Articles Tagged with Cambridge

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Local communities are restricting road use to stop the flood of drivers who use Waze and other traffic apps.

Commuting is a battle in Massachusetts, full of frustrations and hazards. But residents, communities and lawmakers continue to fight back to improve safety.

On Monday, the state House of Representatives considered a controversial bill proposing new fines for jaywalking and jaywalking while distracted (or as The Boston Globe writes, “Jay-texters”). Meanwhile, WBZ reports communities are closing off roads in response to traffic apps such as Waze and Google Maps.

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Central Square Cambridge
Safety for pedestrians and cyclists is a top concern in Central Square in Cambridge.

Central Square is located around the intersection of Prospect Street, Massachusetts Avenue and Western Avenue in Cambridge. This area is a commuter hub; the Central Square MBTA subway station and bus stop are located here, near Cambridge City Hall. The state of Massachusetts has designated Central Square as an official cultural district, for its mix of theater and arts, restaurants and history. The NECCO building was long part of that history, but these days, 250 Massachusetts Avenue is now the Novartis’ global headquarters. The Cambridge YMCA is there and MIT is nearby.

Over the years, there have been numerous pedestrian and bicycle accidents in Central Square. Central Square was the #1 location for bike crashes in Massachusetts from 2005-2014, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). It was the 5th highest pedestrian crash location. The City of Cambridge has worked to improve safety by improving crosswalks and adding bike lanes across the city. In December 2016, new bike lanes were laid down in Central Square, northbound on Massachusetts Avenue between Sydney and Douglass streets.

We had a fun opportunity to see Inman Square from up high a few weeks ago. Here are some of our photos:

The City of Cambridge has worked to improve safety for cyclists in Inman Square, recently adding new separated bike lanes on both sides of Cambridge Street, from Inman Square to Quincy Street, which approaches Harvard Square. This is .7 miles of new bike lanes with paint, flex posts and other temporary materials to help cyclists stand out. And the new lanes pass Cambridge Rindge & Latin, which serves more than 1,900 high school students. Last fall, the city also banned drivers from making certain left turns in Inman Square, after many years of bike crashes followed by a fatal bike accident last June.

Cyclists riding through Inman Square now have a safer ride home. The City of Cambridge has recently installed separated bicycle lanes on Cambridge Street, from Inman Square to Quincy Street. The lanes are clearly marked, with flex posts creating a barrier between cyclists and drivers.

These lanes should have many benefits. We hope one is to reduce dooring crashes, such as the one that killed Amanda Phillips in Inman Square in 2016. The 27-year-old Somerville resident was riding a bike and collided into a Jeep door which was left open. The impact pushed her into the travel lane, where she was hit and killed by a landscaping truck. The accident happened near Hampshire and Cambridge streets.

Dooring has been against the law in Massachusetts since 2009. M.G.L. c.90 § 14 states, “no person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians.”

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Cambridge police officer fitting bike helmets

Thank you to the Cambridge Police Department for fitting bike helmets for the kids at Rindge Tower Apartments. Breakstone, White & Gluck donated the helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.

Just-A-Start, a community development corporation serving Cambridge, treated families at the Rindge Tower Apartments to a Community BBQ with all the best fixings of summer last week. From hot dogs, hamburgers and snow cones to bouncy houses, music and conga lines, the gathering drew more than 150 people from the 273-unit apartment building near Alewife Station.

The Cambridge Police Department participated, distributing safety materials and free bicycle helmets from Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign. Officers distributed and fitted over 80 helmets for children.

College student and moving box

Many college students heading to Boston will be living in off-campus housing. The attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck share safety tips and resources.

College students are just days away from starting the Fall semester. In Boston and Cambridge, we urge students to make time for an extra lesson on safe housing. Make sure you understand your rights as a tenant and your landlord’s responsibility to maintain a safe property.

Boston and Cambridge have more than 40 colleges and universities. Because of a shortage in dorm space, many students end up in off-campus housing. Unfortunately, some find themselves dealing with unresponsive landlords who want to collect rent, without doing the work to maintain a property. If you are in this situation, it is important to remember that if a landlord is charging you rent, you have the right to a safe and sanitary apartment.

When a landlord is unresponsive and negligent, it can lead to many problems. It can result in sanitary issues, such as mold, rodents or a bug infestations. It can also lead to broken equipment (for instance, a broken smoke alarm, which needs to be addressed right away).

Porch collapses and fires are two of the most common and serious types of premises liability accidents. As a result of landlord negligence, over the past 10 years, five college students have died in off-campus fires in Massachusetts, according to the state’s website.

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20170726_dedhambikerodeo-2-960-lr (1 of 1)We want to share a few photos from our Project KidSafe campaign.

Dedham Bike Rodeo. Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 120 Project KidSafe bike helmets to the Dedham Bike Rodeo on July 26. Attorney David W. White participated in the event, fitting helmets for children who needed one. We always enjoy this event because we get a chance to talk to children and parents about bike helmets and bike safety. It was one of the first events we donated helmets to in 2013, the year we began our Project KidSafe campaign. The rodeo is organized by the Dedham Police Department and the Dedham Parks and Recreation Department.

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Mattapan on Wheels. Breakstone, White & Gluck also donated helmets to cyclists at the 7th Annual Mattapan on Wheels event on July 22. We are told 130 cyclists took to the Neponset Trail to raise funds for a youth bike summit and many had no helmet or needed a new one. Participants could choose their destination and ride along the trail to Pope John Paul II Park, Carson Beach or Castle Island. This was the first time we donated helmets to this event and we are told every helmet was put to use.

25 mph speed limit sign in Boston, MassachusettsOver the past year, Boston, Cambridge and several other communities have lowered default speed limits from 30 to 25 mph, with a goal of creating safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists. Now it is Quincy’s turn.

Last week, the Quincy City Council passed a measure establishing a speed limit of 25 mph, unless another speed limit is posted. The previous speed limit had been 30 mph. Once Mayor Thomas P. Koch signs the new law, officials will decide on an effective date.

In January 2017, the City of Boston dropped its default speed limit from 30 to 25 mph.

Lowering the speed limit was a key part of the Vision Zero Boston campaign, which was launched by Mayor Marty Walsh in 2015. The goal is to end traffic deaths and serious injuries in the City of Boston by 2030, through a combination of efforts, such as reducing speeds, eliminating distracted driving, and improving infrastructure for safer riding, walking and cycling.

While lowering speed limits was a critical step, the City of Boston was unable to act right away.

First, the city had to obtain approval from the state Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker. Baker signed the Municipal Modernized bill in August 2016, which gave Boston, as well as cities and towns across the state, authority to reduce the default speed limit on local roads. 

So far, these communities have reduced speed limits:

  • Boston
  • Cambridge
  • Somerville
  • Arlington
  • Newton
  • Randolph
  • Scituate
  • Quincy (approved by City Council)

Source: The Boston Globe.

Benefits to Slower Speed Limits
There is strong evidence that slower traffic means safer streets. An excellent example is New York City. In 2014, the city lowered speed limits to 25 mph on 90 percent of its streets. Over three years, traffic fatalities have decreased 23 percent and fell to the lowest number in the city’s history in 2016.

Boston city officials say that when crashes happen, faster vehicles are likely to cause the most serious injuries and fatalities. According to the City of Boston website, at 20 mph, there is a 17 percent likelihood that someone will be seriously injured or killed. At 40 mph, there is a 79 percent likelihood. Slower vehicles can be stopped more quickly, and the slower speeds allow for longer reaction times.
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From 2016: Attorney Ron Gluck and Attorney David White joined Cambridge police officers and students at the Cambridgeport School. Breakstone, White & Gluck was there to donate bicycle helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign.

Read Cambridge Police Department’s 2017 National Bike Safety Month announcement.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to partner with the Cambridge Police Department again to encourage children to wear bicycle helmets during National Bike Safety Month. As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, we recently donated 180 bicycle helmets for Cambridge police officers to give to children who need one.

Over the past four years, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign have donated more than 10,000 bicycle helmets in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and other communities. In Cambridge, we have worked with the police department, as well as CYCLE Kids, a non-profit cycling organization which teaches children safe riding and healthy eating here in Massachusetts and across the country.

Bicycle helmets are a critical tool for cyclists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported bicycle helmets are 85-88 percent effective in preventing head and brain injuries. Helmets make all the difference for cyclists, especially young children who are vulnerable to injuries as they learn to ride and grow.

Under Massachusetts law, cyclists 16 years old and younger are required to wear helmets. This has been the law for more than 10 years in Massachusetts, yet many children still ride without one. There are many reasons, from the high cost of helmets to the fact that kids often outgrow them quickly. Also, until you are shown, helmets can be challenging to properly fit.

In Cambridge, cycling and pedestrian safety is a paramount topic. As home to more than 100,000 residents, Harvard University and major pharmaceutical companies, Cambridge has some of the most heavily traveled streets in Massachusetts. Over the past year, the city has seen two cyclists killed in bicycle accidents in Inman Square and Porter Square.

Over the next few weeks, Cambridge Police and the Cambridge Community Development Department are hosting a full line-up of events for National Bike Safety Month. Students began the month with Walk to School Day. Over the next few weeks, older cyclists are invited to stop in at community breakfasts, where there will be bike lights and other giveaways. Need tips on fixing your bike? Two bicycle maintenance workshops will be offered on May 17th, along with a citywide “Bow Tie Bike Ride” on May 20th.

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As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck recently made two donations to help children in Boston and Cambridge ride their bicycles safely.

Children wearing bicycle helmets at the Windsor Street Care Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Windsor Street Care Center

Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 100 bicycle helmets to the Windsor Street Care Center in Cambridge. This is the second year we have partnered with the center. Doctors and staff give the helmets to children who need one, while also showing parents and older children how to properly fit the helmets themselves.