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Tag: MassDOT

Boston Herald: “Report: Traffic crashes in Boston resulting in less fatalities, but not injuries”

Boston Herald: “Report: Traffic crashes in Boston resulting in less fatalities, but not injuries”

Boston Herald: “Report: Traffic crashes in Boston resulting in less fatalities, but not injuries

Advocates took issue with the fact that Boston doesn’t report its crash statistics to the Department of Transportation as most other municipalities do. The current system the police department uses for crash reports isn’t able to submit data to MassDOT, according to the city. The police department is working with a vendor to fix that, a spokeswoman said, though no information was available. Brendan Kearney of WalkBoston, a nonprofit involved with Vision Zero, said fixing that should be a top priority. “If they’re not able to report this data, they are potentially missing out on funding for safety efforts,” Kearney said.

Posted April 17, 2019

WalkBoston testimony on traffic calming in Somerville

WalkBoston testimony on traffic calming in Somerville

Below is a written version of WalkBoston’s comments on traffic calming in Somerville, which Adi Nochur delivered verbally at the Council hearing on Wednesday, April 3.

April 3, 2019
Somerville City Council
City Hall
93 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143

RE: WalkBoston comments on traffic calming in Somerville

To the Somerville City Council,

My name is Adi Nochur and I am testifying before you as an East Somerville resident and a member of Somerville’s Vision Zero Task Force. I am also commenting as a Project Manager at WalkBoston, a statewide pedestrian advocacy organization. WalkBoston is a signatory to the traffic calming petition that spurred today’s Council hearing.

I want to briefly comment on three issues, as follows:

  1. Speed Limits: WalkBoston supports efforts to reduce speed limits on residential streets in Somerville to 20 miles per hour. Achieving this goal is a fundamental issue of roadway design. WalkBoston also supports state legislative efforts to align speed limits on MassDOT and DCR roadways with local speed limits (H.3092/S.2042). As an illustrative example, we know high traffic speeds are an ongoing concern on Route 16/Alewife Brook Parkway.
  2. Equitable Enforcement: Data gathering is critical to ensure equity in traffic enforcement. Concerns over racial profiling are front and center in the current state legislative debate over hands-free/distracted driving legislation and local enforcement efforts also need to demonstrate sensitivity to these issues. State legislation that would enable automated enforcement (S.1376) can be part of a potential solution here.
  3. Concurrent Signalization: WalkBoston supports concurrent pedestrian signalization with a leading pedestrian interval at most signalized intersections. Our stance on this issue is further detailed in a letter we submitted to Mayor Curtatone on March 29, which is included as an attachment to these comments.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues. WalkBoston looks forward to continuing to work with the City Council to help Somerville achieve its Vision Zero goals.

Sincerely,
Adi Nochur
Project Manager

Cc: Mayor Joe Curtatone
Brad Rawson, Director of Transportation and Infrastructure

New state Pedestrian Plan is a positive step

New state Pedestrian Plan is a positive step

By Adi Nochur/Project Manager, WalkBoston

As the largest single investor in the state’s roadway and pedestrian system, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation [MassDOT] has a critical responsibility to take pedestrian safety, accessibility, and convenience seriously in all of its actions and investments. With its release of a draft Massachusetts Pedestrian Transportation Plan last fall, the agency has expressed a strong commitment to addressing these issues.

The Plan recommends policies, programs, and projects for MassDOT to guide decision-making and capital investments. It also provides a Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability to support cities and towns in their efforts to improve walkability on local streets. The Plan advances a vision that all people in Massachusetts have a safe and comfortable option to walk for short trips.

The Plan further outlines goals of eliminating pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries and increasing the percentage of short trips made by walking. It is rooted in principles of treating people walking the same as people driving, focusing on systematic safety improvements, and supporting municipalities to do the same. We are especially pleased that MassDOT is using the Plan to improve its own practices and lead by example — an approach that WalkBoston encouraged throughout the development of the Plan.

We support the Plan’s vision, goals, and principles and applaud several of its action items, including research on the impacts and benefits of automated speed enforcement, construction of safe crossings to connect bus stops to destinations, piloting a winter snow and ice removal initiative on pedestrian facilities, and collection and analysis of pedestrian-focused data. Please see our comments on the draft Plan: walkboston.org/tag/pedestrian-plan.

WalkBoston also offered several recommendations to strengthen the Plan. These included preparing in-depth analysis of pedestrian injury patterns across the state and by race, creating an annual review process with advocates and peers outside MassDOT to ensure continuous improvement, and providing more in-depth state-level tracking and municipal guidance around pedestrian signals.

We look forward to seeing a final version of the Plan in 2019. As part of the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, we will play an important role in guiding the Plan’s implementation. Through continued collaboration with partners from the advocacy community, and state and local government, we will continue to make steady progress toward the goal of a more walkable Massachusetts for all.

For more info on MassDOT’s Pedestrian Plan, head to: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/pedestrian-plan

This article was featured in WalkBoston’s February 2019 newsletter.
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Re: Comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters

Re: Comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters

March 28, 2019

Joint Committee on Transportation
Joseph A. Boncore, Senate Chair
State House, Room 112
Boston, MA 02133

Joint Committee on Transportation
William Straus, House Chair
State House, Room 134
Boston, MA 02133

Re: Comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters

Dear Chairman Boncore and Chairman Straus,

WalkBoston is Massachusetts’ main pedestrian advocacy organization, working to make walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities. We write to provide the Committee with our comments on H3073/S2049 An Act relative to micro-mobility and motorized scooters.

We understand the need for state legislation to guide the roll out of scooters in Massachusetts and support the efforts of MassDOT, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), and a number of the state’s municipalities to provide a statewide framework for these new mobility devices. We also believe that scooters may positively add to mobility options for Massachusetts’ residents.

  • At the most fundamental level, we believe that in areas of the Commonwealth where there is more than occasional sidewalk use by pedestrians, motorized scooters should be accommodated on-street or in separated bike/scooter lanes where they will not conflict with people who are walking on the sidewalk.
  • As reporting is beginning to emerge from cities where scooters have been operating the number of pedestrian injuries attributed to scooters on sidewalks is significant, with 8% of “scooter” injuries in Los Angeles being pedestrians who were hit by scooters or tripped over scooters on sidewalks.
  • After many years of work to meet the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) we are only beginning to approach an accessible sidewalk system. WalkBoston is very concerned that allowing the use of scooters on sidewalks will result in scooters blocking sidewalks and curb ramps. We recommend that municipal regulations require scooters to be locked to appropriate bike racks or corrals, as other communities around the country have started to consider.

Our comments are focused on H3073/S2049 because this is a comprehensive bill that has been drawn up with the active participation of the agencies noted above.

  1. We are pleased that the bill limits scooters to a speed of 15 miles per hour, although this will be very fast if it is happening on a sidewalk where pedestrians are walking at 2-3 miles per hour.
  2. We are pleased that the bill requires scooters to have front and rear lights and turn signals.
  3. As currently drafted the act would allow motorized scooters on all shared use paths operated by MassDOT or the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) including such places as the Southwest Corridor, the Esplanade, the Mass Ave and Longfellow Bridge sidewalks, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail. We do not believe that these heavily used paths that double as linear parks with significant numbers of young children, people with disabilities and seniors should be used by motorized scooters unless they are operated at a significantly lower speed (5 mph).

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important piece of transportation safety legislation.

Best regards,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Carol Steinberg
WalkBoston Board Member
Wheelchair user and 9-year member of the MA Architectural Access Board

WBUR – “Proposed T Fare Hikes Get Pushback From Community At Hearing”

WBUR – “Proposed T Fare Hikes Get Pushback From Community At Hearing”

WBUR: “Proposed T Fare Hikes Get Pushback From Community At Hearing

Brendan Kearney of the group WalkBoston said policymakers need to rethink the way transit is funded rather than always resorting to fare hikes.

“This problem has been studied extensively — what is lacking is the political will,” said Kearney. “We encourage the MBTA to work with MassDOT and other stakeholders to find new sources of revenue to equitably invest in the 21st century transportation system we all deserve.”

This segment aired on February 28, 2019.