Vision Zero Coalition Questionnaire
To read all of Corey's responses to the Vision Zero Coalition Questionnaire, visit http://www.visionzerocoalition.org/boston_district2
Do you personally walk to destinations in your community? If yes, how often do you do so?
Yes. I walk in my community daily, whether it’s to the bus stop or to/from work in Copley Square or the Seaport.
Do you personally travel by/ use public transit to get around? If yes, which trains and buses do you routinely use?
Yes. I rely on public transportation daily to get to and from work. Having worked in the Seaport for 9 years, I had been accustomed to taking the 7 bus from South Boston to the World Trade Center but realized it was faster for me to bike to work rather than wait for a bus that was either too full or didn’t show up. Currently, I take the 9 bus from K Street to Copley Square. Occasionally I take the 11 bus to Broadway Station or to Downtown.
Do you personally bike in your community or commute by bike to other communities? If no, would you be willing to give it a try periodically, e.g. once or twice per month?
Yes. I do bike in my community but have some serious concerns about safe connectivity from South Boston to the South End/Back Bay or from South Boston to Downtown. South Boston has been resistant to change and implementation of stress-free and protected bike infrastructure. I will be a strong advocate for low-stress, protected bike lanes on key routes to offer city-wide connectivity throughout district 2 and I’m committed to making this happen whether I become councillor or not.
How will you work to establish funding for the infrastructure changes needed to slow traffic on your community’s streets, and improve crosswalks and intersections to make them safer for people who are walking and using mobility assistive devices?
I was proud of the Chinatown slow streets program for being awarded the funding needed to improve the quality of life and calm traffic on local streets. It was the only neighborhood in District 2 that was awarded funding and I’d be an advocate for all of District 2 moving forward. Each year the mayor creates a proposed budget for all of the city’s needs, and as city councillor, it would be my role to inform the mayor and the entire council that there needs to be a sense of urgency and priority when it comes to improving the conditions of our streets. I would explore developing partnerships with District 2 businesses to help defray some of these costs. Their employees deserve to arrive at work safely and on time. I also think we could look to the PILOT program working with our larger non-profit institutions and holding them accountable to pay their fair share. That revenue can only benefit the hospitals and universities in the long run, brining bring traffic calming improvements and connected, city-wide cycle infrastructure. Vision Zero is a top priority for me. We cannot have people dying on our city’s streets, Boston needs to reduce traffic injuries & fatalities and we need to do it now.
How will you improve the reach, frequency, and quality of public transit in your city/town?
South Boston, the South End and Chinatown have all experienced rapid growth over the years, and we need to make sure our public transportation system is able to keep up with the increased demand. As a resident who takes the bus to work, I see how our system struggles to serve our growing neighborhoods. I’ll work with all community groups, whether they get around on two, four, or no wheels at all, to make navigating Boston easy, safe, and enjoyable. Besides the recent developments with the launch of Boston2030, I don’t see the City of Boston looking at the big picture. District 2 hasn’t been represented well by someone with transportation priorities like I have. Two weeks ago, I testified at the MBTA Fiscal Control Board hearing on Overnight Service and spoke in support of the proposal. I was the only council candidate to attend the meeting. I understand that Overnight Service is all about supporting the people who work late shifts in our hospitals, restaurants, and other late night venues. If we are to ensure that no resident is left behind in Boston’s building boom, we’ll need safe, affordable, and convenient transportation—whether it’s a broker at 2 p.m. or a bartender at 2 a.m.—I believe the Overnight Service pilot is the best way to achieve this transit equity.
How will you ensure fast-tracked implementation of a city-/town-wide network of off-street paths and protected bike lanes* on major thoroughfares and connecting streets that are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities?
I will be a strong advocate for low-stress, protected bike lanes on key routes to offer city-wide connectivity and emphasize the sense of urgency in doing so. I believe we can ease traffic & parking problems by making bicycling appealing to more people which can only be achieved by improving safety. Currently District 2 is not fully utilizing the amount of available road space, and I will work with our city planners to create a safe & connected bike network without reducing the number of existing on-street parking spaces our residents need. On the evening of May 10th, I joined hundreds of bike advocates at City Hall to advocate for a commitment for more funding for neighborhood slow streets and vision zero initiatives city-wide. That evening was also a somber memorial to a 29 year old we lost on Commonwealth Ave because of our lack of safe cycle infrastructure. For over two hours, I listened to testimony from members of the Boston Cyclists Union, Livable Streets Alliance, avid cyclists and more. Lastly, I’ve attended all public meetings for the South Bay Harbor Trail project which will safely connect the South Boston waterfront to the South End and eventually Roxbury. I wholeheartedly support this project and have been involved in giving feedback to Design Consultants, Inc, the City of Boston and MassDot as well as hearing the concerns of cyclists that bike these streets on a daily basis. I will continue to be a champion for this project and other bike & pedestrian friendly connections. My hope is that one day, Boston too can consider herself as the Amsterdam or Copenhagen of North America but we have a lot of work and advocacy to do!
How will you increase access to biking in every neighborhood equally? What do you see as the major obstacles to encouraging ridership, and how will you address them?
Transit equity doesn’t just apply to our public transportation but also our lower income neighborhoods and their access to safe bike routes. If I represent the neighborhoods of Bay Village, Chinatown, Downtown, South Boston and the South End, I would work with the council as a whole to ensure the entire city is safely connected with equal access to bikes. I’m thrilled about Boston-metro’s bike share program through Hubway but there’s a stark inequality when it comes to the placement of these stations. When you look at the system map, you’ll clearly see that communities such as Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, and Hyde Park are underserved by Hubway. We need to ensure that communities that have been historically disenfranchised have access to safe and affordable transit options like biking. Up to this point, the installation of bike facilities in Boston has been piecemeal, creating unconnected stretches of bike lanes scattered throughout the city. Because of this, residents don’t feel safe and comfortable biking to work or across town to where they need to go. I personally tend to stay hyper-local with my own bike because I’m too nervous to cross neighborhoods where there are few safe connections.
How will you increase funding for biking infrastructure?
We can increase funding for bike infrastructure though a number of mixed options such as private/public partnerships, holding our developers accountable and also tapping into PILOT funds. It’s clear we need to fund better infrastructure and demand safer, more equatable streets now. I will be a champion for cyclists not just in District 2, but city-wide.
Do you support the adoption of Vision Zero and funding for its rapid implementation? Vision Zero is an approach which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030 and has been adopted by several communities, including Boston and Cambridge.
Yes. Given the tragedies we’ve had in our city this year with a pedestrian being fatally hit in the South End and a cyclist fatally hit on Commonwealth Ave, we need action and need it now. Between 2010 and 2015, the City of Boston had 13 bicyclist fatalities and it’s because we aren’t building safe infrastructure or investing in best practices to achieve Vision Zero. As a councillor and as someone who rides my bike each week on our roads, I will be a strong advocate for more Vision Zero funding and implementing best practices to our communities.
Do you support lowering design speeds through traffic calming measures on downtown and neighborhood streets as a means of enhancing the safety of people walking, using mobility assistive devices, biking, and driving? This may involve the expansion and enhancement of programs like Neighborhood Slow Streets (Boston) and Neighborways (Somerville).
Yes. I would love if more of our neighborhoods could receive funding for the expansion of the slow streets program. Fortunately this year, Chinatown in District 2 was one of five neighborhoods selected this year to work with the Boston Transportation and Public Works Departments to plan and implement their Neighborhood Slow Streets. Associations in the South End and South Boston also applied for these funds but there’s no reason why every neighborhood in Boston shouldn’t be supported in lowering traffic speeds. In South End, motorists treat Tremont Street like an Indycar Speedway and we have much work to do to enforce the new 25MPH speed limit. Same goes for Columbia Road and William J Day Blvd in South Boston where motorists treat the streets like freeways while children, elderly and families are trying to safely cross at pedestrian crosswalks. I support the Neighborhood Slow Street program and would push for it’s expansion not only to my District but to the entire City of Boston.
Do you support redesigning space on the street in order to improve safety for people biking by creating protected bike lanes?
Yes. Boston has made significant progress for improved cycling, but unfortunately our city still has critical gaps in our bicycle transportation network. We need to bridge these gaps by designing low-stress bicycle infrastructure that will minimize conflicts between people who bike, drive, and walk. There is a direct correlation between the percentage of people who choose to bike, and how complete the bicycle network is. To help us reach our GoBoston2030 goals, we need to invest in bike paths that feel safe. Although many of Boston’s streets are narrow and not conducive for bike AND vehicular lanes, we need to examine how we create an end to end network rather than a handful of disconnected cycle tracks and protected lanes. Like I mentioned in previous comments, I’ve been very close to the discussions around the South Bay Harbor Trail. Working with the different stakeholders and associations, there were compromises made such as the removal of a nicely landscaped median strip to accommodate bike lanes on Dorchester Ave. We may lose a pretty median strip but it will be worth making the roads safer for cyclists, vehicles and pedestrians alike. I would support redesigning other roadways to ensure that we have parking protected bike lanes where we can locate the separated bike lane between the parked cars and the curb.
Do you support the increased use of curb extensions to improve safety and visibility at intersections, even if it requires the removal of one to two parking spaces?
Yes and this goes for bus bulbs as well so that pedestrians have improved safety while boarding MBTA buses. As we all know, we have serious issues around parking and that won’t be an issue going away anytime soon. Working with our planners and the city, we need to do our best to improve safety and visibility without reducing too many existing on-street parking spaces our residents need.