Tag: biking

Comment on Mount Auburn Corridor Study

Comment on Mount Auburn Corridor Study

September 27, 2017

RE: Mount Auburn Corridor Study – Comments on Concepts Presented on August 18, 2016

WalkBoston would like to submit the following comments on the draft concepts for the Mount Auburn Corridor Study presented on August 18, 2016. We understand that the concepts may have changed since the presentation, but we feel it is valuable for these comments to be captured. We have organized our comments according to specific intersections.

While we appreciate the detail with which the consultants have addressed road crossings for people walking, we feel that the overall pedestrian pathway network has not been adequately addressed. Overall, there needs to be more attention paid to the areas of overlap where people walking and people biking intersect.

Intersection of Mt Auburn Street at Brattle Street

Under the assumption that vehicular traffic volumes at this intersection warrant a traffic signal, the plan diagram (shown on slide 9 of the August 18 presentation) shows both a crosswalk and bike crossing at the east side of the intersection. At the southern end of this dual use crossing, the sidewalk appears to narrow and there is limited (if any) area for people walking to wait for the signal. We would like some assurance that there is a continuous sidewalk and adequate space for pedestrians waiting to cross.

The northern end of the dual use crossing appears to require pedestrians to cross the bike lane to reach the sidewalk running east on Brattle Street and to use the crosswalk when walking west along Mount Auburn Street. There is also no delineated path for people walking west along Mt Auburn Street to safely cross the proposed driveway connections or the proposed bike path leading west from Brattle Street. While we realize this diagram is preliminary, we would like to see that people walking are given the same connected network as people biking and driving.

Gerrys Landing, Memorial Drive, Eliot Bridge, Greenough Blvd

The shortened crossing distances and single-phase crossings in the Two-T Alternative concept are significant improvements to the pedestrian infrastructure that exists today (shown on slide 46 of the August 18 presentation). Our concerns in this area lie in the interactions between cyclists and pedestrians at the crossing locations. The diagrams indicate that cyclists and pedestrians will be sharing waiting areas and in some cases crossing paths to reach destinations. We would like to see a finer grained delineation of space for each user group. Furthermore, the bike paths appear connected, but the sidewalk network is either disjointed or not present.

Intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway at Huron Ave

The plan diagram (shown on slide 52 of the August 18 presentation) shows a raised intersection at Fresh Pond Parkway and Huron Avenue. Given the vehicular traffic volumes in this location and the allowance of trucks, we were surprised to see this proposal. Furthermore, the pedestrian refuge island at the intersection’s southeastern corner seems to interrupt the bike lane without providing benefit to walkers. If there is extra room at this location, we would rather see a curb bump-out or wider sidewalk.

Mid-block Crossing on Fresh Pond Parkway at Larch Street

The mid-block crossing proposed across Fresh Pond Parkway near the Larch Street intersection (shown on slide 55 of the August 18 presentation) seems dangerous even with the introduction of a raised crossing and Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs). Pedestrians using this crossing may presume cars will stop once the beacons (RRFBs) are flashing which could lead to tragic consequences. The sight lines along this curvy section of Fresh Pond Parkway and the traffic speeds make this proposal inadvisable. We would suggest that more study be done to substantiate the need for the crossing, and for a safer location to be identified should the need be justified.

Intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway and Brattle Street

The proposed tightening of curb radii at this intersection is welcomed, but we question the proposed raised intersection once again given traffic volumes.

At the August 18 presentation, the guardrail along the western edge of Fresh Pond Parkway was discussed. Some people in the Stakeholders Meeting felt that the “highway scale” guardrail may make drivers feel that they can speed. Furthermore, the railing is not in character with the “park-like and historic” space adjacent to it. Neighborhood residents advocated for the guardrail to be installed to protect children and other pedestrians walking along Fresh Pond Parkway. Several harrowing stories were told about high traffic speeds and erratic drivers. If there is a solution that protects walkers and is more in character with the surroundings, then it could be considered. However, safety must be prioritized in this location given its proximity to Shady Hill School and Buckingham Browne and Nichols School.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit these comments and for inviting us to be a member of the stakeholder group. We welcome any questions you may have about these comments and look forward to your response.

7 Massachusetts Communities make “Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015″ list!

7 Massachusetts Communities make “Best Complete Streets Policies of 2015″ list!

April 12, 2016:

Today, Smart Growth America’s National Complete Streets Coalition unveiled their rankings for the best Complete Streets policies that were passed in the nation in 2015.

Complete Streets policies—including laws, resolutions, executive orders, policies, and planning and design documents—encourage and provide safe access to destinations for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income, ethnicity, or how they travel. “The presence of improved walkways and bicycle facilities encourages an active, healthy lifestyle and can lead to improved safety for all people, no matter how they travel through our cities and towns,” said Wendy Landman, Executive Director of WalkBoston. “At some point in every trip, everyone is a pedestrian.”

Congratulations to all the Massachusetts communities that passed Complete Streets ordinances in 2015, and especially the communities that landed on Smart Growth America’s best policies list: Longmeadow (tied for 3rd), Weymouth (4th), Ashland, Natick and Norwell (all tied for 7th), Lynn and Framingham ( tied for 9th).

While over 30 cities and towns in Massachusetts have already taken steps to implement Complete Streets, the new MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program is helping to provide support to encourage even more cities and towns do so.

“The creation and implementation of the Complete Streets Funding Program has been a top priority for us and for our public health partners across the state,” said Rebekah Gewirtz, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association. “Making it safe – and in some cases just plain possible – to walk, bike, and use transit will improve public health; complete streets are an essential tool to combat health inequities.”

In addition to health benefits, Complete Streets can boost the local economy by supporting local business districts and increasing property values. “Many municipal leaders see complete streets as an important contributor to quality of life in their communities,” said D.J. Wilson from the Mass Municipal Association. “They can encourage residents and visitors to shop locally, which help to attract and retain workplaces and employees.”

Learn more about the National Complete Streets Coalition’s rankings:

Learn more about the MassDOT Complete Streets Funding Program: http://www.mass.gov/massdot/completestreets


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Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Assessments Dennis

Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Assessments Dennis

Dennis is one of 18 communities participating in the MassDOT multi-disciplined program to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety in Massachusetts. One of the components of the MassDOT program is to conduct walk and bike assessments that identify infrastructure challenges to biking and walking, and recommend short- and long-term improvements. These assessments are also a means of building local knowledge of the importance of well-designed bicycle and pedestrian facilities. WalkBoston and MassBike conducted assessments along Route 6A between Old Bass River Road and Nobscusset Road, and at three Cape Cod Rail Trail road crossings near the South Gages/Great Western Road intersection.

Read the full report here:

MassDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program

MassDOT Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Program


With MassDOT and the Massachusetts Dept of Public Health (DPH), WalkBoston and MassBike are helping develop and implement pedestrian and bicycle safety strategies aimed at achieving the state’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) goal of reducing fatalities and injuries among bicyclists and pedestrians by 20% in the next 5 years. 

The three major components of the strategy are:
1.     Enforcement
2.     Education/Awareness
3.     Preparation of communities for infrastructure improvements 

The pilot program is focused on 12 communities which were selected based on high rates of non-motorist crashes, high rates of walking and biking activity, and participation in the DPH Mass in Motion program (8 of the 12 communities selected are Mass in Motion communities).

The community-based efforts to increase walking and biking in Mass in Motion communities provides an excellent platform to support increased pedestrian and bicycle safety strategies, and then make effective infrastructure investments to make the built environment safer for those trips.


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HANDOUT: Funding for Healthy Transportation Options (Mass in Motion)

HANDOUT: Funding for Healthy Transportation Options (Mass in Motion)

This is an informational handout that was part of the 2014 Bike/Walk Summit presented by MassBike and WalkBoston.

The Issue – Active transportation plays an essential role in achieving important public health outcomes like lowering obesity rates and reducing chronic disease and health care costs associated with a sedentary lifestyle. More than half of adults and 1 in 4 high school and middle school students in Massachusetts are overweight or obese.*

In recent years, there have been increasing opportunities to use public health funding to support local efforts that improve biking and walking safety, and encourage education and awareness of biking and walking as transportation.

Mass in Motion is a statewide program that promotes active living and healthy eating in the places people live, learn, work and play. MassBike and WalkBoston have both been working alongside Mass in Motion coordinators in the 52 Mass in Motion communities to get more people walking and biking. Please review the enclosed Mass in Motion info sheet for program highlights.

Mass in Motion is funded through a unique partnership among leading health organizations in the Commonwealth, five major health foundations, and, most importantly, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s Community Transformation Grant Program (CTG), which was defunded by Congress in January 2014. The CTG program was scheduled to continue until September 2016, but instead will end this September. This loss of funding will leave many communities and organizations without the resources to continue working for more active transportation and healthier food options.

The Ask – We need our legislators to know that funding for active living programs like Mass in Motion have real benefits for individuals and communities, and that investing in these programs will save money in the long run by reducing future health care spending. Mass in Motion has already achieved real outcomes that will be jeopardized by a premature end of the program.

We ask that legislators connect with their local Mass in Motion programs to learn what is happening in their communities. Please also consult your legislators for advice about opportunities for state funding to ensure that Mass in Motion can continue beyond September 2014.

*Source: Mass in Motion (http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/community-health/mass-in-motion/)