Tag: parking

Melrose High School/Middle School Campus Bicycle and Pedestrian Accessibility Project: Final Report

Melrose High School/Middle School Campus Bicycle and Pedestrian Accessibility Project: Final Report

WalkBoston and WatsonActive observed Middle School/High School arrival on April 25 and 27, 2017. Dismissal was not observed, as the traffic and safety issues identified by the key informants were focused on arrival. Additional infrastructure observations were also made.

The City Engineer requested a preliminary report recommending a project for possible inclusion in the City’s Complete Streets Prioritization Plan. WalkBoston and WatsonActive delivered a report of infrastructure recommendations for Melrose Street on April 28, 2017.

With the assistance of the MassDOT Safe Routes to School Program, online travel surveys were administered for both the High School and Middle School. These surveys collected information about how far away from school students live and their travel modes in the morning and afternoon. An additional parking survey was administered only to High School students who drive themselves to school. The High School travel and parking surveys were administered to students during class on June 6, 2017.

The Middle School travel survey was made available to Middle School parents from May 24 to June 12, 2017. Due to low initial participation, the Middle School travel survey was re-administered from June 14-30, 2017.

High School student focus groups were conducted on June 13, 2017 at Melrose High School.

Read the full report here:

WalkBoston-MelroseCampusBikePedProject-Final Report

The key to BRT success? Walking.

The key to BRT success? Walking.

By Joseph Cutrufo

Joseph Cutrufo is a former member of the WalkBoston staff and
current Director of Communications and Connecticut Policy at Tri-State
Transportation Campaign. 

In March 2015, Connecticut cut the ribbon on CTfastrak, New England’s first
bus rapid transit system. CTfastrak features a 9.4-mile bus-only guideway
which runs from downtown New Britain through Newington and West
Hartford to its terminus in downtown Hartford.

CTfastrak has outpaced ridership projections so far. But the real test for
CTfastrak will be whether it can transform the way people travel in greater
Hartford, where 81 percent of commuters drive to work alone — even higher
than the national average of 76 percent.

Not long after the system launched, prospective riders bemoaned the
lack of parking near stations. Predictably, the Connecticut Department of
Transportation responded by building more parking.

But when people won’t use the system due to a lack of parking, we shouldn’t
ask, “Where can we build more parking.” We should ask, “Why can’t people
get here without a car?” In greater Hartford, the answer is simple: the
neighborhoods surrounding CTfastrak stations aren’t dense enough, and the
streets in station areas don’t safely accommodate walking.

Some in the CTfastrak corridor recognize these challenges. The
City of New Britain hired a consultant to run a series of public workshops
to identify what kind of developments would be most appropriate for the
city’s three CTfastrak stations. And in West Hartford, town officials amended
local zoning regulations to allow mixed-used development around CTfastrak
stations, where much of the land is currently zoned for industrial uses.

But in suburban Newington, the town’s zoning board passed a moratorium
on “high density development” shortly after CTfastrak service launched.

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has set aside funds to help speed along
transit-oriented development projects, but ultimately the region needs a
more holistic approach to making greater Hartford a more walkable region.
The state had a chance to start the process through legislation in 2015, but
a bill proposing a “Transit Corridor Development Authority” was viewed
unfavorably by towns that saw it as a threat to home rule.

That won’t be the end of the movement to unchain the greater Hartford area
from car-dominant planning. One place to look for inspiration is the city of
Hartford, where a major zoning overhaul seeks to undo a half-century in
which the city’s parking inventory increased by 30,000 as the population
declined by 40,000 people.

This article was featured in WalkBoston’s Winter 2017 newsletter.

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Comment Letter: Tremont Crossing Draft Environmental Impact Report MEPA #14900

Comment Letter: Tremont Crossing Draft Environmental Impact Report MEPA #14900

November 23, 2016

Matthew Beaton, Secretary
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office
Analyst: Erin Flaherty
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

RE: Tremont Crossing Draft Environmental Impact Report  MEPA #14900

Dear Mr. Beaton,

WalkBoston has reviewed the DEIR for the Tremont Crossing proposal in Roxbury. We believe that the very auto-oriented proposed development is inconsistent with the urban character of the neighborhood and needs to be substantially modified to benefit its neighbors.

Parking Spaces Proposed are Excessive
The development calls for a multi-level parking garage of 1,371 spaces that will generate 8,000 vehicle trips per day.  WalkBoston questions the need for such a large garage given that the development will be less than two blocks from Roxbury Crossing and Ruggles Transit Stations, and within a 10-minute walk of Dudley Square that is served by twenty bus lines.

By comparison the two large Target Stores in the Fenway (Boston) and Cambridge have only a couple of hundred parking spaces.  Numerous parking studies of big box stores and shopping malls throughout the country have shown that parking lots/garages are underutilized.

The emphasis on parking and downplaying of the use of transit suggests an imbalance for so large a project in the heart of the city.   As stated in the 2012 comment letter from Boston Transportation Department a consistent supply of available parking will counteract efforts to encourage alternative travel modes.

Tremont Street Should Not Be Widened
To accommodate the large number of vehicles accessing and exiting the proposed development Tremont Street is projected to be widened to eight or nine lanes.  Such a wide roadway at this location is incompatible with the urban character of the street and will create safety hazards to the pedestrians and bicyclists moving to and from the transit services, residences and institutions.

Also, the environmental review should include an assessment of the impact of increased traffic on the busway at Ruggles.  Numerous buses leave Ruggles headed for Dudley and WalkBoston has concern that at peak hours buses will be waiting through numerous traffic signal cycles to exit unto Ruggles Street.  The result could be a backlog of congestion from Ruggles to Malcolm X Boulevard.

Roxbury Crossing Development Should be Integrated into the Neighborhood
As currently designed, the development will be an island, separated from its neighborhood setting.  The proposed development has the opportunity to contribute to the street by creating easy walking access from the transit stations as well as nearby residential developments (Madison Park and Whittier Housing) and institutions (Northeastern University).  The Tremont Street Development is located in an area where Transit Oriented Development is particularly appropriate.

Proposed Project Could Acknowledge Changing Retail
The retail environment has changed since the project was proposed 4 – 5 years ago.  More and more shopping is done on line and traditional walk-in retail is struggling.  Evidence of this is in Dudley Square, the heart of Roxbury.  WalkBoston would like to see the City devote greater efforts to supporting viable retail in Dudley.  Promoting retail within a 10-minute walk of Dudley will only further depress the market for shops in Dudley Square.  However even within the proposed development the liveliness of the retail is questionable given that the proposed network of bridges will connect the garage on the second floor, discouraging patronage of the ground level retail.

Ensure Safety of Major Pedestrian Crossings.
The major pedestrian crossings of Tremont Street will take place at intersections with Ruggles/Whittier Street, South Drive and Prentiss Street. The primary crossing is likely to be at Ruggles/Whittier Street, because of the direct access it provides to the Ruggles MBTA Station. Care should be taken to provide for significant numbers of people wanting to cross Tremont Street at this location. Retention of the median strip in the center of Tremont Street would be useful as a refuge for pedestrians who may not be able to cross the entire width of a widened Tremont Street in one signal cycle. Similarly, leading pedestrian signal intervals should be incorporated to facilitate safe pedestrian crossings at the intersection. Analysis should also be undertaken to determine if a crosswalk is truly needed at South Drive, in view of the nearby Prentiss Street crossing.

Thank you for the opportunity to review this proposal. Please feel free to contact us with questions you may have, and we look forward to hearing how our suggestions are incorporated into subsequent revisions to this plan.


Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Dorothea Hass
Sr. Project Manager

cc: Councilor Tito Jackson
Byron Rushing, State Representative
Deirdre Buckley, MEPA Director
Dana Whiteside, Boston Planning and Development Agency
Kay Matthews, Friends of Melnea Cass Boulevard (FMCB)
Marah Holland, FMCB
Alison Pultinas, FMCB