New state Pedestrian Plan is a positive step

New state Pedestrian Plan is a positive step

By Adi Nochur/Project Manager, WalkBoston

As the largest single investor in the state’s roadway and pedestrian system, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation [MassDOT] has a critical responsibility to take pedestrian safety, accessibility, and convenience seriously in all of its actions and investments. With its release of a draft Massachusetts Pedestrian Transportation Plan last fall, the agency has expressed a strong commitment to addressing these issues.

The Plan recommends policies, programs, and projects for MassDOT to guide decision-making and capital investments. It also provides a Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability to support cities and towns in their efforts to improve walkability on local streets. The Plan advances a vision that all people in Massachusetts have a safe and comfortable option to walk for short trips.

The Plan further outlines goals of eliminating pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries and increasing the percentage of short trips made by walking. It is rooted in principles of treating people walking the same as people driving, focusing on systematic safety improvements, and supporting municipalities to do the same. We are especially pleased that MassDOT is using the Plan to improve its own practices and lead by example — an approach that WalkBoston encouraged throughout the development of the Plan.

We support the Plan’s vision, goals, and principles and applaud several of its action items, including research on the impacts and benefits of automated speed enforcement, construction of safe crossings to connect bus stops to destinations, piloting a winter snow and ice removal initiative on pedestrian facilities, and collection and analysis of pedestrian-focused data. Please see our comments on the draft Plan:

WalkBoston also offered several recommendations to strengthen the Plan. These included preparing in-depth analysis of pedestrian injury patterns across the state and by race, creating an annual review process with advocates and peers outside MassDOT to ensure continuous improvement, and providing more in-depth state-level tracking and municipal guidance around pedestrian signals.

We look forward to seeing a final version of the Plan in 2019. As part of the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, we will play an important role in guiding the Plan’s implementation. Through continued collaboration with partners from the advocacy community, and state and local government, we will continue to make steady progress toward the goal of a more walkable Massachusetts for all.

For more info on MassDOT’s Pedestrian Plan, head to:

This article was featured in WalkBoston’s February 2019 newsletter.
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