Issue #36 / July 2009
In this issue
· MBTA public meetings regarding fare increases and service cuts, for time and locations, click here Livablestreets Pushes for Transit Funding
· Join LivableStreets Alliance team at Hub On Wheels, Sun, Sept 27 >>>
· Bike/Ped Safety Included in Revised Plans for BU & MoS Bridges
· Full house at LivableStreets June StreetTalk
· LivableStreets Applauds "Healthy Transportation" Section of Reform Bill
· Appetite for Mayoral Debates - Boston Globe editorial
· Safety in Numbers
|StreetTalk: Wed, July 22 @ 7-9 pm
Mode shift: moving from driving to biking, transit and walking
by Jason Schrieber, Principal, Nelson/Nygaard Consulting Associates
@ LivableStreets office, 100 Sidney St, Cambridge [ map...]
What makes people shift out of their cars? Is it building more subways, bike lanes, and better sidewalks? Is it financial factors like a gas tax, congestion charges, and parking prices? Is it land use patterns like a mix of uses, local retail and where people live and work? Or how about the health and environmental benefits? Think about the factors that make you choose to walk, bike, drive or take transit. What would make you, or the people you know, take one mode of transportation over another?
Come to the StreetTalk to hear Jason's perspectives on these issues related to the metro-Boston area, and get a visual tour of some of the great places in the world for getting around. Jason will reveal some surprising truths comparing the subsidy for transit versus that for driving. He will talk about several local initiatives aimed at helping us achieve "mode shift".
has 14 years of multi-modal planning and design experience including changing parking policies to better balance cars and other modes of transportation. Jason previously worked for the City of Cambridge where he managed all planning activities for the City's transportation department. Nelson/Nygaard: www.nelsonnygaard.com
free and open to the public, donation suggested, beer/sodas provided compliments of Harpoon Brewery and delivered thanks to Metro Pedal Power!
Sponsored by LivableStreets Alliance. For more information, click here.
Do you find yourself looking forward to the next StreetTalk? Support this event series!
> Related article from infrastructurist.com,
Tearing down a highway can relieve traffic jams and help save a city
"Though our transportation planners still operate from the orthodoxy that the best way to untangle traffic is to build more roads, doing so actually proves counterproductive in some cases. There is even a mathematical theorem to explain why: 'The Braess Paradox' (which sounds rather like a Robert Ludlum title) established that the addition of extra capacity to a road network often results in increased congestion and longer travel times." Read on >>>
> LivableStreets is advocating for city and state agencies to encourage mode shift during the construction of all Charles River basin bridges. Read more about our ideas and efforts here >>>
|LivableStreets Pushes for Transit Funding
Action e-lert: Attend 1 of 13 public meetings/hearing regarding fare increases and service cuts.
LivableStreets wrote a letter to the legislature telling them that they haven't provided enough money to transit. Because of inadequate funding by the legislature, the MBTA is stuck having to choose between raising fares or cutting services (or some combination) in order to balance the books for the next two years (meaning if nothing is done, there will be more fare increases in two years). The MBTA is holding hearings to discuss. For dates and locations, click here >>>
In response, LivableStreets Alliance sent a letter to the entire Legislature pointing out that one of every three residents in the metro Boston area relies on transit to get to work. Seventy-five percent of the population and half of the jobs in the Commonwealth are in the MBTA catchment area. Without high quality transit service, we cannot continue to prosper and grow. Vibrant business districts and walkable urban environments are made possible by a dense land use pattern that relies heavily on transit rather than on single-occupancy vehicle trips. Excellent transit is also necessary to meet the Commonwealth's climate protection goals. In addition to ensuring the MBTA's ability to maintain a state of good repair and operate the existing system sustainably, LivableStreets Alliance urges legislators not to lose sight of the need to continue to move ahead with system expansion.
For more information, check out what the MBTA has to say here >>>
|Join the LivableStreets Team at Hub on Wheels
Hub On Wheels, Boston Mayor Menino's annual Bike Ride & Festival, has played a critical role in raising public awareness for the Boston Bikes program. LivableStreets has been involved in Hub On Wheels since its inception. This year, you can both join the city-wide ride and support LivableStreets (at no extra cost). When registering, just indicate that you are a member of the LivableStreets Alliance team when prompted for a team affiliation
Urban AdvenTours Supports LivableStreets
Urban AdvenTours is starting a new membership program that will, among other things, benefit LivableStreets Alliance. The program allows people to purchase 'Bike Buck' vouchers that provide discounts on rental of hybrid, high-end road, or kid's bicycles for 24 hours with helmet, lock, and map included -- as well as a lifelong discount with Zipcar! Click here for full details. Part of the proceeds will benefit local non-profits including
LivableStreets. Thank you Urban AdvenTours!
|Bike/Ped Safety Included in Revised Plans for BU & MoS Bridges
Still Need to Facilitate Leaving Car at Home
Impact of State Transportation Reform Still Unclear
In response to efforts by LivableStreets Alliance and other advocacy groups, the rebuilt versions of both the BU and Museum of Science (Craigie) bridges will eventually have bike lanes going in both directions and parts will have wider sidewalks. In addition, the state Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) has agreed that the intersections on both sides of the BU bridge will be reshaped to smooth car traffic and improve safety for all users, with a public process to allow for comments over the next few months.
At the most recent public meetings, on June 11th and 30th, speakers praised DCR's new direction and urged the state to do more to expand public transit and encourage drivers to leave their cars at home.
Full house at LivableStreets June StreetTalk
Marius Navazo from Barcelona, Spain spoke at our June StreetTalk about urban mobility planning in the Catalonia region in Spain.
It was a full house with 100 attendees (top)
Thank you volunteers for making StreetTalks possible! (bottom)
We hope to see you at our next StreetTalk July 22.
LivableStreets Applauds "Healthy Transportation" Sections of State Transportation Reform Bill
One section of the newly passed Transportation Reform Act creates a "Healthy Transportation Compact" under the joint leadership of the Secretaries of Transportation and Health & Human Services. Along with the requirement that the new office of transportation planning focus on creating a sustainable, multi-modal, environmentally protective transportation system, the Compact seeks "positive health outcomes through the coordination of land use, transportation and public health policy."
While this promising language will only be as meaningful as the political will to implement it, in a statement issued by the Massachusetts Public Health Association, LivableStreets Alliance Board member, Steven E. Miller stated; "This legislation represents a historic shift in how Massachusetts thinks about transportation. For the first time, public health, environmental protection, energy conservation, and quality of life issues are being recognized as important as car speed."
Appetite For Mayoral Debates
The following Boston Globe Letter to the Editor, published July 7, was written by Chris Hart, LivableStreets board member and Director of Urban and Transit Projects at the Institute for Human Centered Design.
Here's an opening question
YES, MORE debates are critical, but rarely do they go beyond sound bites and typical platitudes. Perhaps more useful would be a forum to engage young civic leaders and smaller nonprofits, many of whom represent the city's next generation of leadership, to describe a vision and policies for Boston going forward. Then, in turn, the candidates could respond thoughtfully in writing. Yet even this would cause organizations and people to think twice, lest they run afoul of any of the candidates. Still, here's an initial question: How is a neighborhood's quality of life affected by an aging population, and what policies and procedures are needed to welcome this reality?
Safety in Numbers
New statistics from New York City show that the more people who bicycle the lower the rate of accidents - and often the lower the absolute number of accidents even as the number of cyclist increases, as has been previously learned from European experience. NYC has shifted street space from car traffic to walking and bicycling, including turning parts of Times Square into a car-free pedestrian mall in order to improve traffic flow.
A LivableStreets member made the graph above by using a NYC Transportation Alternatives graph about daily ridership and annual casualties as a basis, and then added bars showing the number of bikeway miles built in 2004 and 2008 (extrapolating in between). This new graph shows not only that safety is improved as the number of cyclists grows, but that the number of cyclists increases along with the number of bikeway miles. NYC is seeing the same results as Portland, Oregon, as show in graph below from the City of Portland.
Learn more about how LivableStreets is working to create livable streets to increase safety and bicycle ridership at www.livablestreets.info or contacting LivableStreets staff directly.
Click on graph to enlarge.