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Tag: Massachusetts

WalkBoston Comments on the GLX and the Community Path – March 15, 2016

WalkBoston Comments on the GLX and the Community Path – March 15, 2016

March 15, 2016
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Room 4150
Boston, MA 02116

Attention: MassDOT Board of Directors
MBTA  Fiscal Management and Control Board
GLX Interim Project Manager Jack Wright
Assistant Secretary for Policy Coordination Katherine Fichter

RE: GLX and the Community Path

WalkBoston has worked for over 25 years to promote improvements to pedestrian facilities throughout the state and region. We strongly believe that the proposed Community Path adjacent to the Green Line Extension in Somerville and Medford is an essential element to the successful operation of the extension.  The path through this corridor is an integral part of the project that will help it to prosper and serve its riders well, especially when the need is reinforced by the lack of parking at the stations.

The Community Path is essential for the GLX to fully meet its potential in serving the residents of this corridor. It will function as the principal access route to and from the stations for walkers and cyclists, as it will be a safe and protected means of access between residences and the doors of the light rail vehicles. The same levels of access cannot be provided solely by relying on existing streets, which are frequently less direct for users. The safety of walkers is also improved by using routes that are not shared with vehicles.

We urge consideration all possible ways to fund the path and include it an integral part of the construction of this extension. Joint construction is the most cost-effective approach to construction, as the transit project and the Community Path share a common right-of-way and many elements of infrastructure, Cutbacks in the GLX project should not include reducing the number or safety of available routes of access for transit patrons going to or from the stations.

Thank you again for this opportunity to comment on this project.

Sincerely.

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

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Check out our new report – Walk to school? But how do I find the front door? Strategies for improving pedestrian safety through walkable campus design.” (Click for instructions to download PDF).

Walking rarely enters the conversation when new schools are planned. In fact, the regulatory and approval
processes focus on facilitating bus and automobile access to schools, and ensuring that there is sufficient
parking. Public meetings are usually dominated by those who complain about traffic volumes or inadequate
parking – not by those who seek a safe walking route to school. It happens in wealthy communities and low-
income communities alike. In most cases, it’s not that drivers are given priority over walkers, it’s that nobody
is thinking about walking. And that needs to change.

This report was prepared by WalkBoston for Mass in Motion, an initiative of the MA Department of Public Health.

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Check out our new report – Pedestrian Infrastructure: Strategies for improving pedestrian safety through low-cost traffic calming.” (Click for instructions to download PDF). 

Low cost fixes to calm traffic and enhance safety on municipal streets and state roads can be a great place to start, as they are likely to be adopted and completed sooner than more expensive projects, and can serve as catalysts for long-term change.

This report was prepared by WalkBoston for Mass in Motion, an initiative of the MA Department of Public Health.

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A Walkable Olympics

A Walkable Olympics

February 6, 2015

Boston 2024 has declared their intention to plan the most
walkable Olympics in history. This is good news – a truly walkable Olympics can
be more fun, manageable and sustainable for residents, visitors, and athletes.
Done right, the long term benefits of Olympic-related improvements for walking
will make Massachusetts residents healthier, local stores and Main Streets
livelier, our communities greener and our streets more accessible for all.

Neither Massachusetts nor Boston has ever
had a grand scheme for investing in and improving walking. Creating the bid for
the Olympics presents us with that opportunity. That’s why, as we start an
intensive and accelerated discussion of just how the Olympics should be
designed, operated and paid for, it is crucial to step back and consider how
the Games can have a lasting positive impact on walking and transportation in
Boston and beyond –in downtowns and
neighborhoods serving many of Massachusetts’ residents.

From Dorchester to Allston, from Lowell to
Brockton, and from Worcester to Foxborough, let’s add great sidewalks and paths
to connect the Olympic venues to transit. Since all of the Games’ spectators
will be directed to use transit, we should also use the Olympics as the
opportunity to improve walking and accessibility to all of the MBTA’s stations
– so that access to transit from the beginning of the trips to the Games is
also walkable. With a commuter rail system stretching from Newburyport to
Fitchburg, from Worcester to Providence and Plymouth – the transit system
encompasses more than 75% of Massachusetts’ population.

We need to consider what will happen well
before the Olympic flame is lit and long after the last Olympic Marathon
competitor crosses the finish line on Charles Street. Let’s start the conversation
right away and create a special Olympics Walking Advisory Group.  This will provide an independent voice for ensuring that
the Games and their legacy are truly walkable and that they are the impetus to
inspire the mix and level of private, local, state and federal investment
needed to make a great stride in connecting our communities to transit.

Let’s really plan and spend wisely on
walking – from creating interconnecting paths and greenways across the city; to
making new smartly-designed walking connections to rail, subway and bus stops.
We need to improve the nitty gritty details that make it safer and easier for
everyone to cross every street such as ensuring that traffic signals are timed
correctly for walkers, and that traffic on city streets moves at a pace that
works for pedestrians.

Massachusetts is already one of the nation’s
leaders in pedestrian safety, and has among the nation’s highest proportion of
people who walk for their daily transportation needs. Let’s seize the Olympic moment and create walking connections
that will move the hordes of Olympic visitors for two weeks – and Massachusetts’ residents and visitors for decades to
come.

Wendy Landman
Executive Director, WalkBoston

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“In advance of the first public meeting on the project, scheduled for Thursday night, the wish list for the project and accompanying free land is as wide-ranging as it is lengthy: A network of world-class bike and walking paths. A Harvard campus expansion. Thousands of new housing units. A Boston Marathon memorial pedestrian overpass. A hulking Olympic stadium. A new West Station that could provide a rapid transit rail link between Allston and Cambridge.” – excerpt from Plans for straightening Mass. Pike stir expansive visions, article by Martine Powers, Boston Globe, 4/10/2014. Photo by Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff.

FULL ARTICLE:
http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/04/09/highway-project-holds-promise-for-revamped-region/2lCX89t55FWnHWSxmZe2xM/story.html