Open to the public. $5-$10 suggested donation. Beverages provided.
Join a conversation with renowned British architect and planner Tim Stonor, as he explains the expanding use of technology to craft spaces that work at a human scale and his thoughts on the spatial layout of the Boston area.
Do you think transportation planners are thinking differently about how people travel within a city? Have we come to a time when pedestrians are evaluated just as thoroughly as automobiles? If you asked Tim Stonor, he would say yes. In the 1990s, Stonor established the Space Syntax Laboratory and consulting firm, which developed computer predictions on pedestrian movement and how people use the space they're in. Space Syntax used this technology to successfully pedestrianize car choked places such as Trafalgar Square in London and Old Market Square in Nottingham.
Part 1, on why LivableStreets is working to create safe streets and livable communities for you.
"Around the world, road traffic injuries are taking the lives of 145 people every hour of every day... more than two a minute. And that adds up to something like 1.3 million people dying on the world's roads each year - and a further 20 to 50 million people suffering injuries, often debilitating ones... And at the same time, 74 million new cars are hitting the world's roads each year - which works out to roughly 65 new cars a minute... The World Health Organization predicts that traffic crashes will become the world's 5th leading cause of death by the year 2030. The fifth leading cause of death. That is, unless we take action right now." - NYC Mayor Bloomberg
LivableStreets applauds the City and MassDOT for embracing Complete Streets guidelines. Planned for pedestrians and transit users are improved signal timing, sidewalks, wheelchair ramps and more crosswalks in the Symphony area. For cyclist, the City is planning to install bike lanes from the Harvard/Mass Ave Bridge in Back Bay to Albany St. in the South End. All are much-needed improvements.
However, LivableStreets discovered a dangerous gap in the plans. Currently only "sharrows" (shared lane markings) are included for bicyclists in the Symphony Area of Mass Ave. This area connects art institutions, tourist sites, Universities and key parts of the bicycle network. This reconstruction is an opportunity for Mass Ave to be a place where all people can get to and through safely. The current plan is unacceptable [would a car lane not continue through an intersection?].
LivableStreets has begun to work with City officials to help find ways to safely accommodate all the users who frequent the Symphony area of Mass Ave - motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders - creating a proper complete street.
LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! MassDOT is accepting public comments through May 5 regarding the Symphony Hall area improvements. For the official public hearing handout and instructions for submitting comments, click here >>>
> Questions / want more information? E-mail Charlie@livablestreets.info
Car-free study results now available
Study shows benefits of going car-free, and real-time data
A lot of our readers responded to our request last October to participate in a study on car-free experiences. The results are now in! Participants went car-free for one week, and results show that "two-thirds reported that the car-free week exposed them to new things, and twice as many participants felt more integrated into their communities than had expected to before the study week, with the majority also citing health and money-saving reasons to reduce their reliance on driving."
As a follow up to this study, LivableStreets challenges you to try driving one less time a month, and opt to bike, walk, or take transit. Let us know how it goes by e-mailing email@example.com. And sign up to participate in the MassCommuter Challenge!
Register your miles with LivableStreets!
LivableStreets co-sponsoring the 2011 MassCommuter Challenge
LivableStreets is co-sponsoring the MassCommuter Challenge, May 14th - 20th. The MassCommuter Challenge is a friendly and free competition taking place during Bay State Bike Week in which people who live, work, or attend school in Massachusetts are encouraged to ride their bike as part of their daily trips. Whether you ride for commuting, recreational, utilitarian or training purposes, we encourage you to log your bicycling miles!
Here at the LivableStreets Alliance, bicycling is part of our mission. As a sponsor of the MassCommuter Challenge we want to know how much you travel around on two wheels.
Starting this Sunday, May 1, register here >>> and make sure you say you heard about the MassCommuter Challenge from LivableStreets. And tell your friends!
Bike share is coming!
61 station, and more than 600 new bicycles
Last week the City of Boston signed a contract with Alta Bicycle Share, who will plan, launch, and manage the new regional bike sharing system, named "Hubway". In July, the City of Boston will install 61 stations with over 600 bicycles across the city.
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said, "We have had the goal of going from worst [bicycling city] to first, and with Hubway we're nearly there."
Alison Cohen, President of Alta Bicycle Share, said, "With a great public transit system, burgeoning bicycle infrastructure and an amazing team of communities, Hubway will revolutionize the way people in Boston and surrounding communities get around."
The public way: Transportation, health, and livable communities
Steve Miller, a LivableStreets Alliance Board Member, writes on topics related to transportation, urban planning, and public health in the Boston metro area.
From National to Personal...
When faced with systemic, large-scale problems we need to work for large, transformative changes. But winning them is slow, complicated, and seldom fully successful. So we have to also work for smaller steps that make a difference while building support for more comprehensive reforms - then applauding while pointing out the need for more.
One step in the process is translating high-level, national goals into effective local themes. As even economists now acknowledge, human rationality is shaped and motivated by our emotions. Still, our slogans need enough meaningful content to educate and guide ourselves towards worthwhile goals.
But even changing local practice sometimes requires changing national standards. In transportation, those standards are primarily set by AASHTO, whose auto-centric conservatism is deeply entrenched. Still, the most important reason to keep going is that it makes a real difference in peoples' lives - including people we know.
Hosted by one of LivableStreets sponsors, Urban AdvenTours!
LivableStreets will be tabling, alongside our awesome partners and local businesses. Come out and enjoy live music, free giveaways, contests, and more!
Be sure to stop by the LivableStreets table and say hello.
Are you interested in volunteering on Sunday, and at future events this summer? e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Member story - French paradox
Thoughts from my trip to France
The French have the lowest obesity rates in Europe, yet they consume an arguably unhealthy diet, distinguished by cheese, butter, bread, and wine. This contradiction has been deemed the "French paradox." How do the French stay fit while indulging on gourmet junk food?
During a recent trip through four cities in France, I saw a consistent trend: a strong culture of physical activity and active transportation, and the infrastructure to support it. Particularly impressive were the riverside and waterfront networks of recreation space and multi-use paths. With a comfortable separation from car traffic, families were able to walk, bike, skate, scoot, and relax by the calming water. Open air markets animate main streets and allowed walkers to shop on the move.
Back in Boston, I envisioned a more vibrant waterfront. Although the path along the river is separated from traffic, pedestrians and cyclists are expected to squeeze by each other on the small six
foot wide path. In a future redesign of Memorial Drive and the bike path, I suggest moving the eastward motorized traffic across the grass median to be adjacent to the westward traffic lanes. This would free up much more space to create new parks and recreation areas.
by Daniel W., LivableStreets Intern
> Become a member, get involved, share your stories >>>