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pedestrian-plan-2018MassDOT is announcing that the Draft Massachusetts Pedestrian Transportation Plan is now available for public comment and an open house forum will take place on Thursday, September 20, in Boston. The Draft Plan is now available online.

Members of the Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board (MABPAB) will meet on September 20 during a special open-house style forum at which the draft Statewide Pedestrian Transportation Plan will be discussed.   MABPAB Board members and MassDOT welcome the public at this meeting to learn more about the Draft Plan and to provide comments:

Thursday, September 20, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, 2nd Floor Board Room, Boston

The Draft Pedestrian Plan defines a vision for Massachusetts in which all people have a safe and comfortable walking option for short trips. The Draft Plan presents an action-oriented strategy with the goal of increasing the percentage of short trips and the goal of helping to support initiatives which reduce pedestrian fatalities and injuries.

“When pedestrian facilities, including sidewalks, ramps, and crosswalks, are absent, poorly maintained, or unsafe, it puts people in danger, encourages trips in cars that could reasonably be made on foot, or limits mobility altogether,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “A focus on walking is part of an effective strategy to reduce the demand for new vehicle trips, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote health and wellness, and support economic development.”

The underlying principles mentioned in the Draft Plan:

  • 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 accomodations 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% of all sidewalk miles and 8.2% 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 include:

Initiative 1: Promote pedestrian safety, accessibility, and connectivity in investment decision-making and project development.

Initiative 2: Establish a set of prioritized pedestrian projects on MassDOT-owned roadways and bridges to address critical safety, accessibility, and connectivity gaps.

Initiative 3: Slow vehicle speeds and improve visibility of people walking.

Initiative 4: Improve pedestrian-accessible paths of travel to transit.

Initiative 5: Launch a year-round maintenance and operations plan for MassDOT-owned pedestrian facilities and support municipalities to do the same.

Initiative 6: Invest in data collection to inform initiatives 1-5 and to track progress.

In addition to the Draft Plan which is now open for public comment, a companion document is being created, called the Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability in recognition of the important role local cities and towns play. 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 of 2017 and an updated version is going to be published with the final version of the Pedestrian Plan later this year.

Over the last two years, the Draft Pedestrian Plan and draft Municipal Resource Guide for Walkability were informed by public feedback and data analysis. The Massachusetts Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board served as the steering committee for the plan.

Learn more about the Pedestrian Plan and provide feedback.

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