It's Boston to Austin for city transportation head

Fiandaca

The city of Austin has hired away Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina Fiandaca to serve as that city's head of mobility, "to secure real progress in getting us where we want to go, when we want to get there, safely and cost-effectively."

Fiandca had served as head of the 400-employee BTD since January, 2015.

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Good for Gina

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Now Boston needs to get someone who gives a shit about the traffic situation, pedestrian safety, parking, ride sharing vehicles taking over the streets and the possibility of more bike and scooter businesses messing it all up even more.

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Hired for…

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Running a cost effective transit system o_O

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Mbta

BTD has nothing to do with the MBTA daily operation. BTD writes parking tickets.

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I wouldn't saying "nothing" to do...

*Potholes cost the MBTA [and private transit companies and the rest of us on bikes, in cars, etc.] thousands of dollars in vehicle maintenance every year.

*Said potholes also slow down the traffic flow significantly, which translates to bus service delays. As a frequent pedestrian and cyclist, I'll be the first to champion traffic calming but there's a difference between intentional measures (speed humps, narrow lanes, etc.) and everybody going 10 mph to avoid suspension damage.

*Every time a traffic light is out/malfunctioning--like at the intersection of Melnea Cass Blvd and Tremont St at least ten times a year-- it causes massive traffic delays which also affect service.

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In Boston, potholes are fixed

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In Boston, potholes are fixed by Public Works, not Transportation.

PWD owns the street. BTD manages traffic on them.

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But they do ...

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Not directly, like in buying trains, but BTD has a lot to do with how buses (and Green Line trolleys) get from A to B. The new bus lane down Washington Street in Roslindale, for example, required work by BTD - as do plans to give priority at traffic lights to buses and trolleys.

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And often kicking and screaming

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BTD is all too frequently the ones who complain about how they can't do something rather than just friggin' doing it.

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true story

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as somebody who works in the BTD it took me 45 minutes and 3 different people to get a new stapler for my cubicle. let me tell you its not about just wanting to get stuff done

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Austin for the win!

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Just spent the weekend there and the've got a rapidly changing and improving transportation network. Gina is perfect for the role, without the Boston politics Austin will be a global leader in transportation. Not one space saver........

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No space savers?

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How in the world do they deal with parking after snow storms?

Oh, wait ...

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Southern cities use space savers

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In Atlanta people put down space savers for late end pregnancies, short-term injuries, funerals, weddings. and on

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Ahaha

They have *one* tram line and it goes from downtown to nowhere. Expanding it was voted down.

Or did you mean the disposable electric scooters everyone is falling off of everywhere?

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Austin rejected a 500 million per mile LRT line. Not MetroRail

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MetroRail, what you call a tram instead of commuter rail, was passed and the expansion passed. I took MR from MLK Blvd (which isn't nowhere btw) to my job in North Austin. Issues with service over 5 years: two. A shocker for the good people of Boston & Cambridge

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Oooooh, maybe her replacement

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can get the foot soldiers to write tickets for double parking! Imagine that! Oh wait, someone on a back street in Brighton might be parked too close to a fire hydrant, that's probably a bigger deal than 4 cars blocking traffic in a travel lane at South Station with their hazards on.
Good riddance.

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Austin is becoming like

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Austin is becoming like Seattle, blessed with tech wealth but overwhelmed by traffic on I-35.

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I didn't know anything about

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I didn't know anything about Gina until last Fall when I went to a neighborhood forum on the topic of traffic safety organized by councilor Campbell in Dorchester. There were some good panelists from the City; people with good knowledge of the issues and a vision. Gina certainly wasn't one of them; she had very little to say considering her role. I was unimpressed.

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Key Moment

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This is a key moment for the mayor to put in place a real cutting edge 21st century transportation mind AND to empower her/him to actually re-shape our streets and transportation system. There is high demand for this among residents and the naysayers need to be ignored and pushed aside. It's too important. Google "Janette Sadik-Khan" if you wanna know what I'm talking about, or better yet, just hire her if you're reading this, Mr. Mayor.

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Maintenance

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What the City needs is maintenance and field personnel. You are upset about the signals being out of sync? They aren't designed to do that. It's lack of maintenance of the communication system to let the signals stay in sync with each other. One guy for 500+ signals is not enough manpower to maintain this communication system. That's a big reason why traffic sucks and the powers that be bury their heads in the sand and build more bike lanes instead and idealistic, pie in the sky planners instead.

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Don’t Get Testy, Red

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The introduction of smart light, which are more advanced than the present ones, would do the trick and relieve the stress on the Fkield personnel.

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Testy? No plain facts

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Rev C - Smart signals or anything else won't make a difference if the communication structure is not maintained. For signals to work together they need to be connected - usually by copper wire (old school) or fiber optics. Wireless for traffic signals has yet to be perfected to be reliable.

Did you know the City has software to control the signals from City Hall already? Even the adaptive signals being proposed needs a dependable communication backbone for it to work. And things get dug up all the time by contractors and utilities.

They have one person to maintain communications. No one if he takes a day off or calls in sick. Any futuristic system you describe needs to be maintained. This is where the City falls short.

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Smart Lights, Anyone?

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I know that Smart Light technology is part of the City’s master plan and was slated for something like the year 2030, but would BTD consider a pilot project targeting a limited number of high traffic streets? Smart lights have made an enormous difference in commuting times in other North American cities. It could work here. With the sweet comes the bitter too. More parking has to be loosened up, but it would be worth it. I have never understood the reluctance to try Smart Lights. If I am missing something somebody tell me. Would the new BTD Director be up to it?

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