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Category: Statewide Efforts

Second WalkMassachusetts Network Forum Convenes in Framingham

Second WalkMassachusetts Network Forum Convenes in Framingham

On February 12, WalkBoston staff and members of the WalkMassachusetts Network convened for a second Network-wide forum in Framingham. The WalkMassachusetts Network is a statewide network of advocacy organizations, municipal committees, and community groups working on improving walkability. WalkBoston created the Network in 2018 with the aim of supporting and connecting local advocates to build capacity for advancing walkability across the Commonwealth. WalkMassachusetts Network members are experts on their communities and help WalkBoston stay up to date on the diversity of assets, opportunities and challenges to walking in cities and towns across the state. 

The second Network forum held last month was an opportunity for current and new members to connect, share knowledge, and learn best practices. Attendees represented 13 communities across the state, including Fall River, Worcester and Springfield. During the half-day forum, members shared wins for walkability in their communities over the past year, which most notably included more funding for Complete Streets and sign projects in multiple communities, new resident snow removal ordinances in Medford and Watertown, a rural walking map and more community engagement in the Hilltowns, and a successful 25th annual Big Walk in Fall River. The Network also participated in “advocacy clinics,” which were discussions about a series of topics related to walkability: Age-Friendly, Safety, Legislation and Policy, Stakeholder Engagement. In these discussions, attendees and WalkBoston staff shared their first-hand knowledge and best practices, which we can all apply to our work moving forward. WalkBoston also shared information and resources about the new Hands-Free policy, which went into effect in February. The many diverse voices and experiences from members, whether they represented rural or urban communities and worked at the grassroots or municipal level, generated engaging and informative discussions that we hope to continue in our work together. 

The WalkMassachusetts Network will continue to strategize and plan future Network activities this year, including efforts to continue growing membership. If your community, advocacy or municipal group is working on walkability, please consider joining the Network. See our WalkMassachusetts Network page for more information and fill out this form to join.

Network members share community walking wins.
Network members and staff discuss solutions to walkability challenges.
Contact your State Rep About Transportation Funding

Contact your State Rep About Transportation Funding

This week, the Massachusetts House is taking up two significant bills about transportation spending for all modes of transportation: H4508 is the House transportation revenue bill, and H4506 is the House version of the Governor’s transportation bond bill, authorizing new transportation spending.

As a follow up to last week’s Transportation for Massachusetts Call to Action event, please reach out to your State Representative before the end of the day Tuesday 3/3 to express your support of H4508 & H4506, especially for key elements of the bills which will provide the resources we need to make walking safer, make transit work better, to reduce the air quality impacts and greenhouse gas emissions of our transportation system and reduce congestion on our roadways.

Click to send your State Rep an email
about the need for statewide funding

(Want to call your State Rep instead? House Rep Phone Directory | Find My Legislator)

  • Express your strong support for new revenue to improve transportation all across Massachusetts (H4508 & H4506). In particular, we believe it is important to raise revenue that is directly tied to transportation and that encourages fewer vehicle miles traveled, reduces carbon emissions, encourages public transportation, walking, and cycling, and reduces roadway congestion.
  • We support investments that include expanded RTA service, accelerated investment in public transit, complete streets and safer biking and walking routes, and getting our roads and bridges into a state of good repair.

You can read about specific suggested amendments from MAPC & T4MA. WalkBoston is a founding member of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA), a coalition of 60+ organizations working for better transportation across the State.

What’s next? 

Debate is scheduled for this Wednesday (3/4) on H4508 (Revenue), and Thursday (3/5) for H4506 (Bond Bill) and could spill into Friday. Debate will be streamed at malegislature.gov.

After the House votes these bills, the Senate will take them up with its own process. All action on these bills, including either the Governor’s signature or an override of a veto, must occur before July 31st, 2020.

See the full list of Amendments to both bills:
Revenue Bill Amendments | Bond Bill Amendments

Ware Age-Friendly Walk Audit – Report

Ware Age-Friendly Walk Audit – Report

On Friday, November 15th, WalkBoston conducted a walk audit in Ware, MA. The town of Ware is currently in the process of developing a Bike and Pedestrian plan and a Complete Streets Prioritization plan. The town requested this walk audit to help inform these processes. The audit focused on the walkability of Ware’s low-income, environmental justice neighborhood and of the connectivity of this neighborhood and senior housing complexes to areas of town with a high density of goods and services. This walk audit was completed as part of WalkBoston’s Age-Friendly Walking initiative, which is a three year, statewide initiative to improve walking conditions for people of all ages in rural and gateway communities of Massachusetts through policy implementation and built environment change.

To learn more about this walk audit you can read the report here:
WalkBoston – WARE walk audit report FINAL

 

Improving Snow and Ice Clearance to promote Age-Friendly Walking in the Berkshires

Improving Snow and Ice Clearance to promote Age-Friendly Walking in the Berkshires

Snow and ice present challenges to walkers. Cleared sidewalks are critical for people to access everyday goods and services, and are particularly vital to seniors. Icy sidewalks and snow-piled curb ramps can further isolate seniors in the winter months. As part of our Age-Friendly Walking initiative, WalkBoston is working with communities across the Commonwealth to improve their sidewalk snow and ice clearance to improve year-round walking conditions for people of all ages.

WalkBoston worked the Dalton Traffic Commission chairman and Dalton Council on Aging Director to identify priority sidewalks for snow and ice clearance that would help connect older adults walking from senior housing complexes to the Dalton Council on Aging in winter months. We are excited to work with towns like Dalton to set priorities for sidewalk snow clearance that identify the most critical sidewalks – such as those near schools, transit stations or senior centers – to ensure that enforcement and public snow clearance are focused on the most important locations.

For more information about how cities and towns can improve sidewalk snow and ice clearance see WalkBoston’s Keep it Clear snow clearance report.

 

 

Williamstown Walk Audit – Age-Friendly Walking

Williamstown Walk Audit – Age-Friendly Walking

On Friday, November 22nd, WalkBoston conducted a walk audit in Williamstown, MA. This walk audit focused on recommendations to improve the safety of several high-volume, low-visibility crosswalks near the Williams College campus and of the walkability and connectivity of the main shopping plaza at the edge of town. The group also discussed recommendations for Age-Friendly walking features to improve the safety and comfort of people walking of all ages, such as benches and wayfinding signage. This walk audit was completed as part of WalkBoston’s Age-Friendly Walking initiative, which is a three year, statewide initiative to improve walking conditions for people of all ages in rural and gateway communities of Massachusetts through policy implementation and built environment change.