

Scroll down to the event for Beat the Bay State, click “Submit Virtual Results.” You will be able to submit miles you’ve covered by walking or running on the next screen. Please note that the form fields will not appear until November 1st, since miles must be done between Nov 1st and Nov 30th. The submission form will remain open until December 1st at 12PM Eastern so you can log your final totals for the month of November. 

You can log your miles daily, every few days, weekly – it is up to you. Remember, as each member of your team logs miles, your team will move along a mapped route. We’ll also be sending weekly reminders via email and daily reminders to the Facebook group (see below) to have people log their activity. You do not need to have MapMyRun, Strava, or a GPS watch.

Q: I want to join a team but I forget our team name. Can I see a list of all the teams?

Yes! Click on Groups/Teams at the top of the RunSignUp page, which will give a list of all the teams and total team members. You can click on the team name itself to see the team and also to share the team link directly.

Q: I only track my steps. How do I log those?

Since each person’s stride is different, we’re using miles to have a way to compare teams. Your fitness tracker may also estimate the number of miles that you’ve logged. If you want to convert from steps to miles, you can use this calculator: https://www.thecalculatorsite.com/health/steps-miles.php 

Q: How do we know how far along our team is?

All team results / progress will be on the Results page. From there, you can click to your own Team Page, where you can see how you and your teammates are doing as individuals. You’ll also receive badges through RunSignUp and emails along the way as your team hits milestones on your 900 mile journey. (You can also access your team at the bottom of your Profile).

We’ll also send a weekly email to all participants giving everyone an overall event update and reminding people to submit their miles so their team total is accurate. 

Q: Can someone join our team even after November 1st?

Yes! There is no cutoff date for when someone can join your team to help log miles toward the 900 mile goal during the month. You can share your team page with them at any point. 

Q: Is there a hashtag I should use or a Facebook group for the event? 

Yes! We created a Facebook Group for last year’s challenge, which we’ll be using again: https://www.facebook.com/groups/beatthebaystate  There may be weekly events within the Facebook group which will allow for additional individual prize opportunities.

You can also use hashtag #BeatTheBayState on your social media of choice to see other posts from people who are taking part during November. We’ll search public posts on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram and pick a few to feature in the weekly update email to participants! 

Q: Are the hats and buffs the same design as last year? 

Yes! Winter hats ($15) and buffs ($10) are available for sale; the hats and buffs are the same design as last year’s event. We might be biased, but we think they’re great (and had leftovers). 🙂

Q: I want a winter hat or a buff, but I didn’t purchase one when I first signed up. Can I still get one? 

Yes! You can access the store here. On the main RunSignUp page, you can also click “STORE” at the top. The store will let you buy something without going back through the registration process. If you’d like to order a large amount of items to distribute to your team, please contact Brendan (bkearney@walkboston.org) and he can arrange that with you.

Q: I ordered a hat or buff. When should it arrive? 

We’ll be mailing out the first batch of orders on October 1st. Brendan (bkearney@walkboston.org) is handling fulfillment, and you can arrange a pick up from him if you want your buff ASAP for your walks/runs. (He lives in Framingham.) 

Q: I registered as an individual (or on a team), but now I want to create my own team.  

We can create one for you if needed – but we found last year that it is a lot easier if you have someone who hasn’t signed up yet create the team. They can then give you admin access to help manage it. Read the RunSignUp tutorial on how to do that here.

Q: I don’t want to be in charge of a team, but since I was the first one to sign up I made the team. Can someone else be put in charge?

If you created a team, and want to give someone else admin access to help you manage it, read the RunSignUp tutorial on how to do that here.

Q: Our team will mostly be families in my neighborhood doing walks/runs together. How many members of a family can log the miles?  For instance, if I am signed up but my son goes for a 2-mile walk, can I add his mileage to mine? 

Something to consider: our executive director created a team for her friends & family to join last year, and her children each signed up as team members since they each wanted to know how many miles they contributed to the team during the month. The rule of thumb we’re using: if you’re old enough to sign yourself up, you should be your own team member on the team. (It is your call, though – if you want to have your son signed up as a user, that’s great! But if you find it easier to combine those miles with yours, go for it.) 

Q: Are there prizes? 

There are prizes for the team that finishes the 900 miles first, biggest team (most participants), and the most money raised (both individual and team). We’ll also recognize the team that completes the furthest distance. We will add links here to provide rankings in November: Team rankings | Team participants | Top Individual Fundraisers | Top Team Fundraisers 

There may be weekly events within the Facebook group which will allow for additional individual prize opportunities, so we’d encourage you to join the Beat the Bay State Facebook Group.

Q: Does my registration fee or swag purchase go toward our team fundraising goal?

Registration fees and swag purchases do not go toward fundraising goals. The biggest team does not always raise the most money: we want to make sure we recognize both efforts! All proceeds support WalkBoston. 

Q: Fundraising: How do I create a page? 

Team captains are required to create a team fundraising page when setting up the team, and participants have the option to create individual pages. (There is no fundraising requirement to participate). If you would like to become an individual fundraiser, click here. At the bottom of that page, make sure to join your team’s fundraiser so your individual fundraising total will be combined with your team.

Q: Can we keep going if/when our team hits 900 miles?

Yes! While your team marker won’t move around the map again, you’re able to keep adding to your total team miles tracked for the month. Last year, a few of the biggest teams were able to do it multiple times, competing with each other to see who could go further! See the 2020 team results.

Q: I have a question about something that isn’t covered here.

Send us a message through the RunSignUp page (contact form at the bottom of the registration page) so someone can get back to you.

Beat the Bay State registration now open for Fall 2021!

Beat the Bay State registration now open for Fall 2021!

Starting November 1st, we’re challenging you to compete in the 2nd Annual Beat the Bay State Challenge throughout November (Nov1st-30th). In 2020, 31 teams and 450 people took part in the inaugural virtual team challenge to walk/run 900 miles, the distance of the perimeter of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (Read our post with the full 2020 results & recap.)

For 2021, we’ve also added an in person 5k Run/Walk on Saturday, November 6th along the Charles River in Watertown to kick off the month together! 5K entry includes a race shirt; buffs and hats available for purchase for either event.

For more info or to sign up: https://runsignup.com/baystate

Sponsorship opportunities (PDF) are available! Please contact Development Director Althea Wong-Achorn for more info.

Interested in volunteering? Please contact Deputy Director Brendan Kearney for more info.

Thank you Alex and Perri!

Thank you Alex and Perri!

This week we gathered together to say farewell to our wonderful summer interns, Perri and Alex.  From day one they stepped up and helped with walk audits, crash data analysis, our website, and so much more. 

We celebrated in true WalkBoston fashion by following one of our walking maps to explore the Boston Harborwalk and then enjoyed a lovely meal at the Chart House on Long Wharf.

Perri and Alex have been a wonderful addition to our team. We miss them already and wish them the best in their return to school at Tufts UEP and Harvard GSD!

Updates to MassDOT’s Complete Streets Program Funding Guidance

Updates to MassDOT’s Complete Streets Program Funding Guidance

In March 2021, MassDOT released the new Complete Streets Program Funding Guidance for cities and towns interested in participating in the program. Launched in 2016, the MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program is the first state program in the United States devoted to funding complete streets – streets that are designed to make travel safe, comfortable, and accessible for all users. Five years later, more than 50% of all Massachusetts communities are involved in the Complete Streets program.

Major changes to the Guidance Document include: 

  • Update to the Tier 2 Prioritization Plan 
  • Revision of the Tier 3 Project Application Template
  • Update to the funding eligibility criteria for Tier 3 grant recipients
  • New chapter on public engagement
  1. Update to the Tier 2 Prioritization Plan 
  • Tier 2 no longer has three entry options as previously indicated. The municipality must develop a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan and can still provide a commitment letter to MassDOT to pass the Complete Streets policy within one year. (This would be completing Tier 1 and 2 simultaneously).
  • Municipalities can request up to $38,000 in technical assistance funding (it is no longer $50,000). 
  1. Revision of the Tier 3 Project Application Template 
  • Revised template is available on the MassDOT website
  1. Update to the funding eligibility criteria for Tier 3 grant recipients 
  • Effective Fiscal Year 2022, municipalities can receive a maximum award of $400,000 in Tier 3 funding within any four-fiscal year timeframe. Municipalities can receive several smaller grants within the four-year window or one full grant of $400,000. It is important to note that Tier 2 grants do not count toward Tier 3 grants. Municipalities can check to see if they are eligible for additional funding here
  • If the municipality is applying for a project that costs more than the funding they are eligible for, they must include the amount of money they will need covered by external funding sources. 
  • A municipality can apply for a 2nd (or 3rd, 4th…) construction project only after the prior awarded project has been completed. 
  1. New chapter on public engagement
  • The 2021 Guidance document includes for the first time a section on “Public Engagement and Complete Streets.” MassDOT strongly recommends municipalities engage with community members– especially marginalized groups– on identifying issues and areas for improvement in the community. 
  • In order to engage with a community, MassDOT suggests: 
    • establishing working groups or planning committees with a diverse set of individuals, representative of the municipality;
    • engaging and listening to community members’ experiences and feedback; 
    • speaking with the public during all three tiers of the Complete Streets Funding process and providing updates on any changes and final decisions; and
    • removing barriers to participation, such as language, time, and access. To do this, MassDOT recommends:
      • Partnering with trusted community leaders and organizations to reach members of the community. Potentially compensate individuals for their time and involvement
      • Requesting time at a community/neighborhood meeting or hosting a pop-up at a public place like a grocery store or public library
      • Providing multiple options for individuals to provide in-person and online feedback at meetings and events 
      • Translating materials and having appropriate translators at events and meetings 
      • Ensuring accessibility for individuals with differing visual and physical abilities 
      • Providing incentives for participation, such as food, childcare, or stipends 

WalkBoston and the Complete Streets Program

WalkBoston has had a measurable impact on the success of MassDOT’s Complete Streets Funding program. We have worked on walking with 122 of the 267 municipalities that have participated in the funding program, with targeted assistance for the funding program provided to 25 cities and towns.

WalkBoston has assisted communities at each major program milestone: passage of a policy (Tier 1); development of a prioritization plan (Tier 2); and acquisition of capital funding (Tier 3). Specifically, WalkBoston provided technical assistance to:

  • 25 different communities in at least one Tier
  • 3 municipalities during Tier 1, 2, and 3
  • 10 municipalities in both Tier 2 and Tier 3
  • 19 municipalities that received Tier 3 funding, 11 of whom received funding for projects identified in walk audit recommendations

New Complete Streets Funding Announced 

On July 20, 2021, MassDOT announced that $6.05 million have been awarded to 18 communities for Complete Streets Funding Program Awards. For the full press release and information on communities awarded, visit the website here.