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Five neighborhoods join the slow streets program

July 20, 2017

Transportation

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Transportation

The Neighborhood Slow Streets program is a community-based effort to reduce speeds and improve the quality of life on Boston’s local streets.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca today announced the selection of five neighborhoods that will join the Neighborhood Slow Streets program in 2017. The Neighborhood Slow Streets program is a community-based effort to reduce speeds and improve the quality of life on Boston’s local streets. The following five neighborhoods will work with the Boston Transportation and Public Works Departments to plan and implement their Neighborhood Slow Streets projects:

  • Chinatown
  • Grove Hall/Quincy Corridor
  • Highland Park
  • Mount Hope/Canterbury
  • West of Washington Coalition

“The Neighborhood Slow Streets program brings us closer to achieving Vision Zero by proactively lowering speeds on streets where Bostonians live, play, and travel,” said Mayor Walsh. “This initiative is a great collaboration between city agencies and communities that delivers traffic calming results that will make our neighborhoods safer.”

The Boston Transportation Department received applications from 47 different communities across 16 of Boston’s neighborhoods. Each proposed area went through a scoring process that considered where vulnerable populations live and where more crashes were occurring. BTD used objective criteria that included the number of households with youth under 18, the percentage of the population aged 65 or older, the number of crashes per mile within the area, and the presence of parks, libraries, and transit. The five selected communities were among the top-scoring of the nearly 50 zones evaluated.

“This program not only improves safety on our streets, it also brings great quality-of-life benefits,” said Commissioner Fiandaca. “I’m grateful for everyone’s hard work on their applications this year. I look forward to working in partnership with the five selected communities.”

BTD anticipates planning work to begin in the five new communities this year. The Neighborhood Slow Streets process calls for a community walk to kick off the process, allowing residents to identify key challenges and areas where residents would like to see changes. When completed, the selected Neighborhood Slow Streets areas will be equipped with visual and physical cues to slow drivers to 20 MPH, making each street feel more inviting for people of all ages who are walking, playing, or bicycling.

“So many communities stepped up to partner with the City on this important work,” said Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets and Acting Commissioner of Public Works. “Providing a clear, simple way to participate and a transparent selection process are examples of the ways that we continue to embrace the ethos of Go Boston 2030 as we implement that plan’s many projects and policies.”

Mayor Walsh announced in May a commitment to increase Boston's Vision Zero investment by $1 million in Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) to $4.1 million, dedicated to Boston's Neighborhood Slow Streets program.

Today’s announcement builds on work already underway in the two pilot communities as traffic-calming plans go into construction at the Talbot-Norfolk Triangle in Dorchester and the Stonybrook neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Construction work is anticipated to begin in August or September.

Details about this year’s process, including the evaluation methodology and scores for each proposed area, are available at boston.gov/neighborhood-slow-streets. Information about applying for the next round of Neighborhood Slow Streets zones will be made available in early 2018.

This initiative is part of Go Boston 2030, the City's strategic transportation plan, will invest $709 million over the next five years to implement safer streets, more reliable and predictable transportation, and improved transportation access for residents.

Vision Zero, the City's plan to eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes in Boston by 2030, leads Boston's strategy to reduce injuries for pedestrians and cyclists. Key Vision Zero accomplishments include lowering the City's default speed limit to 25 MPH; establishing dedicated, protected bike lanes; launching the Neighborhood Slow Streets program; and making pedestrian and cyclist safety a focus when planning major roadway construction. Earlier this month, the first Vision Zero annual report was released, detailing additional investments.

BTD works with communities throughout the year to plan, design, and implement transportation projects large and small. For more information about our work, visit boston.gov/transportation.