Mt. Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association Comments on FY2023 Boston Transportation Budget

The City of Boston is finalizing the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which begins on July 1, 2022. We intend to submit comments soon (ideas welcome!) but in the meantime we wanted to share this letter sent by Rick Yoder and WalkUP Board Member Lisa Beatman on behalf of the Mt. Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association and the American Legion Corridor Coalition.

Dear Ways and Means Committee, Transportation Committee, and Transportation Dept.,

Regarding Dockets 0483 and 0485:

Please allocate funding in the FY 23 transportation budget for reconstruction of the rest of the highly dangerous intersections on the connected American Legion and Cummin Hwy high crash corridors. Thousands of residents live within walking distance from essential services at these intersections, which are on the border of Districts 4 and 5, surrounded by dense environmental justice pocket neighborhoods. Unsafe roads, intersections and sidewalks are a public health and equity issue.

  1. The 5-way intersection of American Legion, Cummins Hwy, and Canterbury St. on the border of Roslindale and Hyde Park. The multimodal safety improvements in process along the Mattapan stretch of Cummins are equally needed to continue north up Cummins at least to Hyde Park Ave. Currently, this section is a weak link that discourages pedestrians from walking to walking distance essential services and bus stops, and cyclists from safely utilizing the new protected bike lanes on American Legion and Cummins.

At no time is there a safe way for pedestrians and cyclists to cross any part of this intersection, including when they have a green walk signal! The reason is that pedestrians have to be constantly alert to drivers moving at high speed, turning through the crosswalk without even looking for pedestrians. It is also dangerous for drivers, passengers, and apparently, Boston Public Works employees.

Unbelievably, but true, repeated requests to simply put a few public trash barrels at this intersection were met with the following response from 311:

“Case Closed. This is not a highly foot traveled area, and it’s a very dangerous intersection for our employees, with the reconfiguration of the lanes. No installation. #101004211566”

It is unconscionable for the city to designate through neglect this area as “not a highly foot traveled area” Is it ok that people, including our elderly neighbors, are afraid to walk to the few and unsheltered bus stops?

Attached is a walk audit of this section. It is on the map of the top 3% serious crashes and injuries in Boston. Conducted by WalkUp Roslindale, in conjunction with our Mt. Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association, it includes input from the Boston Disabilities Commission. The audit also includes:

  • The Cummins entrance to Stop and Shop/Walgreens Plaza, which is dangerous for people living within walking distance from there, and bus riders as well.
  • Cummins intersection with Rowe St., near housing for seniors and people with disabilities.

Please review the audit and work together, so that 2023 is the year that this decades-long problem finally gets funded, planned, and fixed.

  1. Complete the traffic calming of American Legion by installing these measures along the rest of it, between Cummins and Hyde Park Ave, including intersections and crosswalks, which have been the site of multiple fatal crashes. Safe, effective multi-modal connectivity is only as strong as its weakest links.
  2. Additional weak connectivity links are the other intersections along American Legion to Blue Hill Ave. Especially:
  • The Walk Hill and American Legion intersection is probably the next highest crash intersection. It is the closest crosswalk to the Haley Pilot School and a route to the neighborhood shopping center one block away. A few years ago a retired Boston policeman was killed in this intersection when his car was struck by another car approaching the intersection from Walk Hill St. At that time the Transportation Dept. identified that the traffic signals facing Walk Hill St. traffic are all low sidewalk pedestal mounted signal lights, instead of more visible overhead signal lights hung over the middle of the intersection. When will that get fixed?
  • Kingbird Rd. and in front of the Brook Charter schools, Lena Park Community Center, and Olmstead Green residents, across from Franklin Park. Thousands of families are unable to safely walk or bike to this amazing resource across the street from them.

We appreciate the inexpensive quick-build traffic calming measures installed along the Blue Hill Ave. to Cummins section of American Legion. Road diet, bollarded bike lanes, and increased pedestrian walk times have helped substantially.

However, it is at the intersections where most crashes occur, and that is still happening. For years we keep being told studies are being done, and that it will be too expensive to reconstruct them. It’s great that the city is investing millions into the Mattapan section of Cummins, Blue Hill Ave. Forest Hills, Arborway, and that a HPA redesign looks like a go as well. So it’s time to complete safe connectivity along this multi-modal corridor as well.

  1. It is also time to address the public transportation desert here. More buses, more frequent buses, and more accessible bus stops, will result in fewer cars and a safer, healthier corridor.

Thank you for your consideration,

Lisa Beatman and Rick Yoder

Mt. Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association

American Legion Corridor Coalition

4 thoughts to “Mt. Hope Canterbury Neighborhood Association Comments on FY2023 Boston Transportation Budget”

  1. This looks like a worthy initiative.

    Question: is this funding already in the FY23 BTD budget? If not, would the dollars come from another Department?
    OR are these $$ in the Mayor’s proposed ARPA Budget?

    Also, could you please point my eye to the link for the Cummins audit. Also, is there a specific link for the crash
    data you reference. (I know how to access Vision Zero. I’m looking for the aggregated crash data over whichever years you choose.

    Thanks for considering these comments.

  2. Thank you for the confirmation.

    I read this audit with interest when you posted it. As I recall, I contacted the BTD to understand whether your recommendations would be actionable as is. I also reviewed with a District Councilor Director of Civic Engagement to ask whether this proposal would be coming up for funding. The funding was not being considered at the time.

    I offer these comments in the spirit of having the best possible analysis from which to draw public policy. Please take these comments in that spirit. This feedback is similar to the exchange we had in the blog about the Poplar Street audit. I thank you for being open to these comments.

    1. Qualitative analyses by those internal to the project should be verified by an unbiased analyst to assure there is not confirmation bias.
    2. In qualitative work, the analyst looks for redundancy in the data. Drawing conclusions from one auditor alone is not redundant. This happens several times in the document.
    3. Avoiding inferences creates a more solid analysis. For example, referencing a driver’s “mindset” is not valid unless one asks the driver what their mindset is.

    On an entirely separate note, will there be a public hearing to accompany the proposed budget allocation?

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