Boston Brakes Campaign Announced To Increase Safety of Pedestrians With Disabilities

Mayor Michelle Wu, the City of Boston Disabilities Commission, and the Boston Streets Cabinet announced the launch of Boston Brakes, an outreach campaign designed to raise awareness and increase safety of pedestrians with disabilities. The Disabilities Commission created Boston Brakes to alert and educate members of the public that people with different types of disabilities are prevalent on Boston’s sidewalks, streets, and intersections every day, including those who have mobility, sensory, and intellectual disabilities.

“To be a more sustainable, healthy, and inclusive city, we must ensure that everyone can navigate our streets and sidewalks safely,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As our city continues to grow, we are launching the Boston Brakes campaign to ensure our streets are safe for everyone as they get around. We will continue to work alongside the disability community in both the design of our infrastructure and how we interact with each other on public rights of way.”

“The message of this campaign is really simple and straightforward,” said City of Boston Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. “Remember that everyone moves at a different pace, so let’s respect each other’s space. People with disabilities have unique needs when navigating public rights of way. Older adults and people with mobility impairments may not be able to step aside quickly when a cyclist approaches; people who are blind or have low vision might not see a bicycle or an electric scooter coming; and those who are deaf or hard of hearing won’t necessarily hear a bell, a horn, or someone calling out a warning to move aside. Whether you trek Boston streets on wheels or feet, accessibility, sustainability, and safety are important to us all. That is why I am thrilled to announce Boston Brakes, a campaign to educate pedestrians about safety. This campaign aims to make sure that everyone is keeping an eye out for others and is ready to brake to keep people safe.”

As Boston moves toward becoming a healthier, greener, more resilient City, traditional uses of sidewalk curb zones have shifted to meet sustainability goals. New elements are being added along the curb, such as bike lanes, outdoor dining, and electric vehicle charging stations. With these changes to city infrastructure, Boston Brakes will raise awareness to residents, businesses and visitors that disabled residents and visitors still need clear access to sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, audible pedestrian signals, and on-street HP-DV parking spaces. 

The Boston Brakes campaign will be featured as part of the City’s annual ADA Day Celebration on Boston City Hall Plaza on July 18, from 12 to 2 p.m. Every year, the Disabilities Commission honors an outstanding partner who has worked to increase accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities. This year, the Boston Streets Cabinet will be recognized for their partnership in building accessible sidewalks, curb ramps, audio pedestrian signals, and safer intersections.

“Our main goal at the Street Cabinet is to make streets safe and comfortable for all users,” said Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge. “We’re pleased to partner with the Disabilities Commission to increase awareness about the mobility needs of people with disabilities and promote safety for our bike infrastructure. We continue to ensure that their needs are prioritized as we make Boston a more inclusive place to live, work, and visit.” 

“This campaign demonstrates that the city of Boston continues to prioritize safety and accessibility for all its pedestrians,” said Jerry Boyd, a member of the Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board. “As a city resident, I recognize the important role that bikes play within the city’s transportation network; and as a wheelchair user, I hope that this campaign will remind those in the cycling community and the disability community to pay attention to pedestrians around you. This will ensure that our city’s streets and sidewalks remain safe for all.”

Currently, there are about 80,000 Boston residents who identify as having at least one disability, which is about 12 percent of the city’s general population. This figure grows when you add in older adults, people with injuries or temporary disabilities, as well as visitors and tourists.The Disabilities Commission contracted with Aliste Marketing, a woman-owned small business, to design media assets for the Boston Brakes campaign.

For more information about Boston Brakes, including print and digital media, please visit

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