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Improvements boost Boston transportation jobs

Posted on March 31, 2019

A number of new proposed improvements may enhance Boston transportation jobs.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced new initiatives and investments being made in Boston’s transportation infrastructure that will help increase safety for all users of the road, ease congestion and provide more viable transportation options for residents. These investments complement the key projects identified in Go Boston 2030, the city’s long-term transportation plan, and Vision Zero, the city’s policy plan to reduce the number of roadway fatalities.

Building on the significant steps the city has taken over the last several years to improve Boston’s transportation infrastructure, these new initiatives and investments will further our transportation goals. They include:

  • Lowering speed limit on city streets to 20 MPH: Mayor Walsh is proposing to work with the City Council and Legislature to reduce the speed limit on neighborhood streets from 25 mph to 20 mph. The speed limit was reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph in January 2017 as a way to improve roadway safety for people walking, driving and bicycling on city streets. Studies show that there is a direct link between the speed that a vehicle is traveling when a crash occurs and the likelihood of a fatality or severe injury resulting from that crash. At 20 mph there is a 17% likelihood of a fatality or severe injury occurring, and that number jumps to 75% at 40 mph. Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a study on Boston that showed by lowering the default speed limit, the City saw a 29 percent reduction in the number of cars traveling faster than 35 mph. The study affirms the importance of lowering speed limits as one of many tools to make our streets safer.
  • Citywide education campaign on road safety: the City will arrange for a citywide education campaign that will be available and accessible to all residents interested in participating. Safe travel now and in coming years is our first priority.  In accordance with our Go Boston 2030 Transportation Plan, this campaign will serve to remind everyone we need to be more mindful on our streets. It will include safety tips and best practices for getting around Boston’s streets safely using all modes of travel.
  • Ride-sharing pick-up/drop-off designated areas pilot program: to assign Uber and Lyft pick-ups and drop-offs to designated areas. This month, the City will pilot our first pick-up/drop-off zone at Boylston Street and Kilmarnock Street. The zone will begin at 5:00 p.m., lasting until 8:00 a.m. each day. The goal of this pilot is to ease congestion caused by cars double-parking and to increase safety for passengers entering and exiting the vehicles. The City is currently working with ride-sharing companies, and both Uber and Lyft have agreed to support the City’s pilot. The Boston Transportation Department will install signage to help drivers and passengers find the zones, and will evaluate the program to gauge its impact. 
  • Pilot of new bus lanes: on Brighton Avenue in Allston and North Washington Street downtown. The North Washington Street bus lane will be in effect 24/7 inbound from the Charlestown Bridge to Haymarket. Like the existing permanent bus lane on Washington Street in Roslindale, the Brighton Avenue bus lane will be in effect Monday through Friday during AM peak hours inbound. The City will also start a community process to improve bus service on Blue Hill Avenue.
  • MBTA Bus Passes will be provided to all students grades 7-12: whether they go to public, charter, private, or parochial schools. There are approximately 20,000 students who currently receive free MBTA passes, and this proposal will raise that number to approximately 30,000 students. This move will greatly expand access to Boston Public Schools students, particularly those in high school, who can choose from a portfolio of school options across the city.