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MAYOR WALSH RELEASES FIRST VISION ZERO ANNUAL REPORT

Key accomplishments include reducing Boston's speed limit to 25 mph, ensuring all major roadway reconstruction projects include a focus on improving safety

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Transportation Department, in partnership with the Boston's Vision Zero Task Force, today released a first year annual report for the City of Boston's Vision Zero initiative. Building on Mayor Walsh's commitment to safe streets, Vision Zero works to eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes in Boston by 2030. The program's accomplishments for the year include successfully reducing Boston's default speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour (MPH), installing a protected bicycle lane on Massachusetts Avenue and working to ensure that all major roadway reconstruction projects include a focus on improving safety for all users of the road.

"Safety for our residents is our top priority, whether they're driving, biking or walking in our City, and that's why we're focused on using proven strategies to improve conditions for all of our road's users," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "We've made significant progress this year, and I look forward to continuing the work of Vision Zero."

"A major step forward toward our Vision Zero goal was realized on January 9th of this year when our default speed limit decreased from 30 to 25 MPH as the result of Mayor Walsh and City agencies vigorously pursuing amended legislation," said the City's Chief of Streets Chris Osgood.  "This new law, along with a host of other projects being implemented as part of our Vision Zero effort, will work to keep people safe on Boston's streets."

The speed limit reduction improves safety for all users of Boston's roadways. Studies show that the likelihood of a pedestrian suffering a fatal injury as a result of being struck by a motor vehicle decreases from 20 percent when the vehicle is traveling at 30 mph, to 12 percent when the vehicle is traveling at 25 mph. Slower speeds make it easier for drivers to stop when necessary. It also increases a driver's field of vision making it more likely for the driver to see a pedestrian or cyclist on the roadway.

In addition to reducing the City's speed limit, and establishing protected bike lanes on Massachusetts Avenue, the City is also investing in the Commonwealth Avenue Phase 2A project, an example of a roadway reconstruction project that will significantly improve safety for all users of Boston's streets.

"A physically protected bike lane on each side of Commonwealth Avenue will shield cyclists from injuries sustained when car doors open unexpectedly and protected intersections will provide a positive ride for both cyclists and drivers," said Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca."Further upgrades include reconstructed sidewalks and other enhancements to benefit pedestrians, and complete ADA compliant access to the green line trolley."

Vision Zero progress aimed at reducing crashes on Boston's streets is being supported by the following additional efforts implemented over the past year:

    To engage the public in Vision Zero, the Boston's Safest Driver Competition kicked-off in October, 2016. Nearly 5,000 people participated in this app based, initiative. Important benefits of the competition included reductions in phone use and speeding as 500 competitors saw their phone distraction drop by 47% and speeding drop by almost 35%.  Over 190,000 trips were taken by competitors from 99 communities in metro Boston and all of Boston neighborhoods. The four top winners received citations from Mayor Walsh and cash prizes totaling $4,500 and another 98 high scorers were awarded over $3,400 in cash prizes funded by Arbella Insurance.

    In partnership with neighborhood residents and community organizations, the Neighborhood Safe Streets Program was launched in 2016. The program uses traffic calming measures to improve roadway safety within a defined residential area. Streets in the program will be equipped with visual and physical cues, such as signage, pavement markings and speed humps, to slow drivers to 20 MPH. The City worked with two communities to develop the program, the Talbot-Norfolk Triangle in Dorchester's Codman Square and Stonybrook in Jamaica Plain. Physical improvements will be made in these two pilot neighborhoods this year, and community outreach and design work on two to three newly selected Neighborhood Slow Streets projects will begin in 2017.

    Codman Square in Dorchester, as well as Massachusetts Avenue in the Back Bay, Fenway and the South End are designated Vision Zero Focus Areas due to the high number of crashes at these locations. A "parking-protected" bicycle lane has been installed in the southbound direction between Beacon and Westland Streets. Additional improvements have been implemented to ensure better visibility of pedestrians at intersections and to upgrade bike facilities. Further upgrades are scheduled this year.

    Numerous additional locations throughout Downtown and the neighborhoods have been targeted using yield to pedestrian signs, new crosswalks and other pavement markings, new curb extensions and ramps, street lights, and traffic signal timing changes.

    In an effort to discourage speeding, signs have been posted on Beacon Street in the Back Bay, informing drivers that traffic signals along the street are programmed for vehicles traveling 25 mph.  Driver above the limit will only lead to being stopped at red lights further up the street.

    Sixteen speed feedback signs have been installed throughout the City. The signs display vehicle travel speeds and flash to warn motorists if they are over the speed limit.

As part of Mayor Walsh's recently released Imagine Boston Capital Plan, drawing on city, state and federal sources, the City will invest $709 million over the next five years in implementing the core initiatives outlined in Go Boston 2030.  Examples of additional major roadway reconstruction projects that include a focus on improving safety and access for all users of Boston's streets are as follows:

    As part of the Connect Historic Boston project, Staniford Street has been reconstructed between Cambridge and Causeway Streets and now includes a two-way, sidewalk-level bike facility and the City's first bicycle signals. Work continues with the aim of opening two-way protected bike lanes on sections of Causeway Street, Commercial Street and Atlantic Avenue this year.

    Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury and the South End is being redesigned to make it a more neighborhood friendly street and to incorporate a complete streets concept to safely and efficiently welcome all users of the roadway.

    The North Washington Street Bridge provides an important connection from the Charlestown neighborhood to Downtown and is a link on the Freedom Trail.  The project to reconstruct the bridge will incorporate excellent pedestrian and bicycle amenities, as well as a dedicated bus lane inbound

    The Rutherford Avenue/Sullivan Square Design Project includes among its priorities improving pedestrian connections and safety between MBTA stations and the Charlestown community, and upgraded bicycle infrastructure.



MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF SEVEN NEW MEMBERS TO BOSTON CULTURAL COUNCIL

Building on his commitment to creating accessible art for all Bostonians, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture today announced seven new members have been appointed to the  Boston Cultural Council. The new members include Hanah Fadrigalan, Marie Fukuda, Ana Guigui, Pat McSweeney, Ahn Nguyen, Kathyrn Niforos and Norris Welch.

"Each of these new members are active in the Boston arts community and will be great additions to the Boston Cultural Council," said Mayor Walsh. "I look forward to seeing how each one will bring their creative perspective to the Council to support the arts in our City."

The Boston Cultural Council (BCC), under the umbrella of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, annually distributes funds allocated by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, to support innovative arts, humanities and interpretive sciences programming that enhances the quality of life in Boston. The BCC makes grants to organizations and individual artists.

The council members are all Boston residents appointed by Mayor Walsh for up to two consecutive three year terms. Council members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated commitment to Boston's cultural community and their knowledge of various arts disciplines.

In February, Mayor Walsh announced that 173 Boston organizations and projects received 2017 Boston Cultural Council organizational grants totaling $462,250 based on their potential to enhance the quality of life, the economy and the design of the City of Boston, in addition to advancing the goals of the Boston Creates Cultural Plan.

"The Boston Cultural Council advises the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture on how to best support the cultural community through grant opportunities," said Julie Burros, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "Each of these new members brings a unique perspective to the mix, will be a great asset to the council

The new members are:

    Hanah Fadrigalan is the Creative Services Promotions Coordinator for WHDH-TV and CW56. Fadrigalan served on the Leadership Council for Boston Creates, the cultural planning process for the City of Boston. Fadrigalan is a resident of West Roxbury.

    Marie Fukuda is a 30-year Boston resident and arts advocate. A classically trained musician at The Boston Conservatory, Fukuda was raised in Tokyo, Japan by an art teacher mother who instilled an appreciation for visual arts. Fukuda enjoys facilitating projects that improve quality of life for Boston residents and is excited to support the work of the Boston Cultural Council. Fukuda is a resident of the Fenway neighborhood.

    Ana Guigui is a resident of Brighton and is an Associate Professor of Voice at the Berklee College of Music. Guigui is a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and performed as a featured artist with the Metrowest Symphony Orchestra and the Pasadena Symphony in California. She is a co-founder of Opera On Tap L.A., which brings opera into alternative venues, and the creator, founder, and national artistic director of Opera On Tap Latino, whose mission is to perform, preserve, revive, and create new classical Spanish language vocal repertoire in alternative venues in order to educate audiences, nationally and internationally.

    Pat McSweeney has devoted her time to the arts and volunteer work with nonprofits in the Boston area since ending her 30 year career in corporate human resources. She is also a fiber artist who creates wearable art from handmade felt and shibori-dyed silk and linen at her studio in Charlestown. McSweeney served as a member of the Charlestown Boston Creates neighborhood team. McSweeney lives in Charlestown with her partner.

    Ahn Nguyen is the Executive Director of Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets, helping to revitalize the small business community. Over the years, Nguyen has worked in advertising, solar manufacturing and as a restaurant owner. Nguyen resides in the Leather District of Boston with her family.

    Kathyrn Niforos works in Reputational Capital at Abt Associates in Cambridge, MA. Her lifelong relationship with the arts began with training in classical ballet and as an oboist. She participated in many performance opportunities with community dance companies and orchestras. She continues to study ballet through adult programs at Boston Ballet and the many other varied offerings around the city. Niforos resides in Jamaica Plain with her husband.

    Norris Welch has lived in Boston since 1964, but has had music in his blood all his life. He is a long-time member of Union United Methodist Church in Boston's South End where he sings with The Union Ensemble and the Men's Choir. He has been a member and business manager of the New England Gospel Ensemble (1982), Boston Community Choir (1992) and Joyful Voices of Inspiration. (2000) where he handles all the business matters of bookings/scheduling, choir calendar coordination, and site-visits when needed. Welch lives in Hyde Park.

The new members join eight individuals currently serving on the Boston Cultural Council.  A full list of members can be found here.

"I see some real opportunities to generate more interest for the Cultural Council in Boston," said Hanah Fadrigalan, one of the newly appointed members of the Boston Cultural Council. "We have a wealth of arts in the Boston community and I look forward to making the most with what we have and getting word out to the public about our offerings."

Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC)

The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include leading up the City's Cultural Plan, Boston Creates; managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program (BostonAIR); curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester.  For more information go to: boston.gov/arts

About the Boston Cultural Council (BCC)

The Boston Cultural Council, under the umbrella of the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture, annually distributes funds allocated by the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, to support innovative arts, humanities and interpretive sciences programming that enhances the quality of life in our city. For more information, please visit bostonculturalcouncil.com/

About the Boston Creates Cultural Plan

The cultural plan was created out of a year-long community engagement effort designed to help local government identify cultural needs, opportunities, and resources and to prioritize, coordinate, and align public and private resources to strengthen Boston's cultural vitality over the long term. The full cultural plan can be found online at plan.bostoncreates.org.


STATEMENT FROM MAYOR MARTIN J. WALSH