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Tag: speed limit

Comments on proposed MassDCR amendments 302 CMR 11 + 12

Comments on proposed MassDCR amendments 302 CMR 11 + 12

July 24, 2019

Laura Dietz
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02114

Dear Ms. Dietz,

WalkBoston has reviewed the amendments to “302 CMR 11.00: Parkways, Traffic, and Pedestrian Rules” and “302 CMR 12.00: Parks and Recreation Rules,” and attended the public hearing on July 2, 2019 in Brighton.

This process should be put on hold until laws on micro-mobility and e-bikes are established by the legislature so there is cohesion between the law and regulations.

We also have some questions and comments based on our review:

  • What data are these proposed changes based on?
  • Are there any successes or failures in other states that MA is trying to emulate or avoid?
  • We have concerns about setting a limit of 20mph for shared use pathways. How was that speed limit established, and what is it based on? We need context sensitive speed limits, not one limit for all places. A 20mph limit is a speed limit that is recommended on residential streets, which include sidewalks for separation.
  • There are long section of definitions including BOULEVARD, PARKWAY, ROADWAY, STREET, but there is no definition of the different types of trails. Some of the suggested regulations describe ‘improved or natural surface trail’ vs. other types of trails; with no easy definition, this could lead to confusion.
  • Section 12.12(4) states they are ‘not permitted on improved trails less than 8 feet,’ would this mean certain sections of contiguous trails would allow/prohibit use?
    • Additionally, while we recognize the intent to create safe areas where there could be conflict, we fear that setting a regulation by width could have unintended consequences for future trail development.
  • The section on Violations/Fines/Penalties only includes info about parking.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.

Brendan Kearney
Communications Director

Wicked Local Saugus – “Saugus residents and stakeholders invited to town-wide speed limit analysis public meeting”

Wicked Local Saugus – “Saugus residents and stakeholders invited to town-wide speed limit analysis public meeting”

Wicked Local Saugus: “Saugus residents and stakeholders invited to town-wide speed limit analysis public meeting

“Last year the Town of Saugus partnered with WalkBoston, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to improving walking conditions in cities and towns across Massachusetts, to conduct an initial assessment of the community’s roadways and crossings. Residents’ concerns and comments were also shared with WalkBoston, and the organization recently completed a comprehensive report of their findings with recommended improvements for the town.

The Town of Saugus also recently received a shared grant of $1.5 million from the Baker-Polito Administration to fund trail designs for the Northern Strand Community Trail project in Saugus, Everett, Lynn, Malden, and Revere. The town has requested that safer crossings, wayfinding, and landscape amenities be major components of the improvement project. The town distributed a copy of WalkBoston’s report to the architectural firm working with the town on the design for the Northern Strand Community Trail project, Brown, Richardson + Rowe, so that it will be taken into consideration for the project’s final design.”

July 3, 2019

Walking in Manchester by the Sea

Walking in Manchester by the Sea

Photo credit: Dan Watkins

On one of the few beautiful days this spring, WalkBoston led a walk audit in Manchester by the Sea (MBTS) to evaluate the walking routes students use to reach Manchester Memorial Elementary School and Manchester Essex Regional Middle and High Schools. Walk audit participants included the elementary and middle/high school principals, the Town Administrator, the Cape Ann Mass in Motion Coordinator, and representatives from the police department, town departments of public works and planning, and the MBTS Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. Together, we identified areas where pedestrian safety can be improved using low-cost traffic calming strategies.

It is worth noting that MBTS instituted a 20 mph speed safety zone within 1 mile of the MBTA commuter rail station in September 2017. While we did not record speeds on our audit, it was clear that not all drivers were respecting the 20 mph limit. Setting lower speed limits and redesigning our streets are critical to safer, more walkable communities.

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

Wicked Local – “Board drops speed limit to 25 mph on three main Saugus streets”

Wicked Local – “Board drops speed limit to 25 mph on three main Saugus streets”

Wicked Local: “Board drops speed limit to 25 mph on three main Saugus streets

Additionally, Panetta said the town has partnered with WalkBoston to conduct an assessment of the community’s roadways and crossings. WalkBoston put together a report that outlines recommendations based on its observations.

Posted January 10, 2019