Issue #81 - January 2014

Happy 2014! We hope you are as excited as we are about this new year. We are setting out to do big things in 2014. Read about our 2014 goals below and save the dates for upcoming events.

In this issue:

  • Our 2014 goals
  • Eight tables where we speak up for you
  • Save the date: 6th Annual Boston Bike Update event
  • Connect Historic Boston update: Causeway and Commercial Streets
  • Success story: Cambridge Street community 
  • Neighborhoods Not Highways: Bowker Overpass
  • $50 million for Complete Streets 
  • Public meetings & other events

goalsOur 2014 goals
Make transit a priority.  
Photo: Bus Rapid Transit in Mexico City.

In 2014, we aim to: 

  • Make transit a priority on our streets
  • Create a seamless connection between our off and on-street paths 
  • Work with the new Boston administration to create a visionary transportation plan  
  • Create safer streets
  • Engage thousands of people in our work  
  • Train more Advocacy Committee members, Ambassadors and volunteers
  • Build new partnerships
Thank you to all our members and everyone who made an end of the year donation that will help make these goals become reality.

seven
Eight tables where we speak up for you 

In order to advocate effectively for safer streets and a more equitable transportation system for you, LivableStreets sits on many advisory boards and committees to make sure your voice is heard. These committees include:

  • Boston Bike Advisory Group, advising the City of Boston Bike Director
  • Boston Bike Network Advisory Group, helping with the 5 and 30 year plan
  • Boston Bus Rapid Transit Study Group, researching the potential of BRT in the Boston region
  • Cambridge Transit Committee, working to create a city transit action plan
  • Green Ribbon Commission Transportation Working Group, working with the Boston administration to create a visionary transportation planning process
  • Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, advising MassDOT on bicycle and pedestrian-related policies and practices
  • MassDOT Design Standards Working Group, working with the State to write and update design guidelines
  • Mayor Walsh Transition Team Transportation & Infrastructure Working Group, developing a briefing paper for the new Boston Mayor

Save the date: 6th Annual Boston Bike Update      
Boston Bike Update will be March 27
at the Boston Public Library. 
It's that time again. Join us for the 6th (yes 6th!) Annual Boston Bike Update with the Director of Boston Bikes Program, Nicole Freedman. LivableStreets will host this public forum on bicycle planning in Boston so you have the opportunity to get your bike questions answered. Hear the latest on 2013 accomplishments and the path forward under Mayor Martin J Walsh, including:
  • Report back on end of year surveys
  • Connect Historic Boston
  • Network Plan
Save the date: Thursday, March 27, 2014 
@ Boston Public Library, Copley
5:30pm doors open, 6-7:30pm presentation
7:30-8:30pm Q&A
8:30-10pm LivableStreets member social
 
Interested in sponsoring or volunteering? Email kara@livablestreets.info.

Speaking of surveys... Make your voice heard. Please take the Boston Bikes 2013 End of Year Survey. The survey is one of the best ways Boston Bikes gets feedback on biking in Boston. Take the survey and then pass along to friends, co-workers and neighbors, and hear results at the Bike Update. Take the Boston Bikes survey.


connectConnect Historic Boston update: Commercial and Causeway Streets
Connect Historic Boston
Check out this video about
Connect Historic Boston 

Connect Historic Boston is a project to make traveling to National Park Service sites and other destinations easy, fun, accessible and convenient. The project includes improvements to Causeway Street, Commercial Street, Blackstone Block, Constitution Road and Joy Street, funded by a $15 million TIGER grant.  

LivableStreets is a partner of Connect Historic Boston as a member of the project's Working Advisory Group and host of a training that helped plan the initiative.

Commercial Street:
The North End 4-mile, "family friendly" cycle track design continues to move forward. The current plan also includes the preservation of existing parking, and we are particularly excited about the addition of bike traffic lights at intersections.
Details about next meeting here: Tues, Jan 28, 6-7:30pm @ The Nazzaro Center
Connect Historic Boston Cycle Track
Connect Historic Boston cycle track

Causeway Street:
The Causeway Street cycle track also continues to move forward. The current plan is to create a 10ft-14ft wide two-way cycle track with a median on the northern side as a pedestrian refuge. Also, the creation of a plaza-like "calm zone," in front of the TD Garden between Portland and Canal St, is being considered.
 

Success story: Cambridge Street communitycambridgest
Cambridge St Overpass, Allston
Photo credit: Matt Danish

After MassDOT first came to the Allston community with finalized plans to revamp a crumbling yet crucial bridge between North Allston and Allston Village, a group of neighbors joined forces with a coalition of advocacy groups to fight for better pedestrian and bicycle accommodations on arguably one of the worst stretches of road in the region: Cambridge Street in Allston over I-90. LivableStreets has been working with neighbors and other advocates to push for a livable Cambridge Street. Through this advocacy work, two new public meetings were scheduled. 

At the public meetings, the most recent of which was Tuesday, January 14,over 200 local residents came to speak out about slower streets and safer crossings. The coalition of advocates organized the comments into a formal public comment letter cosigned by 14 organizations and 330 residents - and MassDOT listened. The new plans have a sidewalk-level cycle track, better bike and pedestrian connections at the intersections, and a safe, signalized crosswalk on the bridge. The improvements were all won by bringing together designers, the resident, and elected officials through the entire process. 

Thanks MassDOT, and congrats to the Cambridge Street community.  

Read LivableStreets Comment Letters for Cambridge Street Overpass here


bowkerNeighborhoods Not Highways: Bowker Overpass 
The Emerald Necklace Parks Masterplan
Photo credit: Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
of MA and Friends of the Charlesgate.
MassDOT continues to evaluate long-term options for the Bowker Overpass in Boston, including various options for removing the overpass or rebuilding it, creating a new pedestrian/bike connection between Back Bay Fens and the Charles River Reservation, as well as alternatives for new on and off ramps to the Mass Pike in the Back Bay area to alleviate much of the need for the Bowker Overpass at all. In the meantime, MassDOT is finalizing plans for a 10-year short term structural repair of the Bowker. 

LivableStreets has been working with neighbors and other advocates to push for grounding the Bowker Overpass, like the Casey Overpass in Jamaica Plain and McGrath in Somerville, and restoring Charlesgate Park. LivableStreets has also been providing recommendations for new Mass Pike ramps that have the least negative impacts on surrounding areas. We also hope to get short-term lighting, maintenance, and artwork improvements under the Overpass for the next 10 years. Stay tuned.

ActFresh$50 Million for Complete Streets

 On January 8th, the House Bonding Committee approved a new Active Streets Certification Program funded at $50 million over the next five years. The action comes after a year of intensive advocacy and organizing by Massachusetts Public Health Association, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Act FRESH Campaign (which LivableStreets is a member of) and many other allies. 

Walking, biking and using public transit across the Commonwealth will be made easier and safer by this program. Streets better balanced for everyone getting around will provide health benefits, advance health equity, and provide economic and environmental benefits to communities large and small across the state. 


Public meetings & other events 


Boston Society of Architects: Traffic Advisory Series with Helle Søholt, founding partner and CEO of Gehl Architects

Thursday, January 23, 6:00pm

@ BSA Space, 290 Congress St, Boston

Register and more details here >>  

Connect Historic Boston: Commercial Street Cycle Track Public Meeting

Tuesday, January 28, 6:00pm

@ The Nazzaro Center, 30 North Bennett Street, Boston

More details here >>  

"The Human Scale" film screening

Thursday, January 30, 6:30pm

@ Somerville Theater, 55 Davis Square, Somerville

Free tickets and more details here>> 


Please feel free to reply if you have any questions, are seeking more information, or want to get involved!

Sincerely,

LivableStreets  
 
P: 617.621.1746