statewide network

statewide network

WalkMassachusetts is building a statewide network of individuals, advocacy organizations, municipal committees, community groups working on walking, and other pedestrian-focused transportation professionals.

We typically meet every third Wednesday of each month at 1 pm. Anyone can listen in and participate in monthly calls.  Join the Google Group to get a reminder about these Zoom calls

Can’t attend mid-day, but really interested in one of the talks below? Don’t worry: each talk/presentation will be recorded so we can share it afterwards. We’ll stop the recording before Q&A as we have the last few months to encourage open discussion. Recordings are posted to our YouTube channel and linked below under “past events.”

Upcoming Topics

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

January 17, 2024
This meeting was canceled due to a last minute speaker conflict – we hope you took advantage of the alternate webinar at the same time that was shared on the Google Group!

February 21, 2024: Register for 2/21 at 1pm on Zoom. 
Impacts of transportation noise and the environment on aging populations
Much of our health is shaped by the environments in which we live, work, and play. Transportation noise and other aspects of our built (human-made) environment can contribute to worsening health, such as stress, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. How does this happen? How can we work across sectors to make meaningful change to our environment to protect public health?
Speaker: Stephanie Grady is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health and WalkMassachusetts board member.

March 20, 2024: Register for 3/20 at 1pm on Zoom. 
Preview – Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2023) Report
This past year saw the 2nd release of our Statewide Pedestrian Crash Report, which took a closer look at fatal crashes from 2022 and investigated patterns found in publicly available data. This work builds on our monthly crash review posts. This annual report release serves as a tool for advocates to identify areas where they can make an impact. Our look at crashes from 2023 will be released in March 2024 and a preview of it will be discussed at this meeting.
Speaker: Brendan Kearney, WalkMassachusetts

April 17, 2024: Register for 4/17 at 1pm on Zoom.
Working with local elected officials on transportation safety issues

Worcester established a new Transportation & Mobility department in 2022. They are currently working on the Worcester Mobility Action Plan, starting development of a Vision Zero action plan, and making changes using resurfacing funds. Hear the perspective of a city councilor on supporting street safety initiatives, as well as a local advocate about how people can work with their elected representatives.
Speakers: Etel Haxhiaj, Worcester City Council District 5 & Karin Valentine Goins, WalkBikeWorcester

May 15, 2024: Register for 5/15 at 1pm on Zoom.
Learn more about PROWAG (Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines).
More to come!
Speaker: US Access Board

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

June 19, 2024
July 17, 2024
August 21, 2024
September 18, 2024
October 16, 2024
November 20, 2024
December 18, 2024


The WalkMassachusetts Network looks to connect and support new, emerging, and existing local organizations, community groups, residents, municipal staff and committees, and elected officials all working on improving walkability throughout the Commonwealth. Key features of the Network include community and statewide sharing of advocacy techniques, member recruitment strategies, and approaches for securing improvements to the built environment. The Network amplifies our impact by strengthening local voices.

Do you, your resident group, or your organization want to be involved? Please get in touch!

How to join the Network: 

Anyone can listen in and participate in monthly calls. The Network is open local organizations, community groups, residents, community members municipal staff and committees, and elected officials actively working on improving walkability in their community. If you or your group would like to join, please fill out this form with your information.

Have more questions? Visit our FAQ or reach out to us: walkMAnetwork@walkboston.org or at 617-367-9255.

Network benefits include:

Monthly meetings (3rd Wednesday of each month at 1 pm) that foster peer-to-peer learning and sharing of tools, strategies and best practices among network organizations, community groups, residents, municipal staff and committees, and elected officials

Year-round targeted communications focused on local issues through a Google Group. You can request to join the network’s Google Group by filling out this form. Have a question about how other groups do things? Looking for examples about how other communities create safer streets? Search the discussion board and ask a question! Breakout sessions topics and notes from the first meeting have been added to capture those conversations.

One-on-one technical support and training to Network organizations for local initiatives, such as building constituencies for improving local walking and working with municipal staff and elected officials to implement simple, low-cost, and easy-to-build walking safety improvements.

Methods to inform legislators about walking issues such as distracted driving, budget priorities for active transportation investments, and use of new safety measures.

Guidance on the use of outreach tools, such as Facebook pages or email newsletters, that are easy and inexpensive to use.

Past Events and Network Meeting Recaps

  • December 20th: MassDOT’s Statewide Long Range Plan, Beyond Mobility 2050.
    Speakers include: Nathaniel Kerr, SPR Work Program Coordinator & Miranda Briseño, Federal Programs Coordinator | Office of Transportation Planning, MassDOT.
    Beyond Mobility, the Massachusetts 2050 Transportation Plan, is a planning process that will result in a blueprint for guiding transportation decision-making and investments in Massachusetts in a way that advances MassDOT’s goals and maximizes the equity and resiliency of the transportation system. Come hear a summary of where the plan is at now (almost in its final stages) and offer feedback to ensure what they have accurately captures the perspectives of all users of the transportation network. Recording available soon.
  • November 15th: MA Safe Routes to School
    Speakers include: Judy Crocker, Statewide Coordinator, Massachusetts Safe Routes to School – a program of MassDOT.
    Since 2005, the federally funded Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program 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 nationally #1 ranked program of MassDOT as we discuss their latest efforts, including the recent inclusion of high schools, driver education materials, and DESE-accreditation for professional development of their pedestrian and bike safety curriculum. View the recording.
  • October 18th: Vacant to Vibrant: Creating Walkable Neighborhoods with Social Infrastructure
    Speakers include: Aaron Greiner, director of CultureHouse.
    Making an area walkable requires paying attention to more than what is on the street—also critical is what happens on the edges. Having good civic spaces creates communities that are strong and resilient and neighborhoods that have accessible, walkable destinations. Aaron will also share about how they use a community-driven model to reimagine vacant storefronts as pop-up community spaces that meet local needs. View the recording.
  • September 20th: Piecing together, the Mass Central Rail Trail. It is like putting Humpty Dumpty together again.
    Speakers include: Craig Della Penna
    This is the longest and most complicated former RR corridor to reassemble in New England. Running from Northampton to Boston, it has been a 40+ year journey so far. It is the longest developing rail trail in New England. Today we have 59 of the 104 miles open as a trail. 90.5 miles are in a protected status.
    12 miles are currently under construction. In two-years we are likely to have 75 miles open. https://www.masscentralrailtrail.org/ Within 150 miles of Northampton, MA lies the densest network of former steam railroad corridors in the United States. A report by MassDOT showed that the MCRT can be completed, but it begs the question: What would a completed 100 mile long walking and biking trail mean to the Commonwealth? Craig is the author of 5 books, the forwards to several more, op-eds in numerous newspapers and in the past few years, 5 books have been written that feature him in them as a case study in various realms. Including two about his innovative real estate practice; specializing in the sale of houses near rail trails. He is the first Realtor in the US to specialize in this niche. He and his wife Kathleen, also operate an award-winning bed & breakfast that sits 8 feet from the now rail trail, in Northampton’s historic Civil War era industrial village of Florence. He has given over 1,200 lectures in 21 states on various topics related to the conversion of former RRs into linear parks known as rail trails. View the recording.
  • August 16th: All Things Pedestrian & Traffic Signals
    Speakers include: Peter G. Furth, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University.
    Based on recent conversations on the WalkMassachusetts Network Google Group, we’ve lined up a speaker for August who is very knowledgeable about traffic signals! Come with your signal questions, and be ready to learn about RRFBs, accommodating slower peds, ped recall, protection from concurrent conflicting turns, and more, including Boston’s new traffic signal policy which has enormous improvements for pedestrians. View the recording and view the presentation slides.
  • July 19th: Walk the Talk: Understanding Pedestrian Behavior & Creating Analytic Tools to Aid Planning & Policy Speakers include: Rounaq Basu is the Manager of Multimodal Planning and Design at the Boston Region MPO, as well as a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT.
    Why do pedestrians choose one route over others? Which street attributes are considered attractive and which ones are onerous? What should urban planners and designers be looking out for? How do we then incorporate these behaviors into a framework that allows us to understand and predict where people walk? What are the implications for Vision Zero policies? View the recording.
  • June 21st: Vehicle Design and Visibility
    Speakers include:
     Alex Epstein, Senior General Engineer, USDOT Volpe Center. Vehicle design and visibility from the driver’s seat are significant factors in the rise of traffic crashes and fatalities. Hear from Alex about global and local efforts to reduce traffic fatalities by developing a “Direct Vision Standard” for vehicles. View the recording.
  • May 17th: Boston Brakes
    Speakers include: Colleen Flanagan, Engagement and Outreach Specialist, City of Boston’s Disabilities Commission. Boston Brakes is a campaign focused on encouraging folks, particularly bikers, to share space and be aware of people with disabilities using wheelchairs, white canes, and other mobility devices as they move around the city.
  • April 19th: Snow Updates
    Speakers include: Ava Dimond, WalkBoston. We’re happy to chat about the gradual branding switchover we’re doing throughout 2023 to WalkMassachusetts, but we’ve set aside April’s meeting to talk about what worked well this winter for snow clearance (or what didn’t). We’ll also have a working draft to get feedback on a new way to frame our snow report, and we want to know what would be useful for you / your community. All things snow can be found at: https://walkmass.org/snow
  • March 15th: Fatal Pedestrian Crashes in MA (2022) Report
    Speakers include: Brendan Kearney (WalkBoston).This past year saw the release of our first Statewide Pedestrian Crash Report, which took a closer look at fatal crashes from 2021 and investigated patterns found in publicly available data. This work builds on our monthly crash review posts. Going forward, this annual report will serve as a tool for advocates to identify areas where they can make an impact. Our look at crashes from 2022 will be released in March 2023 and a preview of it will be discussed at this meeting.
  • February 15th: Walk Audit Academy / Worcester Training Pilot 
    Speakers include: Karin Valentine Goins (Prevention Research Center at UMass Chan Medical School) & Iolando Spinola (WalkBoston). Hear about the pilot launch of our new video series, the “Walk Audit Academy,” which we rolled out in Worcester designed to train community leaders on how to lead walk audits and implement change. The groups who participated in the Walk Audit Academy project in November 2022 presented their findings in January 2023 to community leaders; we’ll share lessons learned for you in February. We’ll be looking for opportunities to roll the training out more widely.
  • January 18th: America Walks
    Speakers include: We’ll be joined by Ben Crowther, Advocacy Manager and Susan Le, Program Manager – two America Walks staffers who live right here in Massachusetts!More about America Walks: “America Walks brings together the frontline efforts of local walking advocates into a collective voice for national change. We work with community advocates and their allies to identify priority issues and common challenges to making walking safe, routine, and enjoyable. America Walks takes a lead in nationwide advocacy that supports policies, practices, and public funding that encourages safe movement in public spaces. Walking advocacy touches a wide spectrum of issues. At America Walks, we shape the national conversation through our four key campaigns: Building Better Streets, Reconnecting Communities, Freedom to Move, and Safer Vehicles for Pedestrians.”
  • July 2022 Network Meeting Recap
  • April 2022 Network Meeting Recap
  • March 2022 Network Meeting Recap
  • February 2022 Network Meeting Recap
  • October 2021 Speed Workshop
  • 2nd WalkMassachusetts Network Forum, SMOC in Framingham, Wednesday 2/12/2020
  • 1st WalkMassachusetts Network Forum, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Saturday 12/1/2018

FAQs

We’ve compiled answers to questions to help give your group or neighbors more information before joining!