Initiatives to Improve Active Transportation

November 18, 2015

MassDOT Highway Division and Office of Transportation Planning rolled out two initiatives at the recent Moving Together conference to encourage safe and active transportation in the Commonwealth. The Complete Streets Funding Program, which provides additional funding and options for municipalities, will encourage more walking, biking, and transit as alternatives to driving. (Visit the MassDOT Blog post).The second initiative is the release of a Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide, which will provide the transportation community with design and implementation options for improved bicycle facilities.

The Complete Streets Funding Program is flexible to accommodate Complete Street improvements on a corridor wide level or focused on just a single mode. The benefits of Complete Streets improvements are many, but safety and health are high on the list, including reducing obesity by encouraging physical activity.

“We wanted to design a program that would encourage healthy and sustainable transportation options while also meeting the needs of a broad range of communities,” said Secretary Pollack.

MassDOT solicited feedback from municipalities to understand the challenges they face with meeting statutory goals. Informed by this process, MassDOT designed a flexible program that allows for different levels of commitment.

The new Separated Bike Lane Planning and Design Guide may be used as a resource for including separated bike lanes as part of a Complete Streets approach in many communities. As bicycling is becoming a more important transportation option for commuters, this guide is met with enthusiasm by the bicycling and pedestrian advocates.

“Many people, including me, are reluctant to bicycle adjacent to busy roadways along fast-moving traffic,” said Secretary Pollack. “That’s where separated bicycle facilities come in. Separated bike lanes are a key ingredient in the development of safe, comfortable, and connected bicycle networks that will attract bicyclists of all ages and abilities.”

HSH applauds these improvements and progress towards integrating Complete Streets policies and practices in more communities throughout the Commonwealth.

Looking for more guidance on implementing Complete Streets? Click here to contact Mark Gravallese, Manager of Public Infrastructure.

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