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Livable Streets Update

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 14

From Livable Streets:



Bike4Life raises over $70,000. Thank you!

We are excited to announce that you helped us raise over $70,000 through our Bike4Life fundraiser! This outdoes last year’s total by 38%.
Bike4Life supports our Safer Streets Campaign. The campaign’s focus is to deepen Boston’s commitment to safety and to advocate for better infrastructure – such as cycle tracks and improved traffic signalization – to allow people to confidently explore the city on bike, foot, car and public transit.
Thanks again to our sponsors and community partners: Jason & Fischer Attorneys at Law, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, athenahealth, Avison Young and Blue Ribbon BBQ, Commonwheels Bicycle Co-op, Harris Cyclery, LARABAR, Patagonia Boston and Red and the Boys, as well as a big thanks to Holly, Peter and Noel Zeeb.

Governor Patrick announces West Station will open in 2020
West Station is a milestone for People’s Pike and livable transportation 
advocacy in Metro Boston. Congrats to everyone who has put in years of hard work
Photo credit Galen Mook, video credit Harry Mattison.
At the Sept 30 press conference, Gov Patrick announced West Station will be
part of the I-90 project.

Photo credit: Galen Mook.
and advocacy to make West Station possible. “This is so much more than a highway project,” said Mayor Walsh at the press conference.
This announcement solidifies the fact that the I-90 project parcel will be developed around transit, meaning the new street network can be very bike, walk friendly with more open space opportunities.

What’s happening  _______________________________________________________________________________

BU students deserve Safer Streets      


Boston is about to spend $16 million to completely revamp the stretch of Comm. Ave. from the BU Bridge to Packards Corner.


The plans we have seen call for wider car lanes that would encourage speeding, narrower sidewalks, and no protected bicycle lanes.
“So the question is whether the Walsh administration and BU are going to step up and say, ‘[Do] we want the best and safest for our students and for the city of Boston, or are we going to settle for the status quo?'” says LivableStreets Advocacy Director Jeffrey Rosenblum in an article in BU’s Daily Free Press.


But there is still time to make a difference. Click here to add your name to the list of people who want better than status quo, and tell Mayor Walsh you want a #SaferCommAve. We will be meeting with the City of Boston in the coming weeks, and will have the opportunity to share your stories.


The vision for a better Commonwealth Avenue is part of our Safer Streets Campaign and commitment to zero traffic fatalities. Read more about our vision and recent press received here.

Vote NO on Question One

On November 4, statewide ballot question Question One, threatens to take away critical, existing transportation funds. These are funds that are necessary to make our roads and bridges better for everyone.


“If it passes, Question One would take a $2 billion bite out of the state’s transportation plans over the next decade,” Yvonne Abraham wrote in her Boston Globe article. According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are 5,136 bridges in Massachusetts, 53% of which are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Question One proposed a reduction in vital transportation funding which would exacerbate this problem and others.


What can you do?

  1. Vote NO on Question One on November 4th.
  2. Email [email protected] to get involved with the campaign between now and November 4t.
  3. Follow and participate in the campaign on Twitter at @VoteNoOnQ1 and#VoteNoOnQ1.
  4. Spread the word to your friends, neighbors, family and colleagues by forwarding this email.
  5. Mark your calendar to vote No on Q1 on November 4.



When will we see separated bike lanes in Boston? 
Protected bike lanes, or cycle tracks, have multiplied across the country, so when will Boston jump on the bandwagon? New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have installed hundreds of miles of lanes over the past few years due to the variety of benefits they bring to their cities.
“It’s healthy, it’s good for the economy, and our citizens,” said Philadelphia’s Mayor Nutter. Mayor Nutter’s street safety policies are “starting to drive down both vehicle and pedestrian crashes, as well as cycling crashes,” he said in Streetsblog’s article “Four Mayors on Why They’re Building Out Their Cities Bike Networks.”

Separated bike lane in Pittsburgh.

Graphic credit: Bike Pittsburgh
In addition to mayors across the country praising separated bike lanes, Boston’s Jim Braude of Boston Public Radio and WGBH, endorsed them in his Boston Globe article, “A plan to broker peace between drivers and cyclists.” He proposes the answer to creating peaceful coexistence betweent people driving and biking is “separate but equal, the type of bike lane that incorporates barriers between driver and rider for the safety of both.”

“Boston already has two. Over in Brighton, drivers on Western Avenue use the road, while cyclists pedal between parked cars on one side and the curb on the other. In Dorchester, on Mt. Vernon Street near Columbia Point, flexposts, as they’re called, separate driver from rider. Of the 82 miles of on-street bike lanes in the city, these pilot projects run less than 2 miles, though that’s about to change,” said Braude.

Right now Boston only has two, but we are excited to see that number multiply. In March of this year, Boston was selected by the PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project as one of six US cities to join its intensive two-year program to build protected bike lanes, which shows the potential Boston has to implement these facilities. Boston will receive financial, strategic and technical assistance to create protected bike lanes, also known as cycletracks. PeopleForBikes recently hosted a study tour to the Netherlands with City of Boston staff, including Boston Chief of Economic Development Jon Barros, President and CEO of A Better City Rick Dimino and Kris Carter from the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.
With the study tour group returning, mayors across the country proclaiming their praise for cycle tracks, what’s the hold up on Boston approving separated bike lanes to make our streets safer for everyone? Comm Ave is one example where resistance is being met. The time is now to turn talk into action.

Tweet to @Marty_Walsh telling him you support more separated bike lanes in Boston to make our streets safer for everyone.


Bad drivers and Vision Zero Safety don’t mix

“The bad driving of Massachusetts residents is legendary. Now, Allstate Insurance Co, says it’s a fact,
reports the Boston Globe in the article,
“Mass. drivers among the worst, insurance company says.” Worcester has the worst drivers in the nation, followed by Boston, the second worse. Ouch.
What does this mean for us? Better street design leads to slower driving and increased safety for all road users. We have a vision for a future with zero traffic fatalities. Click here to lean more about our Safer Streets Campaign and Vision Zero policy ask.

Myths Debunked


Throughout 2014, we have been debunking common transportation myths. Last month, we highlighted the myth: Wider streets are safer. This month, we explore another popular myth.
mythMyth: Adding bicycle facilities increases congestion for people driving
Debunked: Well designed bicycle facilities can improve driving conditions while creating a safer environment for all road users.
Thoughtfully designed protected bicycle facilities in New York City show that you can provide bike improvements while also improving streets for people driving, walking and taking transit. A new study from NYC DOT shows that safety for all road users has increased, travel times have either stayed the same or improved, and there has been an increase in retail sales compared to streets and corridors without protected bike lanes.
Share your thoughts about this on Facebook and Twitter. #MythsDebunked


Living car-light: South Korea
Next stop in our living car-light series is South Korea! 

Living carlight experiment: one neighborhood, one month, no cars.

Would you volunteer to take your car off the street in your neighborhood for one month? One year ago, residents of one neighborhood in the City of Suwon in South Korea did. For one month, 4,343 residents participated and removed 1,500 cars for an experiment called ‘Eco Mobility World Festival.’ The festival website says:


“September 2013 has been an unprecedented experience for the residents of Suwon’s Haenggung- dong neighborhood. Through the EcoMobility World Festival, the ancient core of Suwon has learned through direct experience the challenges and the thrills of closing the doors of their community to cars for an entire month. Following the smashing success of Suwon’s month-long car-free diet, residents are now prompted with the questions: should they reunite with cars or should they embrace the ecomobile lifestyle for good? Which next city is bold enough to follow Suwon’s EcoMobility model?”


The one-month festival then led to more permanent changes, including:

  • No parking on Hwaseomun Street and Sinpung Street
  • Speed restricted to 30km per hour
  • Car-free weekends
  • Residents allowed to have their free parking rights in parking lots renewed permanently, with free rental of bikes
  • Further street improvements to be continued, download the festival report here

If there were no cars in your neighborhood, how would you use the street space instead? Share and discuss on FacebookTwitter, or by replying to this email. We’d love to hear from you! #BostonCarLight


Public meetings & other opportunities  

Community Meeting on the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan
Thursday, October 9, 6pm
@ Condon Elementary School (Auditorium, Level 1), 200 D St, Boston
Attend and speak up for improved public transit access,separated bike lanes on key roads and improved sidewalks throughout.
Public Meeting on car share in Cambridge
Thursday, October 9, 7pm
@ Pisani Center, 131 Washington St, Cambridge
LivableStreets Volunteer Friday

Friday, October 10, 10am-12pm
@ LivableStreets office, 100 Sidney St., Cambridge
Public Meeting on car share in Cambridge
Wednesday, October 22, 7pm
@ East End House, 105 Spring St, Cambridge
Winter Hill Design Charrette
Monday-Wednesday, October 27-29, 2014, 9am-9pm
@ 328 Broadway, Somerville
MIT Fall Lecture Series: A Street is a Terrible Thing to Waste
Monday, November 3, 5pm
@ MIT, 77 Mass Ave, Building #4, Room 163

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Don’t Let The City Get Away With Half Ass’ing The Design For The New Comm. Ave.

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 06

Its crazy considering how many pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport user are on Comm. Ave CONSTANTLY that the city wouldn’t spend more time trying to make it safe for all road users.  Follow the links below to let the Mayor know that this project needs to be a high priority.

From Livable Streets:

Did you see the paper this weekend?

Our work together to make a #SaferCommAve for everyone made the front page of Saturday’sBoston Globe, and was featured in Boston Magazine on Monday.

This media highlights that the redesign of Comm Ave is one of the most important projects in Boston right now, because it impacts so many people who live in or travel through our city.

Yet, the City says that they can’t make any major changes to current designs for Comm Ave because they’re “busy with other projects.” This redesign is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the street better for everyone to use. Help make sure the City makes improvements a priority.

Click here to tell Mayor Walsh that the City must prioritize making Comm Ave safer for everyone to use.

The City also claims that “
we have to be careful we’re not creating a safety problem” with the Comm Ave redesign. We completely agree.That’s why we’re calling for changes like slower speeds, protected bike lanes, and wider sidewalks to keep all people safe and comfortable on the street.


P.S. Did you already sign the postcard? Amplify your impact by sharing on Facebook and Twitter

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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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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Quantifying The Amount Of Public Support For Investing In Bicycle Infrastructure October 23, 2014
      TweetUnless people have been living under a rock, they are aware of the growing demand for bicycle infrastructure. How they perceive this demand, and whether they are in favor of it or against it, depends on many factors, some of … Continue reading →
    • Ayanna Pressley To Hold Hearing On Safeguarding Cyclists, Introduces New Draft Legislation For Side Guards On Trucks October 21, 2014
      TweetGot this in the email, Ayanna Pressley has been diligently working to ensure safer conditions for cyclists in Boston, here is her latest, welcome effort.     ————- In conjunction with Mayor Martin J. Walsh, City Councilor Ayanna Pressley has … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Bikey Face Has A Book! October 21, 2014
      TweetOh Man!  This thing looks awesome, buy five and give them out to every cyclist you know! Go here right now, buy them! ———–   Announcing the first Bikeyface book, Bike There! Bike There is a 24 page mini-comic on how to bike … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • It Might Be Better To Insure Your Bicycle Than To Insure Your Life October 20, 2014
      TweetThe market for cyclists’ lives isn’t very good right now. Apparently, you can buy a cyclist’s life for a mere $1,500. That’s right. For less than $2,000 you can kill a cyclist and face no additional penalties. In case you … Continue reading →
    • Vote No on Question 1 October 19, 2014
      Tweet“[The gas tax] is the only tax in Massachusetts that goes up without a vote” -State Representative Geoff Diehl of Whitman. Supporters of Question 1 on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ November 2014 ballot want to frame their argument this way.  They want … Continue reading →
    • Commonwealth Avenue and the BU campus October 17, 2014
      TweetThe Boston cyclists Union and Livable Streets are promoting cycle tracks for Commonwealth Avenue. The bicycle industry’s astroturf advocacy organization, Peoplefor Bikes, is asking people to sign a petition in support of them. Not a good idea. Cycle tracks on … Continue reading →
    • Commonwealth Avenue and the BU campus October 17, 2014
      TweetThe Boston cyclists Union and Livable Streets are promoting cycle tracks for Commonwealth Avenue. The bicycle industry’s Astroturf advocacy organization, Peoplefor Bikes, is asking people to sign a petition in support of them. Not a good idea. Cycle tracks on … Continue reading →
    • Commonwealth Avenue and the BU campus October 17, 2014
      TweetThe Boston cyclists Union and Livable Streets are promoting cycle tracks for Commonwealth Avenue. The bicycle industry’s Astroturf advocacy organization, Peoplefor Bikes, is asking people to sign a petition in support of them. Not a good idea. Cycle tracks on … Continue reading →
    • Commonwealth Avenue and the BU campus October 17, 2014
      TweetThe Boston cyclists Union and Livable Streets are promoting cycle tracks for Commonwealth Avenue. The bicycle industry’s astroturf advocacy organization, Peoplefor Bikes, is asking people to sign a petition in support of them. Not a good idea. Cycle tracks on … Continue reading →
    • Commonwealth Avenue and the BU campus October 17, 2014
      TweetThe Boston cyclists Union and Livable Streets are promoting cycle tracks for Commonwealth Avenue. The bicycle industry’s astroturf advocacy organization, Peoplefor Bikes, is asking people to sign a petition in support of them. Not a good idea. Cycle tracks on … Continue reading →