Boston City Councilor District 8

Incumbents are indicated with *

Jump to:

About the Candidate

Policy Proposals

Additional Questions

Kenzie Bok
(pdf of answers)

Montez David Haywood
(pdf of answers)

Kristen Mobilia
(pdf of answers)

Jennifer Ann Nassour
(no answers submitted)

Hélène Vincent
(pdf of answers)

About the Candidate

1. How do you move around your community and get to where you need to go?

2. What is a particularly dangerous problem or location in your community for people walking, biking, taking transit, or for people with disabilities that you'd like to see addressed?

3. Why do you think people who care about walking, biking, transit, and mobility issues should vote for you?

Kenzie Bok

I get almost everywhere by foot or on the MBTA (bus and subway). Working for the BHA, I perfected the art of getting to public housing all over the city via public transit alone. I take the T daily, and on many days I use 3-4 different subway lines. When leaving the city, I most often take the commuter rail to do so. I occasionally bike using BlueBikes, and on National Bike to Work day I tried the commute downtown from Roxbury Crossing. I don't own a car, haven't driven for many years, and work to limit my use of ride-hailing apps for only when no public transportation option is available.

For pedestrians, I worry about long crosswalks with short crossing times, such as across Cambridge St and throughout the West End; these are particularly dangerous for our seniors. Unfortunately there are also many unsafe intersections for bicycles across District 8. I was proud to support BCU's recent protest against the unprotected new bike lanes installed by DCR where Paula Sharaga lost her life. Disembarking from the T at Mission Park is also unsafe, as is biking on South Huntington, as is crossing Fenway or Beacon St. We use all modes extensively in District 8 and have much work to do!

I've been getting around the city on foot, by T, by bus, and by bicycle for my entire life, and I think of these types of travel as natural priorities for our urban community. Watching my own grandmother age in place, I've also become intensely aware of how important it is that we make the public realm safe for elderly pedestrians who must avoid fall risks. As a citizen, I've advocated to fix an unsafe crosswalk, successfully pushed to widen public sidewalks, and protested both the recent #UnfairHikes and the cancellation of late-night T in 2016. I will be a strong advocate for Vision Zero.

Montez David Haywood

I use public transportation and or walk.

The intersection of Blossom Ct and Blossom Street in the West End needs to be redisgned. It isn’t safe for pedestrians, or bikers of any age or ability. That road way needs to be redisgned to ensure safety of pedistrians, bikers, and drivers.

A vote for Montez Haywood will be a vote for a wholistic approach that will advocate that bikers, walkers, and cars should not be sharing the same space on our roads and sidewalks where that is practical. And when it is necessary to share the road way I plan to launch a program to educate all of our neighbors on the safest way to share the roadway.

Kristen Mobilia

I use all modes of transport - walking, cycling, MBTA (trains and buses), ride hailing, and driving. I was one of the first members of Zipcar, so I was an early supporter and adopter of car sharing. The more transportation options that are easily accessible the more we can rely on a transportation portfolio of solutions. I greatly support improving mass transit so that it'll make up the largest part of the portfolio pie.

Many Boston sidewalks and roads are in disrepair, creating dangerous conditions for persons with accessibility challenges, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and passengers. It is inexcusable that we have so many sidewalks and roadways in compromised states across District 8 and the City of Boston. That affects the daily safety of our residents. I have personally submitted many 311 requests for repairs. We have countless bricks missing from sidewalks and gulleys along T tracks and everything in between.

I am a roll-up-your sleeves community advocate who combines neighborhood experience with a business background. I am the only candidate who for years has been out working with the communities of every neighborhood of District 8. Past actions are great indicators of future ones. I am the candidate who was involved in our extended community before running for office and intend on being very engaged and connected when elected to Boston City Council.

Hélène Vincent

My wife and I both commute using the Green Line and by walking everywhere possible. I used to bicycle everywhere, but after a devastating accident in 2016, I sustained a traumatic brain injury and am no longer allowed to ride bicycles due to the risk of sustaining another concussion. We do own a car—a Toyota Prius C—but we use it as little as possible.

When I was 8 years old, I met my best friend Miranda, who has been completely blind since birth as a result of her father’s Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. As a result, I’ve grown up experiencing the world through her and noticing all the ways in which our communities have not been designed for the differently abled. Some of the key issues I see include the lack of assistive crossing signals, broken sidewalks, big gaps between the train and platform on the T, and trolley tracks in the street that make it dangerous for people in wheelchairs or with visual disabilities to cross safely.

An observation that has long stuck with me is from Enrique Peñalosa, mayor of Bogotá, who said that you can tell how democratic a city is by its number of sidewalks. One of the biggest equity issues of our time is how people can move about in ways that are affordable, accessible, and climate-friendly. Investments in public transit will benefit our most vulnerable populations, both immediately and in the long term. This issue is particularly dear to me, both because of my friend’s experiences and because of my own, and it will be a priority for me when in office.

Top

Policy Proposals

1. How will you ensure implementation of 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?

2. How will you improve the reach, frequency, and quality of public transit in Boston?

3. How will you ensure fast-tracked implementation of a city-wide network of off-street paths and protected bike lanes on major thoroughfares and connecting streets that are safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities?

Kenzie Bok

I'll work with advocates to pinpoint the twenty (or more) most dangerous intersections from a Vision Zero perspective in District 8, and then will measure our office's success in part by how many of those places we're able to fix in the first 18 months. More systematically, however, during scrutiny of the capital budget I will gather information about how exactly the city is proactively integrating Vision Zero principles into every transportation-related design process, rather than simply reacting to major accidents. Where further pressure is needed, I will stand and bike and ride and walk with residents to publicly draw attention to unsafe crossings. I will speak up in favor of slower streets, and I will seek to hasten the pace with which we allocate funds for street-slowing. I have gotten a dangerous crosswalk fixed before, and I know that sustained attention to such matters by an elected official can make a real difference. I will also always use my voice in development to advocate for infrastructure changes to favor mode shift. When on the CAC for Back Bay Station, I joined with others to get guaranteed improvements for pedestrians, bikers, and MBTA riders added to the project.

I have been repeatedly on the record objecting to reductions in MBTA service or increases in price; I spoke publicly in opposition when late-night T service was axed in 2016, and I participated in the #UnfairHikes protest on 6/30 and 7/1 of this year. As a city councilor, I would continue to speak forcefully on these fronts; we need major investment in the MBTA at a state level. Still, I would look to actively and demonstrably build neighborhood support for the Red-Blue Connector in District 8, in order to make clear that those most directly affected by the construction are still in favor of this key connection for our MBTA infrastructure. I also think that the city can act by using its power to convert more lanes of street traffic into rapid bus lanes, thereby speeding the commutes of many of Boston and the Boston area's lowest-paid workers. I believe that public transit creates social value far beyond every dollar we spend on it, and I would make such a case vociferously in favor of deep investment in the future of the T. Long term, in order to improve reach, frequency, and quality of public transit, I favor a more metro-regional governance & funding structure for the MBTA.

I believe this work is essential; bikes and pedestrians are really only as safe as the weakest link in the network of paths provided to serve them. I would make it my business to know the entire scope of the network needed in District 8, and then would look for every opportunity to get more of that network built ASAP. When such work requires favoring uses of curb space other than parking, I will act as an ambassador within different civic communities to discuss why a city that has just reached 700,000 people for the first time since 1959 needs to think more creatively about how it uses the public space of the public street to move people around safely and efficiently. Throughout District 8, I would work with neighborhood associations to ensure that they are involved in the execution of new paths and protected bike lanes from the beginning, so that all stakeholders are maximally aware and supportive of such changes. Collaboration would also allow us to identify mutual interests, such as getting cyclists into a bicycle lane around the Public Garden and thus off pedestrian paths. I'd make it clear to all at City Hall that safe multi-modal transportation is deeply important to me.

Montez David Haywood

I will immediately begin to lobby the mayor and BTD to study, and redisgned unsafe intersections across the district with a focus on pedestrian safety. In neighbords near hospitals, I would increase the length of time pedistrians have to cross the street, on side roads I would advocate for additional signage on crosswalks and a full array of speed control devices in the residential areas.

I will advocate for the connection of the Blue and Redlines, and a rail link between North and South Station.

On District 8 we have historic neighborhoods that will require working with the neighborhood associations to identify pathways that are appropriate to connect the major thoroughfares across the District. I believe once we have established community partners that have identified an appropriate pathway(s) the connection of the major thoroughfares will be designed and built in short order as needed.

Kristen Mobilia

Boston 2030 only included the participation of 2% of the city's residents. That's not enough. I would push for continual and increased participation. We should put in action a combination of city hearings, neighborhood meetings, and a technology component (perhaps tied to the 311 app). We need to invite more residents to the table so that we build a Boston not just for today but for years and decades down the road. Right now there isn't much planning going on. I regularly attend BRA/BPDA development meetings and consistently raise my hand and request a transportation masterplan. The combination of intense development along with an increasing population warrants a global view, not one that is put together building by building without addressing the aggregate of growth.

I would work together with my state electeds. I have built relationships with them and support their work related to transportation (from road safety to rebuilding neighborhood sidewalks). I would work with them on pushing for accelerated capital improvements for the MBTA. Additionally, I would advocate for the City of Boston to have representation on the MBTA Board. Given the population of Boston and our geographic reach related to the state’s public transit, we should have a seat at the table for reasons tied to transparency and accountability.

I would bring together stakeholders in each neighborhood to ensure that decisions aren't made in a vacuum. We need to be better at demanding true city planning. Right now we just keep putting up buildings and making transit decisions piecemeal. That's no way for a world-class city to operate and be a leader in transportation. I would make off-street paths and protected bike lanes a priority, but I would be sure that solutions are a fit for each neighborhood that they travel through.

Hélène Vincent

I would start by holding hearings in each neighborhood so residents can share the areas that need the most help. The reality is that those of us who are able-bodied will never experience life in the same way that someone with a disability would. We need to incorporate their lived experiences. Then I would push for the realistic funding we need to accomplish these projects. There should be clear crosswalks, curb cuts, and assistive crossing signals at every intersection. With respect to slowing down our streets, one of the best ways to do this is by narrowing them. We can do this by setting up a system of protected bike lanes throughout the city, which would serve the double purpose of narrowing streets while creating a safer place for cyclists. Eliminating competition between cars and cyclists for the roadway will make our streets safer for both and will encourage more people to become cyclists. We should also install more curb extensions and turn some of our one-way streets into narrow two-way streets.

The most important thing we can do for the MBTA is increase its funding. Maintenance has been deferred across the system since the 1970s, and we are past the point where a small increase in funding can make the difference we need. I am decidedly in favor of the Fair Share Amendment and was delighted in its recent initial approval by the legislature for inclusion on the 2022 ballot as a legislative amendment. Unfortunately that won’t be fast enough—we need the Governor and the State House to take this crisis seriously and allocate funds NOW, before the T crumbles around us. This will require dedicated advocacy. I would work with the other councilors (Councilor Wu is obviously leading the way in this area with her Unfair Hikes action) to press at the State House and with the Governor for the increased funding we need to save the T. The T doesn’t just serve Boston but the entire greater metro area, and we must convince the elected officials from outside Boston that their communities also need the T and that they too must step up and work to find the funding it so desperately needs.

How we approach relatively small conflicts in public decision-making, such as separating bike infrastructure, is indicative of how we approach larger conflicts, such as a housing crisis or structural racism. Can we handle conflict well and create trust among neighbors over time instead of distrust? We often shorthand it as “putting in a bike lane,” but what’s really happening is “renegotiating the street layout and deciding how much of a very limited resource—street width—is allocated to people using each mode of transit.” If we are to get buy-in for this kind of infrastructure, we would need to prioritize holding the kinds of public conversations that would get buy-in from neighbors and local businesses. Fortunately, the job of a city councilor is to foster understanding, welcome and encourage community input, and facilitate decision-making processes. My own background in mediation and conflict negotiation would be especially useful in this area as I am trained to bring all the interested parties to the table and guide them through conflict to find the points on which they can agree.

Top

Additional Questions

Click on the categories below for the complete question asked. Click on any answer with a * for further explanation of the candidate's stance.

Do you support:

1. Vision Zero

1. Vision Zero is an approach which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries and has been adopted by Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, and many other cities across the country. Do you support the principles of Vision Zero policies and funding for their rapid implementation?

click outside popup to close

2. State law allowing automated enforcement

2. 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 S.1376, An Act relative to automated enforcement, which if passed would authorize cities and towns in Massachusetts to opt into the use of automated enforcement? To see the full text of the bill, visit malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S1376

click outside popup to close

3. Bike Network Plan

3. Do you support the implementation of improved bike facilities identified in your community’s Bike Network Plan or do you support the creation of a Bike Network Plan if none already exists?

click outside popup to close

4. Age-friendly walking conditions

4. Do you support creating age-friendly walking conditions in your community -- an issue raised by many seniors as critical to their ability to 'age in community'? If yes, how?

click outside popup to close

(more below)

Kenzie Bok

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

I am deeply committed to the Vision Zero philosophy. Despite Boston's formal adoption of such an approach, I think we still have much to do to make Vision Zero a consistent priority here, rather than a crisis-response touch-point when we experience a bad accident.

click outside popup to close

Somewhat Support*

Kenzie Bok

I am broadly in favor of such a system for traffic enforcement, given our need for better and more consistent enforcement across the city, but I still want to know more about what checks would prevent the use of such cameras for undue surveillance. In Britain, where a very broad network of cameras have been successfully been used for traffic monitoring purposes, there is also a much more extensive surveillance state. So we need to balance two sets of concerns in any such legislation.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

Yes; as I stated above, we need to get these projects underway in order to achieve the effective, joined-up network that cyclists need.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

Especially in historic neighborhoods, we need to map accessible routes through our communities that help folks in scooters or wheelchairs to navigate our streets successfully. I've also noticed a recent uptick in the provision of benches across Boston, which is great for our seniors. And we need to provide good bike infrastructure in part so that seniors and cyclists are not sharing the same sidewalk pavement and risking falls/accidents.

click outside popup to close

 

Montez David Haywood

Strongly Support

Somewhat Support

Somewhat Support

Strongly Support*

Montez David Haywood

Especially in historic neighborhoods, we need to map accessible routes through our communities that help folks in scooters or wheelchairs to navigate our streets successfully. I've also noticed a recent uptick in the provision of benches across Boston, which is great for our seniors. And we need to provide good bike infrastructure in part so that seniors and cyclists are not sharing the same sidewalk pavement and risking falls/accidents.Additional signage for crosswalks, additional signage to identify for drivers that they are in an area of the City with an increased density of elderly or individuals that are differently abled. In addition rumble strips and increased times for pedistrian walk signals.

click outside popup to close

 

Kristen Mobilia

Strongly Support*

Kristen Mobilia

We need to be a city of the future - one that is sustainable.

click outside popup to close

Somewhat Support*

Kristen Mobilia

I am very much in support of a bill that would improve safety and reduce racial bias. I do have concerns about personal privacy and the possibility that cameras could be used for unanticipated government surveillance beyond the intended use.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kristen Mobilia

I agree that we need better designed bike corridors, but we also need to listen to residents as to how they best fit into a neighborhood. We need to account for road to sidewalk accessibility, emergency vehicle access, frequent delivery services, etc. Additionally, all cyclists need to abide by the rules of the road. I've even seen some bicyclists riding the wrong way in a bike lane on Beacon Street. We all need to be accountable to traffic rules.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kristen Mobilia

This is extremely important as our largest growing population is Boston is older adults. In fact, I am currently working on an aging in community program within District 8. My grandmother and grandfather had the opportunity to age in community on Mission Hill. We need to make sure that older adults have the freedom to get around their street, their neighborhood, and Boston.

click outside popup to close

 

Hélène Vincent

Strongly Support*

Hélène Vincent

One of the biggest hurdles to implementing Vision Zero is the very small amount of money Boston is currently devoting to it—about $5 per person (other cities spend much more—San Francisco, for example, spends about $75 per person). If elected, I would advocate for greater funding for transportation issues across the city and for Vision Zero funding in particular.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support

Strongly Support

Strongly Support*

Hélène Vincent

"An elderly voter I met has a particularly difficult time moving about Back Bay because of the curb height. She’s petite and walks with a cane. Recently they’ve repaved the sidewalks on her street and now the curbs are several inches higher. Mary calls these curbs short walls! She has to walk all the way around them. Seniors have a higher risk of tripping and falling, and District 8 has a particularly high number of seniors. When designing our urban areas, we must accommodate them and maintain their ability to age in place."

click outside popup to close

 

Do you support:

5. Restriction of parking for bus-only lanes

5. Do you support the restriction of on-street parking during rush hour in order to create dedicated bus lanes on certain major thoroughfares where bus riders experience significant delays due to traffic congestion?

click outside popup to close

6. New revenue sources

6. Do you support exploring new ways of raising revenue to provide Boston with more tools to improve conditions for people walking, using mobility assistive devices, biking, and using public transit (e.g. increasing the gas tax, implementing congestion pricing, increasing fees on Uber/Lyft)? If yes, please give examples that interest you.

click outside popup to close

7. Dynamic parking meter pricing

7. Do you support the rollout of dynamic parking meter pricing in business districts, which would increase meter rates during periods of increased demand, to free up on-street parking and reduce cars "cruising" for open spaces?

click outside popup to close

8. Traffic signal timing that prioritizes people walking

8. Boston has many traffic signals that do not work well for pedestrians. Do you support making signal timing safer, easier, and more convenient for people walking and using mobility assistive devices at all paces?

click outside popup to close

(more below)

Kenzie Bok

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

When it comes to maximizing the movement of people through the city quickly and efficiently, dedicated bus lanes at rush hour is one of the easiest, most impactful interventions we could make.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

Our fees on Uber/Lyft are some of the lowest in the country and don't incentivize the right behavior by these companies; they need to be higher. I also support exploring congestion pricing, paired with commuter rail improvements, as a way to reduce traffic. More than half the tailpipes in Boston on any given day are from outside the city, and Bostonians are paying not only in time lost to traffic, but also in reduced air quality for city residents. I also continue to hope that the Fair Share amendment will pass and help supply some new transportation funding.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

I support such programs as a potential way to reduce cruising, with the caveat that they need to be implemented in ways that are sensitive to neighborhood context. For example, in Back Bay some meters in entirely residential areas became subject to the same rules as Newbury St ones. I also think that either the same higher dynamic rates need to be rolled out across the city, or else we should discuss Parking Benefits Districts that provide some dedicated funds to the immediate neighborhood in which the fees are differentially high.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

I am consistently surprised by the number of signals we have that barely allocate enough time for a jogger to cross the road, much less an elder, and I also think there are a number of places where we should think about adding pedestrian-activated signals.

click outside popup to close

 

Montez David Haywood

Somewhat Support

Somewhat Support*

Montez David Haywood

Our fees on Uber/Lyft are some of the lowest in the country and don't incentivize the right behavior by these companies; they need to be higher. I also support exploring congestion pricing, paired with commuter rail improvements, as a way to reduce traffic. More than half the tailpipes in Boston on any given day are from outside the city, and Bostonians are paying not only in time lost to traffic, but also in reduced air quality for city residents. I also continue to hope that the Fair Share amendment will pass and help supply some new transportation funding.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support

Strongly Support

 

Kristen Mobilia

Somewhat Support*

Kristen Mobilia

Every neighborhood is different and some already have compromised parking situations. Additionally, our city is growing and more cars are cramping each neighborhood. We need to have an improved and reliable MBTA at a price point that incents residents (inside and outside of Boston) to leave cars at home and/or to not invest in them. When we provide residents with a reasonable alternative, we'll have more willingness to reduce on-street parking during rush hour and other hours of the day.

click outside popup to close

Somewhat Oppose*

Kristen Mobilia

There are hidden costs in many of the old and new ways to get around our city. We need to make sure that actions that negatively affect our shared quality of life in the form of traffic, pollution, safety, etc. are tied to financial responsibility.

click outside popup to close

Somewhat Support*

Kristen Mobilia

I am generally in support of this idea, but I'd like to find a solution for neighborhood residents who frequent these areas by vehicle and are getting taxed for supporting their local businesses.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kristen Mobilia

I absolutely support this action. In fact, I have contacted the BTD to have a study done on Bolyston Street as residents of all ages were having difficulties crossing the street with enough time. Traffic has increased greatly on this roadway and was becoming extremely unsafe.

click outside popup to close

 

Hélène Vincent

Strongly Support*

Hélène Vincent

Boston has had great success with a few pilot bus lanes of this type, and I would love to see more added in congested areas.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Hélène Vincent

"I would like to implement the following measures: congestion pricing, fees on single rider Uber/Lyft, fees on residential parking permits, increasing the gas tax, and passing the Fair Share amendment."

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support

Strongly Support

 

Do you support:

9. Charging for residential parking permits

9. Do you support charging an annual fee for residential parking permits?

click outside popup to close

10. Reducing/ eliminating MBTA fares

10. Do you support reducing or eliminating MBTA fares for people with low income?

click outside popup to close

11. Ensuring large-scale developments are walkable, resilient, green, and connected

11. Do you support ensuring large-scale developments (including Sullivan Square, the Allston I-90 Interchange, and Suffolk Downs) incorporate the community's desire for walkability, connectivity, open space, and resiliency?

click outside popup to close

   

Kenzie Bok

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

Our surrounding communities charge a residential parking fee, and I think implementing such a fee could be a good way of discouraging large numbers of cars registered to the same address. It would also allow us to in some way register the value of our shared public curb space in the city of Boston, while making allowances for those for whom such fees would be a financial burden.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

We need to think of the MBTA like a true public good -- it benefits our whole society when residents can get to a job, or a school, or a new friend because of public transit. Furthermore, driving more folks to use public transit is key to addressing climate change. So yes, we should aspire to a system in which we are proud to provide transit mobility just as we are proud, in our public libraries, to provide free access to information.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kenzie Bok

As mentioned above, I have pushed for these types of mobility-related changes as a Community Advisory Committee member for large development projects in the past, and I would make such considerations a strong priority for any project I scrutinized as a city councilor.

click outside popup to close

   

Montez David Haywood

Somewhat Support

Somewhat Support*

Montez David Haywood

I would strongly support a program that focused on reducing the cost for our City’s elderly and youth.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support

   

Kristen Mobilia

Strongly Support*

Kristen Mobilia

I am in favor of a tiered fee structure that would have increases for each additional vehicle. Even a low fee (for example $25 per year) would bring in a good deal of revenue that could be used for improving sidewalks and roadways.

click outside popup to close

Somewhat Support*

Kristen Mobilia

I support reducing MBTA fares across the board. We need to encourage all residents to take the T as opposed to other singular modes of transportation.

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Kristen Mobilia

This is forward-thinking.

click outside popup to close

   

Hélène Vincent

Strongly Support

Strongly Support*

Hélène Vincent

"I would like to start with Councilor Wu’s proposal to eliminate fares on the bus routes that run through our most economically disadvantaged communities. We should then examine the impacts of instituting a low-income fare across the system and of eliminating fares altogether and making the MBTA a fully publicly funded resources for the entire region."

click outside popup to close

Strongly Support*

Hélène Vincent

"These types of large-scale developments (Suffolk Downs is the single biggest “ground up” development project in Boston’s history) offer Boston the opportunity to be truly ground-breaking in terms of balancing density in housing with green space and transportation options. We need to understand the mistakes of Boston’s Seaport district and New York’s Hudson Yards so that we do not make them twice. Additionally, there needs to be a rigorous public process for each development that includes surrounding communities and culminates in a community benefits agreement."

click outside popup to close

   

Top

About the Candidate

1. How do you move around your community and get to where you need to go?
Kenzie Bok
I get almost everywhere by foot or on the MBTA (bus and subway). Working for the BHA, I perfected the art of getting to public housing all over the city via public transit alone. I take the T daily, and on many days I use 3-4 different subway lines. When leaving the city, I most often take the commuter rail to do so. I occasionally bike using BlueBikes, and on National Bike to Work day I tried the commute downtown from Roxbury Crossing. I don't own a car, haven't driven for many years, and work to limit my use of ride-hailing apps for only when no public transportation option is available.
Montez David Haywood
I use public transportation and or walk.
Kristen Mobilia
I use all modes of transport - walking, cycling, MBTA (trains and buses), ride hailing, and driving. I was one of the first members of Zipcar, so I was an early supporter and adopter of car sharing. The more transportation options that are easily accessible the more we can rely on a transportation portfolio of solutions. I greatly support improving mass transit so that it'll make up the largest part of the portfolio pie.
Hélène Vincent
My wife and I both commute using the Green Line and by walking everywhere possible. I used to bicycle everywhere, but after a devastating accident in 2016, I sustained a traumatic brain injury and am no longer allowed to ride bicycles due to the risk of sustaining another concussion. We do own a car—a Toyota Prius C—but we use it as little as possible.
2. What is a particularly dangerous problem or location in your community for people walking, biking, taking transit, or for people with disabilities that you’d like to see addressed?
Kenzie Bok
For pedestrians, I worry about long crosswalks with short crossing times, such as across Cambridge St and throughout the West End; these are particularly dangerous for our seniors. Unfortunately there are also many unsafe intersections for bicycles across District 8. I was proud to support BCU's recent protest against the unprotected new bike lanes installed by DCR where Paula Sharaga lost her life. Disembarking from the T at Mission Park is also unsafe, as is biking on South Huntington, as is crossing Fenway or Beacon St. We use all modes extensively in District 8 and have much work to do!
Montez David Haywood
The intersection of Blossom Ct and Blossom Street in the West End needs to be redisgned. It isn’t safe for pedestrians, or bikers of any age or ability. That road way needs to be redisgned to ensure safety of pedistrians, bikers, and drivers.
Kristen Mobilia
Many Boston sidewalks and roads are in disrepair, creating dangerous conditions for persons with accessibility challenges, pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and passengers. It is inexcusable that we have so many sidewalks and roadways in compromised states across District 8 and the City of Boston. That affects the daily safety of our residents. I have personally submitted many 311 requests for repairs. We have countless bricks missing from sidewalks and gulleys along T tracks and everything in between.
Hélène Vincent
When I was 8 years old, I met my best friend Miranda, who has been completely blind since birth as a result of her father’s Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. As a result, I’ve grown up experiencing the world through her and noticing all the ways in which our communities have not been designed for the differently abled. Some of the key issues I see include the lack of assistive crossing signals, broken sidewalks, big gaps between the train and platform on the T, and trolley tracks in the street that make it dangerous for people in wheelchairs or with visual disabilities to cross safely.
3. Why do you think people who care about walking, biking, transit, and mobility issues should vote for you?
Kenzie Bok
I've been getting around the city on foot, by T, by bus, and by bicycle for my entire life, and I think of these types of travel as natural priorities for our urban community. Watching my own grandmother age in place, I've also become intensely aware of how important it is that we make the public realm safe for elderly pedestrians who must avoid fall risks. As a citizen, I've advocated to fix an unsafe crosswalk, successfully pushed to widen public sidewalks, and protested both the recent #UnfairHikes and the cancellation of late-night T in 2016. I will be a strong advocate for Vision Zero.
Montez David Haywood
A vote for Montez Haywood will be a vote for a wholistic approach that will advocate that bikers, walkers, and cars should not be sharing the same space on our roads and sidewalks where that is practical. And when it is necessary to share the road way I plan to launch a program to educate all of our neighbors on the safest way to share the roadway.
Kristen Mobilia
I am a roll-up-your sleeves community advocate who combines neighborhood experience with a business background. I am the only candidate who for years has been out working with the communities of every neighborhood of District 8. Past actions are great indicators of future ones. I am the candidate who was involved in our extended community before running for office and intend on being very engaged and connected when elected to Boston City Council.
Hélène Vincent
An observation that has long stuck with me is from Enrique Peñalosa, mayor of Bogotá, who said that you can tell how democratic a city is by its number of sidewalks. One of the biggest equity issues of our time is how people can move about in ways that are affordable, accessible, and climate-friendly. Investments in public transit will benefit our most vulnerable populations, both immediately and in the long term. This issue is particularly dear to me, both because of my friend’s experiences and because of my own, and it will be a priority for me when in office.

Policy Proposals

1. How will you ensure implementation of 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?
Kenzie Bok
I'll work with advocates to pinpoint the twenty (or more) most dangerous intersections from a Vision Zero perspective in District 8, and then will measure our office's success in part by how many of those places we're able to fix in the first 18 months. More systematically, however, during scrutiny of the capital budget I will gather information about how exactly the city is proactively integrating Vision Zero principles into every transportation-related design process, rather than simply reacting to major accidents. Where further pressure is needed, I will stand and bike and ride and walk with residents to publicly draw attention to unsafe crossings. I will speak up in favor of slower streets, and I will seek to hasten the pace with which we allocate funds for street-slowing. I have gotten a dangerous crosswalk fixed before, and I know that sustained attention to such matters by an elected official can make a real difference. I will also always use my voice in development to advocate for infrastructure changes to favor mode shift. When on the CAC for Back Bay Station, I joined with others to get guaranteed improvements for pedestrians, bikers, and MBTA riders added to the project.
Montez David Haywood
I will immediately begin to lobby the mayor and BTD to study, and redisgned unsafe intersections across the district with a focus on pedestrian safety. In neighbords near hospitals, I would increase the length of time pedistrians have to cross the street, on side roads I would advocate for additional signage on crosswalks and a full array of speed control devices in the residential areas.
Kristen Mobilia
Boston 2030 only included the participation of 2% of the city's residents. That's not enough. I would push for continual and increased participation. We should put in action a combination of city hearings, neighborhood meetings, and a technology component (perhaps tied to the 311 app). We need to invite more residents to the table so that we build a Boston not just for today but for years and decades down the road. Right now there isn't much planning going on. I regularly attend BRA/BPDA development meetings and consistently raise my hand and request a transportation masterplan. The combination of intense development along with an increasing population warrants a global view, not one that is put together building by building without addressing the aggregate of growth.
Hélène Vincent
"I would start by holding hearings in each neighborhood so residents can share the areas that need the most help. The reality is that those of us who are able-bodied will never experience life in the same way that someone with a disability would. We need to incorporate their lived experiences. Then I would push for the realistic funding we need to accomplish these projects. There should be clear crosswalks, curb cuts, and assistive crossing signals at every intersection. With respect to slowing down our streets, one of the best ways to do this is by narrowing them. We can do this by setting up a system of protected bike lanes throughout the city, which would serve the double purpose of narrowing streets while creating a safer place for cyclists. Eliminating competition between cars and cyclists for the roadway will make our streets safer for both and will encourage more people to become cyclists. We should also install more curb extensions and turn some of our one-way streets into narrow two-way streets."
2. How will you improve the reach, frequency, and quality of public transit in Boston?
Kenzie Bok
I have been repeatedly on the record objecting to reductions in MBTA service or increases in price; I spoke publicly in opposition when late-night T service was axed in 2016, and I participated in the #UnfairHikes protest on 6/30 and 7/1 of this year. As a city councilor, I would continue to speak forcefully on these fronts; we need major investment in the MBTA at a state level. Still, I would look to actively and demonstrably build neighborhood support for the Red-Blue Connector in District 8, in order to make clear that those most directly affected by the construction are still in favor of this key connection for our MBTA infrastructure. I also think that the city can act by using its power to convert more lanes of street traffic into rapid bus lanes, thereby speeding the commutes of many of Boston and the Boston area's lowest-paid workers. I believe that public transit creates social value far beyond every dollar we spend on it, and I would make such a case vociferously in favor of deep investment in the future of the T. Long term, in order to improve reach, frequency, and quality of public transit, I favor a more metro-regional governance & funding structure for the MBTA.
Montez David Haywood
I will advocate for the connection of the Blue and Redlines, and a rail link between North and South Station.
Kristen Mobilia
I would work together with my state electeds. I have built relationships with them and support their work related to transportation (from road safety to rebuilding neighborhood sidewalks). I would work with them on pushing for accelerated capital improvements for the MBTA. Additionally, I would advocate for the City of Boston to have representation on the MBTA Board. Given the population of Boston and our geographic reach related to the state’s public transit, we should have a seat at the table for reasons tied to transparency and accountability.
Hélène Vincent
"The most important thing we can do for the MBTA is increase its funding. Maintenance has been deferred across the system since the 1970s, and we are past the point where a small increase in funding can make the difference we need. I am decidedly in favor of the Fair Share Amendment and was delighted in its recent initial approval by the legislature for inclusion on the 2022 ballot as a legislative amendment. Unfortunately that won’t be fast enough—we need the Governor and the State House to take this crisis seriously and allocate funds NOW, before the T crumbles around us. This will require dedicated advocacy. I would work with the other councilors (Councilor Wu is obviously leading the way in this area with her Unfair Hikes action) to press at the State House and with the Governor for the increased funding we need to save the T. The T doesn’t just serve Boston but the entire greater metro area, and we must convince the elected officials from outside Boston that their communities also need the T and that they too must step up and work to find the funding it so desperately needs."
3. How will you ensure fast-tracked implementation of a city-wide network of off-street paths and protected bike lanes on major thoroughfares and connecting streets that are safe and comfortable for people of all ages and abilities?
Kenzie Bok
I believe this work is essential; bikes and pedestrians are really only as safe as the weakest link in the network of paths provided to serve them. I would make it my business to know the entire scope of the network needed in District 8, and then would look for every opportunity to get more of that network built ASAP. When such work requires favoring uses of curb space other than parking, I will act as an ambassador within different civic communities to discuss why a city that has just reached 700,000 people for the first time since 1959 needs to think more creatively about how it uses the public space of the public street to move people around safely and efficiently. Throughout District 8, I would work with neighborhood associations to ensure that they are involved in the execution of new paths and protected bike lanes from the beginning, so that all stakeholders are maximally aware and supportive of such changes. Collaboration would also allow us to identify mutual interests, such as getting cyclists into a bicycle lane around the Public Garden and thus off pedestrian paths. I'd make it clear to all at City Hall that safe multi-modal transportation is deeply important to me.
Montez David Haywood
On District 8 we have historic neighborhoods that will require working with the neighborhood associations to identify pathways that are appropriate to connect the major thoroughfares across the District. I believe once we have established community partners that have identified an appropriate pathway(s) the connection of the major thoroughfares will be designed and built in short order as needed.
Kristen Mobilia
I would bring together stakeholders in each neighborhood to ensure that decisions aren't made in a vacuum. We need to be better at demanding true city planning. Right now we just keep putting up buildings and making transit decisions piecemeal. That's no way for a world-class city to operate and be a leader in transportation. I would make off-street paths and protected bike lanes a priority, but I would be sure that solutions are a fit for each neighborhood that they travel through.
Hélène Vincent
"How we approach relatively small conflicts in public decision-making, such as separating bike infrastructure, is indicative of how we approach larger conflicts, such as a housing crisis or structural racism. Can we handle conflict well and create trust among neighbors over time instead of distrust? We often shorthand it as “putting in a bike lane,” but what’s really happening is “renegotiating the street layout and deciding how much of a very limited resource—street width—is allocated to people using each mode of transit.” If we are to get buy-in for this kind of infrastructure, we would need to prioritize holding the kinds of public conversations that would get buy-in from neighbors and local businesses. Fortunately, the job of a city councilor is to foster understanding, welcome and encourage community input, and facilitate decision-making processes. My own background in mediation and conflict negotiation would be especially useful in this area as I am trained to bring all the interested parties to the table and guide them through conflict to find the points on which they can agree."

Additional Questions

1. Vision Zero is an approach which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries and has been adopted by Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, and many other cities across the country. Do you support the principles of Vision Zero policies and funding for their rapid implementation?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
I am deeply committed to the Vision Zero philosophy. Despite Boston's formal adoption of such an approach, I think we still have much to do to make Vision Zero a consistent priority here, rather than a crisis-response touch-point when we experience a bad accident.
Montez David Haywood
Strongly Support
Kristen Mobilia
Strongly Support
We need to be a city of the future - one that is sustainable.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
One of the biggest hurdles to implementing Vision Zero is the very small amount of money Boston is currently devoting to it—about $5 per person (other cities spend much more—San Francisco, for example, spends about $75 per person). If elected, I would advocate for greater funding for transportation issues across the city and for Vision Zero funding in particular.
2. 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 S.1376, An Act relative to automated enforcement, which if passed would authorize cities and towns in Massachusetts to opt into the use of automated enforcement? To see the full text of the bill, go here.
Kenzie Bok
Somewhat Support
I am broadly in favor of such a system for traffic enforcement, given our need for better and more consistent enforcement across the city, but I still want to know more about what checks would prevent the use of such cameras for undue surveillance. In Britain, where a very broad network of cameras have been successfully been used for traffic monitoring purposes, there is also a much more extensive surveillance state. So we need to balance two sets of concerns in any such legislation.
Montez David Haywood
Somewhat Support
Kristen Mobilia
Somewhat Support
I am very much in support of a bill that would improve safety and reduce racial bias. I do have concerns about personal privacy and the possibility that cameras could be used for unanticipated government surveillance beyond the intended use.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
3. Do you support implementation of all of the Better Bike Corridors and other bike projects in the Go Boston 2030 Plan, and making sure all short-term projects are planned and implemented within three years, and long-term projects are implemented by or before 2030?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
Yes; as I stated above, we need to get these projects underway in order to achieve the effective, joined-up network that cyclists need.
Montez David Haywood
Somewhat Support
Kristen Mobilia
Strongly Support
I agree that we need better designed bike corridors, but we also need to listen to residents as to how they best fit into a neighborhood. We need to account for road to sidewalk accessibility, emergency vehicle access, frequent delivery services, etc. Additionally, all cyclists need to abide by the rules of the road. I've even seen some bicyclists riding the wrong way in a bike lane on Beacon Street. We all need to be accountable to traffic rules.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
4. Do you support creating age-friendly walking conditions in your community -- an issue raised by many seniors as critical to their ability to “age in community”? If yes, how?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
Especially in historic neighborhoods, we need to map accessible routes through our communities that help folks in scooters or wheelchairs to navigate our streets successfully. I've also noticed a recent uptick in the provision of benches across Boston, which is great for our seniors. And we need to provide good bike infrastructure in part so that seniors and cyclists are not sharing the same sidewalk pavement and risking falls/accidents.
Montez David Haywood
Strongly Support
Additional signage for crosswalks, additional signage to identify for drivers that they are in an area of the City with an increased density of elderly or individuals that are differently abled. In addition rumble strips and increased times for pedistrian walk signals.
Kristen Mobilia
Strongly Support
This is extremely important as our largest growing population is Boston is older adults. In fact, I am currently working on an aging in community program within District 8. My grandmother and grandfather had the opportunity to age in community on Mission Hill. We need to make sure that older adults have the freedom to get around their street, their neighborhood, and Boston.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
"An elderly voter I met has a particularly difficult time moving about Back Bay because of the curb height. She’s petite and walks with a cane. Recently they’ve repaved the sidewalks on her street and now the curbs are several inches higher. Mary calls these curbs short walls! She has to walk all the way around them. Seniors have a higher risk of tripping and falling, and District 8 has a particularly high number of seniors. When designing our urban areas, we must accommodate them and maintain their ability to age in place."
5. Do you support the restriction of on-street parking during rush hour in order to create dedicated bus lanes on certain major thoroughfares where bus riders experience significant delays due to traffic congestion?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
When it comes to maximizing the movement of people through the city quickly and efficiently, dedicated bus lanes at rush hour is one of the easiest, most impactful interventions we could make.
Montez David Haywood
Somewhat Support
Kristen Mobilia
Somewhat Support
Every neighborhood is different and some already have compromised parking situations. Additionally, our city is growing and more cars are cramping each neighborhood. We need to have an improved and reliable MBTA at a price point that incents residents (inside and outside of Boston) to leave cars at home and/or to not invest in them. When we provide residents with a reasonable alternative, we'll have more willingness to reduce on-street parking during rush hour and other hours of the day.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
Boston has had great success with a few pilot bus lanes of this type, and I would love to see more added in congested areas.
6. Do you support exploring new ways of raising revenue to provide Boston with more tools to improve conditions for people walking, using mobility assistive devices, biking, and using public transit (e.g. increasing the gas tax, implementing congestion pricing, increasing fees on Uber/Lyft)? If yes, please give examples that interest you.
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
Our fees on Uber/Lyft are some of the lowest in the country and don't incentivize the right behavior by these companies; they need to be higher. I also support exploring congestion pricing, paired with commuter rail improvements, as a way to reduce traffic. More than half the tailpipes in Boston on any given day are from outside the city, and Bostonians are paying not only in time lost to traffic, but also in reduced air quality for city residents. I also continue to hope that the Fair Share amendment will pass and help supply some new transportation funding.
Montez David Haywood
Somewhat Support
I believe congestion pricing for non-City residents is appropriate to encourage commuters to take public transportation.
Kristen Mobilia
Somewhat Oppose
There are hidden costs in many of the old and new ways to get around our city. We need to make sure that actions that negatively affect our shared quality of life in the form of traffic, pollution, safety, etc. are tied to financial responsibility.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
"I would like to implement the following measures: congestion pricing, fees on single rider Uber/Lyft, fees on residential parking permits, increasing the gas tax, and passing the Fair Share amendment."
7. Do you support the rollout of dynamic parking meter pricing in business districts, which would increase meter rates during periods of increased demand, to free up on-street parking and reduce cars “cruising” for open spaces?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
I support such programs as a potential way to reduce cruising, with the caveat that they need to be implemented in ways that are sensitive to neighborhood context. For example, in Back Bay some meters in entirely residential areas became subject to the same rules as Newbury St ones. I also think that either the same higher dynamic rates need to be rolled out across the city, or else we should discuss Parking Benefits Districts that provide some dedicated funds to the immediate neighborhood in which the fees are differentially high.
Montez David Haywood
Strongly Support
Kristen Mobilia
Somewhat Support
I am generally in support of this idea, but I'd like to find a solution for neighborhood residents who frequent these areas by vehicle and are getting taxed for supporting their local businesses.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
8. Boston has many traffic signals that do not work well for pedestrians. Do you support making signal timing safer, easier, and more convenient for people walking and using mobility assistive devices at all paces?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
I am consistently surprised by the number of signals we have that barely allocate enough time for a jogger to cross the road, much less an elder, and I also think there are a number of places where we should think about adding pedestrian-activated signals.
Montez David Haywood
Strongly Support
Kristen Mobilia
Strongly Support
I absolutely support this action. In fact, I have contacted the BTD to have a study done on Bolyston Street as residents of all ages were having difficulties crossing the street with enough time. Traffic has increased greatly on this roadway and was becoming extremely unsafe.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
9. Do you support charging an annual fee for residential parking permits?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
Our surrounding communities charge a residential parking fee, and I think implementing such a fee could be a good way of discouraging large numbers of cars registered to the same address. It would also allow us to in some way register the value of our shared public curb space in the city of Boston, while making allowances for those for whom such fees would be a financial burden.
Montez David Haywood
Somewhat Support
Kristen Mobilia
Strongly Support
I am in favor of a tiered fee structure that would have increases for each additional vehicle. Even a low fee (for example $25 per year) would bring in a good deal of revenue that could be used for improving sidewalks and roadways.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
Amanda Smart
Strongly Support
10. Do you support reducing or eliminating MBTA fares for people with low income?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
We need to think of the MBTA like a true public good -- it benefits our whole society when residents can get to a job, or a school, or a new friend because of public transit. Furthermore, driving more folks to use public transit is key to addressing climate change. So yes, we should aspire to a system in which we are proud to provide transit mobility just as we are proud, in our public libraries, to provide free access to information.
Montez David Haywood
Somewhat Support
I would strongly support a program that focused on reducing the cost for our City’s elderly and youth.
Kristen Mobilia
Somewhat Support
I support reducing MBTA fares across the board. We need to encourage all residents to take the T as opposed to other singular modes of transportation.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
"I would like to start with Councilor Wu’s proposal to eliminate fares on the bus routes that run through our most economically disadvantaged communities. We should then examine the impacts of instituting a low-income fare across the system and of eliminating fares altogether and making the MBTA a fully publicly funded resources for the entire region."
11. Do you support ensuring large-scale developments (including Sullivan Square, the Allston I-90 Interchange, and Suffolk Downs) incorporate the community's desire for walkability, connectivity, open space, and resiliency?
Kenzie Bok
Strongly Support
As mentioned above, I have pushed for these types of mobility-related changes as a Community Advisory Committee member for large development projects in the past, and I would make such considerations a strong priority for any project I scrutinized as a city councilor.
Montez David Haywood
Strongly Support
Kristen Mobilia
Strongly Support
This is forward-thinking.
Hélène Vincent
Strongly Support
"These types of large-scale developments (Suffolk Downs is the single biggest “ground up” development project in Boston’s history) offer Boston the opportunity to be truly ground-breaking in terms of balancing density in housing with green space and transportation options. We need to understand the mistakes of Boston’s Seaport district and New York’s Hudson Yards so that we do not make them twice. Additionally, there needs to be a rigorous public process for each development that includes surrounding communities and culminates in a community benefits agreement."