Issue #31 / December 2008
IN THIS ISSUE:
- StreetTalk: Car-free Sundays in Bogotá Colombia - How about a car-free Storrow? Program includes 3 short StreetFilms on Bogotá, premere showing of LivableStreets Street Film on Mem Drive Sundays, and Special guest Renata von Tscharner from Charles River Conservancy. Wed. Dec. 10, 7:00 - 9:00 pm >>>
- Enrique Peñalosa, former Bogota Mayor who implemented radical transportation change in the Colombian capital city, is coming to Boston Feb. 4-7 >>>
- LivableStreets advocacy efforts force DCR to get serious about bicycle & pedestrian improvements on the Charles River bridges >>>
- StreetFilms: Check out our new Street Film about the BU Bridge >>>
- Support us! You are invited! LivableStreets fundraising house party (support from people like you empower us to advocate honestly and powerfully - even if you cannot attend, please consider making a donation today, we really need it!) - Sun. Dec 7, 2-5pm >>>
- CALENDAR - Click here for our full calendar of regional activities
- Weekly StreetNEWS: Have you ever wanted to skim the news headlines every week for articles on the subject of livable streets? Now you can! LivableStreets Alliance board member and Director of Advocacy Charlie Denison compiles them weekly. SUBSCRIBE NOW! Either scroll to the very bottom of this email and click "Update Profile/Email Address", or Click Here to sign up and follow instructions to update your profile.
Street Talk !
Car-free Sundays in Bogota Colombia - How about a car-free Storrow?
Wednesday Dec. 10, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Program includes 3 short StreetFilms on Bogotá, premere showing of LivableStreets Street Film on Mem Drive Sundays, and Special guest Renata von Tscharner from Charles River Conservancy.
@ LivableStreets office space, 100 Sidney Street, Central Square, Cambridge [ map... ]
free and open to the public, donation suggested beer/sodas provided compliments of Harpoon Brewery!
Would you like to see car free days in Boston? Did you know that a section of Memorial Drive is car free every Sunday between April and November? Do you wonder what it would take to have a car free Storrow Drive? Did you know that over 70 miles of streets are car free every Sunday in Bogotá, Colombia thanks to their former Mayor, Enrique Peñalosa? And did you know that LivableStreets will be hosting Peñalosa in Boston in February?
Come watch StreetFilms about Bogotá, Colombia to see their street transformations and learn more about what Enrique Peñalosa did to start car free streets. Come to hear about Charles River Conservancy’s effort to start car free Storrow Drive days. Learn about the history of the Memorial Drive car free days, and watch LivableStreets new film about it!
This event is sponsored by LivableStreets Alliance. Click here for more information
Check out these articles from the Boston Globe about a car-free Storrow Drive:
Car-free proposal for Storrow: Plan would open west lanes to recreation on Sundays (Jan. 1, 2008)
"In a time when we all struggle with obesity, and when we all realize how important exercise is, this is a place where people can both enjoy the river and get vigorous exercise," von Tscharner said. "The time is right for that discussion." >>>
Fun on Storrow - why not? (Globe Editorial, Jan. 6, 2008)
James Jackson Storrow, prime mover behind the creation of parkland on the Boston side of the Charles River, would have been appalled that the state put his name on Storrow Drive, which slashed through the park in 1951. The city would be enhanced, and Storrow's memory honored, if one section of the highway could be given over to recreation on Sunday mornings. >>>
Recreation plan gets red light: This time, construction keeps Storrow Drive open (June 21, 2008)
Bikers and joggers hoping to enjoy a car-free Storrow Drive on Sunday mornings will have to wait. State officials say they have put on hold a proposal to close a 5-mile stretch of the riverway road to cars. The move would have opened the road for bicycling, in-line skating, and other recreational uses, similar to how Memorial Drive in Cambridge is used on Sunday mornings from April to November. >>>
This is a great article about Enrique Peñalosa:
Bogotá's urban happiness movement: A radical campaign to return streets from cars to people (GlobeAndMail, June 2007)
From living hell to living well: A radical campaign to return streets from cars to people in Colombia's largest city is now a model for the world. “A city can be friendly to people or it can be friendly to cars, but it can't be both,” says former Bogotá (Colombia) Mayor Enrique Peñalosa. "Car Free Day is just one of the ways that Mr. Peñalosa helped to transform a city once infamous for narco-terrorism, pollution and chaos into a globally lauded model of livability and urban renewal. His ideas are being adopted in cities across the developing world. They are also being championed by planners and politicians in North America, where Mr. Peñalosa has reinvigorated the debate about public space once championed by Jane Jacobs." >>>
Enrique Peñalosa, former Bogotá Mayor who implemented radical transportation change in the Colombian capital city, is coming to Boston Feb. 4-7 (a collaboration between LivableStreets Alliance and the Institute for Transportation and Development Polocy) >>>
LivableStreets advocacy efforts force DCR to get serious about bicycle & pedestrian improvements on the Charles River bridges
Wondering what is happening with the BU Bridge, Craigie Bridge and other Charles River basin bridges? Read on ( and also check out our project pages here >>>)
In May 2008, Governor Deval Patrick filed legislation to accelerate the repair and replacement of approximately 250 to 300 Massachusetts bridges identified as structurally deficient. Money has been allocated to the Massachusetts Highway Department and the Department of Conservation and Recreation to repair the bridges they own across the state, starting with the BU, Craigie (Museum of Science), Longfellow, and other metro-regional bridges.
LivableStreets is very excited about this infrastructure improvement! Why? Because the bridges are important links between cities, and they are in need of pedestrian, public transit and bicycle improvements -- not to mention better car and truck safety.
Unfortunately, the state made no public announcement and allowed no chance for public input until project engineers had already pushed the design to 90% completion. Even worse, those plans were focused exclusively on repairing structural problems –- rebuilding almost exactly the same structures without doing anything about functional deficiencies of the crossings.
Major improvements to these bridges will not happen again for decades, so LivableStreets and other advocates felt it was vital to take advantage of this opportunity to increase safety and efficiency for all users.
Therefore, starting with the BU Bridge, LivableStreets has been working hard to raise awareness about the projects and to work with the Department of Conservation. We met with Commissioner Sullivan in October regarding the BU Bridge. Thanks to the work of LivableStreets, other advocates, city agencies in Boston and Cambridge, and the willingness of DCR to engage all interested parties, DCR has announced that along with the reconstruction there will be:
- Bike lanes along the entire length of the bridge
- Improvements to the crossings at either end of the bridge
- Improvements to the bridge approaches for pedestrians and bicyclists
In addition, the DCR announced the re-formation of their pedestrian/bicycle committee as a state-wide “active transportation” advisory group, and an immediate focus on improving the Charles River Basin for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Unfortunately, only a week after these breakthroughs around the BU Bridge, we were upset to find out that the state’s engineers had also pushed design for the Craigie Bridge to 90% completion before there was any chance for public input. We urged advocates, city staff from Boston and Cambridge, and the public to attend the public meeting on November 17 to express the desire and need for better pedestrian and bicycle accommodation along the stretch of Route 28 that the bridges encompass, including:
- Keeping the car lanes narrow for safety (typically 9' to 10'), and give extra room to bicyclists and pedestrians
- Putting in either separated cycle tracks or striped bike lanes in both directions
- Adding a traffic light at the point in front of the museum where the future inlet bridge will be built and coordinating all the traffic lights to facilitate throughput.
- Redesigning the museum entrances and exits
- Putting bike lanes through Leverett Circle and along Martha Road
Approximately 80 people attended the public meeting, many of whom spoke up and expressed a shared interest to include meaningful bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the project, particularly bike lanes. LivableStreets is currently working with DCR to include at least some of these improvements in the project, most importantly bike lanes, within the current bridge footprint and without delaying the project.
We are still concerned that, in the scramble to meet the Governor’s accelerated bridge repair deadlines, additional metro-are bridges will be rushed to advanced design without opportunity for public input about functional improvements. Therefore, LivableStreets and other groups sent a letter to Governor Patrick, Secretary Cohen and Secretary Bowles about our concerns regarding the lack of public process and the lack of pedestrian and bicycle accommodations. You can view the letter here >>>.
THANK YOU to everyone who came to the public meetings and for contacting LivableStreets to express your views!
New StreetFilm about the BU Bridge
LivableStreets Alliance filmmaker George Zisiadis headed to the Boston University Bridge connecting Cambridge and Boston to see what users think of the bridge now, and what improvements they would like to see. The bridge is scheduled for full reconstruction starting in Spring 2009. See our BU Bridge project page for more information >>>.
Also, LivableStreets Film about Park(ing) Day 2008 by George Zisiadis (3 min.), and a film about the Alewife Bike Cage made by Clarence Eckerson Jr. (4 min) in collaboration with LivableStreets Alliance.
Support us! You are invited! LivableStreets fundraising house party
Sunday, Dec. 7, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
@ Cornerstone Village Cohousing, 175 Harvey Street, Cambridge
Come celebrate and support LivableStreets Alliance! Hear about our recent work, be inspired by new opportunities to improve our neighborhood streets, and celebrate our accomplishments -- with refreshments, presentations, and short films. Beer and craft soda provided by Harpoon Brewery.
Support from people like you empower us to advocate honestly and powerfully - even if you cannot attend, please consider making a donation today, we really need it! DONATE NOW >>>