Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Unsafe Bridges

Cyclists & Pedestrians: Join me TONIGHT at the 275 Albany Street's Boston Redevelopment Authority community meeting. We must let the BRA & the Developer know that safe bicycle & pedestrian access across the two bridges linking South Boston to the South End is CRITICAL. This new / large development is one of the many new large scale projects that have been made possible by the BRA's "Harrison/Albany Corridor Strategic Plan" that re-zoned the area to become more appealing to large scale developers. In that strategic plan, the BRA constantly mentions improving pedestrian & bicycling for that area, and connecting to South Boston. While some progress has happened, we have yet to see how the BRA defined "Green Corridors" make any real bicycle connection to South Boston. The two bridges are considered by Planet Southie Bikes to be the least safe roadways in our neighborhood, and yet they are among the most traveled roads because its the only way to reach the majority of the City of Boston.

Meeting is tonight, Feb 26th @ 6:30pm
1145 Washington Street, Suite #2, Boston MA

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Neighborhood Growth

Ever wonder where the boundaries of our neighborhood associations are? Ever wish there was an consolidated map showing the proposed construction projects in the area? Same with me! Check out the amazing interactive map that our South Boston Neighborhood Association Committee (SBNAC) has generated: https://www.sbnac.org/ProjectsMap.aspx

(Note: SBNAC neighborhood association boundary lines are "unofficial")

It's no secret, and made very clear in this map, is that South Boston is growing.... rapidly. To ensure that the neighborhood evolves and grows in a sustainable manner your voice and your opinions are needed.

Planet Southie Transportation Group Update

Planet Southie member Fred Gordon shared the following update about First Street bus service, shuttles, vans and more:

The Planet Southie Transit Action Team is working on transportation issues in South Boston. We started with the problem of bus transportation in the First Street area, but we’d like to gather together recommendations for transportation changes for the whole of South Boston.

First Street Bus Service: East First Street from Pappas Drive to Summer Street is between two bus routes. One of them—the No. 9—runs down Broadway and is a three block walk.  The other—the No. 7—runs along Summer and is about a half mile walk down E. First or along Pappas Drive. But the No. 7 bus could easily run down E. First. It now runs along Summer Street, and from E.

Announcing the South Boston Shuttle

Dennis Conway, a Planet Southie Transit Action Team member, shared the following update:

The South Boston Shuttle will be launched on Monday March 4th.  Service will be staged in three phases:
  1. Dinner time restaurant shuttle to various South Boston restaurants (no charge to residents). Restaurants will be under contract to the shuttle service.
  2. Free Senior Shuttle from 10-4 daily to South Boston business.
  3. East-West First St., residential shuttle to South Station to start by mid-April.
Full details will be in the South Boston Today Newspaper next week!

Learn what else the transit team is up to here

Clarification: The Southie Shuttle is not organized by Planet Southie. Some of our transit team members were involved in starting it. For info, please visit www.southieshuttle.com or email Dennis Conway.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is your "Walkscore"?

The following story was posted by Jessica Buhler, Planet Southie's Walk Action Team leader.

Neighborhoods with great "walkability" are better for your health, the environment, and the economy. I recently discovered a website, Walkscore.com, where you can type in a street address or walking route to find out how a particular area scores in regards to access to shops, parks, and transit (indicators of good walkability). 

Cars block sidewalk on East 4th Street
My address in South Boston scored an 80 (out of 100), primarily because the site noted that most errands can be accomplished on foot.  The site allows you to agree or disagree with their score and add in pictures and descriptions of items that may improve the score of the area.

Block length and number of intersections are considered when determining the score. However, whether or not there are safe and accessible sidewalks and crosswalks, if the weather is conducive for walking, and crime levels are not factored into the score.

Including that information would make the score more accurate. For instance, my area is very close to a grocery store and pharmacy (great for walkability). However, because the stores have huge parking lots with no buffers, the cars often park onto the sidewalk and become high car traffic areas that make it less safe and enjoyable for walkers.
Check out your score on walkscore.com and let us know if you agree or disagree.

For more reading, check out an article about planner, architect and author Jeff Speck's book "Walkable City" and his 10-step approach to create walkable urban areas. 

Learn more about better walking, biking, transit and more at the next Planet Southie meeting:

Thursday, February 28th  6:30 - 7:30 pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston

(All are welcome and encouraged to attend)

A & D Street Bike Lane Design Review

Jon Ramos, one of Planet Southie Bike Action Team's most active members, posted the below story.

Great news Southie Cyclists: we’ll soon be getting some bicycle infrastructure on A-Street & D-Street.  What does that mean exactly?  Well, the City’s current plan is a mixture of bike lanes, buffered bike lanes, sharrows, and perhaps even cycle-tracks making the crucial link between Dot Ave to the Seaport.

Overall the City’s plan is a great start, but there is room for further improvement and several ways to make the bike lanes safer… but we need your help if we want to see these improvements made. 

As the voice of cyclists in South Boston the City will listen to our feedback.  We need a good turnout at the next meeting to review the plans and come to a conclusion for which sections should be changed. 

To help us through this process Pete Stidman, director of The Boston Cyclists Union, will be attending our next meeting.  Pete has extensive knowledge of bike lane planning, and can help guide us through the process of discussing our conclusions with the City.  If you want to see positive change, and make cycling safer in South Boston then now is the time to act.

See you at the next Planet Southie meeting:

Thursday, February 28th at 6:30pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston

(All are welcome and encouraged to attend)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Planet Southie Bikes goes to City Hall

Exciting update from the Planet Southie Bike Action Team!

It's been a just over two weeks since we listened to the extraordinary presentation that transportation engineer Mike Tremblay delivered to Planet Southie.  Mike's proposal for major improvements to our urban landscape along East & West Broadway, immediately caught the attention of Mayor Menino's Boston Bikes director Nicole Freedman who requested a face to face meeting with us to review his key concepts, and to hear about Planet Southie Bikes' overall goals.  

Mike's plan goes well beyond the inclusion of bicycle infrastructure, its a much broader improvement to Broadway for pedestrians, motorists, trees and more; however, since Nicole represents Boston Bikes the topic she is most interested in hearing about is of course bikes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

On February 28 ~ bike, walking, transit and energy savings solutions!

Please join us at our next monthly meeting. All are welcome at Planet Southie!

6:30 pm - 6:45 pm
- Brief Q and A about Renew Boston's energy savings incentives

6:45 pm - 7:30 pm
- Bike, Walk and Transit Action Teams meet in small groups

February 28, 6:30pm - 7:30pm
The Distillery Building
516 East Second Street, South Boston 02127