BOSTON- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs announced that the League of American Cyclists ranked Massachusetts number 1 in the nation in the organization’s 2022 Bicycle Friendly State Report. Card published this month.
The League gives Massachusetts an “A” grade in the categories: Infrastructure and Funding, Education and Encouragement, and Policies and Programs: Policies and Programs:
Check out the report: https://bikeleague.org/content/new-2022-bicycle-friendly-states-rankings-massachusetts.
“Investing in recreational and shared-use trails not only provides connections for people to exercise, relax or travel, but also fosters a sense of stewardship and shared interest in our parks, our open spaces and our pathways,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “We are grateful to the League of American Bicyclists for this recognition and will continue to work with our partners at the local level to build on this important progress.”
“It has been a pleasure to work with city leaders over the past few years to improve our trail systems and roads to promote cycling as a mode of transportation,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Partnerships with city and town leaders, cycling advocates and non-profit groups have enabled us to extend and connect the Commonwealth’s networks of on- and off-road shared-use trails, cycle paths and recreational trails.
“We are thrilled that the League has recognized how far Massachusetts has come since 2015 in creating cycling infrastructure, increasing funding for capital projects, educating the public about cycling, and integrating multimodal policies and approaches into the work we do at MassDOT,” Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler said. “In particular, we are proud of how we have worked with city leaders to increase cycling trips, particularly due to the launch of the Streets and Shared Spaces Funding Program in 2020, which has helped people to move around safely and has given a boost to local businesses. as they pivoted to do business differently during the pandemic.
“Since taking office, the Baker-Polito administration has taken a hands-on approach to increasing access to our natural and recreational resources through the expansion of Massachusetts’ network of trails, shared-use trails and bikeways. “said Energy and Kathleen Theoharides, Secretary for Environmental Affairs. “As well as providing a healthy opportunity to get outdoors, increasing opportunities for safe cycling is an important part of the Commonwealth’s climate-friendly transport strategy.”
The League’s 2022 Bicycle Friendly State Report Card cites several bicycle-friendly measures being taken in Massachusetts, including implementing a complete streets policy, implementing a city-wide bicycle plan the state, spending 2% or more of federal funds on bicycle/pedestrian needs, and a focus on bicycle safety.
Actions taken by the Baker-Polito administration since 2015 to support and promote cycling include:
- In 2016, Complete Streets Funding Program was created to encourage communities to embed complete streets principles into regular local planning and design practices, ensuring safe and accessible travel for all local road users, regardless of age or ability. Municipal applications for the next round of funding are due May 1. Since its launch, the program has awarded a total of $77.4 million through 418 grants. This translates to many miles of new sidewalks, trails, paths and bike lanes, as well as safety improvements including crosswalks, intersection reconfigurations, road diets and more.
- In 2019, MassDOT released its Transportation plans for cyclists and pedestrians with a dedicated investment program of $60 million over five years to support implementation to make cycling and walking a safe, comfortable and practical option for daily commuting and short trips. In Massachusetts, 27% of all trips are less than 1/2 mile and 61% of all trips are less than 3 miles (about 16 minutes on a bike). The plans aim to proactively remove barriers that discourage walking and cycling and proactively create high-comfort networks and amenities to make cycling a safe option. Information: Bike package | Mass.gov. Later, in 2021, MassDOT released an update on projects and progress: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/446e35bc40614e5aaced4a62ff7343b2
- In 2019, MassDOT developed the Guide to municipal resources for cycling in recognition of the important role played by the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts. Created for city staff, elected officials, community members and anyone interested in cycling, the resource guide introduces basic concepts for improving community velocity and directs readers to additional resources for more detailed information.
- The administration also launched the MassTrails program to expand and connect the Commonwealth’s Shared-Use Off-Road and Recreational Trail Networks for all Massachusetts users by providing matching grants, technical assistance and resources to individuals, municipalities, organizations at non-profit and other public entities to design, build and maintain high quality trails. For fiscal year 2021, $2.5 million has been programmed into the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) state-funded capital budget for MassTrails grants. Another $1.2 million in federal funding has been programmed through the STIP under the Recreational Trails Program, for total funding of nearly $4 million. In addition, the communities had to provide a matching proposal of $2.6 million. MassTrails grant funding in fiscal year 2021 was expected to directly impact more than 150 communities. The funding included $80,000 for a feasibility study and conceptual design for a Mystic River Path connection to the Minuteman Bikeway in Arlington and Medford, $300,000 to the City of Belchertown Conservation Commission for the design and permitting the Belchertown Greenway-Mass Central Rail Trail project, and $100,000 to the City of Gardner for the design and permitting of the Downtown North Central Pathway Connector.
- In 2020, the Streets and Shared Spaces Program was launched and has so far awarded a total of $33 million to 183 municipalities and four transport companies to implement 310 projects. The program provides funds to make improvements to plazas, sidewalks, curbs, streets, bus stops, parking lots and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility and enhanced commerce. Shared Streets and Spaces has helped municipalities Shared Streets and Spaces has helped municipalities reinvent their streets not just as thoroughfares for vehicles, but as civic spaces with a range of uses for all members of the public, regardless of an individual’s age, ability or preference. ways to get around.
- Funding: In addition to the $1.56 billion in annual municipal transportation assistance provided since 2015 through the Chapter 90 program, the Baker/Polito administration has facilitated the investment of an additional $178 million through current and future innovative grant opportunities aimed at meeting various municipal needs or transforming local roads into multimodal networks. For more information, visit the League’s website: www.bikeleague.org.
Additional information on the Commonwealth’s walking and cycling initiatives can be found on the Trails Team website: https://www.mass.gov/welcome-to-mastrails. MassTrails is a Commonwealth inter-agency initiative led by the Governor’s Office in collaboration with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Transport and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
“MassDOT is focused on the safety of all users, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities,” said Highways Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Through innovative initiatives such as our Healthy Streets policy to expanded funding sources such as Complete Streets or Shared Streets and Spaces, we remain dedicated to engineering safety solutions and funding construction on all roads in the world. Commonwealth.”
“The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is proud to be part of the Baker-Polito administration’s success in creating and improving shared-use footpaths and trails across the Commonwealth, including connections to our exceptional system of state parks where cyclists and other users will find plenty of places to explore,” said DCR Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper.
“We are thrilled to see Massachusetts recognized for the many bike-friendly initiatives that have improved cycling across the state,” said Galen Mook, executive director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition. “Across the Commonwealth, we are seeing improvements in communities from the Berkshires to Cape Cod through statewide policies and programs such as MassTrails, Complete Streets and the Shared Streets and Spaces grants, all focused on a solid bicycle transportation plan. We are grateful to have strong partners in our work, and MassBike looks forward to supporting the expansion of these future policies and initiatives that ensure equitable access to safe and enjoyable bicycling for everyone in Massachusetts.
In full disclosure, above was a press release submitted to SOURCE media by MassDOT (file photo).