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Category: Statewide Efforts

Comments on proposed MassDCR amendments 302 CMR 11 + 12

Comments on proposed MassDCR amendments 302 CMR 11 + 12

July 24, 2019

Laura Dietz
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114

Dear Ms. Dietz,

WalkBoston has reviewed the amendments to “302 CMR 11.00: Parkways, Traffic, and Pedestrian Rules” and “302 CMR 12.00: Parks and Recreation Rules,” and attended the public hearing on July 2, 2019 in Brighton.

This process should be put on hold until laws on micro-mobility and e-bikes are established by the legislature so there is cohesion between the law and regulations.

We also have some questions and comments based on our review:

  • What data are these proposed changes based on?
  • Are there any successes or failures in other states that MA is trying to emulate or avoid?
  • We have concerns about setting a limit of 20mph for shared use pathways. How was that speed limit established, and what is it based on? We need context sensitive speed limits, not one limit for all places. A 20mph limit is a speed limit that is recommended on residential streets, which include sidewalks for separation.
  • There are long section of definitions including BOULEVARD, PARKWAY, ROADWAY, STREET, but there is no definition of the different types of trails. Some of the suggested regulations describe ‘improved or natural surface trail’ vs. other types of trails; with no easy definition, this could lead to confusion.
  • Section 12.12(4) states they are ‘not permitted on improved trails less than 8 feet,’ would this mean certain sections of contiguous trails would allow/prohibit use?
    • Additionally, while we recognize the intent to create safe areas where there could be conflict, we fear that setting a regulation by width could have unintended consequences for future trail development.
  • The section on Violations/Fines/Penalties only includes info about parking.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.

Brendan Kearney
Communications Director

iBerkshires – “Williamstown Planning Board Grapples with Lighting Bylaw”

iBerkshires – “Williamstown Planning Board Grapples with Lighting Bylaw”

iBerkshires: “Williamstown Planning Board Grapples with Lighting Bylaw

Puddester talked about a recent workshop she attended in Cheshire hosted by Age Friendly Berkshires and Walk Boston on the issue of walkable neighborhoods.

“They gave us a walking tour of a small part of Cheshire and showed us some of the places where their might be safety issues,” Puddester said. “Some of the things were crosswalks not being where they should be because they were faded. Or another issue was: Corners are cut wider than they used to be, allowing cars to go around the corner more quickly; they recommend painting a line that cuts the curb and people will use that as a guideline.”

The board voted unanimously to authorize Puddester to work with other stakeholders in town, like the Council on Aging, to see if the town can partner with Walk Boston to do a walkability study in the community.

July 11, 2019

Age-Friendly Walking in the Berkshires

Age-Friendly Walking in the Berkshires

 

This week, we headed west to the Berkshires! We shared Age-Friendly walking presentations in Cheshire and Great Barrington as part a grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to expand our Age-Friendly efforts across the commonwealth. Thank you to representatives from Councils on Aging in Adams, Dalton, Egremont, Pittsfield, and Williamstown for participating, and thank you to Age Friendly Berkshires and Be Well Berkshires for helping spread the word. We look forward to working together more in the coming months.

Walnut Street is transformed for a day in Springfield

Walnut Street is transformed for a day in Springfield

WalkBoston participated in Springfield’s second Complete Streets Demonstration Day on Saturday, May 11 held in Barrows Park along Walnut Street. Hosted by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, WalkBoston and our partners (WalkBike Springfield and Wayfinders) provided visitors with information on the benefits of complete streets and walkable communities. MassBike provided free bike tune-ups and ValleyBike Share provided opportunities to test out the electric-assist ValleyBikes.

PVPC staff and volunteers were out early on Saturday morning taping down bike lanes, painting crosswalks, and using plants and cones to designate curb bump-outs – all strategies to calm vehicular traffic and make a complete street. They painted a crosswalk at the intersection of Walnut and Oak Street to provide a protected crossing for residents of the nearby senior housing complex to reach Barrows Park. Organizers hope that the demonstrated positive impacts of redesigning Walnut Street as a complete street will encourage the City to prioritize this corridor for needed safety improvements.

WalkBoston is hiring a program manager

WalkBoston is hiring a program manager

WalkBoston is looking for a Program Manager to become a core member of our team. Please submit your resume and a cover letter to jobs@walkboston.org by June 21, 2019.

WalkBoston, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) advocacy organization, makes walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities. We know that walking improves personal, economic, environmental and civic health. Working on walking takes us across Massachusetts to empower people with knowledge and proven strategies to make their own communities more walkable. Our small, committed staff work as a team to make change: whether it’s getting a crosswalk painted in a neighborhood, or influencing Massachusetts state policy to make streets safer for all.

We are seeking a Program Manager to oversee our statewide technical assistance programs that work to improve the safety and quality of the pedestrian environment. Our training programs describe the health, economic and community benefits of walking, and include walk audits that identify infrastructure deficiencies, recommend solutions, and build community support for walking.

Responsibilities:

  • Coordinate program implementation with state agencies, municipal staff, community-based organizations, and local advocates. Current programs include: MA Dept of Public Health Mass in Motion Program, Age Friendly Walking, and Safe Walking for Healthy and Connected Lives
  • Conduct walk audits, which require built environment analysis skills and technical knowledge of traffic calming strategies and pedestrian infrastructure
  • Participate in coordination of the WalkMassachusetts Network program, including writing blog posts, planning events, and providing walkability technical support
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively with WalkBoston staff, board of directors, program participants and volunteers
  • Support proposal and grant writing efforts
  • Attend public meetings
  • Act as WalkBoston representative on various task forces or working groups

Qualifications:

  • Bachelors degree or graduate degree in urban planning/design, transportation planning/engineering, public health, or related field, with at least 5 years of experience
  • Project management skills, including budget development and project scope preparation
  • Superior communication skills. Ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively in diverse settings to articulate the impacts of WalkBoston’s work and the benefits of walkable communities.
  • Self-started, entrepreneurial, flexible and well organized
  • Commitment to WalkBoston’s mission to create more walkable communities across the state.

Benefits:

  • Full-time position (37.5 hours/week).
  • Annual salary range: $50,000 – $55,000 based upon prior work experience
  • Standard benefits include: holiday compensation, paid time off, and flexible scheduling

Interested applicants possessing the above experience and skills are encouraged to apply by sending a resume and cover letter with salary expectations to jobs@walkboston.org (no phone calls please). WalkBoston is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Wendy Landman, Executive Director