At the Nov. 16, 2011 Public Safety and Transportation Committee meeting, the proposal advocated by BPTF and written by Matt Brand was passed by a vote of 4-0. Thanks also goes to David Koses (Newton's Transportation Planning Coordinator), Candace Havens (Newton Director of Planning), and the Newton Legal Department. We noted that there are some important inconsistencies and obsolete laws on the books in Newton that prevented the implementation of Safe Routes to Schools via bicycle. With the approved new language, Newton is now defaulting to the state law, allowing young bike riders to use sidewalks outside of business districts (village centers).
The PS&T report on this meeting, including the actual text of the changes, is here.
Safe Routes to Schools
Working with a coalition of community groups, the BPTF encourages our children and educators to adopt personal “active transportation” to safely get to school. We assist with education, publicity, and planning for walk to school days and escorted “walking school bus” events.
The BPTF has worked with Newton North High School and MassBike to sponsor bicycle safety seminars, encouraging bike commuting to school to reduce traffic and parking congestion and cut carbon emissions. We successfully advocated for the new bike racks already installed at NNHS and other locations to come. The BPTF is now working to enable safe bicycle access to Newton South schools for all children.
There is a new docket item, 49-10, for the public safety and transportation committee to consider. The gist of the item is to remove Newton-specific language from the laws and default to the updated and well-considered Massachusetts General Laws regarding bicycles on sidewalks.
Read more about this here:
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