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Action Alert: Comm Ave Needs You!

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 16

From Livable Streets:


My name is Matt and I’m a BU grad student, active Allston community member, and

Make Comm Ave better for people biking, walking, driving and using public transit

LivableStreets Commonwealth Avenue project lead. I’m writing to you for the first time today to ask for your help making Commonwealth Avenue safe for everyone to use.

The City of Boston is redesigning a section of Comm Ave, between Packard’s Corner and the Boston University Bridge. We need your help to make sure that the City takes advantage of this opportunity to create a model street that serves the large and growing population of people who bike, walk, drive, and use transit.

My fear is that the current designs for the Comm Ave project actually make the street less safe – and less enjoyable – for people to use. The plans widen street lanes (which encourages speeding), narrow the already overcrowded sidewalks, and do not improve the bike lane (which has already been the site of many injuries and at least one fatality in recent years).
Tell the City of Boston that the designs for Commonwealth Avenue must protect people who bike, walk, drive and use transit.
LivableStreets, Boston Cyclists Union, WalkBoston, MassBike and many other advocates, students and people from the neighborhood are working on this project because it impacts all of us around the City that use Comm Ave.
Thanks for your help,




Matthew Danish

LivableStreets Alliance Project Leader


F: LivableStreets
T: @StreetsBoston/#<SaferStreetsBoston

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What Intersections Do You Want Improved?

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 24

Livable streets is collecting data on which intersections need to be made better, see below for details.


Do you walk out of your way to avoid unsafe intersections?

Help increase safety in Boston by telling us which intersections you think need improvement.

Do you poke at walk-signal buttons and wonder if they’re connected to anything?

The LivableStreets Safer Streets Campaign is deepening the city’s commitment to safety and advocating for better infrastructure – like cycle tracks and improved traffic signalization – to allow people to confidently explore the city on bike, foot and public transit.


Safety is particularly important at intersections, where people in cars, on foot, on bike, and in transit interact together. 


That’s why LivableStreets is working to survey and recommend changes for specific crossings in the City of Boston. And, we need your help to identify intersections with pedestrian signals that need improvement.


We are surveying dozens of crossings and working with engineers in the City to implement fast fixes that improve signal timing, phasing and sequencing.
Together, we can make sure those everlasting Don’t Walk signals are a thing of the past.





Mike Sanders

LivableStreets Alliance Lead Volunteer


P: 617.621.1746   
F: LivableStreets
T: @StreetsBoston/#SaferStreetsBoston

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Livable Streets Is Looking For Street Ambassadors

Written by Boston Biker on May 20

From the email:


Become a Street Ambassador this summer and help make change happen. RSVP for May 20 training.

There’s more than one way to think about our streets, use our streets, and to enjoy our streets. As a LivableStreets Street Ambassador, you’ll be helping people shift their perceptions about what our communities could be.

Represent LivableStreets in neighborhoods, at festivals and at other public events. Help collect postcards and pass out information handouts for:

-a safer Commonwealth Avenue

-an increase in car share in Cambridge

-citywide policies to improve safety on our streets

-and more!


Last year, our 30 Street Ambassadors won a safer Mass Ave Bridge! Livable streets are achievable, but only when you get involved.

RSVP for the May 20 Street Ambassador Training to become a Street Ambassador this summer.


Kara Oberg and Jamie Maier
P: 617.621.1746
F: LivableStreets
T: @StreetsBoston/#SaferStreetsBoston

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Livable Streets Update

Written by Boston Biker on May 02




Training to become a Street Ambassador, May 7
Make change happen. Become a Street Ambassador this summer.

 RSVP for May 7 training today.


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

-and more!


“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.




WinNext generation street design guide adopted by MassDOT  

Protected bike lanes now have
 the official backing of Massachusetts DOT. Photo credit: Green Lane Project

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.



PoliciesPolicies that could make it easier to live car-light

Which one(s) should Boston adopt?

New York City launches “fair”
tolling campaign.


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?

Share and discuss on FacebookTwitter (using #BostonCarLight) or by replying to this email. We’d love to hear from you!

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Livable Streets Launches Safer Streets Campaign

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 26

From Livable Streets:


You may have heard the sad news: Eoin McGrory was struck and killed by a truck while biking in Charlestown earlier this month.

This tragedy highlights the dangerous conditions on our streets; streets that put cars first, to the detriment of people who want to walk, bike and use transit.

As I think about Eoin this month, and other victims of senseless street crashes, I ask myself, how can we make our streets safer for everyone using them? How can we prevent crashes like this?

While there is no one answer to these questions, we can and must come together and take action to improve our streets.

I’m proud to announce that LivableStreets is taking action by launching the Safer Streets Campaign to improve street design and bike infrastructure, and make Boston streets more livable for everyone.

Want to be part of making our Streets Safer?

Sign the Safer Streets petition to show your support, and help us build momentum for improving safety.

We’re working to make sure that the call for safer, more connected and human-scale streets is heard louder than ever, because we know that real change happens when we come together and ask for it.

Sign the petition – and ask your friends to sign too – to be part of the movement making Boston safer and more livable.

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Two New Studies Show Moving Away From Cars Improves Business

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 28

And not just business but a lot of other things, safety,health, quality of life.  But no one really cares about any of that unless it makes you more money…so the headline reads “improves business” not “makes you feel less horrible.”  But hey if it takes an increase in earnings to get people to abandon cars (and car parking), so be it.  Any port in a storm right.


From Livable Streets:

Myth: Businesses need parking spaces in front of their store to thrive

Debunked: Complete streets are increasing economic vitality across the country.

Improved accessibility and a more welcoming street environment are now proven to generate higher sales. In particular, studies find that protected bike lanes and increased bike parking promote economic growth.

Check out the Protected Bike Lanes Mean Business report by PeopleForBikes and the Alliance for Biking & Walking, and the Economic Benefits of Sustainable Streets study by New York City Department of Transportation for more stats and facts on this topic.












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Livable Streets Update

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 28

From Livable Streets:


Spring member party at District Hall.

A party is springing up and we want you there! 


Join the LivableStreets community at Boston’s newest event space: District Hall. Meet and chat with members, staff and board members about the latest innovative thinking on transportation in Boston’s innovation district.


Already a member? Register for event now.


Want to become a member? Join/renew for only $35 for free event entry.

Save the date: Bike4Life, September 14

Bike4Life will be on Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bike4Life – a ride that benefits LivableStreets, will be on Sunday, September 14, from 8:30-2pm. 24 and 40 mile routes, 4 and 8 mile guided kid and family routes, and BBQ celebration!


Save the date and more details coming soon.



MassDOT’s new engineering directive

MassDOT has recently published a new Engineering Directive (E-14-001) to clarify and strengthen minimum pedestrian and bicycle accommodations required in roadway and bridge projects. The directive also encourages engineers to look beyond the minimums when designing for pedestrians and bicycles. MassDOT leadership reached out to LivableStreets, WalkBoston, and MassBike when preparing this new directive and incorporated extensive input.
Major changes in this directive include:

  • requiring new 5-foot-minimum shoulders or bike lanes recommended for bicycle accommodation (compared to the prior 4-foot-minimum shoulder or 15-foot-wide outside lane)
  • mandating sidewalks on all bridge and roadway projects in urbanized areas as required by the new Healthy Transportation Directive

For more information about the new Engineering Directive check out the Babystate Roads Program Blog. This directive is the result of the Design Standards Working Group, which LivableStreets sits on, and is just one way we advocate for safer and more livable streets for you.

MassDOTbusesMassDOT board votes to fund new buses

$355 million for new buses
Photo credit: Boston Business Journal

On February 19, the MassDOT board voted to include a total of $355M for bus replacement in its capital plan, $150M of which is new funding. More than 10% of the MBTA buses have reached the end of their useful life (12 years), and 85% of the MBTA bus fleet will reach their end in the next five years.

LivableStreets has been working on increasing statewide transportation funding with Transportation for Massachusetts. This is huge win for Transportation for Massachusetts and all those who live, work and play in the MBTA area.


BansAutosBoston going carless

Call it pie in the sky, just plain crazy, or something to consider also?


Major cities across Europe from Brussels to Hamburg hope to go car-free.

Madrid, Spain is just one of the cities to swear off cars.

Brussels: “The move would transform a handsome but car-snarled four-lane boulevard and a string of squares into a long, café-filled promenade. This new zone will join up with an existing pedestrian zone in the narrow streets around the city’s Grand Place and Rue Neuve, turning Brussels’ core into a spacious, rambling open-air living room.” Read more here>>


Madrid: “Trees, bikes, and walking are in. Cars, historical protection, and new apartments are out. This is the gist of a new plan Madrid has hatched to help it catch up with its European neighbors… The plan calls for 24 major Madrid streets to be radically overhauled, with car lanes removed, bike lanes added and trees planted to make them cool and shady.” Read more here >>


Hamburg: “Germany, home of the high-speed autobahn, is perhaps one of the few countries that has had as intense a love affair with the automobile as the U.S. But in an effort to go green, the country’s second-largest city is studying ways to eliminate cars by 2034. The northern city of Hamburg has laid out an initial concept, named the Green Network Plan, that would expand public transportation and add more routes for pedestrians and bicyclists.” Watch CNBC segment here >>


Read more about the plans, pros and cons. Share and discuss @StreetsBoston / / [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you!

What do you think about Boston going carless?

publicmeetingsPublic meetings & other opportunities

Boston MPO calls for hosts of livable streets communities workshops

Help educate communities on how to incorporate livability concepts and promote thinking about how design influences livability.

Fill out application here>>

Public Transit and Youth in the MBTA: Discussion and Briefing

Thursday, February 27, 4-6pm

@ SEIU 32BJ, 26 West Street, 3rd Fl, Boston

More details here>> 


LivableStreets Volunteer Friday

Friday, February 28, 12-2pm

@ LivableStreets, 100 Sidney St, Cambridge

More details here>>

For full list of events on our calendar see here>>



E: [email protected]
P: 617.621.1746

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Livable Streets Update

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 04

From Livable Streets:


Save the date: 6th Annual Boston Bike Update

Boston Bike Update will be March 27 at the Boston Public Library.

It’s that time again. Join us for the 6th (yes 6th!)Annual Boston Bike Update with the Director of Boston Bikes Program, Nicole Freedman. LivableStreets will host this public forum on bicycle planning in Boston so you have the opportunity to get your bike questions answered. Hear the latest on 2013 accomplishments and the path forward under Mayor Martin J Walsh, including:

  • Report back on end of year surveys
  • Connect Historic Boston
  • Network Plan
Save the date: Thursday, March 27, 2014 
@ Boston Public Library, Copley
5:30pm doors open, 6-7:30pm presentation
7:30-8:30pm Q&A
8:30-10pm LivableStreets member social

Speaking of surveys… Make your voice heard. Please take the Boston Bikes 2013 End of Year Survey. The survey is one of the best ways Boston Bikes gets feedback on biking in Boston. Take the survey and then pass along to friends, co-workers and neighbors, and hear results at the Bike Update. Take the Boston Bikes survey.


connectConnect Historic Boston update: Commercial

and Causeway Streets


Connect Historic Boston
Check out video about Connect Historic Boston 

Connect Historic Boston is a project to make traveling to National Park Service sites and other destinations easy, fun, accessible and convenient. The project includes improvements to Causeway Street, Commercial Street, Blackstone Block, Constitution Road and Joy Street, funded by a $15 million TIGER grant.

LivableStreets is a partner of Connect Historic Boston as a member of the project’s Working Advisory Group and host of a training that helped plan the initiative.

Commercial Street:

The North End 4-mile, “family friendly” cycle track design continues to move forward. The current plan also includes the preservation of existing parking, and we are particularly excited about the addition of bike traffic lights at intersections.
Details about next meeting here: Tues, Jan 28, 6-7:30pm @ The Nazzaro Center
Connect Historic Boston Cycle Track
Connect Historic Boston cycle track
Causeway Street:
The Causeway Street cycle track also continues to move forward. The current plan is to create a 10ft-14ft wide two-way cycle track with a median on the northern side as a pedestrian refuge. Also, the creation of a plaza-like “calm zone,” in front of the TD Garden between Portland and Canal St, is being considered.


Success story: Cambridge Street community

Cambridge St Overpass, Allston
Photo credit: Matt Danish

After MassDOT first came to the Allston community with finalized plans to revampa crumbling yet crucial bridge between North Allston and Allston Village, a group of neighbors joined forces with a coalition of advocacy groups to fight for better pedestrian and bicycle accommodations on arguably one of the worst stretches of road in the region: Cambridge Street in Allston over I-90. LivableStreets has been working with neighbors and other advocates to push for a livable Cambridge Street. Through this advocacy work, two new public meetings were scheduled.


At the public meetings, the most recent of which was Tuesday, January 14, over 200 local residents came to speak out about slower streets and safer crossings. The coalition of advocates organized the comments into a formal public comment letter cosigned by 14 organizations and 330 residents – and MassDOT listened. The new plans have a sidewalk-level cycle track, better bike and pedestrian connections at the intersections, and a safe, signalized crosswalk on the bridge. The improvements were all won by bringing together designers, the resident, and elected officials through the entire process.


Thanks MassDOT, and congrats to the Cambridge Street community.

Read LivableStreets Comment Letters for Cambridge Street Overpass here


bowkerNeighborhoods Not Highways: Bowker Overpass


The Emerald Necklace Parks Masterplan

Photo credit: Executive Office of Environmental Affairs of MA and Friends of the Charlesgate.
MassDOT continues to evaluate long-term options for the Bowker Overpass in Boston, including various options for removing the overpass or rebuilding it, creating a new pedestrian/bike connection between Back Bay Fens and the Charles River Reservation, as well as alternatives for new on and off ramps to the Mass Pike in the Back Bay area to alleviate much of the need for the Bowker Overpass at all. In the meantime, MassDOT is finalizing plans for a 10-year short term structural repair of the Bowker.
LivableStreets has been working with neighbors and other advocates to push for grounding the Bowker Overpass, like the Casey Overpass in Jamaica Plain and McGrath in Somerville, and restoring Charlesgate Park. LivableStreets has also been providing recommendations for new Mass Pike ramps that have the least negative impacts on surrounding areas. We also hope to get short-term lighting, maintenance, and artwork improvements under the Overpass for the next 10 years. Stay tuned.


$50 Million for Complete Streets


On January 8th, the House Bonding Committee approved a new Active Streets Certification Program funded at $50 million over the next five years. The action comes after a year of intensive advocacy and organizing by Massachusetts Public Health Association, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Act FRESH Campaign (which LivableStreets is a member of) and many other allies.


Walking, biking and using public transit across the Commonwealth will be made easier and safer by this program. Streets better balanced for everyone getting around will provide health benefits, advance health equity, and provide economic and environmental benefits to communities large and small across the state.

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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Boston By Bike…At Night Ride 2014 July 29, 2014
      TweetThis years Boston By Bike At Night Ride has been announced! This is a good time, and I hear they are looking for HAM radio operators, so if you are one, get in touch at the info below. ——— Boston … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Back From The Corn! July 28, 2014
      TweetI spent last week riding my bike across the fair state we call Iowa, or as the natives of Iowa call it, Iowa.   I had a really good time, and am in the process of catching up on things, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Should A Cyclist Give Advice When Safety Is In Question? July 28, 2014
      TweetWhen you ride a bike as much as I do, you see almost every kind of riding at least once. Sometimes it seems as if there are as many ways to ride a bicycle as there are cyclists. Each one … Continue reading →
    • Kayak Totin’ Utility Bike !! July 28, 2014
      TweetI love riding, but getting out in my big kayak is always an adventure too, and I live about a mile and half down the street from Spy Pond in Arlington.  So, I’ve been wanting to do this for a … Continue reading →
    • Changing the Behavior of Bike Lane Violators July 27, 2014
      TweetPart one of two. I’d like to change the world in profound ways, but in the near term I’ll settle for small change in just my community. So let’s start small. I seek to change the behavior of people who … Continue reading →
    • #boston bike polo by dec0g July 27, 2014
      Tweet Posted by Instagrate Pro v1.5.1 The post #boston bike polo by dec0g appeared first on Boston Hardcourt Bike Polo.
    • #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo July 25, 2014
      Tweet Posted by Instagrate Pro v1.5.1 The post #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo appeared first on Boston Hardcourt Bike Polo.
    • What happened to low hanging fruit? July 24, 2014
      TweetWay back when Bostonbikes was just getting started, there was talk of a four pronged approach to developing bike infrastructure and pushing along the bike agenda. The one that has been sticking in my head lately was the supposition that … Continue reading →
    • Bicycling Experience And The Development Of Strategies July 24, 2014
      TweetA conversation has been underway on this blog about where cyclists should position themselves on the road for safety and efficient riding. Comments on this subject have spanned across several posts. One of the problems with having a scattered discussion … Continue reading →
    • #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo July 24, 2014
      Tweet Posted by Instagrate Pro v1.5.1 The post #boston bike polo by bostonbikepolo appeared first on Boston Hardcourt Bike Polo.