Tag: Massachusetts

Automated enforcement?

Automated enforcement?

Our streets are experiencing a rise of serious injuries
and fatalities. As the Boston Globe recently reported, all
traffic deaths in 2017 are up 46% over the same period
of 2013
. This unacceptable trend affects people walking,
biking, and driving. Drivers who are distracted by texting
and apps are a major cause of crashes.

An Act to reduce traffic fatalities (Senate Bill 1905 /
House Bill 2877) is intended to make our roads safer in
the face of troubling trends. Drafted with broad input,
it has 85 cosponsors led by Senator Will Brownsberger
and Representatives Jon Hecht and David Rogers.

Recognizing that cities and towns need tools to enforce
traffic rules, the legislation allows use of automated road
safety cameras to enforce speeding, red-light, and school
bus stop sign violations. While Massachusetts does not
currently enable this, 29 states have some form of camera
enforcement and it is common in other countries.

Research shows automated cameras are effective. In Montgomery County, Maryland, streets with speed
cameras experienced a 39% reduction in fatal and
serious injuries. A University of North Carolina
Highway Research Center study found installation of red-light cameras can
contribute to a slight rise in rear-end crashes, but almost always leads to
significant reductions in typically more severe side-impact crashes. The
National Transportation Safety Board has endorsed automated enforcement
as an effective way to reduce speed and crashes.

With the right regulations, automated enforcement can be a highly effective
safety tool, and one that doesn’t increase traffic stops—a concern by many in a
time of increased racial profiling, and immigration issues. The language In this
bill is designed to ensure the best system of enforcement:

• Location of cameras would be based on safety benefits, not targeting any
population or neighborhood.
Cameras would be at high-crash locations
where other interventions such as road redesign are not feasible.

• It would not be a money grab.
The best cameras act as deterrents and
not to trick people into fines—few violations are a sign of success. The
bill directs the majority of revenues into road improvements, not general
funds. Cameras would be well-marked. Revenue-sharing with private
camera installation or operating companies would be prohibited, avoiding
inappropriate incentives.

• Photographs would be of rear license plates, no faces or identifying
information, and only if a violation has occurred.
Photos would be
permanently deleted after ruling. Fines, assessed to the owner of the
vehicle, would not exceed $50, won’t increase with additional violations,
nor add to insurance points. Law enforcement would need a court-approved
warrant to access photos for purposes beyond traffic enforcement.

• There would be state oversight, an appeals process, and common-sense
emergency exemptions.

Charlie Ticotsky is the policy director of Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA). Sign up for their email list & follow T4MASS on Twitter.
This article was featured in WalkBoston’s October 2017 newsletter.

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Lead a Jane’s Walk this May in your neighborhood

Lead a Jane’s Walk this May in your neighborhood


Jane’s Walk is happening the first weekend of May (5th-6th-7th).
Last year, 1,000+ walks happened all over the globe!

Think of this as an opportunity to:

  • start a conversation with your neighbors,
  • continue highlighting safety issues that have been identified through initiatives like Boston’s Neighborhood Slow Streets application process
  • get outside and enjoy a weekend in May!

Create your walk idea on Janeswalk.org, or get in touch with us at WalkBoston (contact Brendan!). We’re happy to help you or your neighbors with suggestions, promote your walk, and answer any questions you may have.
We look forward to helping you get out walking!

Edit: We’ll add neighborhoods/cities/towns below that will be hosting walks on this post (and include links to the separate walks within the communities as we find out about them.) 

Boston – West End – “Jane’s Walk West End Tour”
Meet at the West End Museum
Saturday, May 6, 2pm

Boston – West Roxbury – “West Roxbury Walk Audit”
Meet at the Hastings Street Lot
Saturday, May 6, 2pm

Boston – Jamaica Plain – “Growing the City: Washington St from Forest Hills to Green St”
Meet at Brassica Kitchen & Cafe
Sunday, May 7, 11am

Boston – Roslindale – “Roslindale Gateway Path & proposed Blackwell Path Extension”
Meet at SE corner of the Arboretum (look for Walk UP Roslindale Banner)
Sunday, May 7, 1pm

Cambridge – “The Dense Layers of History in Old Cambridge”
Meet at Out of Town News Kiosk, Harvard Square
Saturday, May 6, 10:30am

Worcester – Jane Week (May 1 – 7, 2017) gives Worcester residents and visitors a chance to connect to each other, explore Worcester by foot and participate in interesting discussions on how we can enhance the design and function of our city. – 20+ events and walks throughout Worcester.

Lowell – “Labor Movement in Lowell”
Meet at Lowell National Park Visitor Center, 246 Market St
Saturday, May 6, 10:30am

Dedham – “Walking Tour of Proposed Dedham Heritage Rail Trail”
Meet at the parking lot by the football field/track on Whiting Ave
Sunday, May 7, 4:00pm
Saturday, May 13, 10:00am

Somerville – “A Metamorphosis of Industrial Buildings Along the Rails”
Kickoff to Somerville’s Preservation Month, ending at Aeronaut Brewery
Saturday, May 13, 9:30am

Boston – Jamaica Plain – “Walking Tour of Monument Square”
July 1 & August 19, 12:45pm

Endorsing Somerville as a Runner Friendly Community

Endorsing Somerville as a Runner Friendly Community

August 31, 2016

Road Runners Club of America

1501 Lee Hwy, Ste 140

Arlington, VA 22209

To whom it may concern:

WalkBoston is a non-profit pedestrian advocacy organization that has worked for over 26 years in communities across Massachusetts to make walking and running safer and easier to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and vibrant communities. We are writing to endorse Somerville MA to be designated a “Runner Friendly Community” by the Road Runners Club of America.

Somerville is the most densely populated municipality in New England and is constantly looking for more ways to create safe spaces and travel options for residents. In 2014, Somerville was the first community in Massachusetts to pass a Complete Streets ordinance. (More than 50 communities have followed.) A “Complete Street” is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes – walking, running, biking, taking transit, or driving – for people of all ages and abilities.

Somerville has a wonderful asset for people walking and running: the Community Path, a multi-use paved trail through the middle of Davis Square (one of the main commercial centers). The crosswalks for the path at the crossing of Cameron Avenue, Holland Avenue, Willow Avenue and Cedar Street are all raised to sidewalk level, showing that people walking and running on the path have priority at these crossings. The Community Path continues beyond Davis Square through Cambridge and Arlington where it becomes the Minuteman Bikeway, which stretches on to Lexington and Bedford, allowing for 10+ miles of running along the trail. Additionally, there are plans to extend the path an additional 1.9 miles to Boston, which would connect the network of pathways that line the Charles River.

This past March, WalkBoston collaborated with the Somerville Road Runners, the Somerville Police Department and Alderman Jack Connolly to present a free Runner Safety Panel for community members. The panelists shared experience and tips on personal and traffic safety, and gathered feedback from the crowd about ways Somerville could be made even better for people running and walking.

At the WalkBoston 25th anniversary celebration in 2015, we recognized the City of Somerville, Mayor Curtatone and many community partners for the work that has been happening to make Somerville a more livable place. The Mayor said it best: “the greatest benefit of walkability is perhaps the hardest to measure, but easiest to identify: it creates community.” We hope that RRCA will recognize Somerville for the welcoming community it is continuing to create with this award, and that it will encourage Somerville and other Massachusetts communities to keep making streets and intersections safer for all users.

Best regards,

Brendan Kearney

Communications Manager

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Comment Letter: Support for Late Night MBTA Service

Comment Letter: Support for Late Night MBTA Service

August 15, 2016
Fiscal and Management Control Board
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Suite 3910
Boston, MA 02116
Attn: Chairman Joseph Aiello

Re: Support for Late Night Service

Dear Chairman Aiello,

WalkBoston has followed the news that the Conservation Law Foundation (“CLF”), Alternatives for Community and Environment (“ACE”) and Greater Four Corners Action Coalition (“Four Corners”) filed a complaint on July 26, 2016 asking the Federal Transit Administration compel the MBTA to implement an alternative to Late-Night Service that would reduce the disproportionately high and adverse effects canceling Late-Night Service had on low-income and minority riders.

WalkBoston has long worked with many community partners to improve the walking-transit connection because it is crucial to providing the necessary mobility options for transit dependent communities. We are writing to you today in support of the objectives of CLF’s suit to ensure that late night service is provided.

We look forward to an MBTA plan that helps to ensure that the Boston metropolitan area provides economic opportunity for all.

Best regards,
Wendy Landman
Executive Director

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7 Massachusetts Communities make “Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015″ list!

7 Massachusetts Communities make “Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015″ list!

April 12, 2016:

Today, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition unveiled their rankings for the best Complete Streets policies that were passed in the nation in 2015.

Complete Streets policies—including laws, resolutions, executive orders, policies, and planning and design documents—encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity, or how they travel. “The presence of improved walkways and bicycle facilities encourages an active, healthy lifestyle and can lead to improved safety for all people, no matter how they travel through our cities and towns,” said Wendy Landman, Executive Director of WalkBoston. “At some point in every trip, everyone is a pedestrian.”

Congratulations to all the Massachusetts communities that passed Complete Streets ordinances in 2015, and especially the communities that landed on Smart Growth America’s best policies list: Longmeadow (tied for 3rd), Weymouth (4th), Ashland, Natick and Norwell (all tied for 7th), Lynn and Framingham ( tied for 9th).

While over 30 cities and towns in Massachusetts have already taken steps to implement Complete Streets, the new MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program is helping to provide support to encourage even more cities and towns do so.

“The creation and implementation of the Complete Streets Funding Program has been a top priority for us and for our public health partners across the state,” said Rebekah Gewirtz, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “Making it safe – and in some cases just plain possible – to walk, bike, and use transit will improve public health; complete streets are an essential tool to combat health inequities.”

In addition to health benefits, Complete Streets can boost the local economy by supporting local business districts and increasing property values. “Many municipal leaders see complete streets as an important contributor to quality of life in their communities,” said D.J. Wilson from the Mass Municipal Association. “They can encourage residents and visitors to shop locally, which help to attract and retain workplaces and employees.”

Learn more about the National Complete Streets Coalition’s rankings:

Learn more about the MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program: http://www.mass.gov/massdot/completestreets


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