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LivableStreets Executive Director Stacy Thompson was interviewed by NBC News about the MBTA's response to COVID 19.
“I do believe that a lack of access to transportation — to accessible, affordable, rapid, reliable transportation — has contributed to these inequities,” she tells Curbed. According to a 2019 report by LivableStreets, a Boston-based transportation advocacy group, Black bus riders in the region spend 64 more hours every year traveling than white riders.
"U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) introduce legislation Friday to their respective houses of Congress that would promote public transportation and provide fare-free public transit systems... The legislation is supported by a number of groups and advocacy organizations, including LivableStreets Alliance..."
LivableStreets Executive Director Stacy Thompson joined BNN's Chris Lovett for an interview.
"...[M]embers of a prominent city roadway safety task force are calling for Danilecki’s removal from his liaison post with the organization — a move the mayor’s office has hinted might be imminent.
“It is unacceptable for an officer who engages in brutal tactics against civilians to be the liaison between BPD and those of us who are fighting to make our streets safer,” several members of the Vision Zero task force wrote in a June 9 letter to Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
A large coalition of community groups, environmental organizations, and transit advocates are petitioning the MBTA to acknowledge the threats of police brutality and take steps to ensure that the region’s transit system will not be used as a tool for law enforcement.
In a letter sent yesterday to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, three large advocacy groups for safer streets – the LivableStreets Alliance, Boston Cyclists Union, and WalkBoston – called on the City of Boston to remove the Boston Police Department (BPD) from the city’s Vision Zero Task Force, reduce the BPD’s annual budget, and “reallocate resources for social programs designed to strengthen communities.”
LivableStreets Executive Director Stacy Thompson joined BNN's Chris Lovett for an interview.
Stacy Thompson, director of the transportation advocacy group Livable Streets Alliance, suggested another way to build confidence in a skeptical ridership: post a simple sheet of paper on buses and train cars, similar to those in public restrooms, telling when the car was last disinfected, and by whom.
“Just communicating that on the bus, in multiple languages, would do so much to help people understand how clean and safe the system is,” Thompson said.
“The pilot is the process,” said Stacy Thompson, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, during the public testimony portion of the hearing... “The Washington Street bus lane pilot in Roslindale was successful in part because we just got some signs out, we put cones out, we tested it and we surveyed after. There was not a single public meeting, but the public was engaged."
Speaking on behalf of the Livable Streets Alliance, Executive Director Stacy Thompson said that “any method of building before assessing is not good practice” in reference to what she and others had observed with the presentation, calling for further clarity and consistency as part of the planning process.
Thompson went on to say that she did not see alignment with Vision Zero goals or modern transportation guidelines to keep people safe, and announced that Livable Streets had expressed these concerns prior to the meeting being held.
Several transportation advocates have said they worry the bridge is being overbuilt, and that the transit lane will largely benefit privately-run shuttles and could someday be fully opened to car traffic. Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance, has long campaigned for a smaller, more human-scale bridge, and she repeated that call Wednesday night.
“We really appreciate the work the team has done to think about the walking and biking component, but we’re still deeply concerned,” Thompson said. “We want to see a person-first approach [and] we aren’t seeing it yet.”
Louisa Gag, public policy director for LivableStreets Alliance, an advocacy group for equitable transportation, said redesigning highways where speeding is a problem may help reduce fatalities.
“The City proposed a plan to do what’s called a ‘road diet’ or a reduction in the number of travel lanes,” Gag said. “So cars can provide more space for the sidewalk and for protected bike lanes.”
On Wednesday, the... Massachusetts-based LivableStreets Alliance in partnership with WGBH Boston hosted an online forum about this very question. The second in a four-part series, “Virtual StreetTalks: Walk This Way” was billed as a discussion about the pros and cons of various street interventions, with Massachusetts Congressional representative Ayanna Pressley, a member of the influential bloc The Squad; Lynda Lopez, advocacy manager for Active Trans, and a former Streetsblog Chicago reporter; and Oakland-based Naomi Doerner, principal and director of equity, diversity and inclusion for mobility consulting group Nelson/Nygaard.
Stacy Thompson, executive director of Liveable Streets, said as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing people who use mass transit will definitely need is more space.
“We are going to need more social distancing on mass transit to restart the economy. We need to get people on transit, but we're going to need space, more PPEs, we're going to need more frequent buses and trains,” she said, especially in inner cities. “We know in Massachusetts where the hot spots are. It’s our communities of color. And they're also the communities that have the worst sidewalks, that have the least transit access, and we need to be putting our resources today to make sure our essential workers, our most impacted people, have what they need."
Listen to the radio segment here.
A joint letter to the board from members of the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative, Alternatives for Community and Environment, Community Labor United, Conservation Law Foundation, LivableStreets, MASSPIRG, TransitMatters, and Transportation for Massachusetts asserted that “taxpayers, farepayers, and the communities that contribute to the MBTA’s budget have not been sufficiently informed about the $700 million fare transformation contract.”
Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance advocacy group, said the MBTA should determine what its future fare policy will be before developing the technology to implement it.
What the fare policy will be "is still the big open question. Technology should not supersede policy, and we should have sorted out the policy questions first,” she said.
Stacy Thompson, Executive Director of the LivableStreets Alliance, says that transportation activists should be more focused on the life-threatening conditions of crowded buses and narrow sidewalks in Mattapan and Chelsea, instead of focusing too much on whether Memorial Drive will be opened for recreational bike rides.
A Columbia Road greenway was one of the “top projects” from the city’s GoBoston 2030 plan, and one of the projects that was called out for being “off track” in a progress report from the LivableStreets Alliance last month.
Even some advocates who in normal times are aggressively supportive of more space for walking and cycling are sympathetic to this point.
"When a community is explicitly trying to flatten the curve, creating spaces for mingling is not the right approach," said Stacy Thompson, director of LivableStreets Alliance. "Opening a street and then requiring a police officer monitor... right now, that's just not where municipalities should put their resources."
Boston Mayor distributes additional $3 million to those providing essential services to front line workers
"EMS Wellness Screening Automated Texting Tool (LivableStreets Alliance) will allow central EMS staff to connect, interact with and monitor the health of front-line EMS staff through a new mobile automated texting tool."
"We are very supportive of stop consolidation,” Thompson said. “When stop consolidation is done properly, it can really speed up service and make for a better overall experience for the folks who are waiting for the train and the folks who are riding it."
"Livable Streets Alliance has done their own surveys focusing on [older] communities, which has been great because their work tends to be during the middle of the day, whereas [the City of Boston's] tends to be early morning and evening and very much centered on your standard commute... [T]hat’s where [LivableStreets] has come in and done kind of the... trips to the community center and the trip to your health care provider around 1:00 PM and engaged with a group that doesn’t always get to be as loud and expressive necessarily at these public meetings."
Listen to the podcast here.
“We’re making progress, but we’re not quite there to truly see all of it by 2030," [Stacy Thompson] said. "But we have all the ingredients to get it done and that is positive."
In a new report released this morning, the LivableStreets Alliance says that Boston is making good progress on improving street safety, but by and large has yet to make significant progress on its ambitions to reduce traffic and air pollution by increasing biking, walking and transit use.
"Gag... said that the bill would promote racial equity by replacing human police enforcement with automation. 'If you are implementing cameras in a purposeful and equitable way,' Gag said, 'then you get to remove this aspect of bias on the part of the police officer.'"
"Stacy Thompson from Livable Streets also called the bill 'a positive first step,' but added that, 'It's not bold enough to meet the scale of our transportation crisis.' 'While it's a good start to include some dedicated revenue for the MBTA and the RTAs, important policies like making fares more equitable are missing from this package,' she said."
"Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, said in a speech she thinks the funding package should go toward fixing Massachusetts' public transit and infrastructure. 'I don’t need to tell you that we are in a transportation crisis,' Thompson said. 'You experience it every single day.'"
"I don't need to tell you we are in a transportation crisis, you experience it every single day," said Stacy Thompson, executive director of Livable Streets. Her organization is one of several dozen comprising Transportation For Massachusetts, which is pushing for increases to the gas tax.
"We just need to get past this false notion that we don't have money. It's time to act," said Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance.
"'We can fix this,' agreed Stacy Thompson, executive director of coalition member LivableStreets... 'But we need every person in this room to pick up the mantle – literally pick up the packet that you were given today – because we need your voice. We need you to reach out as individuals, we need you to activate your networks. Ask the Legislature to pass a comprehensive bill that will increase funding.'"
Gag said LivableStreets supports imposing higher fees on TNCs, but that to effectively reduce congestion, Massachusetts must look at such hikes as not only a mechanism to accrue more money but also as a way to shape behavior.
“If you’re interested in moving your wealthiest patrons seamlessly from your business to Assembly Row, a gondola might be the best solution,” says Stacy Thompson, of the Livable Streets Alliance. “But from the public’s perspective it’s not a good use of a public way.”
"Speakers at Monday’s meeting pushed for MassDOT to ensure that the planned new West Station commuter rail stop would have four tracks, not three, to meet potential future growth in demand. They also warned that limiting service on the Worcester Line during construction while simultaneously constricting the Turnpike will create commuting headaches with no relief.
“As a congested state, we cannot push more people onto that road,” said Ari Ofsevit, the project lead for the Livable Streets Alliance."
"As LivableStreets has been saying for more than a year – Congress Street is an ideal location to implement full Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)… Congress street has the potential to become the literal heart (geographically speaking) of the transit, walking, and biking transformation that is taking hold in Metro Boston." - Stacy Thompson
“The need for stricter enforcement of bus only infrastructure has been elevated as more and more cities and towns implement bus priority infrastructure,” LivableStreets Alliance Executive Director Stacy Thompson said in an email. “While we are supportive of better bus lane enforcement we hope the State will also explore camera enforcement which is utilized in New York City.”
"The need for stricter enforcement of bus only infrastructure has been elevated as more and more cities and towns implement bus priority infrastructure," LivableStreets Alliance Executive Director Stacy Thompson said in an email. "While we are supportive of better bus lane enforcement we hope the State will also explore camera enforcement which is utilized in New York City."
"Stacy Thompson, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, said some drivers simply ignore signs designating bus-only lanes and there should be consequences.
“It’s a really important first step,” she said."
Louisa Gag, Public Policy and Operations Manager for LivableStreets, served on the task force that collaborated with Somerville city staff to produce the plan. "It's a big long plan with a lot of action items. City staff worked really hard to vet the goals with various city departments to make sure the plan is realistic and achievable, but also ambitious," said Gag.
LivableStreets Alliance, a transit advocacy group in the Boston area, estimates all Massachusetts transit agencies could make bus service free for $60 million a year, including Boston’s. That translates to a 2-cent increase in the state gasoline tax, the advocacy group said.
Proponents of the idea argue that . . . the true replacement cost would be closer to $36 million. That gap, they say, could be covered by a 2-cent rise in the gas tax.
"That's where something controversial or impossible a few years ago now seems possible," said Stacy Thompson, the executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, a transportation research group.
In last week’s State of the City address (“Mayor calls for bolder action on transportation, housing,” Page A1, Jan. 8), Mayor Martin J. Walsh tasked the Boston Police and Transportation departments to “implement a plan to strengthen traffic enforcement” in Boston. As bicycle and pedestrian advocates on the city’s Vision Zero Task Force, we have some suggestions on what should be included in that plan." - Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Stacey Beutell, WalkBoston Becca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union
As the Globe recently reported, the Livable Streets Alliance estimated that making MBTA buses free could cost as little as $36 million a year. The Boston-area transit advocacy group also reportedly estimates that making public buses free across Massachusetts could be covered by a 2-cent increase in the state's gas tax (Walsh, for his part, supports a 15-cent increase in the tax).
Advocates have identified MBTA's crumbling bus garages as the major limiting factor that prevents better bus service. In the "64 Hours: Closing the Bus Equity Gap" report published in September, the LivableStreets Alliance wrote that "the MBTA's service standards are hamstrung by the size of its vehicle fleet… Without addressing the bedrock issue of the MBTA's bus fleet size and garage facilities, all riders will continue to be underserved.
The classic New England village was built around walking, and communities across Massachusetts would benefit from doubling down on that strength in the 2020s. In Greater Boston, this includes borrowing from Olmsted's Emerald Necklace to create an Emerald Network of shared-use walking and biking paths that connect the region's diverse neighborhoods and job centers.
"To me, this is not a giveaway," said Stacy Thompson of the Livable Streets Alliance. "This is really about how do you make the bus system more efficient and more desirable with the resources we have today." Supporters, however, argue that eliminating fares on local MBTA bus routes could be done on the relative cheap: maybe as little as $36 million a year, according to an estimate by the Livable Streets Alliance. That number, which does not include the Silver Line or long-distance express routes, reflects the fact that a huge portion of MBTA bus riders transfer to the subway, paying $2.40 for a combined trip, or hold a monthly bus-subway pass, and would continue to pay for the train service even with free buses. Making most buses free on the T and every other public bus system in the state could be covered with a 2-cent gas tax increase, according to Livable Streets.
On the TransitMatters Codcast hosted by CommonWealth magazine, Jim Aloisi, the former transportation secretary and TransitMatters board member; Josh Fairchild, the co-founder and president of TransitMatters; and Stacy Thompson, the executive director of Livable Streets, looked back at 2019 and forward to 2020. They predicted the Legislature would pass a transportation revenue package and assembled a wish list of fairly predictable initiatives they would like to see action on.