WalkBoston comments on JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan

WalkBoston comments on JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan

November 14, 2018
Boston Transportation Department
1 City Hall Square
Room 721
Boston, MA 02201

RE: WalkBoston comments on JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on proposed projects for the JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan.

WalkBoston supports the plan’s commitments to multimodal transportation and to expanding walking, biking, and transit options. Piloting a bus/bike lane on Columbus Avenue and a morning bus lane on Washington Street will provide residents and commuters with low-cost alternatives to car transport and improve roadway safety, public health, and environmental quality. To support current and future bus usage, improving bus stops to ensure safe pedestrian access and comfort is critical. We encourage the City to work with the MBTA to ensure the presence of crosswalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps, and benches at bus stops throughout the JP/Rox focus area.

WalkBoston is also pleased to see “Egleston Square Intersection Improvements” identified as a priority project. The proposed concept plan to install curb extensions at the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Washington Street will reduce long pedestrian crossing distances and help calm traffic. It is our understanding that Boston Transportation Department (BTD) intends to conduct a temporary test of these measures. Such a test can be conducted at low cost in the near term using paint, plastic flex posts and/or planters, and we urge BTD to do so quickly to lay the groundwork for a more permanent installation.

In addition, WalkBoston is encouraged to see several other projects that advance pedestrian safety and traffic calming, including “Pedestrian Crossing Improvements Throughout Neighborhood,” “Atherton Street Bike Connection/Traffic Calming,” “School Street Safety Improvements — paint and signage,” and “Amory Street Traffic Calming.” However, we are disappointed and concerned that the proposed timelines for implementation are overly lengthy and vague. The first three of these projects are characterized as short-term (0-5 years), and the last is characterized as long-term (5+ years).

It is hardly reasonable to suggest that a potential five-year wait for simple pedestrian crossing and traffic calming improvements is a meaningful short-term measure. We urge BTD to commit to implementing these critical safety projects in the next 1-2 years in the Draft Action Plan, and to create specific and actionable roadmaps for doing so. Previous improvements in other parts of the City, such as installing a protected bike lane on Beacon Street and creating safer crossings on Tremont Street using paint and plastic flex posts, were planned, designed and implemented within 1-2 year timeframes and can serve as models for future improvements in the JP/Rox focus area.

The notion that simple fixes to our streets can be delayed for up to five years is also not reasonable when one considers that some of the proposed projects have already been on BTD’s radar for over two years. We again submit our October 2016 Egleston Square walk audit report (attached), which featured participation from BTD staff, to help inform your process moving forward. Our walk audit highlighted numerous opportunities for improved pedestrian crossings and traffic calming in and around Egleston Square, which we hope to see implemented in the next 1-2 years as outlined above.

We also encourage BTD to provide more specific timelines for all the proposed projects, with implementation in the next 1-2 years frontloaded to the fullest extent possible. If certain projects are not possible in the next 1-2 years, BTD should provide a rationale for why longer-term implementation is needed.

Thank you for your consideration of these issues.


Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Cc: Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets
Gina Fiandaca, Transportation Commissioner
Vineet Gupta, Director of Planning, Boston Transportation Department
City Councilor Kim Janey
City Councilor Matt O’Malley
City Councilor Michelle Wu
City Councilor Frank Baker
City Councilor Ed Flynn
Carolyn Royce, Egleston Square Neighborhood Association
Robert Torres, Urban Edge
Becca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union
Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Alliance

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