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From the Editor: We’re Starting A Book Club

3:57 PM EDT on May 14, 2020

One year ago, StreetsblogMASS "soft launched" with a lineup of stories that included reports on Boston's 2020 streets budget, the Kelley Square project in Worcester, and Cambridge's new 'Cycling Safety Ordinance'.

We'd hoped to celebrate our one-year anniversary sometime this spring by throwing a party for our readers, but for obvious reasons, that plan has been scrapped.

Instead, I'd like to invite you to join me in reading a book that several sources and readers have recommended to me over the past year: People Before Highways by Dr. Karilyn Crockett, a Lecturer in Public Policy & Urban Planning at MIT.

People Before Highways documents anti-highway activist movements in the Boston region in the 1960s, when unlikely coalitions stopped freeway proposals that would have demolished beloved neighborhoods and caused disproportionate harm to communities of color.

As Massachusetts struggles to reform its transportation systems in order to address racial inequities and the climate emergency, what lessons can we learn from a bellwether environmental victory from half a century ago?

Dr. Crockett has generously agreed to join us in an online discussion about her book on June 18, and we hope you'll RSVP to join us.

Starting a book club also gives us an opportunity to support our local bookstores, which are often my favorite small businesses to visit when I'm exploring a new city neighborhood or Main Street.

Please consider ordering People Before Highways directly from Frugal Bookstore (Nubian Square) or Trident Booksellers (Back Bay). Or use to order from Papercuts (Jamaica Plain), Brookline Booksmith (Coolidge Corner), MIT Press (Kendall Square), or Harvard Bookstore (Harvard Square), or call another local bookstore near you to order.

If cost is an issue for you, UMass Press is offering free downloads of the e-book for a limited time. You can also order directly from the publisher and use the promo code S773 for a 30% discount (please note: if you ship via Media Mail, allow about 7 days from order to arrival at your door).

Over the next 5 weeks, leading up to our discussion with Dr. Crockett, I'm also hoping to share short reviews and conversations with other readers on each of the book's six chapters. If you'd like to join the (virtual) discussion, tag @streetsblogmass on Twitter with the #PeopleBeforeHighways hashtag, or email me: christian [at] streetsblog dot org.

An aerial map of interstate highways proposed in the 1962 Massachusetts "Inner Belt and Expressway System" plan. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.
An aerial map of interstate highways proposed in the 1962 Massachusetts "Inner Belt and Expressway System" plan. Courtesy of the Boston Public Library.

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