The city of Boston is pouring more money into its Vision Zero program, which is aimed at eliminating serious and fatal traffic crashes on city streets by 2030.
Under the city’s budget for the 2017 fiscal year released last week, officials said they would set aside about $3.1 million for Vision Zero, a big bump from the $500,000 that was in this year’s budget. Another $9.3 million will go toward the project over the next three years.
City officials said that next year they will test a program to help slow down drivers in Dorchester’s Talbot-Norfolk Triangle and the Stonybrook neighborhood in Jamaica Plain. The city also wants to make more street improvements — including protected bike lanes and clearer signage — in areas with many crashes, such as along Massachusetts Avenue and in Codman Square.
“The underlying philosophy of Vision Zero is that our streets should be welcoming and safe,” said Gina Fiandaca, the city’s transportation commissioner.
Becca Wolfson, interim executive director of the Boston Cyclists Union, said she was thrilled by the money dedicated to the project. Now, she said, the city has to put its plans into place by building more protected bike lanes and focusing on corridors with more pedestrian or cyclist deaths.
“The next step needs to be implementation,” Wolfson said. “It’s great that there’s funding there, and hopefully that happens very quickly.”
In March 2015, the city announced its commitment to Vision Zero and its goal of zero serious and fatal traffic crashes. Proponents of the Vision Zero, a multinational road safety program that started in Sweden, have also successfully pushed leaders in a number of other American cities, including New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, to adopt goals related to the initiative.
Since Boston got on board, city officials have created a so-called rapid response team that analyzes critical and fatal crashes so that officials can figure out how to make changes to prevent future crashes. In addition, residents can use an interactive “Safety Concerns” map to point out dangerous intersections and streets to city officials.
The city also announced it will use $2 million to retime the city’s traffic signals, a move they say will cut down on stops and delays.
T workers run ads for Marathon day
Did you spot a familiar transit worker on television last week?
In preparation for Marathon Monday, the Boston Carmen’s Union has been running advertisements on WBZ, featuring local workers reminding Boston that they’ll be operating their trains and buses to get everyone home.
“On Marathon Monday, whether you’re running to the finish line, or staying on the sidelines,” workers say, “when it’s all over, we’ll take it from here.”
The advertisement includes an appearance from Jimmy O’Brien, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, and other union higher-ups. O’Brien declined to say how much the union paid for the advertisements, but said he has been getting good feedback.
“It’s something that the members really wanted to do,” O’Brien said. “We’ve had members in the past run the Marathon. We’re the ones that bring all the marathoners there and bring them home.”
With the number of road closures, taking the MBTA might be a good bet on Monday.
But first, some tips: Remember that Copley Station will be closed during the day. The South Street, Kent Street, and St. Mary’s Street stations on the Green Line will also be closed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The MBTA will be running its services at rush-hour levels before and after the race on Monday. And because it will be crowded, you won’t be able to bring your bikes onto any vehicles (even folding bikes, officials say).
New commuter rail schedules
The new commuter rail schedules are here. And so far, they aren’t half as controversial as they used to be.
Starting on May 23, the MBTA will run commuter rail trains on new schedules on every line but the Kingston/Plymouth, Greenbush, and Middleborough/Lakeville lines.
The agency’s first attempt to change the schedules went badly: Officials tried to drop new schedules on customers last November, a move that was met by outrage from commuters who saw many of their rides getting cut. In response, the agency delayed the new schedules, promising further revisions that took feedback from the community into account.
The T says the new schedules are supposed to cut down on delays and reflect customer comments that were collected from Jan. 7 to Feb. 22.