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Tag: MassBike

Comments on Width of Northern Strand Community Trail

Comments on Width of Northern Strand Community Trail

February 6, 2019

To Kurt Gaertner
Land Policy and Planning Director
MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs

Mr. Gaertner,

Thank you for your continued efforts to develop the Northern Strand Community Trail from the Mystic River to Lynn. We are inspired by the leadership and dedication demonstrated by your team and Governor Baker, and we appreciate your extensive community outreach as the pathway is developed over this coming year.

We would like to comment on the inadequate width of the pathway, as it has been presented by the project team, as a contiguous 10’ width for the entire length. The standards set forth in AASHTO and MassDOT’s own separated path design guidelines recommend 10’ only on low-volume pathways, with a recommendation of 12’-14’ for paths with high pedestrian volumes. Based on current and projected usage of the pathway, we believe the Northern Strand Community Trail should adhere to the standard of 12’-14’, or even potentially exceed that, wherever possible. It is important also to note that these path standards do not take into account the emerging technologies of micro-mobility devices and electric bicycles, which will invariably be used for transportation purposes on the Northern Strand. This goal of widening the pathway is to mitigate conflicts between users, and to plan for the area’s expected growth and development that will bring more people out onto the path in the coming years. We believe that the pathway’s intention is to serve the community and provide safe recreation and transportation options, and thus we implore the EOEEA and the project team to widen the pathway.

The communities served by this pathway are dense residential and commercial areas. The communities of Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn are cities and towns that are developing at an expected growth of more than 12% by 2040 (see: MAPC Population Growth Projections). By comparison, many other regional pathways are already strained in capacity due to their narrow designs, and we see issues of narrowness contributing to user conflicts on the Minuteman Bikeway, the Paul Dudley White Bike Path, and the Southwest Corridor. This pathway is also a crucial corridor for the East Coast Greenway, a contiguous route that connects 15 states with 3,000 miles of trails. We can assume the Northern Strand will receive heavy usage, and we must design and build accordingly to ourprojections.

(Population and Housing Demand Projections for Metro Boston:

http://www.mapc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/MAPC-MetroBoston-Projections_ExecSumm-1_16_14.pdf)

Further, as you have heard at every public meeting, the worry about conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians/joggers is a widely held concern. A wider pathway means a safer pathway, with more room for more people at varying speeds to maneuver and pass safely. We feel that a 10’ pathway is not sufficient to provide space for two-way walkers, joggers, strollers, and bicyclists to co-exist without conflict. Since safety is of paramount concern, especially as this pathway serves users young and old, we recommend widening the pathway to 12’-14’, or alternatively providing separate spaces for bicyclists and pedestrians/joggers where right-of-way allows.

We appreciate how the design and construction of the Northern Strand has a funding limitation set by the Commonwealth’s budget, and this may impact the width of the path by requiring less pavement as a cost issue. However, the cost of additional 2’-4’ of pavement at the onset of construction is considerably less than having to go back and widen the pathway after construction and landscaping has completed. Widening the pathway where possible on Day One only makes financial sense.

Lastly, we should expect the Northern Strand to be used as a commuter route, and thus will have users after dark during the months of October – March (since we live in the Northern Latitudes and the sun sets early in the evening). We ask the project team take into account lighting wherever feasible to provide safe passage for pathway users. Along this argument, we also acknowledge that lighting elements will eventually be installed along certain sections of the pathway, once enough people are using the pathway to provide a safe environment. Thus, we ask that the EOEEA and the project team install conduits for lighting during this initial construction of the pathway where lighting is expected to be installed in the future, to more easily facilitate and lower the cost of installing lighting later on.

We appreciate your consideration of these issues of wider pathway and lighting elements for the Northern Strand. We applaud your team and the leadership for supporting this impactful project, and we look forward to the benefits it will bring the region for better health and wellness, smart growth development, and sustainable transportation connecting these cities and towns.

Sincerely,

Galen Mook, Executive Director, MassBike

Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston

Kristine Keeney, New England Coordinator, East Coast Greenway Alliance

Great Day of Action for Road Safety on Beacon Hill

Great Day of Action for Road Safety on Beacon Hill

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us at the Statehouse for the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition’s Road Safety Day of Action! Thank you to Governor Baker & Lt. Governor Polito for also filing legislation focused on road safety and getting the conversation started.

A packed room heard from Governor Baker, Text Less Live More, Children’s Hospital, AAA, SADD, and co-sponsors of three important bills:

  1. The Hands-Free Bill(s)

    • Chairman Wagner & Representative Donato are sponsoring HD1534
    • Chairman Straus is sponsoring HD1420
    • Representative Provost is sponsoring HD1346
    • Senator Montigny is sponsoring SD1383
    • Senators Creem & Brownsberger are sponsoring SD897
  2. Automated Enforcement Bill

    • Senator William Brownsberger is sponsoring SD1461
  3. An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities

    • Senator William Brownsberger is sponsoring SD847
    • Representative Hecht and Representative Rogers are sponsoring HD1653
WalkBoston Executive Director Wendy Landman explains an aspect of the bill.

The morning was organized by the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition (WalkBoston, Safe Roads Alliance, MassBike, LivableStreets Alliance, Boston Cyclists Union, Transportation for Massachusetts & more) & Text Less Live More. After info packets were distributed, people were off to meet with their legislators and talk about why these efforts would make MA roads safer in their own communities. Thank you to everyone who came together today to work towards safer streets, and thank you to all of the legislators and staff that attended and listened throughout the day!


Were you unable to make it to Beacon Hill, but want to get involved with WalkBoston’s efforts?

Comments on Morton Intersection Improvements, Project: 608755

Comments on Morton Intersection Improvements, Project: 608755

Patricia Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer
MassDOT-Highway Division
10 Park Plaza Boston, MA 02116-3973

Attn: Roadway Project Management – Room 6340

Re: Morton Intersection Improvements Project: 608755

December 21, 2018

Dear Ms. Leavenworth:

We are submitting comments in regards to Intersection Improvements at three intersections along Morton Street after seeing the plans at a public meeting on December 19, 2018.

First, we ask the Department to please extend the 10-day public comment period given that the meeting was held just before the Christmas holiday and it may be hard for residents to get feedback in on time. We are pleased to see MassDOT undertaking this project and look forward to continuing to work with you on implementation of safety improvements to the corridor.

Overall, we feel the project will improve safety for drivers, but will do little to improve the safety or convenience for pedestrians or cyclists. In this area, pedestrian safety needs to be prioritized in the design utilizing Complete Streets guidelines. We also ask that these spot improvements are the beginning and not the end of a process to improve the entire stretch of Morton St and create connections from Mattapan to Franklin Park and walking/biking paths in Jamaica Plain, especially as this stretch is identified in Go Boston 2030 for connecting the Southwest Corridor to the Blue Hills Reservation. In addition, we are advocating for the following adjustments and additions the plans presented on December 19:

  • Increased traffic calming on Morton Street
    The high speeds on Morton Street make the street unsafe for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. We applaud that the design calls for narrower travel lanes but additional measures need to be taken to slow speeds. Possible solutions might be raised intersections, additional STOP signs and/or traffic signals.
  • Create a safe pedestrian crossing between Morton/Blue Hill Ave and Morton/Harvard
    There is no crosswalk in the 1000-foot stretch between Blue Hill Ave and Harvard Street. This is a dense residential neighborhood and the lack of a safe crossing here is a major community concern. The crossing could either be at Courtland/Havelock/Morton or Wellington Hill/Morton depending on the neighborhood’s preference.The lack of a crosswalk contributes to the highway feel of Morton Street and hence the high speeds and extremely high crash clusters over the past four years. Any crosswalk should include a HAWK beacon for improved notice and safety of pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Design a traffic signal system which enables pedestrians to easily and safely cross Blue Hill Ave
    People wishing to cross Blue Hill Ave must now push a button to wait for a WALK signal. Once the intersection is redesigned they will still have to push a button to cross the street. We strongly request traffic signals that “rest in WALK”.
    Push buttons result in very long waits for walkers. Depending upon when a walker pushes the button in the traffic cycle he/she may wait for over two minutes to get a walk signal. Furthermore, pedestrians must be able to cross the six lanes of Blue Hill Ave in one cycle. Neither MassDOT staff nor their consultants could guarantee that walkers would be able to cross in one cycle.
  • The bike boxes at the Blue Hill Ave and Morton St intersection are an important safety measure however the placement of one in the Southeast corner of the intersection could pose a dangerous conflict with right turning cars. We would like to look more closely at the designs to assess this. An additional left-turning bike box is needed at the northeast corner in so that cyclists can safely turn left off of blue Hill onto Morton St towards Jamaica Plain.
  • We support the overwhelming response from residents who advocated to keep the bus stop where it currently is on Blue Hill Ave.
  • We applaud the design’s tightening of curb radii at Blue Hill/Morton and if floating bus stops are in a location supported by community members, we would support them and the addition of bike facilities at the intersection. It appeared that at least some people at the public meeting had never seen or experienced floating bus stops and more education is needed about how they work when proposing them. We understand that parking will not be permitted within 20 feet of the intersections but we also heard that there are many violations of this regulation. We recommend that additional curb extensions, either concrete or flexposts, be added to the design.

Sincerely,
Dorothea Hass, WalkBoston
Eliza Parad, Boston Cyclists Union
Galen Mook, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
Tony Lechuga, LivableStreets Alliance

WalkBoston comments on Craigie Dam/Bridge Design Alternatives

WalkBoston comments on Craigie Dam/Bridge Design Alternatives

Date: January 2, 2019

To: Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, Andy Paul, Jackie Douglas,
James Kersten, MassDOT, Commissioner Leo Roy, Jeff Parenti, Dan Driscoll, DCR

Re: WalkBoston comments on Craigie Dam/Bridge Design Alternatives

We are relieved that MassDOT and DCR are committed to acting to improve the safety of people walking and biking on this critical roadway segment.

We have reviewed the options that were presented to the community on December 18th and have several comments that are detailed below. However, we do not think that the relatively modest improvements that are planned for Spring 2019 are adequate to providing truly safe walking and biking conditions, and we urge MassDOT and DCR to develop more significant plans for safety for the Charles River bridges.

One approach that WalkBoston would like to see explored is the adoption of a pilot 20 MPH speed limit on all the Charles River Bridges from Harvard Square to the Craigie Dam/Bridge that would test an automated speed enforcement protocol. Over the last month we have attended meetings regarding safety and operations for the BU Bridge, the Longfellow Bridge and the Craigie Dam/Bridge. In each case, the completely fixed and limited right-of-way does not allow for the provision of protected bike accommodations within the roadway right-of-way without reducing the number of vehicle lanes. WalkBoston was distressed to hear suggestions by community members at one of these meetings to dedicate one of the sidewalks to bicycles rather than pedestrians in order to free up roadway space for vehicles (a suggestion that we were pleased was simply given, but then not taken up or discussed by any of the state or municipal staff).

MassDOT has already expressed its interest in adding automated enforcement to the state’s safety tools and we urge MassDOT to vigorously support a pilot program for the bridges. Setting and then enforcing a 20 MPH speed limit on all the bridges would significantly increase the safety of bicyclists using on-street bicycle lanes while at the same time allowing the number of vehicle lanes to remain as they are today.

Comments on Design Options A and B

Craigie Dam/Storrow Drive Intersection

Take the following steps to minimize conflicts between people walking, biking and driving:

  • For turns from Craigie into Storrow Drive put in place (and enforce) a permanent No Right on Red regulation and include the permanently illuminated NRTOR sign
  • Set the vehicle for Craigie Dam traffic approaching Leverett Circle stop line back from the intersection (with Don’t Block the Box markings and enforcement) to allow bikes to queue in a bike box ahead of traffic
  • Provide marked bike lanes from Craigie to Martha Way through Leverett Circle
  • Tighten the turning radius of the corner from Craigie onto Storrow Drive and provide a bike ramp to the Paul Dudley White Path at the corner rather than having bikes get on the sidewalk before reaching the intersection. The very tight sidewalk space should be reserved for pedestrians.

Museum of Science Driveway and Museum Way/Craigie Intersection

  • Add crosswalk striping across the Museum of Science driveway.
  • Narrow the driveway to the greatest extent possible given the truck and bus movements needed for Museum of Science operations.
  • Consider signalizing the driveway entrance to the Museum of Science in coordination with the Museum Way signal.
  • Eliminate the conflicting left turn arrow across the WALK signal at the Museum Way crosswalk across Craigie.
  • Improve the street lighting of the crosswalk across Craigie at Museum Way

Craigie/Land Boulevard/Gilmore Bridge Intersection

Configure the signal timing at the Land Blvd/Craigie/Gilmore Bridge intersection to allow safe pedestrian and bike movements. A detailed description is provided below of the maneuver needed to ride a bike safely through the intersection under current conditions. This is in urgent need of improvement.

  • “At the intersection with Edwin H Land Blvd/ Gilmore Bridge, to feel safe as a bicyclist I will often violate traffic signals. The problem is that, whether traveling either inbound or outbound, if you wait for the light to change, traffic builds up next to you. When the light turns green, you are forced into the middle of a pack of fast-moving traffic, with cars and trucks rapidly accelerating and changing lanes.

    The situation is particularly dangerous when traveling outbound and making a left on Cambridge Street (a route most bicyclists take, as Route 28 gets faster and more dangerous beyond the Cambridge St. intersection). As a bicyclist, if you leave the Gilmore intersection with vehicle traffic, you then have to work your way across 2 lanes of fast-moving traffic to get into your left turn, and then must hold your ground in the middle of four lanes of outbound traffic in order to end up on the right-hand side of the two lane Cambridge St. turnoff. You can also hug the left-hand side of the road by the median strip, but traveling on the left side of the road can be dangerous too.

    I have found navigating the Science Bridge is actually safer when breaking the traffic signals. For example, when traveling outbound, if I hit the red light at the Gilmore intersection, there is a break in the signal when I usually run the red light on my bike. The break occurs between the green light for vehicles coming from Charlestown towards Cambridge, and the following green light for traffic moving inbound on 28. Taking the light this way has dangers too – at least one or two vehicles coming from Charlestown almost always speed through their red light (committing their own traffic violation), and you need to be absolutely sure those vehicles have stopped. Nevertheless, this method still allows me to make my way over to the Cambridge St turnoff without needing to cut across vehicle traffic, and feels much safer to me.”

Cc:
State Senator Joe Boncore
State Senator Sal DiDomenico
State Representative Jay Livingstone
State Representative Mike Connolly
Joe Barr, Cara Seiderman, Cambridge
Chris Osgood, Vineet Gupta, Charlotte Fleetwood, Boston
Becca Wolfson, Eliza Parad, Cyclists Union
Stacy Thompson, Steve Miller, LivableStreets Alliance
Galen Mook, Tom Francis, MassBike
Nate Fillmore, Cambridge Bike Safety

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR FASTER ACTION: 4,500 PEOPLE INJURED IN CAR CRASHES ON STREETS OF BOSTON IN 2017

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR FASTER ACTION: 4,500 PEOPLE INJURED IN CAR CRASHES ON STREETS OF BOSTON IN 2017

Screen_Shot_2016-09-19_at_5.34.08_PM.png
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  STACY THOMPSON at 651-206-1068 or stacy@livablestreets.info

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR FASTER ACTION: 4,500 PEOPLE INJURED IN CAR CRASHES ON STREETS OF BOSTON IN 2017

Event details for third annual vigil released; Zakim Bridge and Boston City Hall to be lit yellow; loved ones, advocates, and elected officials gather to remember the hundreds of people who have died across the state; Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition calls on City of Boston leaders to prevent deadly crashes by investing in safe, equitable streets

BOSTON: Friday, November 16, 2018 – Following a slew of fatal crashes in Metro Boston, the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition announces a day of actions on World Day of Remembrance on Sunday, November 18, 2018. Planned events include a vigil to memorialize the human toll of traffic crashes suffered across Massachusetts and the world. The vigil will be preceded by a Ghost Bike Dedication Ceremony for Meng Jin, who was killed by a dump truck while biking near the Museum of Science on November 9, and followed by a silent walk of remembrance to City Hall Plaza to call on Boston leaders to take faster action on making city streets safer.

“We know what works – streets that are properly designed to keep people safe,” said LivableStreets Alliance executive director Stacy Thompson. “The hard work is implementing these designs in cities and towns across Massachusetts. Tackling these issues through the lens of Vision Zero means changing how communities manage their streets.”

In 2016, 37,461 people were killed in car crashes across the U.S., a 6% increase in deaths compared with 2015 and the highest number of traffic deaths since 2007.On Boston streets, 4,521 people were injured in 2017.

To broaden public awareness of traffic deaths, the Coalition has coordinated with the City of Boston and MassDOT to light up Boston City Hall and the Zakim Bridge in yellow on the night of November 18th. In the week leading up to World Day of Remembrance, activists across the state have placed cutouts of human figures near crash sites, including in Boston, Cambridge, Springfield, Worcester, and other cities with high crash rates.

“People in the metro region do not stay within one municipal boundary, so we need cooperation between city and the state agencies,” said Becca Wolfson, executive Director of the Boston Cyclists Union. “We have bridges that are unsafe, and leave dangerous gaps in the bike network. We also know that injury crashes are occurring at a disproportionate rate in lower income communities and want to see prioritization of projects based on crash data. This is an issue of public health, public safety, and equity.”

The Coalition invites crash survivors and their loved ones, members of the public, and local and state leaders to gather at the vigil and reflect upon those who have been injured or killed on our communities’ streets. Attendees are encouraged to wear yellow, the color connected with victims of traffic crashes across the globe.

After the vigil, attendees will be invited to join a Silent Walk of Remembrance to raise awareness of the thousands of injuries from car crashes in Boston each year, and to call for faster action from City leaders. Participants in the silent walk to Boston City Hall Plaza can write messages in chalk to City leaders. Coalition members will lay out more than 1,100 yellow blossoms on the Plaza, signifying the enormous death and injury toll on Boston streets in 2017.

The vigil and silent walk are one of hundreds of events taking place internationally as part of the World Day of Remembrance, a United Nations-recognized movement to commemorate lives lost or injured on roads.

The Coalition will soon be rolling out its third annual progress report, reviewing and rating Boston’s Vision Zero efforts over the past year. The Coalition is committed to reviewing the City’s progress annually to ensure public accountability in reaching its goals.

Earlier this year, Mayor Walsh announced a new annual $5 million investment to advance the projects and policies in Go Boston 2030, adding 20 new staff to the Transportation Department.

“Four years after the launch of Vision Zero, the City of Boston is not making fast enough progress towards eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030,” said WalkBoston executive director Wendy Landman. “Each serious injury and life lost on Boston streets continues to be an occasion to reflect on the urgency of Vision Zero.”

On the state level, the Coalition is gearing up for a Day of Action on January 23rd for the 2019 legislative session. The Day of Action, led by Coalition member Emily Stein, president of Safe Roads Alliance, will bring constituents to the State House to advocate for distracted driving and hands-free bills.

“Massachusetts is a leader in so many fields,” said Stein, “but it falls behind other states in New England when it comes to addressing the public safety issue of distracted driving. The passage of distracted driving legislation will save countless lives across the Commonwealth.”

Event Details:

World Day of Remembrance

November 18, 2018 from 12:30-3:30pm

Schedule of events:

  • 12:30pm: Ghost Bike Dedication Ceremony for Meng Jin at Charles River Dam Road and Museum Way
  • 1:45pm: Gather on the steps of Massachusetts State House for a Memorial Vigil
  • 2:00pm: Program for Memorial Vigil Begins
  • 2:45pm: Silent Walk of Remembrance to Boston City Hall Plaza
  • 3:30pm: Event ends

On the evening of Sunday, November 18th, the following landmarks will be lit yellow, the color associated with traffic fatalities, in recognition of World Day of Remembrance:

  • Zakim Bridge, Boston
  • Boston City Hall
  • South Station, Boston
  • Government Center T Station, Boston
  • Burns Bridge, Worcester

Memorial Organizers: Members of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, including Safe Roads Alliance, LivableStreets Alliance, MassBike, WalkBoston, Boston Cyclists Union, among others.

Crash sites where cutouts will be placed

World Day of Remembrance Facebook Event Page

MA Vision Zero Coalition website


Contact

Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Alliance, 651-206-1068 or stacy@livablestreets.info
Brendan Kearney, WalkBoston, 617-960-6037 or bkearney@walkboston.org
Emily Stein, Safe Roads Alliance, 617-417-3689 or emily@saferoadsalliance.org
Rebecca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union, 315-345-6532 or bwolfson@bostoncyclistsunion.org
Galen Mook, MassBike, 703-395-4232 or galen@massbike.org


The Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition advocates for the implementation of Vision Zero in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, and for the reduction of traffic injuries and deaths across Massachusetts. The new and growing coalition includes community-based organizations, nonprofits, businesses, civic groups and individuals representing communities across the state. visionzerocoalition.org/

LivableStreets Alliance is an advocacy organization working to create a world where streets are safe, vibrant public spaces that connect people to the places where they live, work and play. LivableStreets advocates for innovative and equitable transportation solutions that create safe, affordable and convenient options for everyone in Metro Boston. http://www.livablestreets.info

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) promotes a bicycle-friendly environment and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. http://www.massbike.org

WalkBoston makes walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities. http://walkboston.org

The Boston Cyclists Union is helping Bostonians lead healthier lives by promoting the everyday use of the bicycle for transportation. Among other things, they repair bikes, educate new riders, and organize neighborhood residents who would like to voice support for friendlier street designs, bike paths, and public spaces. http://bostoncyclistsunion.org

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. http://visionzeronetwork.org

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