“It will be a beautiful, wonderful place to be if you’re not in a car,” said Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance. “And we are really excited about the bus priority.”
"As this important regional and local project proceeds, we urge state and Boston officials to minimize the impact of five years of construction, and make smart investments in our region’s future at the same time. Building West Station and its connections before demolishing the existing highway and putting the new highway at-grade on the ground will help this huge infrastructure project be as smooth, quick, and economical as possible." -- Galen Mook, Steven Miller, and Wendy Landman
Some, like Dorchester resident Lynn Holmgren with the Livable Streets Alliance, wanted an even lower speed limit.
“At a minimum, the speed limit on Morrissey Blvd should be reduced from 40 to 30 mph,” she wrote. “The road must also be designed in a way that will help to self-enforce the speed limit and restrict large trucks. Removing concrete medians, narrowing travel lane widths, and rethinking curb offsets are several ways to achieve this.”
[Stacy] Thompson agreed, adding that roundabouts are a part of the solution to America's dangerous intersections — one part of an ever-evolving response to concerns for traffic flow and safety.
"We advocate for context specific design," Thompson said.
Steven Miller, who is on the board of the [LivableStreets] Alliance, said the legislation would also codify some norms of bicycling that are not actually backed up by the law. Where a multiuse path crosses a road with a crosswalk, pedestrians have the right of way, but bicyclists are "not legally covered by the safety of that crosswalk," said Miller. The bill would give cyclists the right of way at those crossings.
“What this event does is highlight that, no matter who you are or how you get around, we all have challenges and should all be working together to improve our streets,” Stacy Thompson, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, said in a statement.
“When bike planners at NYC DOT are working on comparable projects, they are always asking the question of how does this connect to nearby biking infrastructure? How does this contribute to the greater vision of a safe, citywide bike network?” [Andrew] McFarland says. “Whether the project is short-term or not, they commit … We’d like the City of Cambridge to adopt a similar strategic approach, which we aren’t really seeing with these pop-ups.”
[Creating new bus stations with platforms] would facilitate boarding and exiting for elderly people or those in wheelchairs, something important for routes serving hospitals, noted Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance and a Boston BRT Advisory Committee member.
"The bottom line of Anne's research is that everyone wants and deserves safe biking infrastructure," said Andrew McFarland, community engagement manager at the LivableStreets Alliance. "Good street design is the ultimate guarantee for better ensuring traffic safety."
“We do typically see these [street interventions] when the public is pushing back against officials when they’re dismayed at the slow rate of change,” said Andrew McFarland, community engagement manager for the LivableStreets Alliance. “Let’s ask more of our city officials. Let’s not wait around for another crash to take another life.”
Boston saw a decrease in the number of deadly car crashes in recent years, but last year was the deadliest on record for pedestrians, with 15 deaths.
Of those, at least four were elderly and two were younger than 3 years old, which Stacy Thompson of the LivableStreets Alliance said refutes Walsh’s logic that pedestrians just need to pay attention.
“We need action from you and your administration, not victim blaming,” Thompson said in a statement.
“We are gathering at City Hall not only to get the attention of the mayor, but more importantly, to demonstrate solidarity with the thousands of Bostonians who’ve been impacted by traffic violence,” said Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, one of several groups that constitute the Vision Zero Coalition.
“The bottom line is that if the administration doesn’t commit more resources and pick up the pace, we will lose more lives on our streets,” she said.
Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, which strives for better biking, walking, and public transit in the Boston area, said to the mayor’s credit, he cares about data and numbers.
But, Thompson added, if Walsh were to took a look at data collected by his staff, “he would see that the vast majority of people injured while walking and biking are children or older adults,” and not necessarily people listening to their headphones and trying to dodge traffic.
“It’s your grandmother, your child, your best friend — not a stereotype,” Thompson said.
Andrew McFarland, the Community Engagement Manager of LivableStreets Alliance, said his organization, which partners with the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, were “very shocked and disappointed with the Mayor's comments this afternoon.”
“They're victim-blaming,” McFarland wrote in an email to WGBH News, “and completely fly in the face us [sic] his administration's own policy, Vision Zero.”
Local cycling advocates will memorialize Archer with a ghost bike at the scene of the crash, according to Andrew McFarland of LivableStreets Alliance.
LivableStreets Alliance applauds the city's efforts to make our streets safer, more inviting, more multi-modal, and more supportive of local businesses -- including the use of higher parking meter fees in currently overcrowded areas.
--Patrick Starling, Member of the LivableStreets Advocacy Committee
Safe streets advocate Andrew McFarland said the severity of the Sunday crash illustrates the city’s need for better protections for cyclists and pedestrians. “Something we’ve been advocating for and the Vision Zero Coalition has been advocating for is stepping up response from the city,” said McFarland, of LivableStreets Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for safety, access and enjoyable streets for all road users. “It’s really, really unfortunate that this crash happened and we need to be prepared to respond to it in a way that really affirms we care about traffic violence,” he said.
Nidhi Gulati, program manager at LivableStreets Alliance, says that the focus should be on slowing traffic, making walking and biking more pleasant, and building an amenity for the people living along Columbia Road... “The bigger challenge is how do we tie the mini-neighborhoods together?” says Gulati. She says that planners will also need to address concerns about displacement and gentrification in Dorchester, where housing prices have climbed.
“A lot of the areas that are experiencing a lot of growth economically weren’t always a part of the bus planning process,” says Andrew McFarland, community engagement manager for the LivableStreets Alliance and its Better Buses initiative.
"It's easy to get into the zone and go straight," Thompson says. "Understanding what's going on around you will help you avoid crashes when you or motorists are making left or right turns."
“The city went to [residents] … then they looked at what is feasible and put it in the plan,” Thompson said. “The next 15 years is about implementation and the implementation won’t happen unless the same people who said that they wanted those things show up at public meetings, continue to say that they want those things and continue to advocate and fight for them.”
"'We want to see more than just talk of vision. This year and the next year and the following year, we're heavily advocating for an increase in transportation funding from the city level and we hope to see that from the city council and the mayor and others,'" [Stacy] Thompson said. 'Without that increase in resources and without that commitment, we will have done this for nothing,' Thompson said."
“We see this stuff happening in Everett, and we’re talking to our partners in City Hall in Boston, saying, ‘Why can’t you guys do this?’” says Andrew McFarland, community engagement manager for the LivableStreets Alliance and its Better Buses initiative.
“We know that New York City is spending $13 per person on Vision Zero, San Francisco is spending $75 per person […], and Boston’s per capita is $3. We can redesign intersections so it’s easier for people driving to see the people walking and biking around them, said Stacy Thompson."
“The Vision Zero Coalition, which includes organizations like the LivableStreets Alliance, the Boston Cyclists Union, and Walk Boston, recently released a report calling on Walsh and the City Council to devote more resources to street redesign and staff up agencies like the DOT and Department of Public Works, address Boston’s traffic safety problem. Traffic fatalities in Boston fell last year, but there was a jump in pedestrian deaths, according to Andrew McFarland of the LivableStreets Alliance. The group estimates 15 pedestrians were killed within city limits in 2016, up from nine in 2015."
“While cities and towns don’t control the MBTA, the cities and towns do control the streets and signals. The City of Everett debuted a bus-only lane in December during the morning rush hour, helping to speed the trips along a busy corridor. A similar pilot on Summer Street in South Boston would be well worth a try. Stacy Thompson at LivableStreets Alliance says “[buses] can be awesome, and they should be fun.” More pilot projects for bus corridor improvements can help with that."
“Buses are not the second-class citizens of the transit system,” said Thompson, executive director of Livable Streets Alliance, a local transportation advocacy group. “They can be awesome, and they should be fun... [she] said the local conversation about public transportation tends to focus on major rail projects, such as the Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford. But improving buses, and changing their public perception, can be done right now."
"Nidhi Gulati, the Emerald Network Program Manager, said that she hopes to see 70 new miles of greenway over the next 15 years, noting that building such a system offers flexibility, with a number of ways to connect them. “What we can do is build safe connections so that you can hop from green to green,” she said. Those leading the walk encouraged the re-imagining of the landscape, and as they passed the bike lanes along Columbia Road, there was agreement that more could be done to make the route aesthetically pleasing."
"We should commend the city staff for taking a good strong effort in their first year to reduce fatalities on our streets, but it's apparent ... that we aren’t going to reach our goal of zero fatalities by 2030 if the mayor and city councilors don't provide more resources — whether that's in terms of capital funding or additional staff," said Stacy Thompson, the executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance."
"LivableStreets Alliance executive director Stacy Thompson said the city has done a "great job" with its online, interactive crash data site, but needs to set interim benchmarks along the path to zero fatalities by 2030. The progress report, which will recommend more capital funding and staffing, will be posted online on Wednesday afternoon prior to a formal unveiling at 5:30 p.m. during the LivableStreets Alliance's StreetTalk 10-in-1 event at the Old South Meeting House."
"At 20 mph there is a 17 percent likelihood of a fatality or severe injury occurring, and that number jumps to 79 percent at 40 mph. 'The 30-mile-per-hour benchmark really does make a difference. It can literally be the difference between life and death for a lot of people — especially for vulnerable people like children and elderly,' said Andrew McFarland, community engagement manager with the Boston-based safe streets advocacy group Livable Streets Alliance."
"The vigil was one of many held across the globe on World Remembrance Day. 'Each cut-out represents a person who was killed,' Andrew McFarland, of Livable Streets Alliance, said. Silhouettes pepper Boston streets to call attention to the locations of fatal crashes. One silhouette was placed beside a Washington Street crosswalk in Roslindale in memory of Silvia Acosta, a 78-year-old woman who was killed trying to cross the street."
“Crashes are not accidents — they’re the tragic, preventable results of inadequate planning and policy. People make mistakes; our streets must be designed so those mistakes are not fatal,” according to a statement from the LivableStreets Alliance, which advocates for safer, multi-modal roadways.
“If parking is filling up today, instead of building more garages, Massport should raise the price to reduce the demand, and use the additional funds raised to improve transit to and from the airport. People who are willing to pay the higher price would be guaranteed to find a space, and those who are not would have improved transit options for their trip." - Charlie Denison, LivableStreets Alliance Advocacy Committee Member
"City Council President Michelle Wu framed parking availability as an “environmental justice” issue, since cars that cannot find spots spew harmful emissions as they circle. Some activists at the hearing asked the council not to focus on parking, but on creating incentives for residents to not drive at all. Stacy Thompson, the executive director of the community group LivableStreets Alliance, said councilors should not forget Boston’s pledge to improve open space and health by 2030."
"Watertown's Senior Planner Gideon Schriber said work would extend an existing spur of the Watertown-Cambridge Greenway from where it empties onto Arsenal Street, next to the Watertown Mall Best Buy location, through Arsenal Park to the North Beacon Street Bridge.
The LivableStreets Alliance is helping the Town of Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee design the path over the next year."
"The group organizing Thursday's rally, the Vision Zero Coalition, wants the city to spend more money on redesigning roads; hire more staff to deal with the issue; and deliver on goals laid out last year, including lowering the speed limit on Boston streets. Mayor Marty Walsh's office said he is committed to all of that. A member of his staff will attend the City Hall rally, promising a significant update on plans."
"Hundreds of advocates and survivors of traffic crashes will converge on Boston City Hall Thursday to press Mayor Martin J. Walsh on his plan to improve traffic safety. Advocates from the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, which is holding the rally, say they will urge Walsh to move swiftly to devote more money for capital projects, hire additional staff, and finalize goals outlined in a traffic safety plan released in December . . . “We want everything promised, and the 2015 goals to be completed,” said Stacy Thompson, executive director at LivableStreets Alliance, one of the groups spearheading the rally."
"Municipalities have shown they can coordinate. (Witness Metropolitan Area Planning Council's single-vendor Hubway bikeshare program and planning for the Urban Ring transit project.) Can Massachusetts Department of Transportation serve as a convener? (If successful, the Lower Mystic Regional Working Group will be a model.) Coordination can also be initiated by a nonprofit (LivableStreets Alliance's "Emerald Network" connecting Metro Boston's greenways)...There is still time for Mayor Martin J. Walsh to turn around the GoBoston 2030 planning process in order to become a catalyst and leader for regional coordination."
"For Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Boston-based Livable Streets Alliance, some of the solutions may also lay in street design. Wider lanes encourage drivers to go faster, while a lack of protected bike lanes and adequate crosswalks increase the chances of fatal crashes, she said."
"We desperately need the state, cities, and towns to invest in infrastructure. The status quo is not working. Leaders must prioritize safer options for people to walk, bike, and take transit. The state Transportation Department's Complete Streets program is an excellent start. Boston's and Cambridge's Vision Zero efforts are getting underway, but they need to be ramped up."
"Jackie DeWolfe, who was named to the post on Wednesday, said the job will also focus on projects such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing public health, and solving the problems that can arise with those goals.
“There is a growing demand for ‘complete streets’ — roads that facilitate all modes of travel — and Jackie will help ensure that MassDOT is thinking broadly and inclusively about all users of our transportation system,” transportation department secretary Stephanie Pollack said in a statement."
"Last week, groups including the Boston Cyclists Union and Livable Streets Alliance held an event at Aeronaut Brewery with tips on cycling in an unsafe city."
"[Tom Evans, Executive Director of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority] cited the “LandLine” plan of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and “Emerald Network” project by Cambridge’s LivableStreets Alliance as two models seeking to form a network of trails as extensive as might be found in the Netherlands."
"Jackie DeWolfe, executive director of Boston's Liveable Streets urban design advocacy organization, cheered the project in a statement Thursday.
“We are excited about the project, not only because of the improvements it will bring for the 100,000 people who use Commonwealth Avenue today, but because the new design will make it more comfortable for even more people to walk, bike and take the bus,” she said. “Innovative design details like parking protected bike lanes, enhanced bus stops and protected intersections, will be a great demonstration of multi-modal transportation."
"Stacy Thompson is with the Livable Streets Alliance, one of the groups sponsoring the race. “The problem is that our streets are designed for cars instead of being designed for people," she said. "So they are hectic, chaotic and oftentimes dangerous.”
Stacy Thompson of the Livable Streets Alliance said the fact that the electronic bicycle won the race shows that there’s always some new mode of getting around. “On the flip side, it’s still really hard," she said. "Almost every participant encountered a challenge today. And in some cases it was dangerous, whether it was a scary intersection, or something else. So if we’re going to be open to these new ways of getting around, we need to fix the problems we have today.”
The point, Thompson said, is not that any one mode of transportation is better than the others. She said the point’s that as we continue to plan our transportation system, we need to develop one that’s going to get everybody where they need to go during rush hour, no matter how they’re getting there."
“We actually took the word ‘race’ out on purpose, because we want to highlight more the challenge of getting around the city,” said Stacy Thompson, deputy director of the LivableStreets Alliance, an organization that advocates for policies that favor bikers and pedestrians as well as cars.
“The ultimate message is that it’s time for us to tear down the invisible barriers between modes in municipalities. Oftentimes there’s this really unhealthy conversation that bikes are against drivers, or pitting pedestrians against drivers,” Thompson said. “What we’re trying to say is everyone is just trying to get around, and if we prioritize people’s needs to move around Metro Boston, and we work to make our streets function better regardless of the modes people are using, we’re all going to be happier.”
“We are at, I think, an inflection point,” Thompson said. “So many groups are stepping back and saying, ‘What do we want our cities to be, and how are people going to get around five years from now, 10 years from now, 20 years from now. They’re realizing that, today, our streets kind of aren’t working for anyone.”
“It’s real,” DeWolfe told me after the hearing. “We talk about people. We talk about elders. We talk about vulnerable users. But the point is, these are real people who are getting killed and hurt on our streets.”
“There are too many crashes, too many people who don’t feel comfortable on our streets,’’ said DeWolfe, executive director of the transit advocacy group LivableStreets Alliance. “I bike, I walk, and I drive across this city, and I don’t always feel’’ safe.
“It’s really big news and important to see the investment being made,” DeWolfe said. “It’s one thing to have an idea, but another thing to actually say that we want to put our money behind this, so this is really a great thing.”
“We know it’s not just about posting a different speed limit and all of a sudden that solves our problems,” DeWolfe said. “This also needs to come in conjunction with infrastructure changes so the street itself enforces it.”
“We, of course, believe that it’s important for people to pay their fares,” Thompson wrote. “Perhaps a better question to ask is, ‘Why aren’t people paying their fares in the first place?’ All-door payment options or off-board payment would make it easier and more efficient for people to pay their fares and help reduce the frustration people feel when they are all lined up at the front of the train trying to board and pay all at once.”
“One thing we were looking at with the survey was to get a sense of where people are traveling to and from and looking at helping with mobility for both commuting and recreation,” said Amber Christopherson of Livable Streets. “It’s designed for a duel function.”
"LivableStreets Executive Director Jackie DeWolfe wrote in an email that bikers in the city are excited for the upcoming construction, calling it a big victory for the 100,000 people who travel on Commonwealth Avenue."
“We’re planning for so far out,” says Jackie DeWolfe, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance, “that we really don’t know what the world is going to look like in another five or 10 years.”
"I met him along with Stacy Thompson, deputy director with LivableStreets Alliance, a group that seeks to balance walking, biking, and public transport with cars. She herself doesn’t cycle in Boston though; she doesn’t think it’s safe enough.
“And I’m clear about that, because I’m working to make it safe enough to feel comfortable enough to bike,” said Thompson.
In the chicken and egg equation, Thompson said you need to build infrastructure before you get more cyclists."
"Stacy Thompson, deputy director of LivableStreets, said Vision Zero Boston’s mission resonates with residents because it lacks complexity.“What is really compelling about Vision Zero is that the vision is simple, that there are zero fatalities on our streets — period,” Thompson said. “So what that means is that we are focused on making our city safer.”
"There has been, and rightfully so, a tremendous amount of focus on the breakdown of the transit system in Boston during the winter of 2014-2015. I think sometimes what falls to fray is that it wasn’t just a breakdown of the transit system. There were sidewalks that weren’t shoveled. There were lots of bike lanes that weren’t clear and weren’t safe." - Stacy Thompson, Deputy Director of LivableStreets
"Safety is a communal responsibility, the group said — shared among motorists, bikers, and pedestrians."
“Safe, accessible, off-road paths and their low-traffic stress connections are simply a better way to get around the city" - Jackie Douglas, Executive Director of LivableStreets
“'Transit is the life blood of the city,' said Jackie Douglas, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance and a member of the BRT Study Group. 'This was an opportunity to deep-dive into one option for transportation across the region.'”
Click through to watch Jackie Douglas, our Executive Director and BU alum, in the accompanying video.
“Boston has a historic legacy of greenways and linear parks, which we appreciate,” said [Project Manager Amber] Christofferson. “But our current systems could be better connected to continue work that has been done for 100 years.”
Group has a goal: A regional path network that would let you walk or cycle from the Fellsway to the Neponset
Universal Hub links to WBUR's article "Cambridge Nonprofit Seeks to Connect 200 Miles of Paths" from September 12.
“ “We’re excited by Livable Street’s Emerald Network initiative,” [Boston Chief of Streets Chris] Osgood said. 'It’s a perfect pairing with Boston’s Green Links project — a plan to provide walking and biking connections for all residents to Boston’s largest parks. The Emerald Network takes Boston’s local plan to scale in the region. It sets a vision for connecting our communities, improving mobility and increasing access to this region’s parks. We look forward to continuing our work with them on this effort.' "
“ 'Years of thinking and research and collaboration have gone into what these connections might look like and where they should be,' [Deputy Director Stacy Thompson] said. 'We are talking about something that is around us already.' "
Press Release: Visionary New Initiative to Connect 200 Miles of Metro Boston Greenways Debuted by LivableStreets Alliance
“ 'With the power of the network, this will knit our growing city together without adding more cars to our roads,” said land use attorney Matthew J. Kiefer, co-founder of the Emerald Network."
“ 'The Emerald Network vision grows out of our region's fabulous heritage of multi-use parks, building on our existing portfolio of over 100 miles of parkland paths to create a 200 mile web of connection,' stated Steven E. Miller, Emerald Network co-founder."
“It’s not that people are giving up driving. It’s a shift in people wanting more than one way to get there.”
[Stacy] Thompson said the Boston area has some infrastructure, such as bicycle lanes and walking paths, that encourages alternate modes of commuting.
“You’re seing [sic] an uptick because this infrastructure is in place, but it’s not complete,” she said. “If we upped the ante on this infrastructure, you’d see an explosion of people making more choices about their own mobility.”
August 18, 2015 Download
The number of people using bicycles to get around the city is on the rise. But, in the last five years, more than a dozen people were killed biking in Boston. Most recently, 38-year-old Anita Kurmann died in a collision with a truck in Boston’s Back Bay. The investigation into her death is ongoing.
But a new report from the Centers for Disease Control finds that, nationwide, the number of cyclist deaths involving a vehicle have decreased overall. But that’s not so satisfying for bikers, drivers, or politicians and transportation planners. So, how can the roads become safer for everyone?
Guests: Jackie Douglas, Professor Peter Furth
"Finding and fixing a few hot spots is only the beginning, said Jackie Douglas, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, a community advocacy group. Changes need to be made throughout the city, and quickly, she said. 'It’s not just about identifying the worst intersection, fixing it, and saying you’re done.'"
"It doesn't matter what [mode of transportation] you're taking," said Thompson. "What remains the same is that there's a city full of people and they're all just trying to get somewhere." - Stacy Thompson, Deputy Director of LivableStreets
“We could move so many more people efficiently and effectively throughout the region,” she said. “Boston is prime because we have the demand and we have the density to support it.” - Jackie Douglas, Executive Director of LivableStreets
“To really understand BRT’s potential, you need to erase all notions of what a bus is today. It's an entirely new approach to rapid transit with a proven track record for moving more people, more efficiently.” - Jackie Douglas, Executive Director of LivableStreets
"The 31 percent of Cambridge households who do not own cars deserve better access when they occasionally need it, and those of us who own a car will benefit, too. Every car-share spot will lead to lower parking demand, reduced traffic, lower emissions, cleaner air around our homes and playgrounds, and a more livable neighborhood." — Steve Miller, LivableStreets board and Cambridge resident, and Chris Taylor, LivableStreets Advocacy Committee and Cambridge resident
December 10, 2014
“Jeffrey Rosenblum, president and cofounder of the LivableStreets Alliance, said including bikes in the construction plans is important because the mode of transportation is increasing in prominence in the city. ’Car volume on the street is dropping. Pedestrian activity, people walking, is increasing by 80 percent,' he said during the meeting. 'Bicycling has more than doubled since the bike lane was put on a section of Comm. Ave. Since 1964, we keep breaking records for MBTA [Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority] ridership.’”
“Commonwealth Avenue has the highest rate of collisions per the amount of bicycling anywhere in the city of Boston, and it’s right in the heart of a major university,” said Jeffrey Rosenblum, advocacy director and co-founder of LivableStreets, a local transit safety group. “If you’re going to do separated bike lanes somewhere, this is where you want to do them.”