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Celebrate Comm Ave Improvements (Part 2) This Friday

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 27

A bunch of big wigs will be on hand to celebrate the second phase of the Comm. Ave. improvement project.  Come check it out.


From Livable Streets:


This Friday, we are excited to celebrate the groundbreaking of the second phase of the Commonwealth Ave project!

CommonwealthAveGroundbreaking.pngThanks to the work of LivableStreets advocates like you, our partner advocacy groups, and many others, we were able secure a plan for Comm Ave that includes crucial improvements like protected bike lanes, raised crosswalks, improved bus stops, and transit signal priority for the Green Line and 57 bus. This is a landmark improvement and a big victory for the 100,000 people using Commonwealth Ave.

If you are available, join Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, Federal Highway Division Administrator Jeff McEwen, Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin, Boston University President Robert Brown and others to break ground on the second phase of the Commonwealth Avenue improvement project.

Event Details:
Commonwealth Ave Groundbreaking

Friday, October 28, 3:00 pm
@ 855 Commonwealth Ave, Boston

This project is an important example of LivableStreets’ larger vision of a seamless network of improved streets across greater Boston that are safe and convenient for all. To learn more about our work to improve the designs for Commonwealth Ave, click here.

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Community Preservation Act Up For A Vote In Boston This November

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 25

Yet another reason to get out there and vote.  From Livable Streets:

This November, Boston voters (as well as those in Springfield and Holyoke) will decide if their cities will join the roughly 160 others across the state in adopting the Community Preservation Act. A positive CPA vote (item number 5 on the Boston ballot) will raise money that can only be used for open space preservation (including greenways), development of affordable housing, the acquisition and development of outdoor recreational facilities (including playgrounds, bicycling, and pedestrian facilities), and the preservation of historic resources.

If adopted, the average single-family Boston homeowner will pay about $28 per year – about $2 per month. Small business owners would pay between $100 and $250 a year. Including the projected state match, the city is expected to have roughly $20 million every year for CPA projects. It’s a small amount to pay for a very large return in increased quality of life. And voters can see exactly what their money is being used for via a database set up by the non-profit Community Preservation Coalition.

The program has been a huge success in those municipalities that have already adopted it since the enabling act passed in 2000; state-wide raising over $1.4 billion which has paid for over 8,500 units of affordable housing, 1,250 recreation projects, 21,800 acres of open space, and 3,6000 historic preservation projects. Once adopted, no city has ever voted to repeal the CPA program.


The money comes from both the city and a state match. Cities start the process by adopting a 1-to-3 percent property tax surcharge. Boston is proposing only 1% and, like many other cities, is excluding the first $100,000 of assessed valuation and exempting both low-income homeowners and low-moderate income seniors. Boston can also add other revenues (such as linkage fees, impact fees, hotel taxes, etc.) to their CPA Fund, in order to qualify for a higher CPA state match. The state matches the city money, originally dollar-for-dollar but more recently, as additional cities join, a declining percentage – now a bit below 30% but still amounting to millions of dollars for Boston.

By law, at least 10% of annual CPA funds must be used for projects in each of three areas: affordable housing, open space (excluding recreational uses), and historic preservation. Beyond that, the local Legislative body (e.g. Boston’s City Council) decides on how to divide the remaining funds among the four categories. Cambridge, for example, uses most of the money for affordable housing.


Whether your priority is the environment, public health, physical activity or resilience, adopting the CPA – Yes on Question 5 in Boston – is a no-brainer. There is no significant opposition, not even from the real estate or construction industries. Mayor Walsh and nearly every office holder has expressed their support. Why not: the real estate market in adopting municipalities has not slowed; corporate investment in new facilities has not disappeared. If anything, the Boston-area real estate market has become over heated and too expensive – making the CPA even more important as a small but important counter to the profit-driven destruction of open space, the painful explosion of housing costs, the connection of increased recreational opportunities to both better public health and workforce retention.

It’s important to remember that even in this time of anger and cynicism, there are public programs that are transparent and good.

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Rally For Safer Streets Sept 29th!

Written by Boston Biker on Sep 28

From Livable Streets:

The program will start at 6pm sharp with City Council President Michelle Wu and Chief of Streets Chris Osgood. Show up early to meet with Councilor Wu and share your street safety concerns!

Streets are For People Rally
Thursday, September 29, 2016, 6-7pm
@ City Hall Plaza, Boston
**rally will go on rain or shine

Many of you have been helping us to spread the word via social media, thank you! Keep the momentum going so we can get the biggest crowd possible!

Together we can urge our leaders to prioritize safer options for people who walk, bike, and take transit. 

What you can do:

  1. Share this email with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to join you on September 29th!

  2. Invite 5 friends to the event:

  3. Wear yellow to the rally. Yellow is a color of solidarity for those killed or seriously injured in crashes.

  4. Spread the word via social media before and during the rally using #visionzero and #crashnotaccident

By participating in this rally you can show your continued support for Vision Zero efforts and making Boston’s streets safer to navigate — no matter how people get around.

We know that Vision Zero can save lives. We hope to see you at City Hall Plaza this Thursday!

Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Event Co-Hosts: WalkBoston, T4MA, TransitMatters, USPIRG, Safe Roads Alliance, MassBike, LivableStreets Alliance, DotBike, Boston Cyclists Union, StreetsPAC Boston, Walk UP Rozzie, Green Streets Initiative, Cambridge Bicycle Safety, Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition

Dear Boston City Council,

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition invited Mayor Walsh to speak at a Vision Zero rally taking place on September 29th at 6pm at City Hall Plaza. (We’ve included the invite below). We would like to invite City Council President Wu to speak at the rally, and invite all of you to be there to show your continued support for Vision Zero efforts and making Boston’s streets safer to navigate — no matter how people are getting around.


Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

WalkBoston, T4MA, TransitMatters, USPIRG, Safe Roads Alliance, MassBike, LivableStreets Alliance, DotBike, Boston Cyclists Union, StreetsPAC Boston

September 14, 2016

Mayor Martin J. Walsh
1 City Hall Square, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02201-2013

Dear Mayor Walsh,

On behalf of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition we would like to invite you to speak at a rally on September 29th at 6pm at City Hall Plaza, where we will gather with our friends and neighbors in solidarity with those who have been killed in traffic crashes to call for swifter action to prevent these tragedies in the future.

Specifically, we hope you will recommit to Vision Zero, the pledge to eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes in the city by 2030, and share what actions the City will take before the end of the year to achieve the goals it set forth in the Vision Zero Action Plan released in December of 2015. Additionally, we hope that you will commit more financial resources for additional staff and capital projects to ensure that the Transportation Department has the support it needs to reach these important goals.

Committing to Vision Zero was an important first step in improving safety on our streets. Unfortunately, in the wake of a series of tragic and preventable crashes, injuries, and fatalities, including 13 pedestrians who have died so far this year in the City of Boston, it is more important than ever to focus the priority of transportation policies and projects on safety.

The status quo is not working. We desperately need to invest in the infrastructure of Boston’s streets and sidewalks — and we need your leadership to show it is the mandate of city government to prioritize safer options for people to walk, bike, take transit and drive.

Thank you for considering this invitation. We hope to see you on September 29th and look forward to working with you to accelerate progress toward achieving Vision Zero in the City of Boston.


Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

WalkBoston, T4MA, TransitMatters, USPIRG, Safe Roads Alliance, MassBike, LivableStreets Alliance, DotBike, Boston Cyclists Union, StreetsPAC Boston

The Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition advocates for the implementation of Vision Zero in Boston and for the adoption of Vision Zero throughout the metro area and state of Massachusetts. The growing coalition includes community-based organizations, nonprofits, businesses, civic groups and individuals representing communities across the state.

 Walk_Boston.jpg  t4ma.jpg  TransitMatters.png
 US_PIRG.png  Safe_Roads_Alliance.jpg  MassBike.jpg
 LSA_logo_cropped.PNG  Dot_Bike.png  BCU.jpg

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Long Time Advocate Jackie DeWolfe Leaves Livable Streets

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 04

She has done a great job and will be sorely missed, her farewell letter below:

It is bittersweet to write to you that next Friday, August 12 marks my last day on staff at LivableStreets. I have been appointed Director of Sustainable Mobility at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation where I will continue to work on improving our streets, public spaces, and transit.

As I prepare for my departure, I’ve had fun reminiscing. I started volunteering at LivableStreets more than eight years ago and was immediately hooked by LivableStreets’ founders.  They were rethinking transportation and simultaneously rethinking the role of advocacy to forge new partnerships to create more livable communities.  LivableStreets instilled in me the belief that streets are our public space. Transportation options are key to quality of life because they unlock access to what you need and want.  Streets should be designed to accommodate people regardless of age or ability.

Today, LivableStreets has become what we had hoped for, a thriving organization with an active membership. I’m so proud of what we have accomplished together. I’m even more excited for what’s next for LivableStreets. We now have four full time staff, six summer staff, and hundreds of volunteers working on initiatives across Metro Boston. We have championed changing the conversation to integrate walking, biking and transit facilities into transportation projects to provide people more transportation options.

Whether you have volunteered, donated, shared your story, participated in one of our campaigns, worked at a partner organization, led efforts in your own neighborhood, spoke at a public meeting, or attended an event – thank you. When people ask, “Who makes up the LivableStreets Alliance?” the answer is you!

Together we have accomplished a lot in 8 years, but there is still a long way to go. We are at a pivotal moment as the Commonwealth and communities across the country grapple with how to improve safety, mobility, and sustainability, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic. I look forward to working on these important issues in my new role, and LivableStreets will be hiring to continue to do so as well. Deputy Director Stacy Thompson who has been my co-pilot for the past year and half will step in as Interim Executive Director.


I hope to see you before I go! LivableStreets will be hosting a goodbye party onThursday, August 11, from 6 to 8pm at Central Wharf Co, 160 Milk Street, Boston. Please come to raise a glass!  If you can’t make it, we are also hosting two summeropen houses Friday, August 5, 8-10 AM and Tuesday, August 9, 4-6 PM at LivableStreets office, 100 Sidney Street, Cambridge. Come on by!

Thank you again for a wonderful eight years.



Jackie DeWolfe

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Action Alert: Let Your Voice Be Heard For Zoning Reform

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 08

From Livable Streets:

The Senate is taking up a bill updating our zoning law for the first time in 40 years—and we need your voice to support it!

The Zoning Reform bill is the most important planning, housing, and land-use bill in years. This is a critical moment to ask for your Senator’s support! It takes just a moment.

Transportation and housing policies are intimately connected—good policies create more livable streets and communities for everyone.

Will you click here to tell your Senator to support this important bill? It takes just a minute.

To learn more about this bill and why it’s important, read on below or click here.

The Senate will vote this Thursday, June 9th, so now is the time to act.

Thank you for speaking up!

LivableStreets Alliance

Did you know?

Restrictive zoning is crippling our economy, health and environment. Economists estimate that restrictive zoning drives up housing prices in Greater Boston by nearly 20% and leads to a 20% decline in employment. Outdated zoning has cost our region at least 156,000 jobs.

We are building fewer than half of the homes our state needs annually to meet our current state-wide needs and prevent job loss to other states. Meanwhile, combined housing and transportation costs now eat up an average of 50% of family budgets.

At least 52% of Americans want to live in places where they do not have to use a car very often. People who live in walkable neighborhoods are twice as likely to get the exercise they need, reducing the risk of obesity and making our communities more livable.

Every day, thirteen acres of forests and farmland are lost to low-density sprawl caused by inefficient and outdated zoning, generating more traffic in addition to infrastructure costs that drain municipal budgets.

Here’s what this landmark bill does:

  • The bill will stimulate home & business development
  • Communities will increase “multi-family” zoning to build more of the homes we need.
  • Allowing homeowners to create “accessory dwelling units” on their property will enable them to create new housing for relatives or to generate rental income to help them stay in their home.
  • Special permits, which are a common approval process, would no longer require a supermajority vote.
  • Variance reforms will make it easier for property owners to make improvements.
  • Developers will have longer, more reasonable time periods to use their permits.
  • Reforming the appeals process will reduce frivolous lawsuits and lengthy court battles over development, saving time and money for local government, taxpayers, and developers.

Provides our cities and towns with the modern planning tools they need

  • Other states use a rational and predictable process to assess impact fees from development to offset the cost of infrastructure—our cities & towns should be able to do that too.
  • Local master plans will become easier and less costly to create.
  • Once a community has started to change its zoning, development rights should become protected only when an owner has more than an imprecise preliminary plan for the property.
  • Cities and towns can implement affordability requirements through inclusionary zoning.
  • Local planning and zoning board members will be able to access more training opportunities.

Preserves open space and discourages sprawl

  • Developers who want to cluster their development to conserve land will be able to do so.
  • Communities will be able to improve the design of unregulated roadside sprawl by establishing a minor subdivision ordinance.
  • Cities and towns will be able to “opt in” to additional tools and benefits if they meet state standards for compact housing and economic development while protecting open space and water quality.
  • Natural Resource Protection Zoning is a new tool to preserve large and important resource areas.

Promotes public health

  • Development project notices are required to be sent to local health boards.
  • Accessory dwelling units are a critical need for families who need to take care of older relatives or those with disabilities.
  • Easier master planning, required multi-family districts in smart growth locations, cluster by-right subdivision, and the opt-in program will all encourage communities to become more compact and walkable.
  • Reforming “Approval Not Required” subdivisions will help reduce the number of driveways that front on busy streets and improve public safety.

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