Tag: Runners

Community Path Application Letter of Support Somerville

Community Path Application Letter of Support Somerville

December 3, 2015

City of Somerville,
Community Preservation Committee

Re: Support for Friends of the Community Path application for CPA funding

WalkBoston works across Massachusetts advocating for improved and safe pedestrian facilities. We are very enthusiastic about local efforts that enhance the pedestrian environment, and where possible help residents and municipalities implement new and improved walking facilities.

The Community Path is an important and well-loved component of Somerville’s walking network, and we believe that maintaining and enhancing the Path will provide ongoing benefits to the residents of Somerville.

WalkBoston is pleased to support the application by the Friends of Community Path for CPA funds to improve portions of the heavily used path including the following elements:

  • Repaving of the two sections of the Community Path from the Cambridge City line to Buena Vista Rd. and in the Davis Square area
  • Drainage improvements
  • Side path modifications to improve safety and to enhance use of the Path by runners
  • Possible small expansion of community garden area
  • Installation of historic artifacts specifically related to the Path and the former railroad use
  • Two community meeting to review and discuss the proposed improvements


We look forward to seeing these enhancements to the Community Path. Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Coalition For Anderson Bridge Underpass Letter to Secretary Pollack

Coalition For Anderson Bridge Underpass Letter to Secretary Pollack

c/o Charles River Conservancy, 4 Brattle Street (Suite 309), Cambridge, MA 02138

April 9, 2015

Stephanie Pollack, Secretary of Transportation
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA

Dear Secretary Pollack,

We are writing to let you know of our enthusiasm and support for the work underway at MassDOT to develop 25% design plans for an underpass on the Boston side of the Charles River under the Anderson Memorial Bridge, to be used by pedestrians, runners, cyclists and others. This underpass, through the bridge abutment, would add significantly to the Paul Dudley White pathway system by eliminating the need for many users to cross the busy surface intersection of the ramps from Soldiers’ Field Road and JFK/North Harvard Street.

The underpass would be an extremely important addition to the excellent surface changes now under construction at the Anderson Bridge. This combination of improving the movements – both cross-river (already underway) and along-the-river (with the addition of an underpass) – will increase safety, enhance the environment, and provide improved transportation service not only to the users of the underpass, but also to the vehicles, pedestrians and others who use the surface crossings, including the Harvard community on both sides. We believe that the evolving design is being developed in a manner that respects the historic nature of the bridge.

We strongly oppose the alternative for this project (being developed to comply with legal review as part of the current design process) that would create a boardwalk that would be located under one of the current bridge arches and occupy part of the river used by the boating community.

To maximize cost-effectiveness and maintain the momentum for the underpass project initiated when your predecessor endorsed the project in July 2014, it is our hope that the design and permitting of the underpass can be completed in time to enable its construction as part of the ongoing activities at the bridge. Expediting design and permitting consistent with all legal requirements will be required to accomplish this objective.

As advocates for the project, we have been kept informed of the progress of design work by Gill Engineering under the direction and support of the Highway Administration. We look forward to the earliest possible public meeting where this design work can be described for wide public review and participation.

We also would like to offer to you, the Department and the Highway Administration our continuing, supportive involvement as this project moves forward.

This underpass will be a major step to enhance the Charles River Parklands, one of the Boston area’s major assets, for at least the next hundred years.


Katherine Blakeslee, Institute for Human-Centered Design
Greg Galer, Executive Director, Boston Preservation Alliance
Jack Glassman, Boston Society of Architects, Historic Resources Committee
Ken Kruckemeyer, LivableStreets Alliance
Wendy Landman, Executive Director, Walk Boston
Galen Mook, Boston Cyclists Union
Jon Puz, Cambridge Running Club
Renata von Tscharner, President and Founder, Charles River Conservancy
Jack Wofford, mediator and arbitrator

cc: Thomas J. Tinlin, Highway Administrator, MassDOT Michael Trepanier, Project Manager, MassDOT

Chance to run with Best-selling author Christopher McDougall on April 18th!

Chance to run with Best-selling author Christopher McDougall on April 18th!

Best-selling author Christopher McDougall (“Born to Run”) will be in town on marathon weekend promoting his new book, “Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance.”

WalkBoston and the Somerville Road Runners are helping with a free fun run and Wild Fitness workout before the 2pm event! We’ll set off toward the river, covering 5k with a mid-run workout led by Wild Fitness creator Tara Wood.

The run is free, though runners must still hold a ticket to gain admission to the 2pm event (the 7pm event is now no longer ticketed, see changes below).


Meet for the free run at 12pm. RSVP for the run on Facebook
Location: Old South Church, 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
Book Event & Stage Show to follow at 2pm (Buy a $5 ticket while supplies last)


Some big changes for the Cambridge event – the run is now just in Boston at 12pm, the 7pm event is now FREE, and it is taking place at the Harvard Book Store itself! Location: Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 (NO RSVP NECESSARY FOR 7PM EVENT)

Want to win a pair of tickets to attend the 2pm book event? We’ll be doing Twitter giveaways on the 3 Fridays leading up to the Boston Marathon: 4/3 (congrats Jenna F.!), 4/10 (congrats Sirrah H.!) & 4/17!


1. Follow Chris McDougallWalkBoston and Somerville Road Runners

2. One of those accounts will send out a tweet on each Friday at 9AM that includes the phrase ‘RT to win’ in it; winners will be selected at 3pm that day from qualified entries.

3. If you are selected, we’ll tweet to you and direct you from there on how to get your tickets!

About the organizations:
WalkBoston is a non-profit pedestrian advocacy organization dedicated to improving walking conditions in cities and towns across Massachusetts. Founded in 1990, our goal is to make walking and pedestrian needs a basic part of the transportation discussion. WalkBoston is working on everything from pedestrian safety programs to Safe Routes to School training to fixing signal timing at intersections, which all help make communities safer for runners.  A number of runners will be running the Boston Marathon again this year as part of the WalkBoston team raising money through the John Hancock Charity Program for WalkBoston! More info on our Crowdrise page.

The Somerville Road Runners are a charitable, non-profit organization that sponsors many events a year including weekly runs, track workouts, annual races and even competitive but delicious cook-offs! The club welcomes new members of all abilities. Keep your eye out for the black and gold singlets on Monday, as 60+ SRR runners will be on the course. More info at srr.org

Path Repaving Input List for DCR

Path Repaving Input List for DCR

We have it on good authority that Massachusetts will one day emerge from winter. The Boston Cyclists Union has been working with the DCR on a great opportunity to give feedback on their path repaving work. This is a chance for runners and walkers to help target repair work. With spring marathons around the corner, runners cover many miles and know the pain points!

Please use the form below to point out opportunities for repair in your area and PLEASE BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE. You can submit sections separately; if you ask for the “Charles River Paths” we are far less likely to get action than if you call out the worst sections. When in doubt, submit. If it’s in a different jurisdiction they will let you know after sorting through the data. (Your name and number is attached so that they can get back to you if need be.)

For reference, DCR owned paths: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/massparks/recreational-activities/biking-paths-and-trails.html

DCR snow management plan http://maps.massgis.state.ma.us/map_ol/dcr_snow_priority.php

Thank you for your help. Please share this with other walkers, runners and cyclists that may have feedback to offer!


Comments on the Charles River Resource Management Plan

Comments on the Charles River Resource Management Plan

October 31, 2014

Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
100 Cambridge St., Suite 900
Boston MA 02114

RE: Comments on the Charles River Resource Management Plan

Dear Secretary Vallely Bartlett:

WalkBoston reviews public planning documents to identify potential implications for pedestrians. The following comments are based on our review of this document:

We are very excited about the opportunities presented for potential improvements in the 3- mile long section of riverfront between the Harbor and the BU Bridge. Because the document gives each proposed improvement a priority ranking, we are able to sense where DCR is moving in its schedule to improve the Lower Charles River Basin.

Many of the improvements proposed are essential for all users of the parks and nearby neighborhoods. We commend DCR for its foresight in working toward protection from flooding that might be anticipated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy two years ago. Improvements to the dam between the river and the harbor will protect the basin, and much of the Back Bay and portions of Cambridge, from flooding.

We are also happy that DCR has been active in working on both the proposed South Bank Bridge behind North Station and the “drawbridge walkway” to be constructed as part of an MBTA replacement bridge. These measures will complete the connection of the riverfront paths with the Harbor Walk.

A related improvement is the proposed walkway behind the Science Museum that would provide connections into the museum, pass over the locks with a new bridge and perhaps through the state police barracks to connect with riverside paths and the existing sidewalk in front of the Museum. This improvement would add capacity of the paths around the basin by providing a new pathway for walkers and runners who currently have no option other than the narrow sidewalk that lies along the reconstructed Craigie Dam roadway.

The partnership of DCR and The Esplanade Association has resulted in proposals that are also moving forward. The relocation of Storrow Drive under one of the Longfellow Bridge arches will provide new park space. Overall goals of the Association’s Esplanade 2020 proposals include revitalizing the area around the Hatch Shell with redesigned paths, a café, and areas for audiences attending Hatch Shell performances. One of the recurring issues in the Hatch Shell work has been the mixing of pedestrians and bicycles at the proposed café that cannot be avoided until a high-speed bicycle path, separated from pedestrian ways, is provided under the Fiedler Footbridge.

We are very pleased the concept of providing separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists is a major feature of the report. In some cases, this kind of separation already exists, as in portions of the Boston Esplanade. In others, such as the Cambridge Esplanade, it will be a major improvement to separate paths for a substantial portion of the riverfront. This design provides high-speed bicycle commuters a special route away from quieter activities, such as strolling or playing with children. We trust that the users of the Cambridge Esplanade will benefit from a proposed greensward with trees and a slight differential in elevation that promotes safety by discouraging a mix of fast cyclists and slower users of the paths.

The report also cites several management issues that require relatively small expenditures. For example, the attention given to removing or controlling geese is important because the birds have become dominant in some sections of the Basin, interfering with safe, healthy and pleasant walking on paths near the River. Snow removal is extremely important to walkers and runners who use the riverside facilities during all months of the year.

However, WalkBoston is concerned that the aspirations expressed in the document do not extend as far as they might. We hope that DCR will explore giving more attention to the following issues.

Minimum widths for paths
The report points out that some stretches of paved paths are only five feet wide. This is insufficient to serve the mix and volume of users, often including both pedestrians and bicyclists. It is clearly inadequate for a multi-use path.

Reliance on multi-use facilities
Pedestrian volumes in the riverfront between the BU Bridge and Boston Harbor are significant. These volumes are reflected in user surveys undertaken by DCR and others, where “walking for pleasure” was shown to be the single most important purpose for many people using the parkland. In another survey, 55% of the respondents cited “congested pathways” as an issue they hoped would be addressed. In the same survey 86% of the respondents would support “separating paths by user types.” 67% of respondents reported a negative experience in using the park, with the majority citing the conflict of pedestrians and cyclists.

These surveys indicate that walkers desire safe and pleasant alternatives to multi-use paths. While it is not feasible to provide separate pedestrian paths along the full length of the corridor, it is clearly a desirable feature to include throughout the wider portions of the park. Multi-use paths would thus be limited to those locations where there are no other options such as narrow stretches of parkland or the recently completed North Bank Bridge.

Provisions for runners and joggers
One of the goals stated in the report calls for safe and continuous bicycle, skating and pedestrian access along the entire length of the park. We would add to that list of users the many runners and joggers who use River paths because they are relatively safe and removed from vehicular traffic.

While runners and joggers do not directly compete with pedestrians for space, they are better served by softer surfaces than asphalt or concrete. “Soft surface” paths have been discussed in locations such as the Greenough Boulevard reconstruction, where separate paths are proposed to serve cycling, walking and running. While the separation of walking and cycling paths is a recurring theme in the report, the possibility of also providing a separate path for runners is not. We would suggest including it in any revisions that might be forthcoming. The presence of so many “goat paths” adjacent to the paved paths clearly point to the need.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important project. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


Robert Sloane
Senior Planner