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Tag: transit

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WalkBoston Comments on the South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan

WalkBoston Comments on the South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan

July 24, 2020 | WalkBoston Comments on the South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan

To:
Brian P. Golden, Director Boston Planning & Development Agency
Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets
Councilor Wu, Chair Planning, Development and Transportation
Councilor Flynn, District 2

WalkBoston appreciates the opportunity to comment on the plan and are glad to see that a broad set of options are under consideration. We also are glad that a diversity of perspectives is represented by the four criteria used: Expand, Rely, Respect and Equalize.

We offer the following comments and look forward to hearing from you with responses to our comments and the opportunity to comment again as the plan is advanced.

  1. We are pleased that Improving Pedestrian Connections has emerged as one of the top candidates for short term implementation and agree that this strategy will serve many people and improve transit access and use for a broad range of users and locations.
  2. After reviewing the options for short term strategies that are now under consideration, we believe that an evaluation that gives greater weight to Equalize as a value would better serve the needs of the District and of Boston as a whole.

The strategies with the highest Equalize ratings are:

  • Expand Off-Peak Transit Service 100 points
  • Dedicated Transit Corridors 70 points
  • North Station – South Station – South Boston Seaport Direct Bus or Shuttle Service 61 points
  • Bus or Shuttle connection from Nubian Square to South Boston Seaport Link via Broadway 60 points
  • Bus or Shuttle connection from Central Square to South Boston Seaport via LMA and Nubian Square 58 points

While we are pleased that Expanding Off-Peak Transit Service has been flagged as one of the top strategies, we are concerned that Extend Private and Consolidated Shuttles on A St to Broadway has also been given a top rating as this is the ONLY strategy among all of those evaluated that received a negative rating for Equalize, and that it actually increases travel time for many transit users.

We believe that the Bus or Shuttle connection from Nubian Square to South Boston Seaport Link via Broadway or the Bus or Shuttle connection from Central Square to South Boston Seaport via LMA and Nubian Square (# 2 and 3 in overall ratings) should be included as one of the strategies to be advanced. These two options also directly serve some of Boston’s neighborhoods with the greatest number and density of people of color.

  1. There seems to be a disconnect between this BPDA Plan and the work of the Public Works Department on the Northern Avenue Bridge. As WalkBoston and a number of our fellow advocates have commented, we strongly disagree with the plan to allow shuttle buses to use a new Northern Avenue Bridge because it will negatively impact people walking and biking on the bridge, will require that the bridge be very large and expensive, and because it provides very little benefit to shuttle users.

None of the numerous bus service improvements suggested and reviewed in the South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan (short or long term) are shown to be using a future Northern Avenue Bridge. The bridge itself is called out as a strategy, but it is not incorporated into any of the other strategies – all of the routes that cross the Fort Point Channel are shown using the Summer Street or Congress Street Bridges. We urge the Public Works Department to look again at its proposal and eliminate the use of the bridge for shuttle buses.

WalkBoston looks forward to working with you as this plan progresses.

Comment Letter for Regional Transit Authorities in the FY2020 Budget – Amendment 1136

Comment Letter for Regional Transit Authorities in the FY2020 Budget – Amendment 1136

Massachusetts State Senate
The State House
Boston, MA 02133

May 16, 2019

Regional Transit Authorities in the FY2020 Budget – Amendment 1136

Honorable Members of the Senate:

We, a group of elected, nonprofit, community, and business leaders who support RTAs and their riders, support amendment 1136, which would provide $90.5 million in base funding for the regional transit authority (RTA) line item (1595-6370) in the FY2020 budget, and identifies separate, additional funding for performance targets and innovations, subject to Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between RTAs and MassDOT. Stable base funding is essential to protect riders from service cuts, and for RTAs to provide predictable service as they continue to improve performance and accountability. We are very pleased that the Senate Ways and Means budget includes language that ties state assistance to RTAs to inflation.

To count any MOU-based funding towards the base, as the Senate Ways and Means budget does, amounts to a cut in service which penalizes riders who are transit-dependent. Here is why: MOUs and the underlying performance targets take months to develop, and the transit service that results is not assured to continue. As an example, the $4 million in MOU-based funding that the legislature voted as part of the FY 2019 budget has still not been released, 10 1⁄2 months into the fiscal year, and several service cuts have not been restored as a result.

Senators may recall that the FY 2019 budget also established the Task Force on RTA Performance and Funding. Constituted in October 2018, the Task Force completed its work and delivered a report to the legislature on April 5, 2019, titled A Vision for the Future of Massachusetts’ Regional Transit Authorities.

This Task Force report included several recommendations to improve service. These included $90.5 million in base funding from the state budget; indexing of future state appropriations to CPI; establishment of MOUs with MassDOT to ensure future performance goals; and other recommendations to promote accountable, statewide public transit.

In conclusion, we cite the first recommendation from Choices for Stewardship, the December 2018 report of the Baker Administration’s Commission on the Future of Transportation:

  1. Prioritize investment in public transit as the foundation for a robust, reliable, clean, and efficient transportation system.

In this spirit, we thank the Senate for making investment in public transit a priority for FY 2020.

Respectfully submitted,

Mayor Jon Mitchell, City of New Bedford

Mayor Daniel Rivera, City of Lawrence

Mayor Alex Morse, City of Holyoke

Mayor Paul Heroux, City of Attleboro

Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale, City of Fitchburg

William F. Martin, Mayor, City of Greenfield

Linda Dunlavy, Executive Director, Franklin Regional Council of Governments

Tim Brennan, Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

Frederick Kidder, President/CEO, SouthCoast Chamber

Maddie Ribble, Director of Public Policy and Campaign Strategy, Massachusetts Public Health Association

Andre Leroux, Executive Director, Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance

Chris Dempsey, Director, Transportation for Massachusetts

Nancy Goodman, Vice President for Policy, Environmental League of Massachusetts

Stacy Thompson, Executive Director, LivableStreets Alliance

Heather McMann, Executive Director, Groundwork Lawrence

Mayor Donna Holaday, City of Newburyport

Mayor David Narkewicz, City of Northampton

Mayor Thomas W. Bernard, City of North Adams

Cathy Ann Viveiros, City Administrator, City of Fall River

Thomas Matuszko, Executive Director, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission

Marc Draisen, Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Jack Lank, President/CEO, The United Regional Chamber of Commerce

Marie Oliva, President & CEO, Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber

Wendy Garf-Lipp, Executive Director, United Neighbors of Fall River

Janet Domenitz, Executive Director, MASSPIRG

Joseph Kriesberg, President, Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations

Deb Pasternak, Chapter Director, Sierra Club, Massachusetts Chapter

John MacDougall, Sylvia Parsons and Jack Spence, Co-Chairs, 350Mass Transportation Working Group

Elena Letona, Executive Director, Neighbor to Neighbor

Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston

Scott Zadakis, Director, CrossTown Connect TMA

Judith L. Kirk, Director of Community Impact, YouthConnect Worcester

Kevin McCaffrey, Director of Government and Community Relations and Special Projects, Office of Advancement, Mount Holyoke College

Jim Kolesar, Vice President, Berkshire Interfaith Organizing

Elizabeth Isherwood, Communications Director, Rail to Boston Coalition

Jennifer Lee, Systems Advocate, Stavros

Corinn Williams, Executive Director, Community Economic Development Center

Janie Katz-Christy, Director, Green Streets Initiative

Jessica Collins, Executive Director, Public Health Institute of Western MA

Victoria Waterman, Chief Executive Officer, Girls, Inc. of Worcester

Staci Rubin, Senior Attorney, Conservation Law Foundation

Carolyn Villers, Executive Director, Massachusetts Senior Action Council

Kerry Conaghan, VP Community Impact, United Way of Central Massachusetts

Patty Flanagan, Director of Wellness and Health Equity, YWCA Central Massachusetts

Samuel Masinter, Associate Vice President for College Relations, Smith College

Margaret Coffin, CEO, Center for Living & Working, Inc.

David Connell, Vice President/Chief Human Resource Officer, YMCA of Central Massachusetts

Gordon Hargrove, Executive Director, Friendly House, Inc.

Alan Dallmann, Coordinator The Coalition to End Hunger

Justin Lawson, Fund Mass RTAs

Samuel Martin, Executive Director, Worcester Youth Center

Susan Moriarty, MASS Central Regional Coordinator, Mass Advocates Standing Strong

K. Lev Ben-Ezra, Executive Director, Amherst Survival Center

Deb Fastino, Executive Director, Coalition for Social Justice

Christopher M. O’Keeffe, Vice President for Programs, Greater Worcester Community Foundation

Drew Grande, Clean Energy Program Director, Massachusetts Climate Action Network

Joyce Mandell, Founder and Director, Jane Jacobs in the Woo

Lew Finfer, Co-Director, Massachusetts Communities Action Network

Adam Thielker, Transportation Advocacy Coalition

Liz Hamilton, Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Worcester

Joe Bellil, VP of Public Affairs & Youth Services, Easter Seals of Massachusetts

Mary Haroyan, Bay State Council of the Blind

Ali, Amrana and Shabaz Soofi, Worker-Owners, WooRides

Scott Avedisian, CEO, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority

WBUR: “Advocates Say MBTA Riders Need Accessibility Now, Not Later”

WBUR: “Advocates Say MBTA Riders Need Accessibility Now, Not Later”

WBUR: “Advocates Say MBTA Riders Need Accessibility Now, Not Later

Wendy Landman, the executive director of WalkBoston and a consultant on PATI, praises the MBTA’s progress but acknowledges the project has barriers.

“Like everything else that we think about with public transportation in Massachusetts, the money is short and issues to solve are big,” Landman says.

In the meantime, those big issues continue to affect people with disabilities, advocates say.

Carol Steinberg, an attorney, writer and disability activist, lives near the Forest Hills stop on the Orange Line. Although she stresses that service has improved, she says she avoids the T. She worries that elevators will be out of service, or that no employees will be around to put down the ramp that helps her wheelchair cross the gap between the train and the platform.

“When I take it, I’m happy I took it. It works,” she says. “But I’m nervous about it, so I drive.”

To get her to use the T more often, she says the MBTA must keep getting better.

“Keep doing what they’re doing, but speed it up,” says Steinberg.

Aired April 3, 2019

Carol Steinberg is a WalkBoston Board member.

Pedestrian Safety Discussion in Randolph

Pedestrian Safety Discussion in Randolph

On September 25, 2018, WalkBoston and municipal staff from the Town of Randolph met to discuss pedestrian safety in Randolph as part of the EOPSS Pedestrian Safety Planning Initiative. The main concerns expressed in our discussion included safety at specific locations/corridors, pedestrian safety at bus stops, and the safety of school children (particularly high school students) walking, biking and riding transit to school.

Read the meeting notes here:

WalkBoston-RandolphMtgReport