Walking, Biking, and Traffic
As a part of the town-wide Safe Routes to Schools Committee, I learned how to turn community advocacy into partnerships with the town. These partnerships helped bring about needed changes to accommodate increased traffic near our schools, but there is still much to be done to create a safe environment for walking and biking in our town.
The state of Belmont’s sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure has been subpar for years. Fortunately, we’ve been making progress towards a more walkable and bikeable Belmont over the last few years.
- The Board of Selectmen recently voted to change our pavement management policy to allow the pavement management money to be spent on sidewalks again.
- The town adopted a Complete Streets policy, qualifying us for money from the state that will help us provide safer environments for walking and biking in town.
- The Community Path is coming closer to reality, and the MBTA has committed to building the Alexander Underpass, providing safe access from the Winn Brook neighborhood to the south side of the train tracks.
- The Board of Selectmen appointed a High School Traffic Working Group to examine the 7-12 school’s impact on the surrounding neighborhoods and make recommendations for how to mitigate the increase in traffic.
- The new Transportation Advisory Committee has been charged with making recommendations to improve safety for walkers, bikers, and drivers throughout the town.
The coming years will be crucial for improving walking and biking in Belmont. I am deeply committed to this issue and understand that the best results are achieved through a combination of infrastructure and communication.
The Boston area was recently ranked as having the worst traffic in the country, and the 8th-worst congestion in the world. Belmont and its neighbors are experiencing terrible cut-through traffic as a result of commuters trying to lessen the pain of their commutes by taking shortcuts through residential areas.
Is there any way to lessen the pain of traffic in our town? The town has taken a first step by engaging a consultant to perform a town-wide traffic study, which will help inform our decision-making about how we can improve safety for all users, minimizing cut-through traffic, and reducing congestion.
We need to remain committed to make the changes necessary to achieve a more walkable, bikeable Belmont while improving the flow of traffic through town, keeping in mind that measures taken to discourage out-of-town commuters may also inconvenience residents.
My experience on the issue:
- Transportation Advisory Committee
- High School Traffic Working Group
- Belmont Safe Routes to Schools
- Burbank Walks Committee. Our program received the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Exemplary Program award.