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Councilor Pepén Delivers His Maiden Speech

“Ever since I can remember, no matter the job, there has been one topic that has resonated with me more than any other - and that is transportation,” said Councilor Pepén during his maiden speech.

This week, Councilor Pepén offered his first two hearing orders, one on technological improvements in Boston School Bus transportation, and the other to explore the creation of Safe School Zones to improve pedestrian safety around all schools in the City of Boston.

During his time as the Community Engagement Coordinator at Transportation for Massachusetts, Councilor Pepén learned to view transportation from a different perspective – from the lens of public health. “There, I was able to understand that if we do not get transportation right, if residents feel unsafe crossing the street, or if drivers are not respecting the speed limits, it impacts one's well-being and creates a sense of anxiety across our communities,” said Councilor Pepén speaking of the knowledge he gained during his time at Transportation for Massachusetts.

On average, 8 out of 10 encounters Councilor Pepén has with residents discuss the fear of transportation safety. According to the hearing order, every four days, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) respond to a pediatric-related car accident averaging over 100 a year - a grave concern as children spend most of their time at school – raising the likelihood of these accidents to happen there.

“We need to acknowledge that school time starts when a student begins and ends their commute, a passage their guardian should be able to trust will be completed safely,” said Councilor Pepén.

Another major concern for parents and guardians has been school bus transportation. “Now is the time to invest in the humble school bus, the first interaction many of our City’s children have with public transportation. Improving the technology on this bus will not only alleviate parents’ and guardians’ anxiety but start holding people accountable for not respecting the bus,” said Councilor Pepén.

The hearing order states that, “In this day-of-age where food and grocery deliveries are tracked in real-time, this technology should be available to our families that struggle on a daily basis finding the location of their school bus pick-up/drop-off locations, and being able to share road/route status for efficient commutes.”

“Our children are the ones facing the consequences when they should be experiencing safe, quality transportation from point A - their homes - to point B - their schools. As a former BPS student and a father of two future BPS students, I want to ensure that all students, parents, guardians, and staff members feel safe while commuting to and from school.”

One hearing order was assigned to the Committee on City Services and Innovation Technology and the other to the Committee on Planning, Development and Transportation.

Listen to Councilor Pepén's maiden speech.

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