“It’s the pace of the technology meeting the pace that our municipalities move at,” said Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance, a transportation advocacy group.
Stacy Thompson, executive director of the advocacy group Livable Streets, said bicyclists are worried that safety problems could develop on the uphill portion of the bridge heading into Boston as faster cyclists bunch up behind slower cyclists. She said a wider bike lane is justified because 30 percent of the vehicles currently using the bridge’s roadway are bicycles.
“We tend to underestimate the number of low-income people who are already riding bikes,” Miller said. “People from Latin America, people from Asia are both coming from places where bike riding is a social norm not confined to children. There are a lot of people going to and from third-shift jobs when the MBTA doesn’t run, [such as] people in the hotel and restaurant business who are low-wage. All these people have a much higher use of bicycles for transportation than the public perception usually notices.”
“While we would say the overall protected infrastructure is lacking in Boston, it’s particularly bad in under-resourced communities [Roxbury, Mattapan, and Dorchester] where many people bike, especially when they have jobs in off hours when the T doesn’t service them, or they’re trying to get to areas of the city that are maybe more difficult to reach,” [Stacy] Thompson said. “There’s certainly work that’s being done at the city, but we are really wanting to look at the communities with [lacking] biking infrastructure and say, ‘There are lots of people in these communities who bike. They might not look like a white guy in spandex, but they deserve to get great protected infrastructure.’"
Andrew McFarland, the community engagement manager for LivableStreets Alliance, a public advocacy organization that focuses on creating more accessible streets in Boston, said while the City does not typically prioritize bus transit as it should, he’s glad this plan puts more of an emphasis on improving bus transportation.
“We could get more out of our bus system by just running the streets better, so it’s a question of city efficiency,” McFarland said. “These people are looking to take the bus, but they just can’t depend on the bus.”
The LivableStreets Alliance and other advocates had pressed Walsh to start making good on his traffic safety promises. Until now, there wasn’t much evidence that the mayor would follow through, but LivableStreets’ Executive Director Stacy Thompson thinks Walsh’s budget is a promising sign.
“This is exactly the kind of investment needed to meet the ambition of the Go Boston 2030 action plan,” Thompson said in a statement.
“For too long the narrative has been that the only way to fix the T is to spend billions of dollars on mega-projects,” said Stacy Thompson, director of the nonprofit Livable Streets Alliance, an advocacy group pushing for better buses. “I think this is a hopeful time for buses.”
The LivableStreets Alliance recently chronicled how ridership on some of the MBTA’s highest-volume bus lines has declined, as worsening traffic has slowed them to a crawl. Thousands more people could travel the same roads if the city created more bus-only routes, but Walsh has been shy about taking away parking spaces and vehicular lanes.
[LivableStreets' Andrew] McFarland said there's no mystery about the steps that need to be taken to improve bus service, including more dedicated bus lanes. But it's not getting done. "There is a lot more the city can be doing to prioritize these projects," McFarland said.
“I think it’s a bigger question of policy and who has to pay and if people are paying ride-by-ride and paying in pennies and with change, then we need to access the root causes of why they are paying that way and then address those with better low-income options for people,” Thompson said. “I would really love to see a robust process that answers these questions and updates the overall fare policy before this gets implemented.”
[LivableStreets' Stacy] Thompson, addressing the rally last week, called for residents to take action.
“We need you to speak up and let everyone in Boston know there is a bus constituency and we do want to make change. We exist, the fixes are simple and we need you to speak up.”
“We’re not doomed to poor transit service. At a local level, there are plenty of tools in our toolbox to fix this crisis,” said LivableStreets Director Stacy Thompson. “Now’s the time to step up and put them to work.”
Stacy Thompson, executive director of Boston’s Livable Streets Alliance, said those distinctions are crucial. Offbeat ideas like the gondola would be better received, she said, if they served parts of Boston where low-income and minority communities have long clamored for improved transit.
“It’s a disservice to folks in Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Roxbury, who really struggle, and don’t have access to consistent and reliable transit,” she said. “The gondola has the potential of compounding the inequities.”
Stacy Thompson, executive director at transportation advocacy organization LivableStreets Alliance, told DigBoston that the Hub’s inequitable transit system is worsened by poor zoning practices.
“Zoning and misallocation of how we use our space and how we require people to use our space is intimately linked to displacement,” Thompson said. “Improving transportation is a valuable asset for our community and it has value. … We would say that we need to improve transportation in under-resourced communities. As we increase development, heavily advocate for requiring mixed use, mixed income, and not just putting a bunch of low-income and middle-income units in a community that’s isolated.”
Regarding the recently issued report on Boston’s Performance Parking pilot program, there were indeed some important lessons learned. Pricing parking so that one or two spaces per block are open at a given time is a benefit to everyone: businesses, residents, visitors, drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The increase in parking turnover, decrease in illegal parking, and decrease in cruising (drivers looking for spaces) results in streets that serve everyone better and are safer as well.
-- Charlie Denison, Board Member of LivableStreets
Stacy Thompson, executive director of Boston’s Livable Streets Alliance, said the decline in Boston was good news, but she hesitates to draw conclusions.
“It’s much like any public health trend,” she said. “This is a promising shift, but we need three to five more years of downward trends and analysis to fully understand if this is working.”