Tag: Worcester

Join WalkMass and WalkBike Worcester at Union Station for a walk on May 23 at 5:30pm!

Join WalkMass and WalkBike Worcester at Union Station for a walk on May 23 at 5:30pm!

We look forward to seeing you on May 23rd at 5:30pm for our latest walk!

What: WalkMass – 2024 Bob Sloane Walk (Worcester)
When: May 23, 5:30pm-7:30pm
Where: starting at Union Station (2 Washington Sq, Worcester, MA 01604)
Price: Free, but donations are welcome to support our work.
RSVP here: https://www.givesignup.org/TicketEvent/BobSloaneWalk2024

Each spring, we lead a free walk with a ~1-1.5 mile route that includes ~2-4 stops along the way where we hear from a guest speaker. We start or end near public transit, and usually end at a place where people can mingle/have a drink if they’d like to continue conversations. This year’s Spring kickoff walk will be in Worcester in conjunction with WalkBike Worcester and start at Union Station (2 Washington Sq, Worcester, MA 01604).

Route description (updated 5/22):

  • This year’s route will start at Union Station with a welcome from Brendan Kearney (WalkMassachusetts) and Karin Valentine Goins (WalkBike Worcester). We’ll also hear from Soloe Dennis (Worcester Department of Public Health), recent department winner of a Golden Shoe Award
  • We will head towards Worcester City Hall where we’ll hear from Steve Rolle (Department of Transportation & Mobility) who will speak here about Main Street project and Complete Streets policy. Of note: the Worcester Mobility Action Plan Draft just went out for public comment/review.
  • We’ll stop by Worcester Public Library, the site of a new Miyawaki Forest (on what was previously 8 parking spots) where we’ll hear from staff from the Department of Sustainability & Resilience. 
  • We’ll continue to Green Street and past the site of Worcester Public Market to hear about the reconstruction of the notorious Kelley Square intersection from Tom Emerick (MassDOT) and Erin Thompson (VHB).
  • We’ll end at a restaurant nearby (El Patron, 192 Harding St, Worcester, MA 01604) where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat at their outdoor space and continue to chat with fellow attendees. We’ll head indoors to Wachusett Brew Yard is there is inclement weather. 
  • The walk route is fully accessible, and we will have a small portable PA system to try and ensure that each speaker can be heard by the entire group. We have tried to identify speaker spots near plazas or wide sidewalks where we can gather closer to the speaker.
  • View a PNG image of this route.

Getting there via the MBTA Commuter Rail: As of 4/17/2024, the 4pm train from South Station arrives to Worcester ~5:25pm. If someone comes on the next train, they can meet us on the route that we’ll share in advance on this page. Trains headed back to Boston at 7:55pm & 8:55pm would allow you to take part in the walk and have a drink or food at the end of the walk. We encourage you to use public transportation, walk, or bike to the start so that it is easy for you to head out afterwards. There are also parking lots available in/around the area of our route. 

This walk is in honor of Bob Sloane. Bob was a co-founder of WalkBoston (now WalkMassachusetts) and passed away in May 2021. He was a true pioneer in walking advocacy and a pillar of our organization, and we honor his legacy by hosting a walk each year in his name. Updates will be available on this blog post & sent to all registered attendees before the event.

We hope to see you on 5/23 at 5:30pm; sign up today!

PS: While we will be using a slightly different route, you might enjoy looking back at a write up after a walk we organized in 2015:

Worcester: Strengthened relationships to ensure Main St. project works for walkers Hillary Borcherding
Forty people joined WalkBoston, WalkBike Worcester, and co-hosts in a walk from Union Station to the Blackstone Tap. Steve Rolle of the City of Worcester kicked off the event by discussing Union Station’s transformation into a multimodal facility. At McGrath Boulevard, Heather Gould of Economic Development spoke about streetscape improvements and the Blackstone Valley’s Bikeway. Allen Fletcher from the Canal District Alliance spoke of his personal walking route and the joy of getting to know his neighborhood on foot. Finally, the City’s Phil Neddrie described Union Hill improvements and the public-private partnerships revitalizing the neighborhood. Beyond a great event, this was an opportunity to deepen the relationship between advocates and the City. People shared their hunger for a vibrant, walkable North Main Street, which is currently under design for construction. For the past two years, WalkBike Worcester has advocated for fewer vehicle lanes, more room for walking, bike lanes, and safer ways for pedestrians to cross. Thanks to this work, the Worcester walk and the MassDOT Road Safety Audit, MassDOT now recommends a narrower three-vehicle lane option [vs. the current four/two each way]. Indications look favorable that the City will follow this recommendation. 

Disability- and Age-Friendly Walk Audit in Worcester

Disability- and Age-Friendly Walk Audit in Worcester

On Tuesday July 18th, 2023, WalkMassachusetts conducted a walk audit with the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission (CMRPC), WalkBike Worcester, and partners from Worcester’s Division of Public Health working under the REACH grant. The walk audit, focused on disability and age-friendly accessibility, took place around the Webster Square Towers in Worcester. This walk audit location and focus in particular was chosen based on crowd feedback during the Walk Audit Academy’s public sharing session in January when participants in the program talked about their walk audits. A large number of older adults with limited mobility live in the Worcester Housing Authority’s Webster Square Towers.

WalkMassachusetts had the pleasure of hearing the insights of a State Representative, a City Counselor, a public school teacher, and multiple local residents, including some using mobility devices. Staff from the Transportation & Mobility Department also joined; they’ve recently launched the Worcester Mobility Action Plan, which is open for comments through August 14th.

Much of the walk audit focused on intersections between Main Street, Mill Street, and Cambridge Street. Participants noted the difficulty of safely crossing these intersections due to short pedestrian signal times, high vehicle speeds, and long crosswalk lengths. As a visually impaired person, Liz noted the difficulty of crossing with minimal auditory signaling and inconstant tactile paving.

The walk audit also looked into sidewalk infrastructure, overgrown greenery, walking conditions, and amenities.

At the end of the Webster Square Towers walk audit, the group gathered together to share their observations. These comments as well as participants’ written notes will inform a report by WalkMassachusetts, outlining key pedestrian safety issues and recommendations. WalkMassachusetts is grateful for the local engagement at this walk audit and will use community feedback to advocate for more walkable areas in Worcester.

World Day of Remembrance is this Sunday, November 20th

World Day of Remembrance is this Sunday, November 20th

World Day of Remembrance is an annual international event during which we gather as a community to reflect upon those we’ve lost and commit ourselves to improving our roads.

In 2022 so far, over 2,000 lives have been lost to, or seriously injured by, a traffic crash in Massachusetts — not including the countless friends, family, and loved ones impacted as well. On November 20th, we’ll recognize each person impacted during this year’s World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic crashes. The MA Vision Zero Coalition is marking the occasion by laying down yellow flowers at the Massachusetts State House, one blossom for each person killed or seriously injured in a crash in 2022, and supporting events across the state to remember those lost in traffic deaths.

We invite you to join WalkBoston and the rest of the MA Vision Zero Coalition in recognizing World Day of Remembrance by taking individual action or joining/planning events in your community. Please see our World Day of Remembrance 2022 Toolkit to learn more about how you can recognize World Day of Remembrance. Here are the list of events happening across the state:

  • The MA Vision Zero Coalition will be laying down yellow flowers at the Massachusetts state house, one blossom for each person who was killed or seriously injured in a traffic crash in 2022. The display will be out from 10am through the rest of the day. The following buildings and structures will be lit up in yellow on the night of the 20th: Government Center MBTA Station, Boston City Hall, the Zakim Bridge, the Fore River Bridge, the Burns Bridge, and the Longfellow Bridge.
  • Walk Bike Springfield & the Holyoke BikePed Committee will host an event on November 20th at 2pm at the Springfield Library (220 State Street).
  • WalkMedford will be hosting a vigil on November 18th at 11am with Mayor Lungo-Koehn. Exact location in Medford Square TBD
  • WalkBike Worcester and District 5 City Councilor, Etel Haxhiaj, are hosting a Worcester World Day of Remembrance event on Sunday, November 20th in front of Chandler Magnet School, 525 Chandler Street, at 3:00 pm.
  • The City of Pittsfield will light-up facades at all downtown locations in yellow in honor of World Day of Remembrance.

For more information and a complete list of events, visit https://www.visionzerocoalition.org/wdr.

Additionally, to address this public health crisis, the Coalition is urging our legislators to take action that could save lives. We have sent a letter to legislators demanding the passage of H.5103, An Act to reduce traffic fatalities — crucial legislation that could drastically improve traffic safety. This is a common-sense bill that would improve the safety standards for large trucks and protect vulnerable road users sharing the road with them. You can send a letter using our sample script below.

SAMPLE COMMENT LETTER

To: Representative William Straus (William.Straus@mahouse.gov), Senator William Brownsberger (William.Brownsberger@masenate.gov)

CC: info@visionzerocoalition.org

Recommended email subject: Please take action on H.5103 An Act to reduce traffic fatalities

Sample script: 

Dear Representative Straus and Senator Brownsberger,

Please support the swift passing of H.5103 An Act to reduce traffic fatalities — a common-sense bill that would improve the safety standards for large trucks and protect vulnerable road users sharing the road with them. This legislation will save lives on our roadways, and I encourage you to take rapid action to pass this law to make our roads safer now, not later.

[Talk about why this issue matters to you: how you get around the city, how you or someone you know has been impacted by a crash, etc]

The World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence is this Sunday, November 20th. I hope that come that day, we can celebrate the passing of this significant step toward safer roadways.

Thank you,

[full name

street address

city/town, state, zip

phone:

email: ]

Statewide Fatal Crashes In MA, September 2022

Statewide Fatal Crashes In MA, September 2022

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. Earlier this year, we released a year in review for 2021 to highlight common issues.

Last month, we took a look at crashes listed in the MassDOT Crash Portal in July; twelve were identified as people walking. In this post, we’ll look at crashes in MA in September 2022. 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 36 fatal crashes in Massachusetts in September in the MassDOT Crash portal, ten were identified as people walking.
  • The average age of pedestrians hit & killed in September was 68.8.
  • Three people in their 90s (91, 98, 99) were hit & killed in September.
  • 29 year old Matthew Barker was struck and killed in a parking lot in Cambridge on September 1st at 1:22pm by a man in his 20s operating a box truck registered to a local restaurant. This crash is not included in the federal FARS dataset since it does not meet the NHTSA guideline for FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System). “To be included in FARS, a crash must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a traffic way customarily open to the public, and must result in the death of a vehicle occupant or a nonoccupant within 30 days of the crash.”

Date9/1/2022, 4:46 AM
LocationCentre St. + Columbus Ave.
TownBoston
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age39
SexM

WCVB reports that 39-year old Thomas Ruffen died after Maximo Manzanett ran him over with a Ford Explorer SUV near the Jackson Square MBTA station. Police have charged the driver with murder. From the WCVB story:

Witnesses, including an Orange Line shuttle bus driver, told police Ruffen was on the ground outside the MBTA stop when Mazanett drove up in a brown Ford Explorer SUV. The shuttle bus driver said she got out of her bus and yelled to Mazanett to stop because someone was in the street.

“The driver said, ‘(Expletive) you, I work for the city.’ The driver then drove over the person, dragging the person under the SUV across Columbus Avenue,” according to a Boston police report.

Another witness said she also heard Mazanett yell an expletive before driving over the man.

MACDC shared a post in Thomas Ruffen’s memory, noting his work as an incredibly gifted organizer and community leader in the Mildred C. Hailey community.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, this intersection is under local jurisdiction. There is one travel lane in each direction on Ritchie Street leading into the signalized intersection with Columbus Ave and Centre Street. The speed limit is unclear, with one side of Columbus listed as 35mph and the other side listed as 30mph in the database.


Date9/2/2022, 9:01 PM
Location1269 Main St.
TownWorcester
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age79
SexF

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, this road is under local jurisdiction. There are two travel lanes in each direction and a painted median divider. There is a sidewalk on each side of the street. The speed limit is unclear, with fields showing 35mph and 30mph in the database. There is also a School Speed Limit 20mph sign for certain hours.


Date9/4/2022, 7:50 PM
LocationGAR Hwy. + I-195 WEST
TownSwansea
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age32
SexM

The Boston Globe reports that a 32-year old man was seriously injured after being struck by the driver of a vehicle in Swansea. We could not find any additional news coverage of this incident; the person passed away from the crash. If you have any information, please let us know.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, this road is under MassDOT jurisdiction. There are two travel lanes in each direction and a painted median divider before the roadway adds another travel lane. There is a sidewalk on each side of the roadway. There are also on/off-ramps for RT-195 at this location with a crosswalk for people continuing along RT-6 / Grand Army of the Republic Highway. The speed limit is unclear, with fields showing 50mph and 40mph in the database.


Date9/8/2022, 9:35 AM
LocationMorton St. + Selden St.
TownBoston
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age91
SexM

WHDH reports that a 91-year old man was struck and killed by the 62-year old driver of a 2007 BMW SUV. The man had been in the crosswalk attempting to walk across Morton Street.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, Morton Street is under MassDOT jurisdiction. There are two travel lanes in each direction with one additional turn lane at the intersection. There is a crosswalk at each leg of the intersection. The speed limit is 30mph.


Date9/12/2022, 12:12 PM
Location26 Shawsheen Rd.
TownBedford
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age99
SexF

The Bedford Citizen reports that 99-year-old Josephine (Iovino) Caporizzo was struck and killed by the driver of a motor vehicle while walking near her home.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, this road is under local jurisdiction. There is one travel lane in each direction and a sidewalk on one side of the street. The speed limit is unclear, with fields showing 30mph and 35mph in the database.


Date9/16/2022, 1:59 PM
Location414 Granby Rd.
TownChicopee
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age48
SexM

MassLive reports that a 48-year old man was struck and killed by the driver of a dump truck in Chicopee on Friday afternoon, September 16th.

Streetsblog MASS reported in late September that the “Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities” was sent from the Governor back to the legislature with recommendations for changes before it would be signed. This bill as written includes additional regulations for some trucks to include convex and crossover mirrors, backup cameras, and lateral protective devices. 

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, this road is under local jurisdiction. There is one travel lane in each direction and a shoulder on each side. There is a sidewalk on one side of the street. The speed limit is 30mph.


Date9/16/2022, 2:58 PM
Location12 Railroad Ave.
TownRockport
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age98
SexF

The Gloucester Times reported that Virginia “Ginny” Hale, age 98 1/2, was struck and killed by the driver of a box truck as she was crossing the street by Cumberland Farms on Railroad Avenue in Rockport. From the article:

Virginia “Ginny” Hale, 98 1/2 — she insisted on the half, said her daughter-in-law — was a daily walker, going out in the mornings and late afternoon and covering miles.

“She would greet people along way and visit the local shops,” said Betsy Hale, her daughter-in-law, adding she never meet a stranger. “She was a positive, loving fashionista. She always dressed up, did her makeup and did her hair to go out.”

A life resident of Rockport, Ginny and her sister, daughters of Swedish immigrants, were brought up by family after her mother died. Her daughter-in-law said her love of beautiful clothes probably started with the outfits her aunts saw that the girls wore. Photos from the 1930s show Ginny wearing suits and gloves when she hopped the train to Boston — she never drove — where she was an office worker.

“She always dressed to the nines,” Betsy Hale said. Many mentioned “Ginny sightings,” describing her outfits, and Betsy Hale said she thrived on the compliments. and she devoured fashion magazines.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, this road is under local jurisdiction. There is 1 travel lane in each direction, a sidewalk on both sides of the street, and a crosswalk. The speed limit is 25mph.


Date9/26/2022, 7:52 AM
Location94 Berkeley St.
TownLawrence
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age67
SexF

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, this road is under local jurisdiction. There is one travel lane in each direction and sidewalks on both sides of each street at the four way stop intersection. There are no painted crosswalks. The speed limit is 20mph.


Date9/26/2022, 8:47 PM
Location172 Winter St.
TownHaverhill
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age79
SexF

Wavelengths/97.9WHAV reports that a 79-year old woman was struck and killed by the driver of a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta on Winter Street near the intersection of Locust Street.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, this road is under local jurisdiction. There is one travel lane in each direction and sidewalks on both sides of the street. There are crosswalks present at each corner. The speed limit is 30mph.


Date9/28/2022, 7:20 PM
Location115 SR-28
TownYarmouth
TypePEDESTRIAN
Age56
SexF

The Boston Globe reports that 56-year old Dawn Squires was struck and killed on Route 28 in West Yarmouth by a driver of a truck from New York.

In 2016, Callie Crossley penned a commentary for WGBH titled, “Brought to Light: The Case for Street Lights on Cape Cod. It’s Life and Death“:

I know there are residents who are reluctant to mar the horizon with a string of street lights. Easier to see the moonlight on Cape Cod Bay that Patti Page croons about so sweetly. But, if my unobscured view must be sacrificed to save someone’s life, then so be it.

According to the MassDOT Road Inventory, this road is under MassDOT jurisdiction. There is one travel lane in each direction and a sidewalk on each side of the street. (However, the most recent Google Street View image is from 2019, and shows a rolled curb sidewalk on one side of the street; the crash photo from CapeCod.com also does not show a sidewalk on one side of the street.) The speed limit is 35mph.


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 2022 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

Report: Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2021)


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).

Worcester Neighborhood Mobility Stroll

Worcester Neighborhood Mobility Stroll

On Saturday September 24, 2022 WalkBoston participated in a neighborhood mobility stroll organized by the Worcester Accessibility Advisory Commission in the Worcester-Polytechnic Institute neighborhood. Commissioners and resident disability advocates led participants in a taste of navigating city sidewalks blindfolded, or while using a manual wheelchair. Participants included city staff from the Departments of Transportation and Mobility,  Emergency Management and Communication. Other participants included leaders from WalkBike Worcester and students from WPI and Holy Cross working with the Commission on a fall project to increase access and awareness of public spaces for all residents. The Commission partnered with NuMotion and ReEquipment for the loan of the wheelchairs for Saturday’s event.

The Accessibility Advisory Commission educates and advocates for greater accessibility and universal design. Universal design refers to the process of creating environments and products that are accessible to people with a wide range of abilities, disabilities, and other characteristics. As it pertains to sidewalks and street crossings, increasing access means usability for everyone regardless of age or ability, including children, older adults, parents with strollers. The Commission uses mobility walks to educate local leaders and residents about some of the challenges faced by persons with different abilities navigating city streets in Worcester.

Wendy Landman, WalkBoston Senior Policy Advisor, participated in the stroll and found the experience enlightening as well as challenging both physically and emotionally. She said that, “our streets and sidewalks are truly barrier-full when traveling in a wheelchair or navigating with a white-cane (even when assisted by a trained guide!). A walk that is usually easy and quick for me became hard work, slow and disorienting. The walk gave me a deeper, more visceral understanding of the importance of fully accessible streets and sidewalks.”

WalkBoston’s participation in the Mobility Stroll was supported by an Age-Friendly Walking grant funded by Point32Health.