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Tag: BTD

WalkBoston comments on JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan

WalkBoston comments on JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan

November 14, 2018
Boston Transportation Department
1 City Hall Square
Room 721
Boston, MA 02201

RE: WalkBoston comments on JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on proposed projects for the JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan.

WalkBoston supports the plan’s commitments to multimodal transportation and to expanding walking, biking, and transit options. Piloting a bus/bike lane on Columbus Avenue and a morning bus lane on Washington Street will provide residents and commuters with low-cost alternatives to car transport and improve roadway safety, public health, and environmental quality. To support current and future bus usage, improving bus stops to ensure safe pedestrian access and comfort is critical. We encourage the City to work with the MBTA to ensure the presence of crosswalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps, and benches at bus stops throughout the JP/Rox focus area.

WalkBoston is also pleased to see “Egleston Square Intersection Improvements” identified as a priority project. The proposed concept plan to install curb extensions at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Washington Street will reduce long pedestrian crossing distances and help calm traffic. It is our understanding that Boston Transportation Department (BTD) intends to conduct a temporary test of these measures. Such a test can be conducted at low cost in the near term using paint, plastic flex posts and/or planters, and we urge BTD to do so quickly to lay the groundwork for a more permanent installation.

In addition, WalkBoston is encouraged to see several other projects that advance pedestrian safety and traffic calming, including “Pedestrian Crossing Improvements Throughout Neighborhood,” “Atherton Street Bike Connection/Traffic Calming,” “School Street Safety Improvements — paint and signage,” and “Amory Street Traffic Calming.” However, we are disappointed and concerned that the proposed timelines for implementation are overly lengthy and vague. The first three of these projects are characterized as short-term (0-5 years), and the last is characterized as long-term (5+ years).

It is hardly reasonable to suggest that a potential five-year wait for simple pedestrian crossing and traffic calming improvements is a meaningful short-term measure. We urge BTD to commit to implementing these critical safety projects in the next 1-2 years in the Draft Action Plan, and to create specific and actionable roadmaps for doing so. Previous improvements in other parts of the City, such as installing a protected bike lane on Beacon Street and creating safer crossings on Tremont Street using paint and plastic flex posts, were planned, designed and implemented within 1-2 year timeframes and can serve as models for future improvements in the JP/Rox focus area.

The notion that simple fixes to our streets can be delayed for up to five years is also not reasonable when one considers that some of the proposed projects have already been on BTD’s radar for over two years. We again submit our October 2016 Egleston Square walk audit report (attached), which featured participation from BTD staff, to help inform your process moving forward. Our walk audit highlighted numerous opportunities for improved pedestrian crossings and traffic calming in and around Egleston Square, which we hope to see implemented in the next 1-2 years as outlined above.

We also encourage BTD to provide more specific timelines for all the proposed projects, with implementation in the next 1-2 years frontloaded to the fullest extent possible. If certain projects are not possible in the next 1-2 years, BTD should provide a rationale for why longer-term implementation is needed.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Cc: Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets
Gina Fiandaca, Transportation Commissioner
Vineet Gupta, Director of Planning, Boston Transportation Department
City Councilor Kim Janey
City Councilor Matt O’Malley
City Councilor Michelle Wu
City Councilor Frank Baker
City Councilor Ed Flynn
Carolyn Royce, Egleston Square Neighborhood Association
Robert Torres, Urban Edge
Becca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union
Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Alliance

Good news: Mayor Walsh proposes an increase in funding for staff & capital improvements in Boston!

Good news: Mayor Walsh proposes an increase in funding for staff & capital improvements in Boston!

Kudos to Mayor Marty Walsh & the staff for moving Go Boston 2030 from plan toward reality!

Bottom line – this means 15-20 new positions at the Boston Transportation Department to work on many of the things that we care about: Vision Zero, signals, transit, sidewalks. Funding will come from increased parking fines, which will need to be approved by the Boston City Council.

Read the press release from City of Boston: https://www.boston.gov/news/mayor-walsh-announces-transformative-investments-go-boston-2030-transportation-plan-part

Vision Zero Coalition Letter to Mayor Walsh 11/21/16

Vision Zero Coalition Letter to Mayor Walsh 11/21/16

November 21, 2016

Dear Mayor Walsh,

On behalf of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition we would like to thank you for meeting with us to discuss how we can work together to advance progress toward the City’s Vision Zero goals.

We look forward to working with you on the ideas you shared at the meeting including:

  • Supporting the addition of crashes to your dashboard. We believe that the dashboard should show separate statistics by mode (walking, biking, vehicle, other) and should include both injuries and fatalities. We also think that this crash count should include crashes on state roads that have occurred in Boston -­‐-­the public is blind to this nuance and this is how the federal data is recorded. We’ve recommended this to your staff and are happy to follow up with them.
  • An education campaign, and we would like to take you up on your offer to participate in a PSA pertaining to Vision Zero. We are also glad that City staff are working with MassDOT to find ways to collaborate on State and City safety education campaigns.
  • Doing walking assessments to further explore and experience some of the specific signal issue we discuss. We chatted with BTD staff after the meeting and they offered to go on a walk with us first. We look forward to going on a walking tour with you in the coming months as well.

We would also like to reiterate the requests we made of you in the meeting:

  1.  That you will personally commit to ensuring that every department involved in Vision Zero feels the same obligation to bring the number of fatal crashes on our streets to zero, and that all departments are working from the same play book (i.e. the Vision Zero Action Plan; GoBoston 2030) to achieve this goal.
  2. That you will provide additional resources to BTD for Vision Zero in 2017. One way to do this is to charge for parking permits (as is done in surrounding communities: Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville). For example, $30/permit could create 3 million dollars in new revenue in 2017.
  3. That you will work with your staff to create more ambitious Vision Zero goals for 2017 -­‐ 2020 that include:
    a) Completing all of the goals in the 2016 Action Plan by June 2017
    b) Bringing neighborhood slow streets to every residential neighborhood in Boston by 2018 (which the staff have indicated would require additional staff and capital resources).
    c) Working toward a city-­wide network of separated bike lanes on all major arterials in the next 10 years and a commitment to 10 miles of separated or low stress bike facilities each year.
    d) Fixing all of Boston’s traffic signals by 2020, which we understand will require a substantial capital investment by the City (and which we understand to be a very ambitious goal). This would include automatic recall of WALK signals (unless a lightly used, mid-­‐block location), Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPI) with a minimum 7 sec. interval, concurrent signals in all locations where safe (with documentation where concurrent should not be used), maximized WALK time at every intersection (no “reservation” of Don’t WALK time for vehicle throughput), re-­‐balancing of signal phasing to serve large volumes of pedestrians (e.g. Park/Tremont), addition of bicycle signals in all locations that include separated bike lane.

 

We fully recognize that these are not simple or easy asks, so we would like to reiterate our offer to work with your staff to better understand the challenges you are facing, so we can work together to find solutions that can be more quickly implemented. We believe that there is enormous community support for these actions, and that they will result in significant quality of life improvements across the City.

We are more than willing to:

  • Provide training for City staff
  • Suggest national experts who have helped other cities manage change
  • Meet with your leadership team to identify specific issues needing the most attention
  • Work with the City Council on these questions as well

We would also like to request a follow up meeting with you in June of 2017 to check in on our progress.

As we mentioned, the MA Vision Zero Coalition will be releasing a progress report on December 7th to report on the City’s progress toward the goals set forth in the Vision Zero Action plan.

We have already met with BTD staff to discuss the progress report in more detail and to determine the best way we can work together to both celebrate the progress made, while acknowledging the urgency of this issue and need to set more ambitious goals in 2017. We appreciate their cooperation and willingness to work with us to share information that will help the public see how Vision Zero is advancing in Boston.

Thank you again for your personal commitment to Vision Zero and your willingness to work with us on this critical issue.

For the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition -­
Becca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union Doug Johnson, Boston Cyclists Union
David Read, Dana Farber
Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Alliance
Brendan Kearney, WalkBoston
Wendy Landman, WalkBoston
Matt Lawlor, WalkUp Rozzie, Walk Boston

Cc Chris Osgood
Gina Fiandaca
Mike Dennehey
Mike Brohel
Vineet Gupta
Charlotte Fleetwood
Kris Carter

Vision Zero Letter to Mayor Walsh

Vision Zero Letter to Mayor Walsh

August 15, 2017

Mayor Marty Walsh
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201

Dear Mayor Walsh -­

Thank you for meeting with us last week to discuss Vision Zero and how we can work together to make our streets better for everyone.

We look forward to continuing the conversation with you on a walk, a bike ride and a bus ride in the coming months. In the meantime, we’ve outlined next steps discussed in the meeting:

1. Confirm your availability for World Day of Remembrance (WDR) on November 19, 2017. WDR is an international day of remembrance for victims of traffic violence. In Massachusetts WDR is organized by the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition and includes a rally with speaking program on the steps of the State House, usually including families or victims of traffic violence and others. We hope you will join us at the event and give brief remarks. We are happy to work with your scheduling team on logistical details.

2. Work with Chief Osgood to schedule a walk and a bike ride with you. These will be informative, small group (3 -­ 5 people) opportunities so that you can experience a few places where we most need to improve walking and biking in the City. It would be ideal for both the ride and walk to take place before the end of the year.

3. Explore the possibility of supporting automated enforcement legislation. Passage of this legislation would be a huge win for the City of Boston, providing the police department with a new, proven tool to ensure more equitable enforcement of traffic violations. Wendy has already reached out to Katie King and both she and Katie will be back in touch with you once they have made a plan about next steps including reaching out to the ACLU and the Boston legislative delegation.

4. Reinstate State of the Hub as an annual event. The State of the Hub served as a valuable platform for sharing the City’s progress on the bike network and other street projects. We are happy to co-­host and help with this event as we have in years past.

5. Finding a solution for Sullivan Square/Rutherford Ave. Thank you for being open to learning more about this large, important and complicated project. Wendy has already reached out to Chief Osgood to continue the conversation and will get back to you once the community is able to review the complete traffic and transportation modeling information.

6. Support a successful Washington Street Bus priority pilot. LivableStreets is already coordinating with BTD to bolster support and excitement for the planned bus priority pilot between Roslindale and Forest Hills this fall. If your schedule allows, we hope you will ride the pilot with advocates to demonstrate your leadership and support for improved transit options in the City of Boston.

7. Work with Commissioner Fiandaca and others in BTD to update the City of Boston’s parking policies. This could include charging a modest fee for residential parking permits much like Boston’s neighboring municipalities and has the potential to be an important revenue source for furthering your Go Boston 2030 goals.

To help track the progress the City is making around these issues, the Vision Zero Coalition will be releasing its next Vision Zero Progress Report for the City of Boston in early 2018. We are happy to work with BTD to assess progress to-­‐date and to identify areas where the city can make additional progress before the end of the year.

Over the next few weeks, we would like to firm up some of the details around World Day of Remembrance, schedule the walk and bike ride, work with your staff regarding automated enforcement, and set a time for the next State of the Hub so that we can send an update to our various networks.

Thank you for your leadership and continued partnership.

Wendy Landman
Executive Director, WalkBoston

Stacy Thompson
Executive Director, LivableStreets Alliance

Becca Wolfson
Executive Director, Boston Cyclists Union

CC: Dan Koh
Chris Osgood
Gina Fiandaca
Vineet Gupta
Charlotte
Fleetwood
Stefanie Seskin

Comments on Beacon Street Redesign

Comments on Beacon Street Redesign

June 30, 2017

Gina Fiandaca, Commissioner
Boston Transportation Department
1 City Hall Sq., Suite 721
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Beacon Street Redesign

Dear Commissioner Fiandaca,

WalkBoston strongly supports the re-­design of Beacon Street to slow vehicular traffic and improve pedestrian safety. As the neighborhood expressed at the Public Meeting on June 12, 2017, the narrowing of the street will reduce the numerous traffic crashes, including pedestrian fatalities in the past several years. Moreover, the improvements will be implemented in the near term.

WalkBoston Supports Alternative 1, Option A
WalkBoston supports Alternative 1, the Preferred Design, which the neighborhood endorsed at the Public Meeting. This design calls for the removal of a travel lane, two one-­way travel lanes, a bicycle lane and parking on both sides of the street. The buffer between the bike and parking lanes will not only increase bicyclist safety, but also make cycling more comfortable.

Alternative 1 has two options at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue/Beacon Street. Of the two options, WalkBoston strongly supports Option A, which will retain the protected bike lane to Massachusetts Avenue and also preserve parking. Option B mixes bicycles and vehicles in order to provide a right hand turn for motorists. We believe the vehicle volumes do not necessitate this vehicular right turn and will be very dangerous for cyclists.

Traffic Signals Should Be Automatic with LPIs
Traffic signals in this downtown neighborhood should be automatic (no pushbuttons) and on throughout the 24-­hour period (except when signals are in flashing mode). WalkBoston also understands that leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) will be incorporated at all signalized locations. Finally, WalkBoston has noted that throughout the City, the concurrent green is on for a relatively short period of time. We request that the concurrent WALK remain throughout the concurrent vehicle green.

Increase Crossing Safety by Establishing No Right Turn on Red and Installing Tactical Medians
The City has installed No Right Turn on Red (NTOR) at intersections throughout the City where there are large volumes of pedestrians. We are pleased to see that the City is calling for NTOR at all intersections in this re-­‐designed section of Beacon Street.

Medians or refuge Islands provide safety at intersections for crossing pedestrians. WalkBoston requests that the City consider temporary medians through paint and flex posts at all crossings.

Re-­Assess Visitor and Resident Parking
At the Community Meeting many attendees asked that the City re­assess the assigned parking, which was established in the 1980s. The City expressed interest in working with the neighborhood to assess how curb space is currently used, and how a balance can be found to meet current resident, visitor, and delivery needs.

In summary, WalkBoston strongly supports the Alternative 1, Option A Design and looks forward to working with the City to implement and evaluate the design. Thank you for consideration of our comments.

Sincerely,

Dorothea Hass
Sr. Project Manager