Tag: 2014

Front Page of the Globe – “How Dangerous, No One Knows” highlights gaps in Boston crash data

Front Page of the Globe – “How Dangerous, No One Knows” highlights gaps in Boston crash data

This article was featured on the front page of the Boston Globe, Tuesday, 8/19/2014 – click here for the full story 

By not reporting crashes to the state, [Boston] may have missed out on grants and programs such as an innovative MassDOT effort to improve enforcement, awareness, and infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Announced in April, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Awareness and Enforcement Program will share about a half-million dollars to help 12 communities around the state pay for stepped-up enforcement and awareness campaigns such as training for the public and police.

Landman and WalkBoston have been participating in walking audits in high-crash areas like Fall River and Chelsea. That information, along with feedback from the program’s enforcement component, will help to identify hazards, with the state helping to make infrastructure improvements in the future.

“Understanding what’s going on is important before you come up with solutions,” Landman said. 


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May 20, 2014                                                                                               


Michelle Blundell, 202.478.6176


Wendy Landman, 617.367.9255



Older adults, children most threatened by streets built for speed, not safety

BOSTON, MA – Boston is among the safest in the nation for pedestrians, ranking 1st out of the 51 largest metro areas, a new report released by the National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, said.

While many streets across the country are perilous for people walking, hundreds of communities, like the City of Boston and a number of Boston area municipalities, are working to make their streets safe and welcoming for people on foot. In recent years, scores of communities have begun to redesign roads as “complete streets,” adding sidewalks and bicycle lanes, reducing crossing distances and improving crosswalks. Such design features have helped make walking safe and comfortable for everyone.

Pedestrian safety is not only important for the lives it saves and injuries it prevents, but it also promotes vibrant businesses, attracts tourists, reduces pollution and allows for healthier communities with increased physical activity.

Though the report found that Greater Boston is safer when compared to other metros across the country, 476 pedestrians were killed from 2003 to 2012 — an unacceptable number no matter Boston’s ranking. Continuing to invest resources in making our streets safe for all users is key to ending these preventable deaths.

In addition to ranking America’s major metropolitan areas according to a Pedestrian Danger Index to assess how safe pedestrians are while walking, the report, Dangerous by Design presents data on pedestrian fatalities and injuries in every U.S. metro area, state, and county. The report also includes an online, interactive map showing the locations where people walking have been fatally struck by the driver of a vehicle.

“While we should celebrate our good ranking, we must remember that the last decade has seen 476 pedestrians killed on Boston area roads, which represents almost 20 percent of all traffic fatalities,” said Wendy Landman, Executive Director of WalkBoston. “Almost 7,000 pedestrians were injured during that same period, and 34 child pedestrians died in Massachusetts from 2003 – 2010. These numbers keep us focused on a future where our streets are safe for everyone.”

These are all preventable tragedies. WalkBoston continues to work hard with state, municipal and neighborhood partners to make our streets and sidewalks safe for all walkers. WalkBoston will soon begin a new safety initiative with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to increase traffic safety in 12 pilot communities (Brockton, Cambridge, Fall River, Haverhill, Lynn, New Bedford, Newton, Pittsfield, Quincy, Salem, Somerville and Watertown). WalkBoston is currently working with the Boston Public Schools on improving walking conditions between middle schools and nearby transit and bus stops.

The majority of pedestrian deaths occur on roadways that are dangerous by design —engineered and operated for speeding traffic with little to no provision for the safety of people walking, biking or using public transit. Sadly, older adults, children and minorities are the most at risk while walking, dying in disproportionate numbers.

“Our hardest work lies ahead in places like Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester and Mattapan and Cambridge Street in Allston where wide streets and fast-moving cars make it less safe and less attractive for walkers,” said Landman. “By way of contrast, just ask a restaurant owner in the North End whether its attractive and safe walking environment fuels their business.”

Pedestrian safety is often perceived as a strictly local issue but, for decades, federal dollars have been invested in thousands of miles of state and local roads in the heart of communities. In fact, 68 percent of all pedestrian fatalities over the past decade occurred on federal-aid roads — roads that follow federal guidelines and are eligible to receive federal funds.

“We are allowing an epidemic of pedestrian fatalities, brought on by streets designed for speed and not safety, to take nearly 5,000 lives a year; a number that increased six percent between 2011 and 2012,” said Roger Millar, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition. “Not only is that number simply too high, but these deaths are easily prevented through policy, design, and practice.  State and local transportation leaders need to prioritize the implementation of Complete Streets policies to improve safety for people walking.”

The federal government sets the tone for a national approach to safety, and Congress can address this critical issue by passing the Safe Streets Act as it renews the transportation law. State governments and agencies also can take a number of actions to improve pedestrian safety, starting with adopting a strong Complete Streets policy and following a comprehensive action plan to ensure the streets are planned and designed for the safety and comfort of people walking.

We look forward to the day when our services are no longer in high demand. We aren’t there yet. So, lets celebrate our accomplishments but remain dedicated to a future of complete streets and safety for all.

To view the full report, please click here.


­­­­­About The National Complete Streets Coalition
The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, seeks to fundamentally transform the look, feel and function of the roads and streets in our community, by changing the way most roads are planned, designed and constructed. Complete Streets policies direct transportation planners and engineers to consistently plan and design streets with all users in mind.

About Smart Growth America
Smart Growth America is the only national organization dedicated to researching, advocating for and leading coalitions to bring better development to more communities nationwide. From providing more sidewalks to ensuring more homes are built near public transportation or that productive farms remain a part of our communities, smart growth helps make sure people across the nation can live in great neighborhoods.

About WalkBoston
WalkBoston makes walking safer and easier in Massachusetts to encourage better health, a cleaner environment and vibrant communities. Our work in 101 Massachusetts cities and towns has helped put walking on the agenda.

Bridge Project Management, Project File No. 606475 (Allston / I-90 Massachusetts Turnpike Interchange Improvement Project)

Bridge Project Management, Project File No. 606475 (Allston / I-90 Massachusetts Turnpike Interchange Improvement Project)

April 24, 2014

Patricia Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116

ATTN: Bridge Project Management, Project File No. 606475
Delivery via email to dot.feedback.highway@state.ma.us

Dear Ms. Leavenworth,

WalkBoston is pleased to provide comments on the Allston I-90, Massachusetts Turnpike Interchange Improvement Project and the April 10, 2014 public meeting. We are also pleased to have been invited to participate in the project advisory group.

We write to note the issues that we hope will be addressed by the project, some of them to be included in long-range planning and others to be included in project design – but all of them will contribute to the successful reclamation of a large and important piece of the City that has for too long been disregarded as a part of the surrounding community.

1. Project scope – The scope of the project needs to extend far enough along the Turnpike to look at bigger picture auto circulation, including access between the Longwood Medical Area, the Fenway, Back Bay and the Turnpike and relief of traffic at the Bowker Overpass and on Storrow Drive. Addressing these major vehicular demands will potentially provide significant opportunities to enhance the regionally important open space, walking, running and bicycling assets along the Charles River.

2. Pedestrian access throughout the project – Scoping of the project should include guidelines for designs to facilitate pedestrian travel through the project and into surrounding neighborhoods.

3. Air rights development – Intensive use of the air rights above the rail yards and the Turnpike can be foreseen as part of any long-range plan. Ramps and access roads, the mainline of the Turnpike and the commuter rail yards should be designed to accommodate development of the air rights.

4. Land uses in the newly available land – The needs of the community and adjacent institutions should guide development, rather than the needs of traffic to and from the Turnpike. Traffic needs should not limit the explorations of the potential uses of the land.

5. Affordable housing for residents of Allston – Housing goals should be outlined early to permit inclusion in all aspects of the study.

6. Minimize the impacts of regional traffic on neighborhood streets – The alignment and connections of turnpike on and off-ramps should be designed to minimize cut through traffic and to protect the integrity of residential areas.

7. Rail Yards – The design for reconstruction of the rail yards should minimize the number of required tracks (possibly looking at other locations to provide some of the necessary rail yards) and provide footprints for the supporting columns that enable air rights development above them.

8. Commuter rail station – The design of a new West Station should be advanced to a point where its location and likely dimensions are known, to allow for planning its access to proceed as part of this project. Station access should be provided for both sides of the rail tracks between North Allston and Commonwealth Avenue.

9. Reconnecting Packard’s Corner area and North Allston – An impenetrable wall of rail tracks and the Turnpike will separate the two parts of this neighborhood forever, unless provision for crossing is planned from the beginning, either with air rights or with bridges, or both.

10. Transit access – Bus, commuter rail and other modes of public transportation should be considered as part of the overall design at a very early date.

11. Turnpike main line – The lanes in the new portion of the Turnpike between Agganis Way and Cambridge St. should be separated sufficiently to allow for the construction of supporting columns for new uses on air rights above the Turnpike.

12. Turnpike access ramps – Access ramps should be designed in spare and efficient ways that afford the maximum use of the land for non-transportation purposes. Short tunnels should not be excluded from consideration.

13. Storrow Drive Alignment – A long-range plan for the area should include relocation of a portion of Soldiers Field Road away from the river. All access to and from the Turnpike and Cambridge Street should take this into consideration and not preclude potential options for connections.

14. A new park along the river – Relocation of Storrow Drive away from the river allows expansion of the adjacent parkland, which is now very narrow and constrained.

15. Connecting the area with the Charles River – Alternatives should be examined for connections between development in this area and the river for both pedestrians and bicycles.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input to the project.

Best regards,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Bob Sloane
Senior Project Manager