Category: Statewide Efforts

Statewide Fatal Crashes in MA, February 2024

Statewide Fatal Crashes in MA, February 2024

Each month, we post about the fatal crashes in Massachusetts from a previous month, and share any trends that we see. For the full list of monthly posts, head here

In our previous post, we took a look at crashes listed in the MassDOT Crash Portal in January; nine were identified as people walking. In this post, we’ll look at crashes in MA in February 2024. The information in the chart below is compiled from news reports, and was checked against the MassDOT Crash Portal Dashboard “Fatal Crash Information.” Any Google Street View images included below use the address listed in the crash portal.

  • Of the 20 fatal crashes in Massachusetts in February in the MassDOT Crash portal, 7 were identified as people walking.
  • Similar to last month, some of the pedestrian crashes had the ‘speed limit’ field blank in the Road Inventory Viewer. We are now also using the MassGIS-MassDOT Roads layer to check for speed limit information.
  • The average age of pedestrians hit & killed in February was 60.5.

Date2/12/2024, 5:53 PM
LocationSouth St. + Charles St.
TownHolyoke
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age64
SexM

22News/WWLP reports that a 65-year old man was hit and killed while crossing South Street in Holyoke. Holyoke Mayor Joshua A. Garcia provided a statement to the news outlet:

“I am deeply saddened to hear of this terrible accident and loss that our city has endured. My heart goes out to the family. Here is what we know at this time: The pedestrian who was hit was not using the crosswalk, and it is my understanding that the driver of the vehicle was distracted with cell phone usage at the time of the accident. The Holyoke Police Department does not believe that the lights of that crosswalk played a role in this tragic accident. The Massachusetts State Police are currently investigating the matter and once the MSP Accident Team concludes their investigation, we will be able to provide further updates on the situation.”

22News/WWLP followed up by speaking to Holyoke residents:

Pat O’Connor, who lives near that intersection says she has to cross it often, but doesn’t feel safe doing so, “Even when you are in the crosswalk, they don’t want to stop. I’ve seen people here with wheel chairs, canes, walkers, going across the street and they just try to get around you. Its awful.”

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, South Street is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction. There is a sidewalk on each side of the street. There is not a crosswalk to cross over South at the intersection with Charles Street. The speed limit is 30mph.


Date2/13/2024, 5:53 PM
LocationMain St.
TownSouthbridge
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age66
SexM

We could not find any additional news coverage of this crash. If you have any information, please let us know.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Main Street is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction. There is a sidewalk on one side of the street. The speed limit is 25mph.


Date2/16/2024, 11:57 AM
Location375 Maple St. + 155 Cabot St.
TownHolyoke
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age74
SexF

A 74-year-old Holyoke woman was taken to Baystate Medical Center but died from her injuries after she was struck by the driver of a car at the intersection of Maple and Cabot Streets near the library. This was the second fatal pedestrian crash in February in Holyoke.

News413 reports that MassDOT is working with Holyoke on a safety project for the High and Maple Street corridors; the project is in the planning phase and construction would not be completed until at least 2026.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Maple Street and Cabot Street are both under local jurisdiction. Cabot is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction. There is a sidewalk on both sides of the street. The speed limit is 25mph. Maple is a one-way road in the direction of Cabot with two travel lanes and parking on both sides of the street. There is a sidewalk on both sides of the street. The speed limit is 30mph. There are also School Speed Limit 20mph When Flashing” signs on two sides of the intersection.


Date2/16/2024, 9:35 PM
Location158 Oak St.
TownBrockton
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age44
SexM

WCVB reports the driver of a Chevrolet van was traveling west on Oak Street when it struck a 44-year old man in the roadway in the area of Raymond Elementary School and Brockton North Middle School. The man who was struck was transported by Brewster Ambulance to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton with life-threatening injuries. Police said he was then flown to Boston Medical Center for further treatment; they later died from their injuries.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Oak Street is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction. There is a sidewalk on both sides of the street. The speed limit is 30mph.


Date2/17/2024, 6:20 PM
Location223 Worcester-Providence Tpke.
TownSutton
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age34
SexF

MassLive reports 34-year old Nicole Young was struck and killed by a car in Sutton along Worcester-Providence Turnpike (Rt 146).

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Worcester-Providence Turnpike (Rt-146) is under MassDOT jurisdiction. It is a two-way Multi-lane Highway, not limited access. There are three lanes in each direction with a median. There are no sidewalks. The speed limit is 55mph.


Date2/28/2024, 4:30 AM
LocationMelnea Cass Blvd. + Hampden St.
TownBoston
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age60
SexM

WCVB reports a 60-year old man was struck and killed at the intersection of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Hampden Street around 4:30am; police tape surrounded a black SUV at the scene.

WalkMassachusetts spoke with Boston 25 News about crashes across the state, reinforcing that street improvements and traffic calming are “really an effort of making it safer so everyone can get around and get back to their families.”

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Melnea Cass Blvd and Hampden Street are both under local jurisdiction. Melnea Cass is a two-way road with two through travel lanes and a left turn lane in each direction. Hampden Street is a two-way road with one through travel lane and a dedicated turn lane towards Mass Ave in each direction. There is a sidewalk on both sides of each street. The speed limit is 35mph.


Date2/28/2024, 6:41 PM
Location21 Green St,
TownNewburyport
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age80
SexF

MassLive reports 80-year old Rev. Helen M. Sampson Murgida was struck and killed outside Newburyport City Hall by the driver of a Ford F-150 before she was to give a prayer at the State of the City Address.

Mayor Sean Reardon released a statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of the Rev. Helen M. Sampson Murgida, Affiliate Community Minister at the First Religious Society Unitarian Universalist Church. Rev. Helen was scheduled to deliver a prayer at the State of the City Address.

“This is a tragic day for the Newburyport community. Our hearts are prayers are with her family, friends, and the First Religious Society.

“As an Interfaith Chaplain, Rev. Helen touched many lives within her congregation and throughout Newburyport. She had spent a long and rewarding career in special education, and she carried her passion to support those facing challenges through her faith. She advocated tirelessly for the inclusion of people with disabilities, delivering sermons and organizing community programming to raise awareness.

“She made our City an even more welcoming and inclusive place.

“My office is working with the First Religious Society to offer opportunities for community healing and will be offering ways to help the many community members affected by this loss. We also are making counseling services available to City Hall staff who have been touched by this tragedy.”

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Green Street is under local jurisdiction. It is a one-way road with two travel lanes and parking on both sides. There is a sidewalk on both sides of the street. The speed limit is unclear.


Updates

If you have an update about a community member who was killed in one of these crashes, please contact Brendan so we can update our 2024 list. WalkMassachusetts has maintained a list each year since 2016, pulling the information from news reports, social media, and from people like you that share the information with us.

Monthly crash review

Report: Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2021)
Report: Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2022)
Report: Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2023)


Reminder about the data from the MassDOT portal

MassDOT makes no representation as to the accuracy, adequacy, reliability, availability or completeness of the crash records or the data collected from them and is not responsible for any errors or omissions in such records or data. Under no circumstance will MassDOT have any liability for any loss or damage incurred by any party as a result of the use of the crash records or the data collected from them. Furthermore, the data contained in the web-based crash report tool are not an official record of what transpired in a particular crash or for a particular crash type. If a user is interested in an official copy of a crash report, contact the Registry (http://www.mass.gov/rmv/). The City of Boston Police Department may be contacted directly for official copies of crash reports and for crash data pertaining to the City of Boston. In addition, any crash records or data provided for the years after 2018 are subject to change at any time and are not to be considered up-to-date or complete. As such, open years’ of crash data are for informational purposes only and should not be used for analysis. The data posted on this website, including crash records and other reports, are collected for the purpose of identifying, evaluating or planning the safety enhancement of potential crash sites, hazardous roadway conditions or railway-highway crossings. Under federal law, this information is not subject to discovery and cannot be admitted into evidence in any federal or state court proceeding or considered for other purposes in any action for damages that involves the sites mentioned in these records (see 23 USC, Section 409).

WalkMassachusetts releases annual fatal pedestrian crash report alongside new tools for residents to advocate for safer streets in their own communities

WalkMassachusetts releases annual fatal pedestrian crash report alongside new tools for residents to advocate for safer streets in their own communities

BOSTON, Mass. March 29, 2024 – In 2023, one in every five (20%) fatal motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts involved a person walking getting hit by the driver of a car. Forty cities and towns experienced at least one fatal pedestrian crash over the course of the year, with eight municipalities seeing multiple crashes. More than half (54%) of the deaths occurred in environmental justice communities. 

These insights come from Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2023) WalkMassachusetts’ third annual report tracking pedestrian deaths from motor vehicles around the Commonwealth. Along with calculating the number of pedestrian deaths, the report provides time-of-day, geographic, and other insights to inform solutions for safer streets.

“We are heartbroken each year learning the stories of people walking who lose their lives in these senseless, and largely preventable, crashes,” said Brendan Kearney, co-executive director of WalkMassachusetts. “One factor emerges again and again in these crashes: vehicle speed. Our roads are designed for people to drive too fast. We witness residents across the Commonwealth wanting to advocate for changes in the streets in their own community – and we stand ready to help.”

Older adults (people aged 65 or older) continue to be disproportionately harmed, making up 31.9% of victims while representing only 18% of the state’s population. 

“People of all ages deserve to be safe as we move within and between our communities,” said Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative (MHAC) Executive Director James Fuccione. “For older adults to be active, engaged and included in community life means having infrastructure that prioritizes safety and connection to things we all find meaningful. This data is proof that there is more to be done as we collectively need to advance and quicken the progress being made.”

With over three-quarters of fatal pedestrian crashes in 2023 happening on local streets controlled by a city or town (76.8%), WalkMassachusetts is introducing a new resource to educate and empower people to create safer streets in their own communities: the Walk Audit Academy video series. This series will provide guidance on the elements of what creates a safe street and how to organize a group of friends and neighbors to take action on specific streets.

In addition, WalkMassachusetts is offering a Walk Audit Academy training program, where staff will work with a cohort of three to five groups within a community in a hands-on manner.

People can learn more about both programs here or at www.walkmass.org/waa

“Las auditorías peatonales y los días de demostración con intervenciones temporales permiten a las personas dar su opinión y ver posibles cambios en una calle,” said Noemy Rodriguez, Waterfront Initiative Organizer with GreenRoots in Chelsea. 

[Translation: Walk audits and demonstration days with temporary installations allow people to give feedback and see possible changes to a street.]

WalkMassachusetts’ efforts align with other promising programs being led by MassDOT, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and local cities, including:

  • At least 10 Regional Vision Zero planning efforts are just starting, with funding through the U.S. Department of Transportation Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) discretionary grant program. This is a sign that planning investments on a regional level have happened since our report in March 2023 to respond to safety issues on our roadways.
  • MassDOT has provided 281 school zone assemblies to 130 communities, and is developing a multi-year program to enhance bus stop crossings where pedestrian risk is high or there is a high potential for walking; they are starting with State-owned roadways (reviewing 212 bus stop locations).
  • The City of Boston has rolled out a “Safety Surge,” which focuses on three main areas: Speed Humps, Safer Intersections, and Safer Signals.

Other key crash data from the report

While total pedestrian deaths have dipped slightly from last year’s all-time high of 101 deaths, this year’s total of 69 deaths sits at the average of pedestrian deaths over the past 22 years. Other key insights include:

  • Boston, Springfield, and Brockton have had at least three fatal crashes each year that WalkMassachusetts has released a report.
  • More than three quarters (76.8%) of the fatalities took place on streets controlled by municipalities. Less than 20% (18.8%) were on MassDOT roads.
  • Almost 70% of the fatal pedestrian crashes occurred in the dark (before sunrise or after sunset).
  • More than half (54%) of fatal pedestrian crashes took place in Environmental Justice Census Block Groups.
  • 70.8% of the vehicles people were driving in these fatal crashes were passenger cars, while 21.5% were light trucks. (All vans, minivans, pickups, and SUVs are combined into the “light truck” category.)
  • 7 crashes were hit-and-run resulting in 8 deaths, where the driver left the scene of the crash.

###

About WalkMassachusetts

WalkMassachusetts makes walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment, and more vibrant communities. Founded in 1990 as WalkBoston, the organization envisions a Massachusetts where people walking – no matter their race, identity, age, ability, or lived experience – feel safe, connected, and valued on our streets and sidewalks.

Statewide Fatal Crashes In MA, October 2023

Statewide Fatal Crashes In MA, October 2023

Each month, we post about the fatal crashes in Massachusetts from the previous month, and share any trends that we see. For the full list of monthly posts, head here.

Last month, we took a look at crashes listed in the MassDOT Crash Portal in September; four were identified as people walking. In this post, we’ll look at crashes in MA in October 2023. The information in the chart below is compiled from news reports, and was checked against the MassDOT Crash Portal Dashboard “Fatal Crash Information.” Any Google Street View images included below use the address listed in the crash portal.

  • Of the 31 fatal crashes in Massachusetts in October in the MassDOT Crash portal, 6 were identified as people walking.
  • 5 of the 6 pedestrian crashes had the ‘speed limit’ field blank in the Road Inventory Viewer.
  • The average age of pedestrians hit & killed in October was 63.3

Date10/8/2023, 7:50 PM
LocationSummit St. + Christina Dr.
TownPeabody
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age61
SexM

MassLive reports 61-year old Robert King was crossing the road on Summit Street near Christina Drive when they were hit by a car around 7:40 p.m. on Oct. 7. King died at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Summit St is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction. There is a sidewalk on one side of the street. There is a crosswalk at Christina Drive in Google Street View from 2020. The speed limit is unclear, as it is not listed in the database, and there are no nearby speed limit signs on Google Street View.


Date10/12/2023, 7:52 AM
Location777 West St.
TownPittsfield
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age49
SexM

The Berkshire Eagle reports 49-year old Shane Cassavant was struck by a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado truck driven by 87-year-old Edward Ladouceur. The Pittsfield Police said Ladouceur did not go around the construction zone, and instead drove into it, striking Cassavant with his truck as Cassavant worked in the road.

From the Berkshire Eagle article:

West Street has been the focus of community conversations around making roadways safer for pedestrians after a local mother, Shaloon Milord, was killed after she was struck in a crosswalk on West Street in January while walking her young child to the bus stop.

The city has proposed a series of road changes designed to slow traffic over a mile stretch of the road, including the area where Milord was fatally injured, near Dorothy Amos Park. But that project would end at Valentine Road approximately a half a mile to the east from the apparent site of Thursday’s crash.

The fatal pedestrian crash on West Street in Pittsfield in January also involved a driver in their 80s.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, West Street is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction. There are no sidewalks. The speed limit is unclear, as it is not listed in the database; however, an image in the Berkshire Eagle article shows a 40mph speed limit sign.


Date10/19/2023, 12:56 PM
LocationMain St. + Mountain Ave.
TownMalden
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age63
SexF

WCVB reports 63-year old Mary McTaggart, pushing groceries on the sidewalk, was struck and killed after a multi-car crash in Malden. Investigators say the driver of a BMW SUV slammed into an Immigration and Customs Enforcement SUV that was stopped at this light before the BMW careened off the road, hitting several poles and striking the woman on the sidewalk.

Boston 25 News spoke to someone who had recently seen the victim:

Madina Adolph fought back tears after finishing her first day volunteering in the food pantry of a nearby YMCA. She tells Boston 25 she had just served the woman.

“I cannot believe I just help her get food it just a sad thing you know life is too short,” said Adolph.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Main Street is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction and sidewalks on both sides of the street. The intersection of Main Street and Mountain Avenue has a traffic signal. The speed limit is unclear, as it is not listed in the database.


Date10/26/2023, 7:35 PM
Location19 City Hall Ave.
TownGardner
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age59
SexM

We could not find any additional news coverage of this crash. If you have any information, please let us know.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, City Hall Avenue is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction and a sidewalk on both sides. There is diagonal parking on one side and parallel parking on the other side of the street. The speed limit is unclear, as it is not listed in the database.


Date10/27/2023, 6:01 PM
Location265 Pleasant St.
TownMarblehead
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age80
SexM

The Marblehead Current reports 80-year old Karl Johnson was struck and killed while crossing Pleasant between Smith Street and Mohawk Road.

From the Current article:

Resident Dan Albert, a local safe streets advocate who has researched Pleasant Street, called for more action.

“Speeding continues to be a problem along the 25 mph roadway, despite the recent fatalities and ongoing concerns,” said Albert. “We have lots of data to show us the danger points. And those are not crash data.”

He added, “I would like to know, ‘How are the police using the data that they have from the new speed advisory signs?’”

Albert argues that the busy corridor should be evaluated for a “road diet,” reducing lanes and lane widths to slow cars.

“Pleasant Street may be wide enough to accommodate more and current traffic volumes, including bicycle lanes,” he said. “Narrower lanes themselves can slow speeds. So there are two benefits — slower traffic and more space for other uses.”

Town officials note traffic and street changes should occur as incremental steps to improve safety through traffic calming and enhanced visibility of crosswalks.

In 2022, the town installed bump-outs at three crosswalks along Pleasant Street near Mohawk Road, Smith Street, and on West Shore Drive. The curb extensions narrow the roadway width at crossing points to reduce pedestrian exposure and slow approaching traffic.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Pleasant St/MA-114 is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with one travel lane in each direction and a sidewalk on each side. The speed limit is unclear, as it is not listed in the database; the Marblehead Current articles states it is 25mph.


Date10/27/2023, 6:24 PM
Location235 State St.
TownSpringfield
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age68
SexM

A MassLive obituary shares that Michael Cooley, a lifelong resident of Springfield, died at the age of 68 after being struck by a motorist while crossing the street in front of his apartment at the Classical Condominiums on State Street. State Street was the deadliest street in Springfield for pedestrians in 2021.

From his obituary:

An indominable optimist with an irrepressible sense of humor and a love of his own jokes, Michael was an active member of Rotary and Sinai Temple, a Board Member of Pathlight, a past Grand Master of his Masonic Lodge, and an enthusiastic participant and volunteer at Grey House, the Salvation Army, the Golden Age Club, and Just Faith. He never missed a Sunday making sandwiches for Springfield’s homeless population or the chance to volunteer to help someone in need.

Springfield has never had a more loyal sports fan that Michael. In good times and bad, he was there as a jersey-wearing season ticket holder to cheer on the Falcons, the Thunderbirds, UMass basketball and football teams. Although he had physical challenges and special needs his whole life, Michael was oblivious to his own limitations or those of others. Age, race, religion, and “disability” were distinctions without differences to him except when they called forth a chance to help.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, State Street is under local jurisdiction. It is a two-way road with two travel lanes in each direction. There are sidewalks on both sides of the street. The speed limit is 30mph.


Updates

If you have an update about a community member who was killed in one of these crashes, please contact Brendan so we can update our 2023 list. WalkBoston has maintained a list each year since 2016, pulling the information from news reports, social media, and from people like you that share the information with us.

Yearly trackers:  |  ||||| 2022 | 2023

Report: Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2021)
Report: Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2022)


Reminder about the data from the MassDOT portal

MassDOT makes no representation as to the accuracy, adequacy, reliability, availability or completeness of the crash records or the data collected from them and is not responsible for any errors or omissions in such records or data. Under no circumstance will MassDOT have any liability for any loss or damage incurred by any party as a result of the use of the crash records or the data collected from them. Furthermore, the data contained in the web-based crash report tool are not an official record of what transpired in a particular crash or for a particular crash type. If a user is interested in an official copy of a crash report, contact the Registry (http://www.mass.gov/rmv/). The City of Boston Police Department may be contacted directly for official copies of crash reports and for crash data pertaining to the City of Boston. In addition, any crash records or data provided for the years after 2018 are subject to change at any time and are not to be considered up-to-date or complete. As such, open years’ of crash data are for informational purposes only and should not be used for analysis. The data posted on this website, including crash records and other reports, are collected for the purpose of identifying, evaluating or planning the safety enhancement of potential crash sites, hazardous roadway conditions or railway-highway crossings. Under federal law, this information is not subject to discovery and cannot be admitted into evidence in any federal or state court proceeding or considered for other purposes in any action for damages that involves the sites mentioned in these records (see 23 USC, Section 409).

November 2023 Network Meeting: MA Safe Routes to School Recording

November 2023 Network Meeting: MA Safe Routes to School Recording

Judy Crocker joined us for this month’s WalkMassachusetts Network discussion to share about the MA Safe Routes to School program.

Since 2005, the federally funded Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program (nationally #1 ranked program of MassDOT) 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  as we discuss Their latest efforts include the recent inclusion of high schools, driver education materials, and DESE-accreditation for professional development of their pedestrian and bike safety curriculum.

The session was recorded, and you can view the presentation below.

Links shared during the discussion

The WalkMassachusetts Network typically meets every third Wednesday of each month at 1 pm. Register for upcoming Zoom calls at this link.

Anyone can listen in and participate in monthly calls! Join the Google Group to get a reminder about these Zoom calls.

Do you have a topic that should be discussed at a future meeting? Suggestions welcome!

Testimony against Sidewalk Robot Bills (H3331, H3417, S2228)

Testimony against Sidewalk Robot Bills (H3331, H3417, S2228)

October 27, 2023 

Joint Committee on Transportation
Brendan Crighton, Senate Chair
Room 109-C
Boston, MA 02133

William Straus, House Chair
Room 134
Boston, MA 02133

RE: Testimony against Sidewalk Robot Bills (H3331, H3417, S2228)

Dear Chairman Crighton and Chairman Straus,

WalkMassachusetts is a non-profit organization that works to make walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and more vibrant communities. Founded in 1990 as WalkBoston, we changed our name in April 2023 to better reflect the work we’re doing across the Commonwealth alongside community partners. LivableStreets advocates for practical, people-centered transportation systems in Metro Boston that can dismantle invisible barriers that divide neighborhoods, communities, and people.

We are concerned about legislation that would give robots the same rights to public sidewalks and walkways as pedestrians (H3331, H3417, S2228). Sidewalks, crosswalks, and other walkways across the Commonwealth currently fall short of meeting the needs of people of all ages and abilities, as evidenced by the increasing number of pedestrians killed every year.

Using MassDOT data, WalkMassachusetts released a crash report earlier this year which found that in 2022, 435 people died in traffic crashes in Massachusetts, including 101 people walking. Of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts, 60 communities had a fatal pedestrian crash in 2022, and older adults were hit and killed at a higher rate than those in other age groups. 71% of fatal pedestrian crashes took place in Environmental Justice Census Block Groups. The report can be found at https://walkmass.org/fatal22 

Two sessions ago (March 2019), we testified against a ‘mobile carry device’ bill similar to H3417/S2228. We are broadly concerned that regulations allowing these devices could open the door to privatization of the public way. More specifically, we are troubled about the impacts these vehicles can have on the safety and comfort of pedestrians, young and old, and of people using mobility devices.  A 90-lb device that can carry up to 45-lbs of goods traveling at 12.5 miles per hour should not operate on the sidewalk; instead, it belongs in the street. Even more concerning is H3331, which would allow a 550lb ‘personal delivery device’ to operate at 10 miles per hour on sidewalks. It is unclear what the total weight of this much larger device would be, since the bill notes that this weight excludes cargo. At this weight and speed, the likelihood of a pedestrian injury is high–and likely higher for people who don’t move as fast or cannot see or hear these devices coming down the sidewalk.

We applaud efforts from the private sector for looking to offer deliveries using smaller vehicles. Oversized vehicles are a danger to people walking, biking, and driving. However, if delivery companies are concerned about the risk of their 550 pound vehicles getting struck while traveling on local streets, the answer cannot be to move them to the sidewalks.

Our shared vision for safe streets points to a longstanding need to increase funding for Chapter 90 and MassDOT’s competitive funding programs, including Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, and the Shared Streets and Spaces program. Additionally, there needs to be a strong emphasis to encourage the use of these funds for traffic-calming, sidewalk construction, and other similarly walk-friendly infrastructure. Every reconstruction project should be a Complete Streets project, not just projects that receive money through the Complete Streets funding program. These oversubscribed programs allow communities to implement traffic calming measures and street designs that accommodate a wider range of smaller vehicles for deliveries and transportation.

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

Sincerely,

Brendan Kearney
Co-Executive Director, WalkMassachusetts

Catherine Gleason
Public Policy Manager, LivableStreets Alliance