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News Briefs: Rally For Riverbend, Street Project Screening, WalkMassachusetts

12:28 PM EDT on April 26, 2023

Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Photo by John Phelan, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY 3.0.

'Rally At Riverbend' Will Pressure DCR to Restore Access to Charles River Parkland

Activists in Cambridge are planning a rally this Saturday to restore the city's popular "Riverbend Park" events on Saturdays.

For the last three years of Gov. Charlie Baker's administration, the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation closed a long section of Memorial Drive in Cambridge to create expanded riverfront park space for Cambridge on both Saturdays and Sundays (previously, the events had been on Sundays only).

But in April, in spite of overwhelming support for expanded park hours from Cambridge residents and elected officials, Governor Healey's new administration announced that the Saturday Riverbend Park events would be cancelled this year in order to prioritize motor vehicle traffic.

In a press statement defending the decision to prioritize fossil fuel-burning vehicles over park access, a DCR spokesperson claimed it was reducing park access in the name of "environmental justice."

With this Saturday's rally, park supporters are planning to demonstrate strong grassroots support for keeping Riverbend Park open on Saturdays.

"Please join the many residents who live in the adjacent neighborhoods who love this access to open space along the river," wrote Chris Cassa of the Memorial Drive Alliance Steering Committee in an e-mailed invitation last week.

Organizers are asking participants to meet at the Weeks Footbridge (at the end of DeWolfe Street, an 8 minute walk from the Harvard Red Line stop) at 1 p.m., and to RSVP via Eventbrite here.

'The Street Project' Documentary Comes to Brattle Theater

This weekend is also the 20th annual Independent Film Festival of Boston, and on Sunday, the program will feature a screening of The Street Project, a documentary about the the movement for safer streets across the U.S.

StreetsblogUSA editor Kea Wilson wrote about The Street Project for its premiere last summer, and in that story, filmmaker Jennifer Boyd told Wilson that “if there’s anything that COVID taught us, it’s that we can change streets overnight to create safer communities... It is possible; we just have to understand that these are our public spaces, and we do have a right to feel safe walking, biking, and using any form of transportation.”

The screening will be at 12:45 p.m. on Sunday the 30th at the Somerville Theater. Buy tickets here.

You can also stream The Street Project on PBS International.

WalkBoston Is Now WalkMassachusetts

A prominent street safety organization that was originally founded in Boston is updating its name to reflect its increasingly statewide focus.

In an announcement posted earlier this month, the organization formerly known as WalkBoston wrote that "after over 30 years of statewide advocacy as WalkBoston, conversations with partners and community members across the state, and a new Strategic Plan, we are changing our name to WalkMassachusetts."

The organization was founded in Boston over 30 years ago, and its office remains in downtown Boston. But its programs have increasingly been focused on improving pedestrian conditions and supporting grassroots street safety advocates all over the state.

Among other things, the organization has been helping smaller cities and towns across the state conduct walk audits to identify hazardous conditions and opportunities to create safer streets (read our coverage of a mid-pandemic walk audit in Worcester's Indian Lake neighborhood).

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