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Tag: walking

WBUR – The Allston I-90 Interchange Project

WBUR – The Allston I-90 Interchange Project

WBUR: “The Allston I-90 Interchange Project

The stretch of the Mass. Pike that runs through Allston is getting a makeover, and the state is projecting a total bill of about $1 billion. The project will include new interstate exits, facilities for bicycles and pedestrians, space for commuter rail layover, and a brand new commuter rail stop, West Station. The state has said that West Station will open by 2040, but community members and public transportation advocates say the new station should open much sooner than that.

Guests
Jim Aloisi, former state transportation secretary and a principal at the Pemberton Square Group. He tweets @jimaloisi. Wendy Landman is a member of the Allston I-90 Interchange Task Force and the executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group WalkBoston, which tweets @walkboston.

This segment aired on April 30, 2018.

Rethinking The Turnpike Allston Interchange

Rethinking The Turnpike Allston Interchange

WBUR: “Rethinking The Turnpike Allston Interchange

Could the Allston I-90 Interchange Improvement project create a more accessible Charles River for pedestrians, bicycles and recreation? We speak with two advocates who are asking for more green space at the point where I-90, the train tracks and Soldiers Field Road squeeze together between Boston University and the river bank — “the throat.”

Guests Harry Mattison is a member of the I-90 Interchange Task Force and the Charles River Conservancy. He tweets @harrymattison. Wendy Landman is the executive director of the non-profit advocacy group WalkBoston, which tweets @walkboston.

Posted February 7, 2018

Comment on Mount Auburn Corridor Study

Comment on Mount Auburn Corridor Study

September 27, 2017

RE: Mount Auburn Corridor Study – Comments on Concepts Presented on August 18, 2016

WalkBoston would like to submit the following comments on the draft concepts for the Mount Auburn Corridor Study presented on August 18, 2016. We understand that the concepts may have changed since the presentation, but we feel it is valuable for these comments to be captured. We have organized our comments according to specific intersections.

While we appreciate the detail with which the consultants have addressed road crossings for people walking, we feel that the overall pedestrian pathway network has not been adequately addressed. Overall, there needs to be more attention paid to the areas of overlap where people walking and people biking intersect.

Intersection of Mt Auburn Street at Brattle Street

Under the assumption that vehicular traffic volumes at this intersection warrant a traffic signal, the plan diagram (shown on slide 9 of the August 18 presentation) shows both a crosswalk and bike crossing at the east side of the intersection. At the southern end of this dual use crossing, the sidewalk appears to narrow and there is limited (if any) area for people walking to wait for the signal. We would like some assurance that there is a continuous sidewalk and adequate space for pedestrians waiting to cross.

The northern end of the dual use crossing appears to require pedestrians to cross the bike lane to reach the sidewalk running east on Brattle Street and to use the crosswalk when walking west along Mount Auburn Street. There is also no delineated path for people walking west along Mt Auburn Street to safely cross the proposed driveway connections or the proposed bike path leading west from Brattle Street. While we realize this diagram is preliminary, we would like to see that people walking are given the same connected network as people biking and driving.

Gerrys Landing, Memorial Drive, Eliot Bridge, Greenough Blvd

The shortened crossing distances and single-phase crossings in the Two-T Alternative concept are significant improvements to the pedestrian infrastructure that exists today (shown on slide 46 of the August 18 presentation). Our concerns in this area lie in the interactions between cyclists and pedestrians at the crossing locations. The diagrams indicate that cyclists and pedestrians will be sharing waiting areas and in some cases crossing paths to reach destinations. We would like to see a finer grained delineation of space for each user group. Furthermore, the bike paths appear connected, but the sidewalk network is either disjointed or not present.

Intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway at Huron Ave

The plan diagram (shown on slide 52 of the August 18 presentation) shows a raised intersection at Fresh Pond Parkway and Huron Avenue. Given the vehicular traffic volumes in this location and the allowance of trucks, we were surprised to see this proposal. Furthermore, the pedestrian refuge island at the intersection’s southeastern corner seems to interrupt the bike lane without providing benefit to walkers. If there is extra room at this location, we would rather see a curb bump-out or wider sidewalk.

Mid-block Crossing on Fresh Pond Parkway at Larch Street

The mid-block crossing proposed across Fresh Pond Parkway near the Larch Street intersection (shown on slide 55 of the August 18 presentation) seems dangerous even with the introduction of a raised crossing and Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs). Pedestrians using this crossing may presume cars will stop once the beacons (RRFBs) are flashing which could lead to tragic consequences. The sight lines along this curvy section of Fresh Pond Parkway and the traffic speeds make this proposal inadvisable. We would suggest that more study be done to substantiate the need for the crossing, and for a safer location to be identified should the need be justified.

Intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway and Brattle Street

The proposed tightening of curb radii at this intersection is welcomed, but we question the proposed raised intersection once again given traffic volumes.

At the August 18 presentation, the guardrail along the western edge of Fresh Pond Parkway was discussed. Some people in the Stakeholders Meeting felt that the “highway scale” guardrail may make drivers feel that they can speed. Furthermore, the railing is not in character with the “park-like and historic” space adjacent to it. Neighborhood residents advocated for the guardrail to be installed to protect children and other pedestrians walking along Fresh Pond Parkway. Several harrowing stories were told about high traffic speeds and erratic drivers. If there is a solution that protects walkers and is more in character with the surroundings, then it could be considered. However, safety must be prioritized in this location given its proximity to Shady Hill School and Buckingham Browne and Nichols School.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit these comments and for inviting us to be a member of the stakeholder group. We welcome any questions you may have about these comments and look forward to your response.

Ellis School Walk Audit

Ellis School Walk Audit

The Ellis School is concerned about the safety of children walking to school. Students at the Ellis are encouraged to walk to school through Walking School Buses and events such as Walk-to-School Day. However, WalkBoston observed that cross- ing the streets, especially Walnut Avenue, where drivers regularly go 35 mph and over, is unsafe for children. This Walk Audit recommends street changes to slow traffic.

Read the full report here:
WalkBoston-WalkAudit-EllisSchoolWalkingSafetyReportFinal-Roxbury

Comments on L Street Power Station Redevelopment South Boston ENF/Expanded PNF

Comments on L Street Power Station Redevelopment South Boston ENF/Expanded PNF

July 7, 2017

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew A. Beaton
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
Attn: MEPA Office, Alex Strysky
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston MA 02114

Brian Golden, Director
Boston Planning and Development Agency
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201

Re: EEA No. 15692, L Street Power Station Redevelopment, South Boston
ENF/Expanded PNF

Dear Secretary Beaton and Director Golden:

WalkBoston is pleased to see the proposal for a mixed use development of the large South Boston waterfront site that will include the re-use of the historically and architecturally interesting L Street Power Station. Putting this portion of the City back into a productive use that invites public access is a positive change for the City and for South Boston.

The overall site design will help to integrate this large parcel into the neighborhood, and create new opportunities for people to walk from East 1st Street to the waterfront and help to link the residential portions of South Boston into the site which was long cut off from the community by fences and other obstructions. The partial extension of the local street network onto the site and between and around new buildings proposed for the site seems appropriate in scale. With sidewalks that are sufficiently wide and landscaped, both community residents and people living on-site will be served by the new connections.

Our comments below are focused on questions that we hope the proponent will respond to in subsequent filings about the project.

1. Waterside Pedestrian and Open Space Environment
We understand that the new dedicated harborside freight corridor that will connect Summer Street to Massport’s Conley Terminal and remove heavy truck traffic from East 1st Street will provide very important, and long-desired improvements to the South Boston neighborhood. But this shift will also present challenges; the new harborside route will place an access barrier and significant truck traffic (with its accompanying noise and air pollution) between the development site’s primary open space and the harbor.
We urge the developer to consider creative ways to mitigate the truck route’s impact on the
open space. This could include grade changes that place the open space higher than the truck route (Figure 3.5b may hint at this); landscaping that both masks and frames views,
soundscapes to mask truck noise, and the addition of viewing platforms that allow open space users to gain unimpeded views of the water. There may also be ways to capitalize on the site’s industrial past and on-going use through interpretive elements. WalkBoston is concerned that without such special treatment the open space will not be very attractive to the public.
If possible, the proponent might also explore with Massport whether it would be possible to
schedule truck traffic so that is interferes less with daytime and weekend use of the open space.

2. Encouragement of walking and walking-transit trips
At the direction of the City, the proponent has used South Boston adjusted trip generation rates to develop trip tables for walking/biking, transit and vehicles. However, the site is at a
significant distance from other land uses that would seem to justify such significant numbers of walking trips, and to suffer from overused bus lines and significant distances to the Red and Silver Lines. Figure 5-1 illustrate the 5 and 10-minute walking zones, neither of which include a great many retail, job and civic land uses.
We urge the proponent to develop mitigation measures to make the development a more
realistically mixed mode project. These could include such things as: subsidies to the MBTA to provide more frequent bus service, or creation or partnering with other South Boston
developments to provide shuttle services to the Silver and/or Red Lines.

3. Bicycle facilities
The proponent mentions that Boston has flagged both East 1st Street and Summer Street for
protected bicycle facilities, however Figure 3.5a shows an on-street bike lane.
We urge the proponent to work with the City, and perhaps provide funding for, separated
bicycle facilities on both East 1st Street and Summer Street. The distance of the site from transit and a mix of retail, job and civic facilities will make bicycling a more likely mode of off-site trips than walking.

We look forward to working with the City and Redgate as the project plans are developed in greater detail.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Cc Ralph Cox, Greg Bialecki, Megha Vadula, Redgate
Elizabeth Grob, VHB

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