Category: Event

RSVP for Springfield Walk Audit Academy Community Report Out – November 9 (5-7pm)

RSVP for Springfield Walk Audit Academy Community Report Out – November 9 (5-7pm)

Please join us on November 9th 5-7pm to hear about the “Walk Audit Academy – Springfield” effort and what participants found during their walk audits in Fall 2023. Food will be provided.

This project was led by WalkMassachusetts and sponsored by AARP as part of a Community Challenge Grant.

As part of the evening, we’ll highlight a little about each of the group’s walk audits. There will be a group presentation shared that night. Each group will send a few updates in advance – similar to the info we talked about during the Zoom sessions throughout the fall. (Group coordinators: we’ve sent an email with the details we’d like you to send in! Please let us know if you need it re-sent.)

Location
Neighborhood Resource Center, 437 Bay Street, Springfield

RSVP
Send an email to Jonny – jgp@walkboston.org – if you will be attending.

Who is invited?
This event is open to anyone in the Springfield community (and beyond) that is interested in learning more about walk audits and safe streets efforts – just make sure to RSVP! Doing so will help us plan and ensure that we are able to provide enough food for all attendees. As you RSVP to Jonny, please let him know if you have any questions, a need for Spanish interpretation, or dietary restrictionsjgp@walkboston.org

2023 MassDOT Moving Together Conference

2023 MassDOT Moving Together Conference

Last week WalkMassachusetts had the opportunity to attend and table at MassDOT’s Moving Together Conference. It was wonderful to once again join colleagues who are as passionate about the possibilities of active and public transportation as our staff is. Walking, alongside bicycling and public transport, encourages better health, a cleaner environment, and more vibrant communities in Massachusetts.

Brendan, Althea, Iolando, and Jonny attended workshops and panels, networked with fellow transportation advocates, and shared about WalkMassachusetts’ work while tabling. 

WalkMassachusetts team at Moving Together. Left to right: Brendan, Jonny, Althea, and Iolando.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Althea and Brendan presented on the WalkMassachusetts rebrand and our continued statewide growth at the Pedestrian Safety and Equity in the Commonwealth and Across State Lines panel. They were joined by panelists from the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission and VHB to discuss pedestrian issues and opportunities in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Speakers for the conference included Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll as well as new Acting Secretary and CEO of MassDOT Monica Tibbits-Nutt. 

Slideshow presentations from our Pedestrian Safety panel as well as many others will soon be uploaded to the Moving Together Conference website, so if you weren’t able to join us keep an eye out. Additional panel topics included talks on climate resiliency, multimodal infrastructure, equity initiatives in the Gateway Cities, and much more.

Thanks to MassDOT and the UMass Transportation Center for once again bringing us all together and hosting a wonderful conference!

Acting Secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Monica Tibbits-Nutt giving the Keynote address.
Upcoming WalkMassachusetts Network Learning Opportunities

Upcoming WalkMassachusetts Network Learning Opportunities

The WalkMassachusetts Network Zoom calls take place on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 1pm, and generally are topic focused with a guest speaker. We’re excited to announced August, September, October, and November’s speakers!

Can’t attend mid-day, but really interested in one of the talks below? Don’t worry: each talk/presentation will be recorded so we can share it afterwards. We’ll stop the recording before Q&A as we have the last few months to encourage open discussion. Recordings are posted to our YouTube channel and linked on our website at the bottom under “past events.”

Quick RSVP links are here, full descriptions below and on the WalkMassachusetts Network page.


August 16th: Register for 8/16 1pm on Zoom.
All Things Pedestrian & Traffic Signals

Based on recent conversations on the WalkMassachusetts Network Google Group, we’ve lined up a speaker for August who is very knowledgeable about traffic signals! Come with your signal questions, and be ready to learn about RRFBs, accommodating slower peds, ped recall, protection from concurrent conflicting turns, and more, including Boston’s new traffic signal policy which has enormous improvements for pedestrians.
Speakers include: Peter G. Furth, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University

September 20th: Register for 9/20 1pm on Zoom.
Piecing together, the Mass Central Rail Trail. It is like putting Humpty Dumpty together again.

This is the longest and most complicated former RR corridor to reassemble in New England. Running from Northampton to Boston, it has been a 40+ year journey so far. It is the longest developing rail trail in New England. Today we have 59 of the 104 miles open as a trail. 90.5 miles are in a protected status.
12 miles are currently under construction. In two-years we are likely to have 75 miles open. https://www.masscentralrailtrail.org/ Within 150 miles of Northampton, MA lies the densest network of former steam railroad corridors in the United States. A report by MassDOT showed that the MCRT can be completed, but it begs the question: What would a completed 100 mile long walking and biking trail mean to the Commonwealth? That is what we’ll be talking about on Sept 20th.
Speakers include: Craig Della Penna
Craig is the author of 5 books, the forwards to several more, op-eds in numerous newspapers and in the past few years, 5 books have been written that feature him in them as a case study in various realms. Including two about his innovative real estate practice; specializing in the sale of houses near rail trails. He is the first Realtor in the US to specialize in this niche. He and his wife Kathleen, also operate an award-winning bed & breakfast that sits 8 feet from the now rail trail, in Northampton’s historic Civil War era industrial village of Florence. He has given over 1,200 lectures in 21 states on various topics related to the conversion of former RRs into linear parks known as rail trails.

October 18th: Register for 10/18 on Zoom.
Vacant to Vibrant: Creating Walkable Neighborhoods with Social Infrastructure

Making an area walkable requires paying attention to more than what is on the street—also critical is what happens on the edges. Having good civic spaces creates communities that are strong and resilient and neighborhoods that have accessible, walkable destinations.
Speakers include: Aaron Greiner, the director of CultureHouse, will talk about how they use a community-driven model to reimagine vacant storefronts as pop-up community spaces that meet local needs.

November 15th: Register for 11/15 on Zoom.
MA Safe Routes to School

Since 2005, the federally funded Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program has been working to increase safe biking and walking for students grade K-12 by using a collaborative, community-focused approach that bridges the gap between health and transportation. Join this nationally #1 ranked program of MassDOT as we discuss their latest efforts, including the recent inclusion of high schools, driver education materials, and DESE-accreditation for professional development of their pedestrian and bike safety curriculum.
Speakers include: Judy Crocker, Statewide Coordinator, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School – a program of MassDOT.

Seaport Walk: “A Stroll Through the Seaport: Past Present and Future”

Seaport Walk: “A Stroll Through the Seaport: Past Present and Future”

Every season WalkMassachusetts invites our supporters and friends to join us for free, point-to-point walks along 1-1.5 mile routes where we hear from guest speakers who discuss local projects, area history, built environment changes, and more. It gives us a wonderful opportunity to learn new things about our neighborhoods, connect with our supporters beyond a screen, and of course, walk!


Image: Yanni Tsipis, Senior VP of Fenway | Seaport Development at WS Development explains how this plaza was made to feel welcoming to visitors and residents alike. 

For July, we held a walk called “A Stroll Through the Seaport: Past Present and Future.” Yanni Tsipis, the Senior Vice President of Fenway | Seaport Development at WS Development guided us along a fully accessible walking route in the Seaport District.  The route began at Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel and ended at Cisco Brewers Seaport.


Image: Using wood instead of asphalt or concrete can help mitigate the urban heat island effect.

The Seaport District has famously undergone many changes since the early 2000s, going from a largely uninhabited industrial port to a bustling mixed-use neighborhood today. WS Development has devoted their 33 acres of land to “residential, hotel, office, retail, entertainment, civic and cultural uses, as well as signature public open spaces.” For over a decade now, WalkMassachusetts has assisted with walk audits and advised on projects and development to ensure that the area is walkable and welcoming.


Image: Yanni discusses the expansion of the green spaces next to the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Throughout the walk, Yanni took care to explain the intentionality behind WS’ design choices: planter boxes with native wildflowers that buffer pedestrians from traffic; playful sculptures that create a welcoming energy; the use of wood, grass, and trees to mitigate heat; the gently sloping foundations that will be resilient to sea-level rise.


Image: Yanni explains that the building under construction out of frame will be net-zero carbon and source its electricity from renewable resources.

Thank you so much to all who joined us! To read more about Seaport’s history and future, check out this oral history in Boston Magazine. 

Keep an eye out for our next event! We’re heading to Franklin Park on September 19th!

Thanks for coming on the 2023 Bob Sloane Walk

Thanks for coming on the 2023 Bob Sloane Walk

Thank you so much to everyone who joined us yesterday for our 2023 Bob Sloane Walk! It was a pleasure to gather with friends, learn from our speakers, and enjoy a walk (despite the rain!) through downtown, Boston Common, and the South End. WalkMassachusetts has a yearly tradition of leading a free walk each spring along a short route that includes stops where we hear from guest speakers. This was our second year hosting a springtime walk in honor of Bob Sloane, a co-founder of WalkBoston who passed away in May 2021. He was a true pioneer in walking advocacy and a pillar of our organization. We thank those who shared loving memories of him throughout the event.  

We’d also like to say a big thank you also to our wonderful speakers! Shawn Quigley, a Park Ranger with the National Park Service, gave a moving account on the history of the 54th Regiment, one of the first Black regiments of the American Civil War, at their memorial just across the street from the State House. 

Nathan Frazee, a Project Manager from Boston Parks and Recreation Department shared about the process and implementation of the Boston Common Master Plan. 

The last talk was given under the arms of ‘The Embrace’ Memorial by Brian Sandford, a designer with MASS Design Group, the nonprofit architecture firm behind the memorial’s design and realization for their client, Embrace BostonWe ended the evening with drinks at MASS Design Group’s office space in the South End while perusing their “Making the Embrace” exhibit. Thank you to MASS for welcoming us into your fantastic space.

(We even glimpsed a rainbow before the sun set.) 

Thank you for helping us honor Bob Sloane’s legacy and continue his advocacy work. Keep an eye out for more events this summer!