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Tag: WalkBoston

Re: Comments on H3126/S2069 An Act Relative to Mobile Carry Devices

Re: Comments on H3126/S2069 An Act Relative to Mobile Carry Devices

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 H3126/S2069 An Act Relative to Mobile Carry Devices

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. LivableStreets Alliance advocates for innovative and equitable transportation solutions that create safe, affordable and convenient options for everyone in Metro Boston.  We write to provide the Committee with our comments on H3126/S2069, “An act relative to mobile carry devices.”

If we are to continue to build more livable cities and towns across Massachusetts, we must ensure the sidewalks are made for people of all ages and abilities. A 90-lb device that can carry up to 45-lbs of goods traveling at 12.5 miles per hour does not belong on the sidewalk, and instead should be in the street.

At a high level, we are also concerned that these regulations could open the door to the privatization of the public way: our sidewalks. The most sought-after space in our cities is at the curb. Cities on the West Coast continue to grapple with transportation technology issues a few months in advance of us, including the testing of autonomous delivery robots. The latest example we’ve heard from Walk San Francisco includes a proposal from a tech food delivery company to use robots to continuously operate on a sidewalk route to pick up multiple orders from a store and deliver them 2-3 blocks away to a waiting delivery driver in a car.

This legislation leaves many questions:

  • The language “primarily for transporting personal property,” and “primarily designed to remain within 25 ft of personal property owner” both indicate that there would be other uses.
  • “Personal property owner is actively monitoring navigation and operation” seems to indicate that a device could operate autonomously or via remote control as long as it was under the auspices of the owner. There are rigorous testing and reporting requirements for autonomous vehicles to use streets in the city of Boston; autonomous vehicles should not be allowed on sidewalks without similar care and attention.
  • The language “a mobile carrying device has the rights and obligations applicable to a pedestrian” will give more legal protection in a crosswalk to a 90-lb device than to a person using a bike or scooter.

We appreciate the opportunity to comment, and would be happy to work with any proponent to offer feedback.

Thank you,

Brendan Kearney
Communications Director, WalkBoston

Stacy Thompson
Executive Director, LivableStreets Alliance

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

Comments on Morton Intersection Improvements, Project: 608755

Comments on Morton Intersection Improvements, Project: 608755

Patricia Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer
MassDOT-Highway Division
10 Park Plaza Boston, MA 02116-3973

Attn: Roadway Project Management – Room 6340

Re: Morton Intersection Improvements Project: 608755

December 21, 2018

Dear Ms. Leavenworth:

We are submitting comments in regards to Intersection Improvements at three intersections along Morton Street after seeing the plans at a public meeting on December 19, 2018.

First, we ask the Department to please extend the 10-day public comment period given that the meeting was held just before the Christmas holiday and it may be hard for residents to get feedback in on time. We are pleased to see MassDOT undertaking this project and look forward to continuing to work with you on implementation of safety improvements to the corridor.

Overall, we feel the project will improve safety for drivers, but will do little to improve the safety or convenience for pedestrians or cyclists. In this area, pedestrian safety needs to be prioritized in the design utilizing Complete Streets guidelines. We also ask that these spot improvements are the beginning and not the end of a process to improve the entire stretch of Morton St and create connections from Mattapan to Franklin Park and walking/biking paths in Jamaica Plain, especially as this stretch is identified in Go Boston 2030 for connecting the Southwest Corridor to the Blue Hills Reservation. In addition, we are advocating for the following adjustments and additions the plans presented on December 19:

  • Increased traffic calming on Morton Street
    The high speeds on Morton Street make the street unsafe for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. We applaud that the design calls for narrower travel lanes but additional measures need to be taken to slow speeds. Possible solutions might be raised intersections, additional STOP signs and/or traffic signals.
  • Create a safe pedestrian crossing between Morton/Blue Hill Ave and Morton/Harvard
    There is no crosswalk in the 1000-foot stretch between Blue Hill Ave and Harvard Street. This is a dense residential neighborhood and the lack of a safe crossing here is a major community concern. The crossing could either be at Courtland/Havelock/Morton or Wellington Hill/Morton depending on the neighborhood’s preference.The lack of a crosswalk contributes to the highway feel of Morton Street and hence the high speeds and extremely high crash clusters over the past four years. Any crosswalk should include a HAWK beacon for improved notice and safety of pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Design a traffic signal system which enables pedestrians to easily and safely cross Blue Hill Ave
    People wishing to cross Blue Hill Ave must now push a button to wait for a WALK signal. Once the intersection is redesigned they will still have to push a button to cross the street. We strongly request traffic signals that “rest in WALK”.
    Push buttons result in very long waits for walkers. Depending upon when a walker pushes the button in the traffic cycle he/she may wait for over two minutes to get a walk signal. Furthermore, pedestrians must be able to cross the six lanes of Blue Hill Ave in one cycle. Neither MassDOT staff nor their consultants could guarantee that walkers would be able to cross in one cycle.
  • The bike boxes at the Blue Hill Ave and Morton St intersection are an important safety measure however the placement of one in the Southeast corner of the intersection could pose a dangerous conflict with right turning cars. We would like to look more closely at the designs to assess this. An additional left-turning bike box is needed at the northeast corner in so that cyclists can safely turn left off of blue Hill onto Morton St towards Jamaica Plain.
  • We support the overwhelming response from residents who advocated to keep the bus stop where it currently is on Blue Hill Ave.
  • We applaud the design’s tightening of curb radii at Blue Hill/Morton and if floating bus stops are in a location supported by community members, we would support them and the addition of bike facilities at the intersection. It appeared that at least some people at the public meeting had never seen or experienced floating bus stops and more education is needed about how they work when proposing them. We understand that parking will not be permitted within 20 feet of the intersections but we also heard that there are many violations of this regulation. We recommend that additional curb extensions, either concrete or flexposts, be added to the design.

Sincerely,
Dorothea Hass, WalkBoston
Eliza Parad, Boston Cyclists Union
Galen Mook, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
Tony Lechuga, LivableStreets Alliance

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR FASTER ACTION: 4,500 PEOPLE INJURED IN CAR CRASHES ON STREETS OF BOSTON IN 2017

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR FASTER ACTION: 4,500 PEOPLE INJURED IN CAR CRASHES ON STREETS OF BOSTON IN 2017

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:  STACY THOMPSON at 651-206-1068 or stacy@livablestreets.info

ACTIVISTS CALL FOR FASTER ACTION: 4,500 PEOPLE INJURED IN CAR CRASHES ON STREETS OF BOSTON IN 2017

Event details for third annual vigil released; Zakim Bridge and Boston City Hall to be lit yellow; loved ones, advocates, and elected officials gather to remember the hundreds of people who have died across the state; Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition calls on City of Boston leaders to prevent deadly crashes by investing in safe, equitable streets

BOSTON: Friday, November 16, 2018 – Following a slew of fatal crashes in Metro Boston, the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition announces a day of actions on World Day of Remembrance on Sunday, November 18, 2018. Planned events include a vigil to memorialize the human toll of traffic crashes suffered across Massachusetts and the world. The vigil will be preceded by a Ghost Bike Dedication Ceremony for Meng Jin, who was killed by a dump truck while biking near the Museum of Science on November 9, and followed by a silent walk of remembrance to City Hall Plaza to call on Boston leaders to take faster action on making city streets safer.

“We know what works – streets that are properly designed to keep people safe,” said LivableStreets Alliance executive director Stacy Thompson. “The hard work is implementing these designs in cities and towns across Massachusetts. Tackling these issues through the lens of Vision Zero means changing how communities manage their streets.”

In 2016, 37,461 people were killed in car crashes across the U.S., a 6% increase in deaths compared with 2015 and the highest number of traffic deaths since 2007.On Boston streets, 4,521 people were injured in 2017.

To broaden public awareness of traffic deaths, the Coalition has coordinated with the City of Boston and MassDOT to light up Boston City Hall and the Zakim Bridge in yellow on the night of November 18th. In the week leading up to World Day of Remembrance, activists across the state have placed cutouts of human figures near crash sites, including in Boston, Cambridge, Springfield, Worcester, and other cities with high crash rates.

“People in the metro region do not stay within one municipal boundary, so we need cooperation between city and the state agencies,” said Becca Wolfson, executive Director of the Boston Cyclists Union. “We have bridges that are unsafe, and leave dangerous gaps in the bike network. We also know that injury crashes are occurring at a disproportionate rate in lower income communities and want to see prioritization of projects based on crash data. This is an issue of public health, public safety, and equity.”

The Coalition invites crash survivors and their loved ones, members of the public, and local and state leaders to gather at the vigil and reflect upon those who have been injured or killed on our communities’ streets. Attendees are encouraged to wear yellow, the color connected with victims of traffic crashes across the globe.

After the vigil, attendees will be invited to join a Silent Walk of Remembrance to raise awareness of the thousands of injuries from car crashes in Boston each year, and to call for faster action from City leaders. Participants in the silent walk to Boston City Hall Plaza can write messages in chalk to City leaders. Coalition members will lay out more than 1,100 yellow blossoms on the Plaza, signifying the enormous death and injury toll on Boston streets in 2017.

The vigil and silent walk are one of hundreds of events taking place internationally as part of the World Day of Remembrance, a United Nations-recognized movement to commemorate lives lost or injured on roads.

The Coalition will soon be rolling out its third annual progress report, reviewing and rating Boston’s Vision Zero efforts over the past year. The Coalition is committed to reviewing the City’s progress annually to ensure public accountability in reaching its goals.

Earlier this year, Mayor Walsh announced a new annual $5 million investment to advance the projects and policies in Go Boston 2030, adding 20 new staff to the Transportation Department.

“Four years after the launch of Vision Zero, the City of Boston is not making fast enough progress towards eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030,” said WalkBoston executive director Wendy Landman. “Each serious injury and life lost on Boston streets continues to be an occasion to reflect on the urgency of Vision Zero.”

On the state level, the Coalition is gearing up for a Day of Action on January 23rd for the 2019 legislative session. The Day of Action, led by Coalition member Emily Stein, president of Safe Roads Alliance, will bring constituents to the State House to advocate for distracted driving and hands-free bills.

“Massachusetts is a leader in so many fields,” said Stein, “but it falls behind other states in New England when it comes to addressing the public safety issue of distracted driving. The passage of distracted driving legislation will save countless lives across the Commonwealth.”

Event Details:

World Day of Remembrance

November 18, 2018 from 12:30-3:30pm

Schedule of events:

  • 12:30pm: Ghost Bike Dedication Ceremony for Meng Jin at Charles River Dam Road and Museum Way
  • 1:45pm: Gather on the steps of Massachusetts State House for a Memorial Vigil
  • 2:00pm: Program for Memorial Vigil Begins
  • 2:45pm: Silent Walk of Remembrance to Boston City Hall Plaza
  • 3:30pm: Event ends

On the evening of Sunday, November 18th, the following landmarks will be lit yellow, the color associated with traffic fatalities, in recognition of World Day of Remembrance:

  • Zakim Bridge, Boston
  • Boston City Hall
  • South Station, Boston
  • Government Center T Station, Boston
  • Burns Bridge, Worcester

Memorial Organizers: Members of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, including Safe Roads Alliance, LivableStreets Alliance, MassBike, WalkBoston, Boston Cyclists Union, among others.

Crash sites where cutouts will be placed

World Day of Remembrance Facebook Event Page

MA Vision Zero Coalition website


Contact

Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Alliance, 651-206-1068 or stacy@livablestreets.info
Brendan Kearney, WalkBoston, 617-960-6037 or bkearney@walkboston.org
Emily Stein, Safe Roads Alliance, 617-417-3689 or emily@saferoadsalliance.org
Rebecca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union, 315-345-6532 or bwolfson@bostoncyclistsunion.org
Galen Mook, MassBike, 703-395-4232 or galen@massbike.org


The Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition advocates for the implementation of Vision Zero in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, and for the reduction of traffic injuries and deaths across Massachusetts. The new and growing coalition includes community-based organizations, nonprofits, businesses, civic groups and individuals representing communities across the state. visionzerocoalition.org/

LivableStreets Alliance is an advocacy organization working to create a world where streets are safe, vibrant public spaces that connect people to the places where they live, work and play. LivableStreets advocates for innovative and equitable transportation solutions that create safe, affordable and convenient options for everyone in Metro Boston. http://www.livablestreets.info

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) promotes a bicycle-friendly environment and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation. http://www.massbike.org

WalkBoston makes walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities. http://walkboston.org

The Boston Cyclists Union is helping Bostonians lead healthier lives by promoting the everyday use of the bicycle for transportation. Among other things, they repair bikes, educate new riders, and organize neighborhood residents who would like to voice support for friendlier street designs, bike paths, and public spaces. http://bostoncyclistsunion.org

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. http://visionzeronetwork.org

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