Tag: comment letter

Comment Letter on Proposed Patrick Subaru Dealership, EEA #16747

Comment Letter on Proposed Patrick Subaru Dealership, EEA #16747

September 11, 2023

Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Attn: MEPA Office, Alexander Strysky (via email)

Re: Comments on Proposed Patrick Subaru Dealership, EEA #16747

Dear Alex:

WalkMassachusetts (previously known as WalkBoston) is Massachusetts’ primary pedestrian advocacy organization, working across the Commonwealth with a vision for Massachusetts where people walking – no matter their race, identity, age, ability, or lived experience – feel safe, connected, and valued on our streets and sidewalks. We are writing with comments for the proposed Patrick Subaru Dealership, EEA #16747.

The project site is located at 701 Boston Turnpike in Shrewsbury, at the corner of Route 9 and South Street. There was a fatal hit & run crash at this location on October 30, 2022 just after 10pm, where 20-year old Ghufran Mutar was struck and killed while crossing Route 9 at the intersection with South Street on her way home from working at CVS. Our fatal crash report released earlier this year showed that this was one of 101 fatal crashes involving pedestrians in 2022, of which 71% were located in environmental justice census block groups, which includes this location.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Route 9 is under MassDOT jurisdiction, and South Street is under local jurisdiction. Route 9 is a two-way divided roadway, with two lanes in each direction and additional left turn lanes at the intersection. There are no sidewalks on either street, and no crosswalks for any leg of the intersection. Route 9 is a barrier to safe walking and biking in many communities across the Commonwealth. The 2023 Strategic Highway Safety Plan prioritizes collaboration: “Beyond state-municipal coordination, this plan also seeks to highlight how external partners and private industry can contribute to improving safety.” We encourage the proponent to include a sidewalk along the project’s South Street frontage, and we encourage the proponent, municipality, and MassDOT to add crosswalks, ADA ramps, and pedestrian signals to make crossing Route 9 at this intersection safer and accessible.

Thank you,

Brendan Kearney
Co-Executive Director, WalkMassachusetts

Comments on Re-Imagining Massachusetts’ Post-Pandemic Transportation System

Comments on Re-Imagining Massachusetts’ Post-Pandemic Transportation System

Comments to Senate Committee on Re-Imagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency

Dear Senator Hinds and Committee Members:

WalkBoston is Massachusetts’ primary pedestrian advocacy organization, working across the Commonwealth to make it safer and easier for people to walk for all activities of daily living such as access to transit, school and jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic gave stark evidence that walkable neighborhoods and communities are critical to physical and mental health, to reducing isolation and to the resilience of all Massachusetts residents and their neighborhoods.

In light of the pandemic, we have learned that key components of the transportation system to support walking should include:

  • Speed management. We need measures to control, and often reduce, speeds on Commonwealth roadways so that they are safe for all roadway users. During the initial months of the pandemic, there was dangerous speeding on roadways across Massachusetts. MassDOT’s ongoing initiative to create tools and measures to set and manage safe speeds on all MassDOT roadways (other than limited access highways) needs the support and encouragement of the legislature to ensure its success, and then to bring those same measures to municipal roads as well.
  • Safe connections to transit. As we learned during the pandemic, essential workers are more dependent on transit than many others. We need fully accessible transit and bus stops throughout Massachusetts, including safe street crossings and sidewalk connections to adjacent neighborhoods. These are crucial to a transit system that works for everyone.
  • More local funding to repurpose public space. The overwhelmingly popular MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces program that was introduced in response to the pandemic has demonstrated that municipalities are interested and ready to rethink how they use their streets to enable more and safer outdoor recreation,
    commerce, community activities, and mobility.
  • Chapter 90 and Complete Streets. Chapter 90 funds have been traditionally used to build and maintain municipal roads without requirements that sidewalks and crosswalks be included. We suggest that the Committee review this standard and consider including Complete Streets measures within Chapter 90, similar to those requirements set by the legislature for MassDOT roadways.
  • DCR Parkways. DCR’s recently released (and long delayed) Parkway Master Plan clearly demonstrates that immediate action is needed to vastly improve safety for people bicycling and walking. Parkways are cultural and historic landmarks and should remain fully integrated components of parks and open spaces, used and enjoyed by people for walking, rolling, and riding as originally intended. With a commitment to accelerated improvement in partnership with MassDOT, parkways should remain under DCR’s purview. We urge the legislature to set funding and regulatory standards for DCR as follows:
    • Adopt MassDOT’s Complete Streets guidelines as their default design standard for all parkways;
    • Utilize MassDOT crash portal data to implement quick-build improvements on the most dangerous parkway roads and intersections within the next 12 months;
    • Align its parkway speed limits with local speed limits, especially in municipalities where the default speed has been reduced to 25 miles/hour or less;
    • Provide DCR with the budget needed to complete the recommendations in the DCR Parkway Master Plan;
    • Require DCR to set measurable goals to reduce the number of serious and fatal crashes on DCR roadways and report publicly and annually on progress toward these goals; and
    • Require DCR to add analysis and recommendations for several key parkways currently missing from the plan.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Stacey Beuttell
Executive Director, WalkBoston
405 Waltham Street, Suite 309
Lexington, MA 02421

North End Cross Street Boutique Hotel Comment Letter

North End Cross Street Boutique Hotel Comment Letter

Lance Campbell
Senior Project Manager
Boston Planning & Development Agency
April 19, 2021

Re: WalkBoston Comments on North End Cross Street Boutique Hotel

Dear Lance:
WalkBoston attended the public meeting on April 7th for the North End Cross Street Boutique Hotel and offered comments during the virtual meeting. We are pleased that many of the changes will improve the pedestrian experience in approaching and using the proposed buildings, as well as the newly created plaza and passageway.

The passageway between the two buildings will create a new connection between the Rose Kennedy Greenway and Cutillo Park for people walking. We are glad to see the plan will activate the plaza for people along the Greenway, as it includes new seating opportunities both bordering the building with the hotel and restaurant spaces, as well as new public seating closer to the corner of Hanover Street. We appreciate the visual cue of the concrete sidewalk through the site plan’s plaza as recommended by the City of Boston’s Disability Commission.

The Cross Street and Hanover Street intersection is currently used as a geofenced rideshare pickup and drop-off location, as users are directed within their apps to meet their drivers here. This geofencing makes it possible to limit rideshare pickup and drop-off on other streets in the North End, and is one way that the City of Boston can regulate curb use. With an improved pick up and drop-off area included in this project, we hope that this effort will continue.
Finally, we ask that the proponent commit to clearing the entire plaza and crosswalks curb cuts of snow and ice during the winter months in order to ensure safe walking throughout the year. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the plan. We would be pleased to discuss any of these items further with you.

Thank you,
Stacey Beuttell
Executive Director, WalkBoston

Brendan Kearney
Deputy Director, WalkBoston

76 Ashford Street Comment Letter

76 Ashford Street Comment Letter

April 23, 2021

Michael Sinatra
Boston Planning and Development Agency

Re: 76 Ashford Street PNF

Dear Mr. Sinatra:

WalkBoston has reviewed the PNF for the 76 Ashford Street Project with respect to its impacts and benefits for people walking and using transit.

We are very pleased that the proponent is reserving the land and right-of-way necessary to provide walking, biking and bus access to West Station, and that the built condition will be at the elevation necessary for this connection. This is an absolutely critical element of a successful multi-modal West Station that will allow this part of Boston to become home to transit oriented development. We request that the City make this reservation for walking, biking and bus access to West Station a requirement for the project to receive its environmental and development approvals.

We support the interim use of this access reservation land as open space and urge the proponent to work with the City of Boston, MassDOT and the MBTA to ensure that once the I-90 Allston Multi-Modal Project is built that residents of the building will have access to high quality open space in the neighborhood and along the Charles River.

The building ground-level retail space which will face West Station is a welcoming element of the project to transit users and people walking, and is an appropriate and welcome project element.

We are also pleased that the project has been proposed with a low ratio of parking spaces (approximately .25 spaces/unit). We believe that this is appropriate for a development that will be in such close proximity to West Station and that is also well served by existing bus and Green Line service.

Overall, we are excited that the private development community is responsive to the promise of West Station and its potential for excellent transit service, and look forward to seeing a transit oriented development that includes on-site affordable units.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.


Wendy Landman, Senior Policy Advisor

Call for public input in the Cape Cod Bridge Replacement process

Call for public input in the Cape Cod Bridge Replacement process

Bob Sloane, who calls the Cape home for much of the summer, recently published an opinion piece in the Cape Cod Times describing the replacement of the Cape Cod bridges as a “big, expensive once-in-a-lifetime event.” For those of you who know Bob’s commitment to the Allston multi-modal project, these adjectives sound eerily familiar. Read about Bob’s latest call for public input here.