Where Kristen Stands

Public Health / Safety / Accessibility

Click candidate questions below to view Kristen’s replies

What will you do to improve public safety in Boston? What are your thoughts and plans to fight the opioid crisis? — Candidate Question from Rosie’s place

Community safety is a partnership between police, residents, and local businesses. For many years as a community advocate I have regularly attended community police meetings and have developed relationships with officers and my neighbors. We share information and ideas and collaborate on initiatives. The more we can engage our community the safer our community will be.

I will work to promote city initiatives and take part in community outreach programs to help ensure that the Boston Police Department mirrors the diverse population that it serves. We need to ensure that more women and minorities are encouraged to fill out the entrance application, and that they are welcomed when they do join the police force. A more diverse police force creates better understanding within the police department and that translates to better serving our city population, including women who make up over 50% of our residents.

The opioid crisis touches all families and all neighborhoods in our city. I see this crisis as a serious public health issue as opposed to a strictly criminal issue. Currently, we do not have enough health professionals to address the volume of opioid cases, so solving that is a top priority. Also, we need to increase opportunities and training for short-term and long-term treatment programs versus filling more prison cells. I am in support of channeling more upfront dollars into health services programs instead of paying the price for increased incarcerations.

How will your top priorities as a candidate for Boston City Council impact poor and low-income women in the city? — Candidate Question from Rosie’s place

The City is an ecosystem, and if housing and equitable education are not addressed, public safety suffers. We need to look at root causes of issues like public safety. Additionally, I believe that community engagement is the foundation upon which everything builds. By engaging in our communities and supporting our local organizations such as homeless shelters, community development corporations, community centers, and others, we then understand each other better and build stronger relationships. We need to create opportunities where women feel valued, safe, and supported. We need to make sure that females have the same educational opportunities as males do, and also have the opportunity to earn equitable salaries. We need to make sure that women have access to affordable and appropriate health care. Mirroring our city in government roles is essential to our success as a society. We should do so on our police force, fire department, within our teacher population, as well as on the Boston City Council. A woman has never held the District 8 seat, and currently only four out of our thirteen City Council seats are held by women. I believe that we are collectively more successful when women have a seat at the table. As the District 8 City Councilor, I will stand up for women’s issues and make sure that our voices are heard. I respectfully ask for your support today and your vote on November 7th.

Do you personally walk to destinations in your community? If yes, how often do you do so? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. I walk everyday in my community! Also, I regularly do long walks around District 8 and across Boston. My longest walk is from the Fenway to Castle Island and back.

Do you personally travel by/ use public transit to get around? If yes, which trains and buses do you routinely use? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. The #55 bus is a favorite as its route starts in my neighborhood and ends at Park Street (or Copley Square in the evenings and weekends). As for the T, I take mostly the green and red lines but have riden them all! Also, as my parents live outside the city, I’m no stranger to the commuter rail.

Do you personally bike in your community or commute by bike to other communities? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. I bike quite often within Boston and outside the city (if I have time for a long ride on a weekend morning). Over the past several months, residents of District 8 might have notice me cycling through their neighborhoods as I have 2 campaign posters attached to the rack on the back of my bike. I think it is important to make regular tours of our neighborhoods and take different streets from week to week. Not only do we have very interesting architecture to look at, but one can also see where there are transportation, housing, retail, safety, etc. opportunities. I’ve been known to make some 311 submissions in the midst of my tours!

Policy proposals:
How will you work to establish funding for the infrastructure changes needed to slow traffic on your community’s streets, and improve crosswalks and intersections to make them safer for people who are walking and using mobility assistive devices? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

I would first be sure that transportation surveys are up-to-date. Aslo, I would check 311 data to see if a heat map of issues would help to prioritize areas to address in the short and long-term.

How will you improve the reach, frequency, and quality of public transit in your city/town? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

One idea is to have groups of people surveying riders across all transit options during a month-long window. This could potentially be done through collaborations with local colleges, universities, and high schools, especially institutions with transporation/logistics programs. Additionally, we should continue initiatives that are already in process for Vision Zero. I’d also like to add that it is important to poll walkers as some may be avoiding using public transport for various reasons (speed, cleanliness, safety, etc.)

How will you ensure fast-tracked implementation of a city-/town-wide network of off-street paths and protected bike lanes* on major thoroughfares and connecting streets that are comfortable for people of all ages and abilities? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

I would support Vision Zero initiatives and make sure that there is a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-Related) plan that holds designated city departments and leaders accountable for agreed upon deadlines and goals.

How will you increase access to biking in every neighborhood equally? What do you see as the major obstacles to encouraging ridership, and how will you address them? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Safety appears to be a high barrier for most potential riders. Creating bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, and awareness initiatives (for cars, truck, band bus drivers) is essential to long-term success. Additionally, many residents may not have access to a bicycle due to cost or storage availability. There are already some small programs that recycle/refurbish bicycles to those in need. We should look at expanding those programs. For some, a barrier could be learning how to ride. The city could recruit local bike shops to get involved with training programs as it would be good for business.

How will you increase funding for biking infrastructure? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Biking infrastructure should come from the increase in real estate revenues and from local institutions, specifically colleges and universities who have not fulfilled their Payment in Lieu of Tax program. As we build more housing and commercial space, we should encourage our residents to consider low climate impact travel options. Also, supporting biking is a natural connection for local schools that enroll thousands of students.

Do you support the adoption of vision zero and funding for its rapid implementation? Vision zero is an approach which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030 and has been adopted by several communities, including boston and cambridge. — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. I support Vision Zero as I support eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries for those on foot and on wheels. While it is not soon enough to reduce those numbers, I want to be sure that we are thoughtful with regard to implementation and do not rush to decisions that are not fully thought through by industry experts and local communities.

Do you support lowering design speeds through traffic calming measures on downtown and neighborhood streets as a means of enhancing the safety of people walking, using mobility assistive devices, biking, and driving? This may involve the expansion and enhancement of programs like neighborhood slow streets (Boston) and neighborways (Somerville). — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. I believe that traffic calming measures save lives. It is important to be sure that planning across neighborhoods is taken into account so that we don’t solve one problem while creating another at the same time.

One key strategy that has been proven to effectively reduce speeding, improve safety, and remove racial bias in traffic enforcement in other states and countries is automated enforcement (i.e. speed cameras and red light cameras). Do you support state legislation that authorizes the use of automated enforcement in massachusetts, per the july 2017 recommendation of the national transportation safety board? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. I support unbiased traffic enforcement. However, I do have concerns of potential privacy infringment. I’d like to know more about what information will be recorded and how the information will be secured.

Do you support redesigning space on the street in order to improve safety for people biking by creating protected bike lanes? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes, however, I also support significant community engagement to ensure that solutions are a good fit for the neighborhood.

Do you support the increased use of curb extensions to improve safety and visibility at intersections, even if it requires the removal of one to two parking spaces? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. To balance the potential loss of parking spaces, I also support studies on other types of parking solutions that may benefit the community (ex: 20-minute drop-off areas, meter conversions to resident parking, etc.)

Do you support implementation of all of the better bike corridors and other bike projects in the go boston 2030 plan, and commit to making sure all short-term projects are planned and implemented within three years, and long-term projects are implemented by or before 2030? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. Again, neighborhood review is essential to be sure that plans are a good fit today and tomorrow for the community.

Will you address age-friendly walking in your community — an issue raised by many seniors as critical to their ability to “age in community”? If yes, how? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. We need more ramps at street corners and accessibility at crosswalks, especially ones that cut across T tracks. Also, we need to commit to repair schedules for heaving issues found in sidewalks and streets, which are major tripping hazards.

Boston has many traffic signals that do not work well for pedestrians. Will you work to make signal timing safer, easier, and more convenient for people walking and using mobility assistive devices at all paces? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. We need to increase the employees within the transportation department at least for a year or two to play catch up. I recently called to request a traffic study at the corner of Kilmarknock and Boylston in the Fenway and was told that it would take a number of weeks to reach the top of the pile. Meanwhile we have seniors and others with mobility challenges who cannot safely cross this very busy roadway.

Do you support the restriction of on-street parking during rush hour on major thoroughfares in order to provide lanes for the exclusive use of buses? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. Again, community involvement must occur.

Do you support the creation of a staff position within the transportation department solely devoted to managing transit in the city of boston? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. Given the size of Boston and the great reliance on public transportation for residents and city visitors, there should be a team working on managing transit.

Do you support exploring new ways of raising revenue to provide the city of boston with more tools to improve conditions for people walking, using mobility assistive devices, and biking (e.g. congestion pricing)? If yes, please give examples that interest you. — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. Local institutions should pay their fair share through the Payment in Lieu of Tax program. Additionally, as developers continue to build more structures within the city, our revenues will continue to rise. We need to be sure that all new buildings are taxed appropriately. Also, we need to be sure that BPDA agreements are reviewed so that all potential revenue sources are exposed.

Do you support charging an annual fee for residential parking permits? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. This should have been done years ago.

Do you support the rollout of dynamic parking meter pricing (i.e. increasing meter rates during periods of increased demand) in business districts to free up on-street parking and reduce cars “cruising” for open spaces? — Candidate Question from Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition

Yes. In general, I support this. However, I want to be sure that neighborhood residents and businesses that serve them are not significantly negatively impacted by the pricing.

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