News Briefs: Delgado phone bank; draft Pedestrian Transportation Plan available for public comment
Phone bank to support NY19 candidate Delgado
Great Barrington — On Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Mulberry Hair Company, the Green Tea Party will hold a phone bank in support of Antonio Delgado, the Democratic candidate running against Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, for New York’s 19th Congressional District seat. Those planning on attending are asked to bring a phone and laptop with them. Coffee, wine, pizza and camaraderie will be provided. for more information, contact Holly Morse at email@example.com.
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Open-house forum to weigh draft Pedestrian Transportation Plan
Boston — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that the draft Pedestrian Transportation Plan is now available for public comment and that an open house forum will take place Thursday, Sept. 20, at the State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Fourth Floor, Boston Common Conference Room (Suite 4150).
Members of the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board will meet during a special open-house style forum at which the draft statewide Pedestrian Transportation Plan will be discussed. MABPAB members and MassDOT welcome the public to the meeting to learn more about the draft plan and to provide comments.
The draft Pedestrian Plan defines a vision for Massachusetts in which all people have safe and comfortable walking options for short trips. The draft plan presents an action-oriented strategy with the goals of increasing the percentage of short trips and of helping to support initiatives that reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.
The underlying principles mentioned in the draft plan are:
- Principle 1 – Treat people walking the same as people driving. Historically, transportation planning has prioritized automobile travel over all other modes.MassDOT aims to update practices to provide consideration for members of the public who wish to walk, bike or travel by public transit.
- Principle 2 – Focus on systematic improvements. Attention should be paid to individual areas or projects to improve pedestrian travel, in addition to focusing on incorporating pedestrian travel accommodations in large transportation road projects.
- Principle 3 – Lead by example and support municipalities. Infrastructure improvements in cities and towns are critical to the success of ideas put forth in the draft plan. MassDOT owns approximately 8 percent of all sidewalk miles and 8.2 percent of all roadway miles in the state, which means that most pedestrian facilities fall under local control. By investing in MassDOT-owned facilities, MassDOT is not only upgrading critical network elements, but is also establishing best practices for communities to emulate.
The Action Plan in the draft Pedestrian Transportation Plan mentions new initiatives and related actions to address identified needs to meet goals. The six initiatives are:
- Promote pedestrian safety, accessibility, and connectivity in investment decision-making and project development;
- Establish a set of prioritized pedestrian projects on MassDOT-owned roadways and bridges to address critical safety, accessibility and connectivity gaps;
- Slow vehicle speeds and improve visibility of people walking;
- Improve pedestrian-accessible paths of travel to transit;
- Launch a year-round maintenance and operations plan for MassDOT-owned pedestrian facilities and support municipalities to do the same; and
- Invest in data collection to inform the previous five initiatives and to track progress.
In addition to the draft plan, a companion document called the Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability is being created in recognition of the important role played by local cities and towns. The purpose of the guide is to support cities and towns in efforts to improve walkability as the vast majority of roadways and sidewalks statewide are under local ownership. A draft guide was released in September 2017 and an updated version will be published later this year with the final version of the Pedestrian Plan.
Over the last two years, the draft Pedestrian Transportation Plan and draft Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability were informed by public feedback and data analysis. MABPAB served as the steering committee for the plan.