Boston Mayoral Candidates Talk Livable Streets, But Can They Walk the Walk?

At a forum held this week, Boston mayoral candidates demonstrated their fluency in the language of transportation alternatives and livable communities. But ideas for meaningful policy changes were largely missing, says Boston Streets.
September 18, 2013, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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As Mayor Thomas Menino winds down his fifth term in office, a burgeoning bike culture and 40 percent car-free population signify a city moving away from reliance on the automobile. And after 20 years under the same administration, the situation is ripe for a candidate willing to push for a truly multimodal future. 

With that opportunity evident, "[e]ight of the twelve candidates for Boston mayor gathered tonight at the Public Library for a forum on Transportation and Livable Communities," reports Boston Streets blog. "Each tripped over himself to proclaim his support for cycle tracks and protected bicycle facilities. The boisterous crowd cheered as candidates named their favorite neighborhoods and identified top transportation priorities, from changing our auto-oriented culture to embarking on comprehensive planning for the city."

But when it came time to address opportunities for congestion pricing and reforming the city's parking requirements, resolute advocacy was hard to find. 

"Still, while any of these candidates would likely continue to push Boston in the right direction, none seemed willing to make any drastic changes. Lip service toward increasing funding for the T and improving conditions for walking and biking may get them elected, but it is unclear how they would alter the decision-making process that produced our present transportation system."

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Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 in Boston Streets
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