We thank MassDOT for asking for public comment on their upcoming capital plans, including transit, walking, biking, roads and bridges. The series of 16 Capital Conversations events are important to hearing directly from the people on what kind of mobility investments we need in the years to come.
As MassDOT considers future plans, we offer these suggestions.
- Maintain and modernize our transit system, but add capacity for growth. Massachusetts needs to build a 21st Century transportation system that serves the entire state. We need to maintain and modernize what we currently have, but also and strategically add capacity to the system where it is most needed.
- Provide choices that include transit, cycling and walking. People of all ages are eager for a range of transportation choices. So we need to invest in public transit (including the MBTA and RTAs) and walking and biking infrastructure including sidewalks, protected bike lanes, trails, and paths as well as the municipal Complete Streets program that is funded at $5 million in FY2016, and which we hope will increase in future years.
- Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled. The investments selected for the five-year capital plan and other planning documents should prioritize the goal of reducing vehicle-miles traveled (VMT), which is in line with the state’s goal to triple the share of travel by bike, foot and transit. Reducing VMT has many benefits, including cost-savings associated with driving, increased physical activity, and fewer crashes.
Use Project Selection Criteria to support projects with social, health, environmental and economic benefits. Our resources are limited, so it is important to select projects wisely. The capital planning process should build on steps that MassDOT and the Project Selection Advisory Council have taken to develop a data-driven framework that sets investment priorities that consider how well a project…
- boosts economic opportunity for people of lower-income and color, and ensures all parts of the state have quality transportation choices
- helps fight climate change and meet our GHG reduction goals
- encourages new economic activity
- enhances public health by reducing air pollution and providing safe options for active living, specifically encouraging safe and convenient walking and cycling
- complements smart growth principles to address our housing needs responsibly
We encourage people to participate in Capital Conversations by attending one of 16 public listening sessions, or sending comments by email no later than November 5, 2015.
Using Twitter? #CapitalConversations.
Thank you for participating!
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