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MassDOT Secretary: “We Will Build No More Superhighways”

OK, everybody, pack your bags. We're all moving to Massachusetts.

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The Bay State's transportation secretary, Richard Davey, has launched a "mode shift" campaign, saying in no uncertain terms that it's time for people to get out of their cars and onto trains, buses, bikes, and their own two feet. His goal is to triple the share of trips taken by those modes, as opposed to single-occupancy vehicles, by improving transit service and active transportation amenities like lighting, sidewalks, curb cuts and rail-trails.

Here's the part that gives me the shivers: "I have news for you," Davey said at a news conference yesterday. "We will build no more superhighways in this state. There is no room."

Massachusetts has 76,200 lane-miles of roadway, in a state that's just 190 miles long. That's a lot more asphalt than any other state in New England.

Eric Sundquist works with innovative state DOTs for a living, as director of the State Smart Transportation Initiative. What Massachusetts is doing is "leading edge but not bleeding edge," Sundquist told Streetsblog. "There are other states that, even if they haven’t packaged a campaign around mode shift explicitly, are doing a lot of things to encourage mode shift."

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