August 8, 2014

Repurposing streets for people

(Image courtesy of Boston Globe)

FROM BETTER TO WORSE ON COMMONWEALTH AVE: City Leaders Need To Step Up For Their Own Policies LivableStreets

Commonwealth Avenue is one of our region’s showcase gems. Designed in part by our own genius, Frederick Law Olmsted, it is a broad, landscaped boulevard that is supposed to welcome everyone no matter their method of movement. But we all know that it’s become something of a mess. The road surface has acne. The Green Line barely moves. Cars pile up. Walkers, including multitudes of BU students, are unable to cross the street. And cyclists are getting injured – as the Boston Cyclists Union documents, in the BU area alone there were 68 reported crashes between 2010-12 including one fatality.

MBTA Late-Night Ridership Tops 400,000 BostInno

People have put late-night MBTA service to use. Since late March, when weekend subway and bus service hours were extended to about 3 a.m., more than 400,000 trips have been taken.

Governor Deval Patrick announced last December that weekend hours would be extended under a one-year pilot program. The challenge was subsequently thrust onto the shoulders of T-riders, who had been begging for public transportation to help keep the city open later: Ride the subway, take one of 15 key bus routes, and force the T to keep late-night service around – for good.

Voters would pay for transportation fixes — close to home Globe

As supporters of a controversial gas tax ballot question gird for battle this fall, their success may depend on whether voters are convinced that new taxes would go toward road improvements in their own towns.

According to a new Boston Globe poll, Massachusetts voters — particularly, conservative voters — are sensitive to whether their taxes will go toward infrastructure upgrades nearby. 

The Atlanta Transit Agency's Big Plan to Convert Parking Lots into Housing CityLab

MARTA, the transit authority for metro Atlanta, is quietly becoming a player in the real estate world, and it has its excess parking to thank. In the past few months, the agency has pushed forward with plans to develop under-used parking lots at three stations—King Memorial, Avondale, and Edgewood/Candler Park—into mixed-use commercial and residential buildings. And MARTA expects to secure at least two more such deals by early next year.

Singapore's Early Morning Free Transit Program Has Been a Huge Success CityLab

What Singapore wanted was what every subway commuter wants: just a little space to breathe on the rush-hour train, thank you. As of March 2013, when the MRT program was announced, about 36,000 people exited at one of the 16 core stations between 7 and 8 in the morning on weekdays, compared to 99,500 who got off at the same places between 8 and 9—a peak-off peak ratio of nearly 2.8 to 1. Ridership was nearly as high in the 15 minutes before 9 a.m. as it was in the whole hour before 8.


  • Commonwealth Ave
    • FROM BETTER TO WORSE ON COMMONWEALTH AVE: City Leaders Need To Step Up For Their Own Policies LivableStreets
    • City, BU resist protected bike lanes on Comm Ave BCU
    • New Cambridge St. Renderings Illustrate MassDOT's Plans for Bike & Pedestrian Safety BostInno
    • Bicycle advocates seek safety changes in Commonwealth Avenue Boston Globe
    • Transportation Advocates Call for Safer Commonwealth Avenue Project Boston Magazine
  • Cambridge St


  • Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission thriving after first year Wicked Local
  • Alta Chief: Bike-Share Expansions Unlikely in 2014 StreetsBlog
  • What happened to low hanging fruit? Boston Biker
  • Bicyclist killed after being struck by car NECN
  • Bicyclist Arrested Near Union Square Patch
  • Garbage truck collides with Hubway bicyclist Herald
  • If an Electric Bike Is Ever Going to Hit It Big in the U.S., It's This One CityLab
  • This Guy Is Riding a Hubway for 160 Miles of the Pan-Mass Challenge Boston Magazine
  • Bike to the Ballpark Is a Home Run MassBike
  • 7/29/14: Bike Safety Update YouTube


  • A parklet rises in Boston Globe
  • Watertown residents, bikers and runners debate benefits of Charles River trail rehab plan Globe
  • Harbor walk under construction on Columbia Point; detours set DOT News
  • 4 ideas to make Boston’s Greenway better - We once had big dreams for the city’s newest park. Let’s not abandon them. Globe


  • Beacon Hill Sidewalks
    • Mayor Martin J. Walsh tells disgruntled Beacon Hill residents that ramps for the disabled are coming Boston Globe
    • In Beacon Hill, Sidewalk Talk Gets Heated Boston Magazine
    • Beacon Hill Times Editorial: Decision on Sidewalk Ramps Is Wrong Beacon Hill Times
    • City Officials Move Forward with Sidewalk Plan Beacon Hill Times
  • Man charged with running down pedestrian in Mattapan while in reverse and drunk Universal Hub


  • Op-Ed: Making the Fairmount Line gentrification-proof Globe
  • Southie petition seeks better MBTA bus service Metro
  • Keolis to Crack Down on Commuter Rail Conductors for Not Collecting Tickets BostInno
  • MBTA: New WiFi System Announced MA Transpo Blog
  • Yes! You Can Outrun the MBTA Green Line
  • Fifty years later, six ways the launch of the MBTA changed Boston transportation Globe
  • No need to duplicate transit on Comm Ave Amateur Planner
  • Fifty years of the MBTA: where is the vision? Walking Bostonian
  • MBTA Sustainability Achievements Earn Gold MA Transpo Blog
  • Brookline transportation committee floats free subway transfers idea Wicked Local
  • MBTA Late-Night Ridership Tops 400,000 BostInno


  • SPOT App Lets People Rent Out Private Parking Spaces Boston Magazine
  • Government Center Garage Project Comes Under Scrutiny in Joint Letter by Three Downtown Neighborhood Groups North End Waterfront
  • For cab drivers, change is slow to come in city taxi industry - Long-sought panel still being formed Globe
  • About that T lot in Mattapan Sq. DOT News
  • Boston: Plan Ahead for I-90 Lane Restrictions MA Transpo Blog
  • Do new parking apps pass the test? Globe
  • Boston City Council submits ordinance to put an end to parking apps, like Haystack BetaBoston
  • Governor Patrick Celebrates Beverly Commuter Rail Parking MA Transpo Blog
  • Two kinds of city councilors: Those who use services like Uber and those who don't Universal Hub
  • Speed hump disappears in Hyde Sq. JP Gazette
  • Northeastern Engineers Have Found a Way to Render Boston Potholes Extinct BostInno
  • Lynch: Parking a vicious cycle Herald

Transportation Finance/Government

  • MBTA reviews GLX project's Equivalent Facilitation request Somerville Times
  • Neighbors get more detail on Morton bridge project DOT News
  • With government, the little things matter, too Commonwealth Mag
  • Voters would pay for transportation fixes — close to home Globe
  • MassDOT pledging support for building underpass for Anderson Memorial Bridge Globe

Development projects

  • Measuring Up: More Bang for the Buck in Transportation Project Selection T4MA
  • Boston Harbor Garage Project Towers Design Proposal Unveiled BostInno
  • Charlestown Patriot-Bridge: BRA Approves $4M Rutherford Avenue Project Charlestown Bridge
  • Construction to Start on New Prudential Center Office Tower BostInno
  • Boston-Everett: Alford Street Bridge Opens MA Transpo Blog
  • City preps plan for new bridge to Charlestown Globe
  • Town center developments sprouting in suburbs west of Boston Globe
  • Op-Ed: Harbor Garage project is everyone’s concern Globe

Land Use/Planning

  • Community Groups Want to Keep Union Square Open for the Arts Boston Magazine
  • What is Urban Planning? A South End Case Study BRA News
  • Project Selection Criteria: Public Hearing Testimony LivableStreets
  • Editorials: BRA reform JP Gazette
  • BRA lacks rules and records, audit finds JP Gazette


  • WA
    • A Doomed Seattle Freeway Ramp Gets a Loving Goodbye CityLab
  • NY
    • NYC Can't Afford to Build the Second Avenue Subway, and It Can't Afford Not To CityLab
    • A day in the life of a New York Citibike Guardian
    • The Most Persuasive Evidence Yet that Bike-Share Serves as Public Transit CityLab
    • ‘Dangerous’ sidewalks ignoring NYC’s disabled: lawsuit NY Post
  • GA
    • The Atlanta Transit Agency's Big Plan to Convert Parking Lots into Housing CityLab
  • CA
    • How Governmental Agencies Destroy Public Trust: A History of San Diego Regional Transportation Plans BikeSD
    • Court rules that even on a bicycle, it's reckless driving SF Gate
    • The Forgotten History of L.A.'s Failed Freeway Revolt CityLab
    • Talks With Officials, Advocates Supporting Vision Zero SF StreetsBlog
    • Coping with the throngs on S.F.'s beloved Embarcadero SF Gate
  • MO
  • CO
    • Other Cities Look to Tear Down Their Old Highways, But Not Denver StreetsBlog
  • TX
    • Will Texas DOT Gouge Another Highway Through Dallas? StreetsBlog
    • Dallas' new bike czar is ready to roll; her thoughts on hot-button issues Dallas News
  • DC
    • The Surprisingly Intellectual Past of the D.C. Metro CityLab
    • Crosswalks Not Included for New Silver Line Stations in Tysons Corner Planetizen

National trends

  • Why Amtrak's On-Time Performance Is So Much Worse This Year CityLab
  • What If You Could Choose Between the Fastest Route and the Most Beautiful? CityLab
  • How Parking Spaces Are Eating Our Cities Alive CityLab
  • How Low-Income Commuters View Cycling CityLab
  • Self-Driving Cars Will Mean More Traffic Business Week
  • Testing a No-Cellphone Sidewalk Lane CityLab
  • Parking: Searching for the Good Life in the City StreetFilms
  • Cities look to improve pedestrian safety, access Reporter News
  • Jon Stewart on the Transportation Funding Crisis: "This is So Stupid" StreetsBlog
  • Contraflow Bike Lanes Finally Get Nod From U.S. Engineering Establishment StreetsBlog
  • Study: People Living Near Biking and Walking Paths Get More Exercise StreetsBlog
  • Should keeping bike lanes clear have priority over cars? (Survey) TreeHugger
  • Disability community marks anniversary of the ADA DOT News
  • Listen up, America: It’s time to start making mass transit free! Salon
  • What I Learned Riding One of Those New Private City Buses CityLab
  • It's Amazing How Many More Commuters Would Drive Less if They Didn't Get Free Parking CityLab
  • How to Breathe Cleaner Air While Biking: Ride at 11 MPH StreetsBlog
  • Where Are Drivers Most Likely to Yield to Pedestrians? StreetsBlog
  • What's the Best Way to Tax Parking? StreetsBlog
  • William H. Whyte in His Own Words: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces StreetFilms
  • FHWA to Engineers: Go Ahead and Use City-Friendly Street Designs StreetsBlog
  • Study: To Keep Bicyclists Outside the Door Zone, You Need a Buffer StreetsBlog
  • What If We Paid the Full Cost of Driving? StreetsBlog
  • One Woman's Quest to Design Parking Lots People Don't Hate CityLab

International news

  • The Many Languages of Transit Platform Signs CityLab
  • Advice for foreigners on how Britons walk BBC
  • Text and Ride in India NY Times
  • Singapore's Early Morning Free Transit Program Has Been a Huge Success CityLab
  • BlaBlaCar Is Building a Global Rideshare Network That's Already Taking Over Europe CityLab
  • Friday Fun: Two cities' bold plans to make cars obsolete CityFix
  • How Helsinki Became a Public Transportation Paradise