Category: Statewide Efforts

Event: WalkMassachusetts Network 1st Meeting, 12/1 in Worcester

Event: WalkMassachusetts Network 1st Meeting, 12/1 in Worcester

RSVP now and save the date – December 1, 2018, for our first in-person gathering of the WalkMassachusetts Network at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. This event is open to any local organizations working on walking!

WalkMassachusetts Network is a free statewide network of advocacy organizations, municipal committees, and community groups working on walking. WalkBoston has established the Network to amplify our collective efforts by strengthening local voices. 

This Network is a way for WalkBoston to:

  • be a resource to you & your community,
  • give support to grassroots organizations,
  • make connections between organizations working on similar issues, or in similar parts of the Commonwealth.

We’re launching an online forum as part of this effort to be able to better answer questions & crowdsource other ideas. We’ve started to gather ideas from many of you about what you’re hoping to get out of it. Thank you for your help. Look for it soon!

Sign up on Eventbrite to join us on December 1st & share the event on Facebook

Learn more about the WalkMassachusetts Network

Add your group to our map of Network organizations

Comments on MassDOT Draft Pedestrian Plan

Comments on MassDOT Draft Pedestrian Plan

October 16, 2018

Secretary Stephanie Pollack
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

Dear Secretary Pollack:

WalkBoston is pleased to provide comments on the Draft MA Pedestrian Transportation Plan, and to see so many of the comments that we and other members of the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board captured in the Plan.

The vision, goals and principles set a strong context and base for the Plan, and we are especially pleased that MassDOT has adopted the principle of leading by example and supporting municipalities. As the largest single investor in the State’s roadway and pedestrian system, MassDOT has a critical responsibility to take pedestrian safety, accessibility and convenience seriously in all of its actions and investments.

We specifically applaud several of the action items including:

  • 3-3: Research on benefits and impacts of automated speed enforcement (ASE). We will continue to advocate for legislation that will allow ASE to be is implemented in an equitable manner. Automated enforcement has been shown to be an effective means of discouraging dangerous driver behavior.
  • 4-1: Construct safe crossings to connect bus stops to destinations, starting with MassDOT-owned corridors.
  • 5-1: Pilot a winter snow and ice removal initiative on pedestrian facilities in order to provide the basis for development of a comprehensive plan – and an understanding of potential barriers to make such a program permanent.
  • 6-1 – 6-3: Collecting and analyzing pedestrian focused data.

Our comments below reflect several additional issues and refinements that we believe will strengthen the Plan:

  1. The equity discussion should be updated to include MA Department of Public Health (DPH) injury data for Massachusetts which reveals substantial differences in injury rates by race. Under Initiative 2 we recommend adding an action item of preparing in-depth analysis of injury patterns across the state that combines the crash reporting provided by police and EMS and the hospital data that is gathered by DPH. We understand that MassDOT and DPH have begun this analysis, and think that this process should be formalized as one basis for the prioritization analysis.
  2. Initiative 1 sets ambitious and strong actions for MassDOT’s own design and operations practices, including maintaining pedestrian routes through work sites during construction. We are concerned that Action 1-1 will be difficult to accomplish and measure without outside review, and suggest adding a measure for tracking progress such as the following:
    • Create an annual review process of MassDOT development, scoping, scoring, design and construction that invites advocates and peers from outside the agency to comment on how pedestrians have been prioritized in agency activities. The review should be designed to guide MassDOT in a continuous improvement process to learn from each project:
      • What is working well?
      • What can be improved?
  3. Initiative 5 of the Plan should include specific reference to traffic signals, including a measure that tracks the number of signals on MassDOT roads that include pedestrian-focused attributes, such as concurrent WALK signals, Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI), and automatic recall of WALK signals (not requiring people walking to push a button). In addition, MassDOT should consider providing more in-depth guidance to municipalities about good practice for pedestrian signals – the inconsistency in signals among the State’s 351 cities and towns contributes to confusion for pedestrians and drivers which can lead to unsafe conditions. This section may also be an opportunity to share information on the safety benefit for “No Right Turn on Red.”
  4. Principle 3 of the plan describes that MassDOT will lead by example yet municipalities are critical to the success of the plan, since MassDOT owns just 8% of all sidewalk and 8.2% of all roadway miles in Massachusetts. We encourage MassDOT to add information about that other state agencies that maintain pedestrian facilities, like DCR and the MBTA, and should recommend that they also follow MassDOT’s best practices for communities to emulate.
  5. The presentation of the report was visually pleasing, but has some features that could be improved:
    • If using this web-based ARCGIS format for any future reports, please create a way to easily jump to sections within the document from the introduction. The table of contents is a static list, which makes it difficult to refer back to specific sections since page numbers are not obvious.
    • Using the share link at the top left of the page re-directs a user back to the beginning of the document, not to the page/section of the document that the user is on. There was not a readily apparent way to link to a section.
    • While this web-based ARCGIS report format allows a user to zoom in on statewide maps (which likely would be rendered difficult to read in a printed format), please provide an option to access the final version of the plan in a visually clear PDF form.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

WalkBoston Statewide Action Plan

WalkBoston Statewide Action Plan

Building on nearly 30 years of advocacy in more than 100 cities and towns across the Commonwealth, WalkBoston has adopted a 3-year plan offering a framework to Make Massachusetts More Walkable. This action plan articulates our working principles, while also defining our focus areas and organizational goals with clear measures of success.

Focus Areas

Working Principles

  • Equity: Address equity and inclusion more explicitly in community engagement strategies and project approaches.
  • Flexibility & Adaptability: Evaluate new technologies and policies that affect the safety of people walking.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: Follow and create best practices for the built environment based on impacts to community health, vitality, and resiliency.

Organizational Goals

  • Outreach: Establish new partnerships with community-based organizations and active mobility constituencies.
  • Digital Resources: Systematize access to projects and information.
  • Financial Sustainability: Develop a detailed financial sustainability plan that considers new revenue possibilities.

View the WalkBoston Action Plan 2017 (PDF)

Survey on walking from BU School of Public Health students

Survey on walking from BU School of Public Health students

Concerned about walking/walkability in your community & have 5 minutes to spare? Communications students at the Boston University School of Public Health have created a short survey for us! With this info, they will be creating a short video to encourage others to get involved with the WalkMassachusetts Network. Fill out the survey, sign up for the Network, & stay tuned – we’ll be sending out info soon about our first Network gathering in December!

Dear Community Activist,

Thank you for your time and continued support in helping make it safer for people to walk! We are a team of current Masters of Public Health Candidates at the Boston University School of Public Health looking to motivate community activists to improve walkability and make change in their community.

We hope you’re able to help us out by completing and returning this brief questionnaire to see how we can best encourage community members and organizations to get involved in the WalkMassachusetts Network. Rest assured that the information you provide will be confidential and used exclusively for research purposes. Please respond to the best of your ability.

If you have additional information you think would be useful, please feel free to include it in the Additional Notes sections at the bottom of the page. Google Forms will collect the responses anonymously. Thank you!

 

MassDOT’s Statewide Pedestrian Plan now available for public comment!

MassDOT’s Statewide Pedestrian Plan now available for public comment!

MassDOT’s Statewide Pedestrian Transportation Plan will recommend policies, programs, and projects for MassDOT to guide decision making and capital investments, as well as develop guidance for municipalities to improve walkability in local communities.

Thursday, September 20 from 1 to 3 pm, the scheduled Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board (MABPAB) meeting will be a special open-house style forum highlighting the finalized draft Statewide Pedestrian Transportation Plan. The event will take place in the second floor Transportation Board Room of MassDOT’s Boston headquarters at 10 Park Plaza. Released for a 30 day public review on Monday, September 17, MassDOT is welcoming MABPAB board members as well as the general public to attend, learn more about the Plan and provide comments to the final draft.

The Plan defines a vision for Massachusetts in which all people have a safe and comfortable walking option for short trips. The Plan presents an action-oriented strategy with the goal of increasing the percentage of short trips made by walking and also eliminating pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries. Pedestrian fatalities have been increasing over the last decade in Massachusetts. The plan goes into further detail about the state of walking today.

Take a look at the plan, and let us know what you think; make sure to send your comments to MassDOT!