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Watertown Healthy
Transportation News

Cardinal in snowy tree.

January, 2020. Welcome to the third edition of Watertown Healthy Transportation News, a production of the Watertown Department of Community Development and Planning and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. Feel free to reply to this email and let us know what you'd like to see included in a future edition. We hope to see you walking and riding around Watertown soon! 


Biking on street in winter weather

New Bike and Ped. Plan will Pave the Way for More Biking and Walking
 

Are you concerned about traffic congestion in Watertown?  Do you wish it was easier or safer to get around town on foot, by bicycle, or with a mobility aid?  Come to a public meeting on Monday January 27th at 6:30 PM to share your ideas!
 
The Town  of Watertown, and particularly the Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee, are committed to improving alternative modes of transportation for Watertown residents of all ages and abilities.  We've partnered with McMahon and Associates to develop a Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan that will help make our streets safer, more comfortable, and convenient for travel by foot, bicycle, and transit as well as for automobiles. 
 
Learn more about how the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan will optimize safety and access for non-vehicular modes of travel, such as biking, walking and taking transit, and give us your input.  Assuring the viability of other modes of transportation will help reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution while promoting health and well-being for residents and visitors.  With your input, we can create a Bike and Pedestrian Plan that is comprehensive, innovative, and adaptable to Watertown's future.

 
Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan Public Meeting
Monday January 27, 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Watertown Middle School Cafeteria
68 Waverley Avenue

Girl walking on snowy sidewalk

Be a Good Neighbor: Clear Sidewalks and Curb Cuts of Snow and Ice


Now that winter is underway, snow and ice are in the forecast. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee asks that residents shovel their sidewalks and a path to the street, so that everyone can continue to walk safely, including students, seniors, commuters and people with disabilities.
If you are a senior and need help shoveling, contact the Council on Aging at
617 972-6490.

Lime bikes

Lime Bikes No More

For the last two years, from April to December, Watertown has been part of a no-cost regional bike sharing system. The program enjoyed high ridership. Over two seasons, 17,600 Lime bike trips started in Watertown.  The vast majority of those trips (70%) ended in Watertown as well, indicating that most trips were in and around town. This dockless bike share system played a vital role in helping address our congestion and climate crises.  Lime is stepping away from the dockless shared bikes and is focusing on electric scooters.  Bringing scooters to Watertown requires new legislation from Beacon Hill.

State House, Boston, MA

Update on State Transportation Legislative Activity
By Rep. Jonathan Hecht

 

Transportation is a top issue on Beacon Hill. We can no longer ignore the challenges we face: frequent breakdowns and overcrowding on public transit, maddening congestion, poorly maintained roads, sidewalks, bridges and transit infrastructure; and local streets that aren’t safe for cyclists and pedestrians. These severe and growing shortcomings in our transportation system are wasting people’s time, sapping economic growth, and exacerbating the climate crisis.
 
Within the next few months, the MA House of Representatives is expected to take up legislation to raise new revenue for transportation investments above and beyond those in the Governor’s bond bill. The exact scope of the bill is under discussion, as are the sources of the new revenue. I am advocating for an ambitious bill that goes beyond restoring our current infrastructure to expand transportation options and mitigate climate change. I also believe the new revenue should include substantial contributions from the business sector, which benefits tremendously from public investment in transportation, and rely less on user fees (fares, tolls, gas tax) that disproportionately impact vulnerable residents with limited transportation choices.  
 
To expand transportation options and mitigate climate change, it’s critical that the bill include multi-modal investments. That means substantial funding for Complete Streets, Chapter 90, and other programs to implement statewide bicycle and pedestrian plans. Additional legislative changes will be needed to incorporate new technologies such as e-scooters and e-bikes safely into the transportation continuum. These new technologies have potential in Watertown and elsewhere to provide convenient, low-cost, carbon-free alternatives to short car trips and connections to public transit. A number of bills to authorize and regulate their use on roads and shared-use paths, including two I filed, are currently pending in the legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation. If they are not taken up as part of the transportation finance package, my goal will be to move them as soon as possible thereafter in order to support the roll-out of shared e-scooter and e-bike pilots in Watertown this summer. 
 
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), is a regional alliance of northeast and mid-Atlantic states pursuing a cap-and-invest system for transportation sector emissions. Governor Baker has expressed a strong commitment to Massachusetts’ participation in TCI. The proceeds from the auction of carbon allowances, which will be paid by fuel suppliers into a dedicated fund, will be invested in measures that will advance the transition to a clean transportation future. TCI is a promising approach to reducing transportation emissions, which account for nearly half of all GHG emissions in Massachusetts. At the same time, it is likely to lead to higher gas prices, which is further reason to be cautious about hiking gas taxes in the pending transportation finance package. Public engagement in the TCI process is ongoing, and all are welcome to learn more and
submit feedback.  
 
I welcome your thoughts and suggestions on all aspects of transportation policy. You can reach me at my office phone 617-722-2140 or by email at
jonathan.hecht@mahouse.gov (please cc: my Legislative Aide Liz Walker at elizabeth.walker@mahouse.gov
).

Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee 

The Committee works to improve the bicycling and pedestrian environment within the Town for commuting and recreation. Officially commissioned by the Town in 1995, the Committee is composed of volunteer residents appointed by the Town Manager.

Anyone interested in any aspect of bicycling or walking in Watertown is encouraged to attend and participate in one of our monthly meetings, which are always open to the public. Meetings take place at 7:30 pm, 1st Monday of each month (except major holidays or where noted) at Town Hall, Administration Building, 149 Main Street, Lower Hearing Room (unless otherwise noted). Meeting minutes and agendas can be viewed here.


Minutes become available once they are approved (typically one month from meeting date).  Agendas are typically available the Thursday prior to the meeting.

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