Category Archives: CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH: Three Choices, None Simple

There can be no question about the transformative power of today’s metropolitan economy.  Major cities around the country hope to ride the wave of the growing financial, research-based, and digital business sectors.  City leaders are doing what they can to make the place attractive to exploding numbers of higher-income young professionals these firms employ as […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform, Public Health | 1 Comment

OUT OF THE SNOW, INTO THE PARKING MESS

Parking is a problem. When it snows it’s a nightmare. We start looking around, getting frustrated, maybe nasty. There seem to be parking spots everywhere except where we want to go. Parking is the explosive trap door of community transportation meetings – anything that reduces the number of spots anywhere evokes outcry. This winter’s climate […] Continue reading

Posted in Boston Transportation, Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Parking | Leave a comment

OLYMPIC OPPORTUNITY? — Region Gains Only If We Demand the Benefits First

The best and perhaps only argument for holding the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston (and Cambridge) is that the deadlines and international media scrutiny will force us – meaning city, state, and federal governments as well as local universities – to make the infrastructure investments that we already know are needed but that are unlikely […] Continue reading

Posted in Boston Transportation, Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE | Leave a comment

WALK, BIKE, RUN: Unity and Tension In Non-Motorized Alliances

It wasn’t that long ago that Boston’s walking, bicycling, and transit advocacy groups saw each other as part of the problem. Faced with the hostile fragmentation, government policy-makers moved slowly or not at all. Boston wasn’t unusual. To the extent that cities had active transportation advocacy groups, the discordance was common. Today, urban areas (and […] Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Walking | Leave a comment

STABILIZING EQUITABLE COMMUNITIES: Gentrification, Displacement, and Markets

It wasn’t long ago, when regional rail-trail conversions were the leading strategy for creating multi-use non-motorized travel corridors, that the biggest opposition came from suburbanites fearing that the bike paths would bring intruders (meaning poor or Black people) into their backyards and lower their property values.   Today, as the action has shifted to our reviving […] Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform | Leave a comment

Project Selection Criteria: Public Hearing Testimony

The following was submitted to the state Project Selection Advisory Council at their 7/29/14 public hearing in Boston. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this incredibly important topic. And thank you for all the work that you have already done on this incredibly complicated issue. My name is Steven E. Miller; I’m a […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform, MassDOT Transformation, Road Design | Leave a comment

MOVING BEYOND CAR LEVEL OF SERVICE (LOS): Measurable and Meaningful Criteria for Transportation Investments, Project Designs, and Development Mitigation (revised)

Scaled from A to F like an elementary school report card, automobile Level of Service (LOS) metrics are easy to measure and easy to understand. LOS is, essentially, the average amount of delay compared to a “free-flowing” road where everyone is moving at full design-speed – congestion! It is a powerful indicator: it has a […] Continue reading

Posted in Climate/Energy/Environment, Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform, MassHighway/DOT, Project Management, Road Design | Leave a comment

A NOTE FOR THE NEXT GOVERNOR: Travel is the Least Important Thing about Transportation

Congratulations on your election. As you know, that was the easy part!   Here’s something waiting for you: our transportation system is in crisis. We can’t seem to generate the political will needed to raise the money required to upgrade our decayed rails, roads, bridges, and sidewalks to meet the needs of today – much less […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform, Road Design, Safety | Leave a comment

STEERING THE ORGANIZATION: Using Decision-Point Criteria to Achieve Goals

MassDOT is legitimately proud of its progressive policies about creating a sustainable, multi-modal transportation system.  But the transfer from policy to facts on the ground has been very uneven and incomplete.  This isn’t surprising:  as with many other endeavors, road construction is a complex and multi-player process with gridlock and human life at stake.  It’s […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform, MassHighway/DOT, Road Design | Leave a comment

EFFECTIVE AND DEMOCRATIC CITY (AND TRANSPORTATION) PLANNING: Neither Top-Down nor Bottom-Up Is Enough

The Human Scale is a wonderful movie based on the powerful insights and work of progressive urban planner, Jan Gehl; it’s now available in CD format.  Everyone who loves cities should see it.  In potently visual scenes, the film lays out his critique of today’s automobile-focused high-rise urban design, the dangers of top-down authoritarian planning […] Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform, MassHighway/DOT | Leave a comment

GETTING MORE EGGS FROM THE GOLDEN GOOSE: “Nobody in this Country got Rich on their Own.”

It takes resources to run a city. Of course, the most important resource is people: the capabilities and creativity of its work force, the strength and resiliency of its families and neighborhoods, the civic engagement of its residents – and if Mayor Walsh is really smart he will find many ways to encourage city volunteerism […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform | Leave a comment

SMART CITIES, POWER POLITICS, & QUALITY OF LIFE: Technology and What It’s Used For

Techno-utopians.  It wasn’t long ago that we were being told that digital Information and Communication Technologies would solve nearly every problem and transform the world in wonderful ways, small and big.  Cars would be routed around congestion; government would more accurately chart population needs. Although there were some efforts to broaden the scope of “smart” […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform, Safety | Leave a comment

FOR A HEALTHIER YEAR IN A HEALTHIER WORLD

Solstice.  New Years.    The annual Janus; looking both forward and backward at another year of transitions and challenges. As we look out our windows at the energized serenity of fresh snow, hope for both personal and societal peace and progress grows anew.  Like so many of you, I spend a lot of time and energy […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, History | Leave a comment

MassDOT’S HEALTHY TRANSPORTATION POLICY DIRECTIVE: Framing Economic Needs as Public Health Measures Strengthens Both

MassDOT’s recently issued Healthy Transportation Policy Directive could actualize the most profound transformation in the state’s transportation system since the anti-highway movement convinced Governor Frank Sargent to cancel the massive Inner Belt project (the first time any state had done this) and his Transportation Secretary, Alan Altshuler, got the state’s Congressional delegation to pass legislation […] Continue reading

Posted in Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, MassDOT Transformation, MassHighway/DOT, Public Health, Safety | Leave a comment

LEGACY TIME: Styles and Strategies for the Political Administration End Game

Tom Menino’s tenure is now measured in weeks.  Deval Patrick is entering the monthly count-down period.  But neither of them has left yet.  And until they do, advocates (and everyone else) seeking to advance their issues will have to deal with how these elected executives and their administrations function during their lame duck days — […] Continue reading

Posted in Advocacy, Commentary & Analysis, CREATING SUSTAINABLE CHANGE, Government Reform | Leave a comment