Kendall Square - Innovative transportation policy success story
At Rush Hour Race last spring, Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis stated proudly that even though development in Kendall Square has steadily increased, car use has steadily decreased. Whoa, hold on, 4.6 million square feet of new space (a 40% increase since 2000) with less car trips?! A recent Globe article dove into the reasons why:
In Kendall Square, there's a balance of people walking, biking, taking transit and driving (Photo credit: The Metro)
The City of Cambridge has made it a priority to reduce car use. A 1998 ordinance requires commercial and institutional developers who add parking spaces to actively discourage their use.
Kendall Square companies offer financial incentives for employees to leave their cars at home. For example, an Ironwood employee gets $100 a month toward commuting costs, which can be applied to the $220 a month they pay to park, or to the pretax T pass. This is an impressive amount since some companies and institutions in Boston don't provide any transit incentive and $100 per employee is still significantly less than the $65,000-$100,000 price tag to build one underground garage parking spot.
The buildings provide infrastructure and options for their employees who choose to leave their cars at home. One Broadway provides an electronically locked indoor bicycle cage and showers. The Charles River TMA provides free EZ Ride bus service between Cambridgeport, Kendall, Lechmere, and North Station for participating companies (we love it too since it goes right to our office!)
The biggest takeaway is that Kendall Square is not a utopian bubble. Economic development and an increase in car use don't have to come hand-in-hand. "There is a growing movement to employ parking policies that encourage balanced transportation systems and reinforce central cities. More parking reduces the cost of car use, which only leads to more car use and more demand for parking" (U.S Parking Policies Report by Institute for Transportation and Development Policy).
A Globe editorial concludes, "In Cambridge, finding ways to eliminate car trips is seen as a basic city service along with public safety and education." Stephanie Groll, who oversees Cambridge's parking-management efforts, said that she receives few complaints from businesses and institutions. In Cambridge, after all, fewer cars on the streets have become a sign that business is strong and growing."
Kendall Square is a great example of how a city, companies and institutions can work together to achieve our mission for more walkable, bikeable and livable neighborhoods and urban centers, creating better places to live, work and play.
Kendall Sq example (see article above)
Part 10, on why LivableStreets is working to create safe streets for all.
Because change is possible, and creating more livable streets will better support neighborhoods and business districts.
Support the organization working to increase the number of livable communities in metro Boston - become a member today.
Commuter waiting for a bus under the McCarthy Overpass (photo credit: Boston.com)
"Overpasses - get rid of them"
Remove McGrath Campaign in today's Boston Globe
"Of course, the 1950s planners who built the overpass paid little heed to the people who might walk, bike, or reside in its shadow...
Now that the McCarthy is falling apart, even the state Department of Transportation agrees it is an overbuilt vestige and has promised to take it down. But the contractors who mobilized beneath it recently are not there to dismantle it. Instead, the state is reinforcing the McCarthy, spending $10.9 million to keep it standing for a decade or more...
'We want to see these projects move to 'shovel ready' and not just shored up and then left behind,' said Jackie Douglas, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance."
By David Maltzan, LivableStreets volunteer, member and Bike4Life fundraiser
"I bike for a healthier city. Car exhaust fumes raise rates of heart disease and asthma in our neighborhoods. Plus, it allows me to get exercise without having to build in an extra hour or two of 'gym time' every day."
Long Beach, California is rising on our radar - they have installed more than 130 miles of trails and protected bicycle lanes, and they have established a bike-friendly business district, to name a few. On September 7, Executive Director Jackie Douglas and Program Coordinator Kara Oberg will be headed to Long Beach to check it all out and attend the Alliance for Biking & Walking Leadership Retreat. The biennial retreat brings together 100 bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders from across the country for three days of networking and learning. "We are really excited to spend time
with our colleagues from similar organizations across the country to share lessons learned and then bring best practices back to Boston," says Executive Director Jackie Douglas. Jackie will also be facilitating the Women's Caucus with Executive Director of East Bay Bicycle Coalition Renee Rivera at the retreat.
Right after the retreat, Jackie will attend Pro Walk/Pro Bike; the international conference on walking, bicycling, and creating great communities through placemaking, with more than 1,000 people ranging from government officials to public health professionals working to create livable communities.
Douglas will be wrapping up the week at the National Women's Bicycling Summit hosted by the League of American Bicyclists and the Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals on September 13. This trip is made possible thanks to a scholarship from the Alliance for Biking & Walking - thank you.
Follow LivableStreets on Twitter and Facebook September 7-13 for live updates, lessons learned, fun facts & stats, photos, and more.
Internship & employment opportunities in the field
The City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department seeks Transportation Intern. An ideal candidate would be interested in a one year internship. Click herefor full job description.
Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) seeks a Lead Organizer to join its Community Organizing and Planning team. SCC's organizing campaigns focus primarily on affordable housing and access to good jobs. The Lead Organizer will be charged with leading dynamic organizing campaigns, coordinating the work of colleagues, and building leaders. S/he will work with the current Director of Community Organizing and Planning to reshape the department. Requirements include at least five years of experience leading effective organizing campaigns, and proficient in English and Spanish or Portuguese. Candidates should submit a cover letter, detailing their salary requirements and particular qualifications for this position, along with a resume to SCCleadorganizer@gmail.comby September 14, 2012.
Brown Walker Planners, Inc. seeks an experienced planner for a part time-position with potential to expand full-time after trial period. Brown Walker Planners is a small Massachusetts-based consulting firm providing professional planning services to the public sector. Master's degree in planning or closely related field and at least five years of experience related work experience required, AICP certification preferred, strong writing and ArcGIS proficiency desired. For more information and to inquire about the position, email email@example.com.
The Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) seeks Transportation Planners, Analysts and Travel Modelers. For full job description and how to apply,click here.
The Public Way: Transportation, health and livable communities
Recent postings on Steve Miller's Blog
"...MassDOT, BRA, and their consulting traffic engineering firms...for nearly six years they've been meeting with people, collecting data, modeling future traffic flows, and making plans for Causeway Street. They've discovered some interesting facts - for example, there are more people walking than vehicles driving through that area! And they have had to adjust to major changes in transportation priorities - six years ago bicycles weren't considered as important, now the Hubway station (shared bicycle system) in that area is the busiest in the entire city..." Read full post here: When Being 'Complete' Is Dangerously Unfinished: From The Gutter To Victory on Causeway Street