In this issue:
- Boston Bike Update and Spring Member Party recap
- Join the LivableStreets Advocacy Committee
- Training to become a Street Ambassador, May 7
- Next generation street design guide adopted by MassDOT
- Myths debunked: People who bike don't pay for the roads they use
- Policies that could make it easier to live car-light
- New map visualizes reported crashes in Cambridge
- Public meetings & other opportunities
On March 31, hundreds attended the City of Boston 6th Annual Boston Bike Update at Faneuil Hall. This year marked the biggest event yet! The director of Boston Bikes and guests presented a 2013 recap, future goals and awards. Unfortunately, Mayor Walsh was unable to attend at the last minute, but we were excited to hear from Chief of Policy Joyce Linehan. Follow event highlights on Twitter: #BostonBikeUpdate.
"Chapter 1 is over. Chapter 2 is beginning. It's time to become a world-class bicycling city." - Director of Boston Bikes Nicole Freedman
On April 10, we said "thank you!" to our members at our 4th Annual Spring Member Party. The event was at District Hall in the Seaport District and sponsored by new partner, Zipcar. Special guest, Donald Shoup gave a short talk about parking best practices and Jackie, Jamie and Kara gave a "three cheers to our members." We've had many successes in the last year including:
These accomplishments would not be possible without our members.
Want to help win future campaigns? Want to support our event series, which creates a dynamic conversation about livable streets? Become a member of LivableStreets today.
Join the LivableStreets Advocacy Committee
Help organize, provide technical support and advocate to win our Campaign for Safer Streets. Join ongoing projects or bring your own questions and project ideas. Monthly meetings will include trainings and guest speakers.
Email Campaign Coordinator Jamie Maier at [email protected] for more information and to RSVP for the next meeting.
Wednesday, April 23, 6:30-8:30pm
@ LivableStreets office
100 Sidney St., Cambridge
Training to become a Street Ambassador, May 7
Make change happen. Become a Street Ambassador this summer.
In 2012, our Street Ambassadors helped win huge interim improvements along the McGrath Corridor as part of our Remove McGrath Campaign. They even made national news while doing it!
In 2013, our Street Ambassadors helped win a safer and more livable Massachusetts Avenue Bridge as part of our Better Bridges Campaign.
In 2014, we want you to join our Street Ambassador team to:
-collect postcards in support of our Safer Streets Campaign
-help with tactical urbanism in Cambridge and Greater Four Corners
-represent LivableStreets at events throughout the summer
"Whenever I see a bunch of folks standing on a corner in bright orange shirts I know they are fighting the good fight and getting stuff done." - 2012 Street Ambassador
Attend the training on May 7 at 5:45pm to become an Ambassador and help create safer and more livable streets in Boston.
Over the next four months, we'll be debunking common transportation myths. Last month we highlighted the myth: Driving is a priority among American youth. This month, we explore another popular myth.
Debunked: Every person who pays taxes pays for our roads.
The gas tax, tolls, and automobile registration fees, which many people believe funds a majority of road construction and maintenance, only fund about half of the nation's road expenses. The remaining costs are covered through general tax revenue.
1. Many people who bike also own a car and are paying the "user fees" mentioned above.
2. The negative externalities to biking are very minimal compared to the congestion, road damage and car crashes that are associated with driving.
Major kudos to MassDOT for making Massachusetts the second state to officially endorse the National Association of City Transportation Official's Urban Street Design Guide, considered the next generation manual for designing more livable streets. Yes to more innovation!
For years, advocates have hit a brick wall with government and their consultants: "The Green Book and MUTCD say you can't do that." Since 1914, the "Green Book"has controlled street design, such as how wide car lanes should be (and no separated bike lanes allowed). And since 1971, the Manual on Urban Traffic Control Devices has controlled the use of traffic signals, signage, and striping, providing barriers to good bicycle and pedestrian design (e.g., no bike signals, no leading pedestrian walk time). Mass. Transportation Secretary Rich Davey says the NACTO guide provides "essential design principles for safe, multi-modal urban streets and attractive public spaces that embody our sustainability mission." You know change is in the air when the Federal Highway Association urges all transportation engineers to use the new guide. With Ned Codd as the new director of MassDOT's GreenDOT transportation sustainability initiative, we look forward to seeing the new NACTO guide in action.
In recent StreetLife newsletters, we shared news that major city centers across Europe, from Brussels to Madrid, are hoping to go car-free to reduce air pollution and traffic, and to create space to enjoy other activities.
The news continues about cities flirting with these ideas, but there is a catch. A recent article in The Atlantic Cities notes that even though places such as Boulder, CO and Portland, OR are known for walking and biking, they are still not seeing any significant mode shifts despite huge investments in these activities.
The cause? "The crucial component that's missing is that we're not implementing any policies that disincentivize driving," says Daniel Piatkowski. The article suggests, "We could reduce parking availability or raise parking rates. We could implement congestion pricing. We could roll back subsidies for gas and highways and public parking garages. We could tie auto-insurance rates or infrastructure taxes to how much people actually drive." Read on.
This is a really important point. Fitch Ratings, the third-largest credit rating agency in the US, discusses it in their March 12 press release, urging policymakers to plan for changing travel demands. Fitch Ratings highlights U.S. Census Bureau data revealing record transit use and multi-family home construction across the country. "In our view, the transportation needs of the next 50 years will be markedly different from those of the past 50 years. U.S. policymakers must begin adapting their current decisions to these future needs." Read on.
One neighboring city that is exploring policies to discourage driving and plan for the future is New York City. On March 20, The Atlantic Cities published an article describing how NYC is toying with one policy idea to limit congestion and increase transportation options. The idea is called "fair tolling:" a plan to charge drivers fees that will go to funding public transit, led by group Move NY. Read on.
Questions for you: Where are the places that you choose not to drive to because of limited parking or high cost, and instead choose another way of getting there?
Our friends at the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab launched a website this month featuring maps of various cities around the country including a map of reported bicycle crashes in Cambridge.
They write, "This map helps to show where crashes tend to happen, like Mass Ave and Cambridge Street and Hampshire Street, in the hope that those streets might be made safer for riders."
Knowing where, when and how a crash occurs best equips planners and decision makers to prevent these similar crashes in the future. Check out the map visualization of the 746 reported bike crashes in Cambridge from 2010-2013.
LivableStreets Safety Campaign aims to change infrastructure to decrease risk of crashes. Get involved today and email [email protected]
Public meetings & other opportunities
LivableStreets Volunteer Friday
Friday, April 18, 12-2pm
@ LivableStreets office, 100 Sidney St., Cambridge
Power to the Pedals: Wenzday Jane and the Culture of Change, film screening and panel discussion with LivableStreets
Friday, April 25, 6:30-8:45pm
@ Boston Society of Architects Space, 290 Congress St., Boston
Dorchester Bike Festival, LivableStreets co-hosting
Saturday, April 26, 9am-12pm
@ Ashmont T Station Pedal & Park, 1970 Dorchester Ave., Dorchester
Call for Boston Bike Film Festival Submissions
Deadline: September 1, 2014