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Mayor Walsh asks for feedback on future of transportation in Boston

May 25, 2016


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Residents and consumers asked to help prioritize among popular community ideas. 

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced that today through June 17, the City of Boston will engage thousands of area residents to provide feedback on a short list of transportation projects and policies as part of the next phase of the Go Boston 2030 Action Plan, which is the City's long range transportation plan. The City also announced a slate of projects that will be implemented in the near term to follow-up on ideas that came up repeatedly from the public during the first phase.

The projects and policies are sourced from over 3,700 ideas provided by the public.  People can fill out the survey online, or pick up a paper survey at various City buildings.  

"Since we first launched Go Boston 2030 in January 2015, thousands of residents and visitors have been engaged in the process and have provided us with their own personal transportation stories," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "We've listened to their questions and comments, and have taken steps to identify projects in response. We are well on our way to building community consensus on the future of transportation in Boston."  

A hallmark of Go Boston 2030 has been public engagement.  First, the City asked for residents to ask a question about the future of transportation to understand their hopes and aspirations; over 5,000 people weighed in.  Their feedback set the vision and goals for the plan.  Then, the City asked the public for policy and project ideas to achieve those goals; over 3,700 ideas were submitted.  Now, the City is asking the public to help prioritize some of the most popular and high potential ideas.  These prioritized ideas will form a core part of the City's long-term transportation plan.  That plan will be released this fall.  

In the ideas that residents submitted, they described four complementary directions that they wanted transportation in Boston to go.  These "futures" include:

  • Go Local: A focus on creating more beautiful streets and investing in the basics of neighborhoods such as sidewalks, bike lanes, street trees, and public art.
  • Go Crosstown: A focus on making it easier for all residents to connect to current and emerging job centers such as the Longwood Medical Area and the South Boston Waterfront without having to travel through the downtown core.
  • Go Regional: A focus on strengthening connections that reach beyond Boston's borders, allowing more people to commute by train and bike, relieving congestion and improving the environment.
  • Go Tech: A focus on embracing the disruption of transportation by emerging technology such as autonomous vehicles and directing that disruption towards the public's goals.

"All four futures - especially when taken together - create a transportation network that can support and unlock growth, that can increase equity and safety, and that can respond to and mitigate climate change," said Chris Osgood, City of Boston Chief of Streets. "Feedback through this process will help us understand where residents are most excited for us to start."

Within each future, between eight and twelve community-suggested projects are listed, which the public is also asked to indicate their preference for.  Those projects include:

  • Building a new streetcar or rapid-bus crosstown link connecting underserved areas in Mattapan and Dorchester with quality jobs in the Longwood Medical Area;
  • Developing a network of Mobility Hubs at neighborhood centers and subway stations that provide immediate access to car-share, Hubway, bus, and electric-vehicle services;
  • Enhancing public space or creating new plazas in each Main Streets district to serve as gathering spaces for the local community;
  • Enabling subway-like service on the Fairmount Line commuter rail;
  • Becoming a national leader in research that supports the development of shared-autonomous vehicles that interact well with pedestrians and bicyclists;
  • Building new and enhanced satellite stations that connect regional rail and bus service at locations like Allston Yards and Sullivan Square to support opportunities for growth in the surrounding districts.

"The intent of these project and policy options is to determine how Bostonians want streets to best accommodate the various modes of travel that people choose to use," said Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca. "We are committed to providing access to our streets for all users, and the survey results will give us a clear picture of which design options are preferable to residents and commuters who use these streets each day."  

In addition to the long term investments, some of the most popular and pressing ideas that have been submitted have already been started by the City.  These "early actions" include a commitment to improving the safety of our streets through the Vision Zero initiative, calming traffic in residential districts, expanding the protected bike lane and Hubway networks, collaborating with the MBTA to improve bus reliability and introduce bus rapid transit on select corridors, installing "tactical" public spaces in Boston's neighborhoods, and retiming traffic signals on major arterials.  

The online survey can be found on Go Boston 2030's website, and paper copies are being distributed throughout Boston and will be available for pick-up at public libraries, community centers, and at City Hall at the Boston Transportation Department in Room 721 and the Office of the Parking Clerk in Room 224. Paper surveys may also be mailed upon request by calling BTD at 617-635-4000.