Salvatore LaMattina 

  1. What is the most unsafe aspect of the current transportation system in your district/in the city, and what do you propose be done to improve the situation?

As the Boston City Councilor for District 1, which includes the waterfront, the airport, and the downtown area with a complex network of old city streets, I work diligently to stay on top of all the transportation challenges facing our city today, from options for alternative transportation such as scooters and bicycles, to the safety of air traffic coming in and out of Logan Airport.

2. We know that lack of physical activity leads to overweight, which leads to rising health care costs. How would you make it easier for people to incorporate physical activity into their everyday activities by making it significantly easier for Boston residents to move around their communities by foot or by bicycle? What would you do to encourage the Safe Routes To School program or other ways to increase the number of children who walk or bike to school? What would you do to make it safer for seniors to walk or bike on our sidewalks and across our streets?

The health of my constituents and of all Boston residents is one of my main concerns. I believe walking throughout this picturesque city is one of the pleasures and advantages of living in Boston and that all opportunities to encourage this activity should be explored and expanded. However, the relationship between pedestrians and those utilizing other modes of transportation needs to be mutually beneficial and above all, safe. Currently, I am exploring legislation in regards to Segway riders and how they interact with and impact city pedestrians on our sidewalks and streets.

3. What would you do to help get increased public transportation services in your district/city? In particular, how would you help bring rapid transit to the large sections of Roxbury and Dorchester that currently lack it?

Having the first and oldest mass transit system in the country is a source of pride, but also frustration, among Bostonians. Public transportation is a vital city service that should be prioritized, preserved, and updated when needed. I would like to increase the capabilities of our current system by exploring all available funding options and moving to increase the time of operations.

4. How would you apply "complete streets" design concepts, already being discussed by city agencies, that meet the needs of all travel modes including bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and automobiles, to all city streets, rather than just to those being repaired? How would you prioritize which streets are to be dealt with first?

I would take a city-wide inventory of all our streets to see where we can adapt the "complete streets" design concept. Working with community groups and government agencies such as the Boston Redevelopment Authority, Public Works, and the Transportation Department, we can discuss and implement what is best for each of Boston's very unique neighborhoods. In this day and age, our streets are used by a wide array of transportation options and they should be updated to accommodate all of these uses.

5. Street space is the largest physical asset owned by the city. Devoting almost all of it to car traffic has a major impact on neighborhood quality of life. On what streets would you propose that pedestrian and cyclist use be prioritized, for example through the creation of temporary "cyclovias" that only allow non-motorized travel, or more permanent "shared spaces" and "bike boulevards" that allow cars but at reduced speeds?

Street space is limited in the City of Boston and I believe that allotting this space specifically for bicycles, motor vehicles, or pedestrians would require collaborative discussions and many planning efforts among neighborhood groups and transportation authorities. In the past, I have worked with the Downtown Crossing Association on this issue of preserving the pedestrian zone.

6. Currently, it is technically illegal to ride a bike in city parks; and many neighborhood parks are underutilized. What would you do to increase access to parks by foot or bike or public transportation, and to facilitate cycling in the parks?

Our parks and greenspace are a vital aspect of the beauty of our city. I support any initiative to improve upon these public spaces, whether it be increasing access or beautification. Particularly in my district, the waterfront and the Boston Harborwalk are natural assets that should be welcome and accessible in order to be enjoyed by all city residents by any means of transportation.

7. Better parking management is even more of a need in many commercial centers than more parking spaces. Reduced parking requirements (in zoning ordinances), Parking Benefit Districts, and other market based policies that price city-owned curb parking to reflect market rates are methods that can help to alleviate parking congestion and shortages. How would you better manage commercial parking areas in your district/in the city?

Parking space is a precious commodity in the City of Boston and therefore, very competitive among drivers and providers. For example, I am currently addressing the issue of scooter parking, on the street and in parking garages, and recently held a hearing to discuss viable parking options for the increasing number of city scooterists. In addition, I am working with business districts to look at commercial parking options in the early morning hours.

8. How would you leverage opportunities for Federal stimulus funding to create a more "active transportation" infrastructure in our city? What federal programs do you consider most able to be used for this purpose?

Although the federal stimulus package did not provide direct funding to the City for infrastructure projects, I supported the City's pursuit of Recovery Act funding from the state. This successfully resulted in $34 million for the Dorchester Avenue Project and $21 million city-wide resurfacing initiative awaiting state approval, which includes plans for 400 ramps, 6 miles of bike lanes, and further infrastructure improvements. Specifically in District 1, I strongly support the City's pursuit of competitive federal grants from the Recovery Act, including a recent appilcation for funds from the Department of Transportation for the Rutherford Avenue and Sullivan Square project which would bring huge improvements to the transportation infrastructure within Charlestown, impacting the entire city. I continue to work with city and state officials to ensure that federal stimulus funding implements long term improvements for our city, while creating jobs and boosting the local economy.

9. Many bicyclists feel under assault on Boston roads and many drivers view bicyclist as serious nuisances. How would you address the attitudes of drivers and bicyclists to promote a more civil atmosphere of road sharing and cooperation on city streets? How would you incorporate driver and bicycle training programs into the educational system of your district/city?

Having bicyclists and drivers learn to share the streets in Boston is an ongoing struggle which puts both drivers and cyclists at risk. The increasingly popularity of bicycles as an alternative means of transportation is a practice that should be encouraged and welcomed, whether it be through public programs teaching street safety and cooperation for cyclists and drivers, or the addition of more bike lanes on our city streets.

10. How do you personally get around the city? Please give percentages for walking, bicycling, public transportation, and automobile.

I drive about 50 percent of the time to and from my house in East Boston. I also walk around the city (about 40 percent) and use public transportation (10 percent).