Complete Streets Certification Program Funded - And More From The Healthy Transportation Compact

[caption id="attachment_22916" align="alignleft" width="300"] Photo courtesy Mass in Motion[/caption]

Big news this week when the Healthy Transportation Compact (HTC) met in Boston. At the meeting, MassDOT announced an initial investment of up to $5 million for the critical Complete Streets Certification Program. The program provides competitive funds to cities and towns to create streets that are safe and welcoming for all users. Led by MPHA and MAPC, MassBike and other advocates succeeded in incorporating the program and its funding into the Transportation Bond Bill passed in April. But MassDOT still had to budget the money, and now they have - thank you MassDOT!

The HTC was created by the 2009 transportation reform law and requires the Secretaries of Transportation, Health and Human Services, and Energy and Environment (and the agencies under their supervision) to work together to get more people walking and biking in Massachusetts. Last year, the HTC added the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, recognizing the link between land use decisions and healthy transportation options.

In addition to the Complete Streets announcement, HTC members highlighted a wide range of initiatives that support better bicycling and walking in the Commonwealth:

MassDOT:

  • Health Impact Assessments are now required for all transportation planning processes, making health impacts an important factor in project development

  • The Healthy Transportation Policy Directive issued last Fall has been incorporated into the Highway Division's project design and review process, so that projects are receiving much more scrutiny for increasing bicycle, pedestrian, and transit use to meet the Commonwealth's Mode Shift Goals.

  • The Assistant Secretary for GreenDOT now has a full staff to oversee implementation of mode shift and MassDOT's goals to make its own operations more sustainable.


MBTA:

  • Purchasing greener vehicles: 40 new, more efficient locomotives, piloting electric buses, and testing hydrogen fuel cell bus next year

  • Increasing energy efficiency at facilities, such as converting to LED lights at train crossings (currently lights consume far more energy and must be replaced frequently)


Department of Public Health:

  • New Mass in Motion grants awarded to help communities create opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating: 22 programs with 60 municipalities, more communities than before (but less money overall unless applied-for federal funding is awarded)

  • Logan Airport Health Impact Assessment completed: mitigating health impacts with measures like banning idling buses and funding community health centers

  • Developing criteria for when Health Impact Assessments needed: focusing on roadway projects (traffic volume, emissions, mode shift); transit (stations, increased service, decreased service, parking); airports


Executive Office of Energy and Environment:

  • Environmental bond bill passed to fund DCR and other agencies

  • Working with MassDOT on GreenDOT regulations under Global Warming Solutions Act: greenhouse gas emissions will be added to transportation project selection criteria

  • Working with Housing and Economic Development on land use planning

  • Investing in urban parks: a quarter of MA population now lives within 10 minute walk of parkland, funding new urban rail trail in downtown Fall River


Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development:

  • Land Use: identifying areas to grow or preserve, using sustainable development principles; working with developers on sustainable projects; investing in these areas; marketing these areas to developers and the world; collaborating with Energy and Environment on regional plans

  • MassWorks: incentivizing development where infrastructure is needed

  • Housing That Works: multi-family housing, in city/town centers, near job opportunities


In addition to reports from the agencies HTC staff reported that the Healthy Transportation Compact Advisory Council has been formed and is working (MassBike Executive Director David Watson is a member). The Advisory Council is advising on incorporating health into project selection, the We Move Massachusetts capital planning process, Complete Streets training and implementation of the new Certification Program, and preparing a report for the upcoming gubernatorial transition to ensure that healthy transportation initiatives continue uninterrupted.

All the World's a Playway











MassBike's Jimmy Pereira at the DSNI Playway




Imagine what it would be like to have a street dedicated to bicycling and walking. This street is not a shared bike lane. It is a neighborhood block with houses and open spaces for play and community engagement.What you are picturing is a playway. Playways are temporary street closures in a residential neighborhood that get community members, especially kids, active. Playways utilize street spaces for people rather than cars. They can be done in many places, from dense urban areas to suburban and rural towns.Although playways might sound like just another simple, fun event, they have a serious purpose. They create opportunities for activities and exercise, rally communities around open spaces, and connect neighborhoods. Playways allow children to be creative with play. Of course we love playways especially because they promote bicycling to all generations. In addition, by virtue of their simplicity, playways are sustainable in a way that other neighborhood events, such as a carnival, are not.

To learn about specific playways, read about the two in which MassBike recently participated: the DSNI playway and the Mattapan Playway. Anyone can host a playway. Consider the following tips to plan yours:



  • Involve residents in the planning process.

  • Plan early.

  • Identify the scope of the project. Typically playways are one or two blocks in size, but may increase as demand increases.

  • Build relationships with local community groups, city hall, and the local police department. They will work with you to help ensure that your project is successful.

  • Determine the permits you'll need to make the project happen. Adding food or music in the public way may mean additional permits. Find the correct contacts for securing permits.

  • Recruit volunteers to help with the event.

  • Promote the event to residents and community stakeholders.

  • Document the event and celebrate the successful day!


 


Contact MassBike Program Manager Barbara Jacobson at barbara@massbike.org if you have questions about hosting a playway in your neighborhood.  



 



The 8th Annual Mass BikePike Tour

[caption id="attachment_22905" align="alignleft" width="300"] A restful stop along the route[/caption]

On August 7-10 we rode the 8th Annual Mass BikePike Tour, and as usual it was a lot of fun. We started in Shirley, MA and went through many picturesque towns. Every day seemed to reveal landscape and scenery more beautiful than the last.


Each year we especially enjoy the feeling of community we get from spending time with so many dedicated cyclists during the tour. We see familiar faces along with fresh ones. We greet old friends and meet new bicycling enthusiasts and advocates.



Thank you to all the participants, volunteers, and sponsors. We have 19 new members after the tour and received 56 additional donations. Our SAG driver Kate Salter Jackson donated Jet Blue tickets as a raffle prize - a HUGE thank you to her.


We especially want to thank Bruce Lederer for organizing another successful tour to benefit MassBike. Bruce has been the driving (or rather, riding) force behind it all for eight years, making each tour better than the last!


If you missed this year's tour, you can see some pictures on the Mass BikePike Facebook page.


 

Bikes Abound at the Mattapan Playway

[caption id="attachment_22866" align="alignleft" width="300"] Families get ready for the Bike-a-Thon.[/caption]

On August 9th, MassBike worked with the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition and the Boston Public Health Commission to host a playway at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan. The event happened concurrently with the Mattapan Square Farmers Market and the 4th Annual Mattapan on Wheels bike ride. Mattapan on Wheels had two routes, an 8 mile family-friendly ride and a 16 mile expert route that showcased a route to downtown Boston from Mattapan.

Boston Bikes provided bicycles to participants who did not have their own. Boston Cyclists Union was at the event providing bike maintenance for riders. When the bike riders arrived back at the Church of the Holy Spirit, they participated in fitness activities including tennis, jumping rope, and a bike rodeo.

Healthy foods were generously donated by Kind Snacks and Equal Exchange. MassBike would like to thank Jon Ramos of Southie Bikes for providing music via his bike trailer, as well as Boston Bikes and Boston Cyclists Union for participating in the event!

Quincy Bikeability Assessment Is Focused on Safety

[caption id="attachment_22851" align="alignleft" width="300"] Pedal and Park Bike parking on the eastern side of Wollaston Station.[/caption]

On August 5th, MassBike conducted a bike audit on streets near the Wollaston T station in Quincy, MA. The audit is a part of a larger pilot assessment program focused on multi-modal transit in cities and towns across the country. Quincy joins Lansing, Michigan and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas as a part of the project to increase awareness of multi-modal transit use and safety enhancements.

Quincy is an interesting case study because it is focused on increasing safety and usability for bikeable and walkable routes to the transit station. The reports will be submitted to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and will contribute to a toolkit of best practices for creating a model that can be replicated nationwide for conducting bikeability, walkability, and transit-focused assessments.

The participants of the bike audit included representation from the Federal Transit Authority, Federal Highway Administration, US DOT Volpe Center, MassDOT, MAPC, MBTA, the City of Quincy, MassBike, and WalkBoston.

Want to Work at Fenway Park?

We are so pleased to be working with the Red Sox by offering Valet Bicycle Parking at Fenway Park. Now, we need some enthusiastic volunteers to help us before the game. If you want to hang out at Fenway, support Massachusetts cyclists, and even get to see some of the game, please contact us today.

Volunteers help with setup, parking bikes, getting cyclists to the parking area, and ensuring a seamless and hassle-free experience for users. After your shift, you will get a special volunteer pass so you can catch some of the game.

We need immediate help for the upcoming games.

Saturday, August 16: 5:00-7:00
Sunday, August 17: 11:30-1:30

During your shift, you'll have the chance to take a break. No previous Bike Valet experience necessary - we will train you.

If you are interested, please email Lenka@MassBike.org for more information. If you can't help out on the 16th and 17th, email Lenka@MassBike.org to ask about other Fenway Park Bike Valet opportunities.

Volunteers make up a huge part of our success, so we want to make volunteering with us even better. Anyone who volunteers ten hours of their time will automatically earn a MassBike membership.


Healthy Food and Fitness at the DSNI Playway

On Saturday, July 26th, MassBike worked with the Dudley Square Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) and the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) to help put on a playway event on Moreland Street and Winthrop Street in Dudley Square.

Playways are temporary street closures in which the street is blocked for cars to traverse and inhibits the reclamation of streets for people and play. At DSNI's playway, the focus was on promoting healthy foods and fitness through yoga demonstrations, a bike rodeo, ball playing, and tug-of-war. DSNI youth took charge of managing informational tables focused on gardening, healthy food choices, and neighborhood development. Healthy foods were generously donated by Kind Snacks, Harvest Co-op, Equal Exchange, and Iggy's Bread of the World. Art supplies were donated by Artist & Craftsman.

MassBike would like to thank Bikes Not Bombs, Boston Bikes, and Mary Thomas of Wild Seed Yoga for participating in the playway event.

Bike to the Ballpark Is a Home Run

 

[caption id="attachment_22834" align="alignleft" width="283"] Free Valet Bike Parking at Saturday and Sunday Home Games[/caption]

Did you park your bike with us at Fenway Park on July 19th or July 20th? If so you were one of the many who took advantage of the free Valet Bicycle Parking for Bike to the Ballpark. The launch of this program was a big hit, and we are extremely pleased to announce that MassBike is continuing to partner with the Boston Red Sox through our Valet Bicycle Parking service for #biketotheballpark.

Now through September, every Saturday and Sunday home game will offer this convenient, free way to arrive at the ballpark. Coast in, hand your bike to one of our trained staff, and enjoy some baseball. When you are done cheering on the Sox, come back, claim your bike, and ride away.

If you have tickets for this weekend’s August 2nd or August 3rd game, ride your bike and avoid the expensive parking lot down the road. After all, not only is it free to park your bike with us, the Valet Bicycle Parking offers the closest parking to Fenway during a game. In other words, if you Bike to the Ballpark this weekend, you can get the best parking and it costs nothing.

The MassBike free Valet Bicycle Parking is located by Gate D, at the corner of Yawkey Way and Van Ness Street. It is best to approach Fenway Park on your bike from the Boylston Street side of Fenway.

For any questions about Valet Bicycle Parking, please contact bikeinfo@massbike.org or call 617-542-2453 (BIKE).

We’ll see you at the game!

 

Action Alert: Help Move Bill Before Legislative Session Ends!

We have a chance to move the bike lane protection bill forward this week!

One of the bills we filed in the Massachusetts Legislature in January 2013 has a chance to move forward, but we need your help before midnight Thursday.

The Act To Protect Bicyclists In Bicycle Lanes (S 1640) protects bicyclists by prohibiting motor vehicle operators from parking in on-street paths or lanes designated by official signs or markings for the use of bicycles, or placing the vehicle in such a manner as to interfere with the safety and passage of bicyclists. Motorists frequently endanger bicyclists by parking in bicycle lanes, forcing bicyclists to merge into traffic. There is currently no applicable state law, and some communities are passing local ordinances that will result in inconsistent rules and enforcement unless statewide action is taken. (Click here for the full text of the bill.)

This is not a theoretical problem - we all encounter it every day on roads across Massachusetts. Just this week, we heard about a bicyclist being attacked by a motorist after complaining that he was parked in a bike lane.

The bill was reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Transportation, and has been sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. We want to get it out of Ways and Means this week!

It would significantly  increase the chances of passing the bill this year if we can get it approved by Ways and Means before the formal session ends on Thursday.

We need you to do the following TODAY or TOMORROW:

  1. Call or email your State Senator ask that he or she ask Senator Stephen Brewer, chair of Ways and Means,  to approve S 1640.

  2. If your Senator is one of the sponsors of the bill or is on the Ways and Means Committee, it is especially important that you contact them:


  3. Sponsors:


    William N. Brownsberger
    Sonia Chang-Diaz
    Kenneth J. Donnelly
    James B. Eldridge
    Patricia D. Jehlen

    Committee Members:


    Stephen M. Brewer, Chair
    Jennifer L. Flanagan, Vice Chair
    Sal N. DiDomenico, Assistant Vice Chair
    Gale D. Candaras
    Eileen M. Donoghue
    Benjamin B. Downing
    Patricia D. Jehlen
    Brian A. Joyce
    Thomas P. Kennedy
    Thomas M. McGee
    Michael O. Moore
    Marc R. Pacheco
    Anthony W. Petruccelli
    Michael F. Rush
    James E. Timilty
    Richard J. Ross
    Donald F. Humason, Jr.

  4. CC action@massbike.org on your emails, or send us a message telling us who you contacted.

  5. Share this Action Alert with your friends!


Don't know who your State Senator is? Find out here.

We're sorry to report that the other bill we filed in this session,  the Act To Protect Vulnerable Road Users (S 1639) would have added legal protection for bicyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users, and other vulnerable users of the road. Unfortunately, that bill was "sent to study" by the Joint Committee on Transportation, which means it is effectively dead for this session. A new legislative session begins in January, and we will decide whether to refile the bill or take other action at that time.

Same-Day Registration Available for BikeMass - You Can Still Ride!

No need to worry if you missed online pre-registration for this Saturday's BikeMass event.

You can register for all of the rides at NARA Park in Acton the day of the event, beginning 1 hour before the start time for each ride.

$85 (100 miles), $70 (62 miles), $55 (30 miles) - all rides include great rest stops, on-road support, Redbones, and Harpoon.

It's going to be a beautiful day, and we want to share it with everyone, so we are not charging extra for day-of registration!

All proceeds help MassBike make bicycling better across Massachusetts!

Click here for more details.

 


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