And so the growing movement for safer, cleaner, healthier, and more equitable transportation in our neighborhood, city, region, and commonwealth has a new media outlet that will highlight and stick with the stories and issues we care the most about. Mark this date – July 11, 2019 – as the formal start of something that we can all hope will make us better. Take it away, StreetsblogMASS Editor in Chief Christian MilNeil:
The Streetsblog movement has arrived in Massachusetts!
When Streetsblog launched in New York City in 2006, policymakers took it for granted that streets were primarily for motor vehicles: the city had no on-street protected bike lanes and over 300 New Yorkers were dying every year in traffic collisions.
Today, New York is ranked among the nation’s best cities for cycling. Cars and trucks are no longer allowed on Broadway through Times Square, there’s a network of protected bikeways that extends over 100 miles throughout the five boroughs, and the number of people killed by cars has hit its lowest point in a century.
The cities and towns of Massachusetts are ready for a similar transformation.
Massachusetts is already home to dozens of great organizations working on these issues, and there’s been impressive progress in the past decade. The state’s biggest city recently adopted the visionary Go Boston 2030 plan, which sets a target for cutting motor vehicle commutes in half, expanding the regional greenway network, and boosting transit service over the next decade.
And yet, for all the great ideas out there, our region’s leaders are falling short in actually implementing the policies and infrastructure we need. Crashes cause over 4,000 injuries a year in Boston alone, and that number has been increasing in spite of the city’s “Vision Zero” commitment.
StreetsblogMASS will be a place to amplify the efforts of seasoned advocates who have been working on these issues for years, but it will also be a place that invites more people into the safer streets movement and give them the knowledge they need to make a difference, whether they’re a new-to-town college student or a retiree who’s contemplating giving up their car. Safer streets matter to everyone – even motorists – and StreetsblogMASS will strive to be as inclusive as it is engaging.
As your editor, I’ve spent the past six years working as a data reporter for the Portland Press Herald in Maine; I’ve also moonlighted as a transportation and affordable housing advocate for more than a decade. I’m a strong believer in the power local journalism has in holding leaders accountable to the public interest, but I also find that traditional journalism often falls short in addressing the public’s interests in making our cities more equitable and fighting climate change.
Our streets are public spaces: they belong to all of us, not just the few who operate the most life-threatening and polluting vehicles. Making the Commonwealth’s streets safer is a necessary condition for New England to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and it’s also a way to make our cities healthier, safer, more affordable, and more egalitarian.
It’s time to build a safer, more connected, healthier Commonwealth – let’s get started.