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Monday, October 07, 2019

MAYOR WALSH OFFERS TESTIMONY TO THE MBTA FISCAL AND MANAGEMENT CONTROL BOARD, ADVOCATES FOR BETTER SERVICE ACROSS THE REGION



BOSTON - Monday, October 7, 2019 - In his testimony before the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh today spoke in support of a service enhancement plan for the Fairmount Line and advocated for improved regional rail service across Greater Boston. Fairmount Line improvements are identified as priorities in both the Go Boston 2030 transportation plan, as well as the Imagine Boston 2030 citywide plan.

"The City of Boston's partnership with the MBTA is one of the most important we have," said Mayor Walsh. "Our residents depend on it; our workforce depends on it; our economy and our environment depend on it. I will always advocate for the best possible service, to meet the needs of our residents today and tomorrow. We need to take the essential next steps to improve mobility in our city and region, and increasing services levels on the Fairmount Line will be an asset for our residents, city and state."

The Fairmount Line provides public transit service to parts of Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan, and Hyde Park neighborhoods of Boston that have limited access to subway service. The City's plan calls for eight additional trips each weekday - tailored to better support early morning and late night shift workers as well as students who live and learn along the corridor - as a short term measure, as well as a focus on additional longer term investments to improve frequency. The City is also working with the MBTA to to integrate the Fairmount Line into the subway and bus payment system, allowing passengers boarding at several stations to use their Charlie Cards.

"One-fifth of Boston's population lives along the nine-mile route of the Fairmount Line, and the residents in this corridor are some of the most transit dependent residents in the city and have some of the longest average commutes; improving the frequency of the Fairmount Line increases equity and expands opportunity in Boston," said Chief of Streets Chris Osgood. "The City also strongly encourages enhancing service for the entire regional rail system. Strengthening the region's regional rail system would shift a larger percentage of Boston's workforce to public transit, decreasing congestion, lowering emissions and improving public health."

The City of Boston is investing heavily around commuter rail stations in neighborhoods along the Fairmount Line. An economic plan is underway at Newmarket Square; an arts and innovation district is being created at Uphams Corner; $11 million is being invested to improve Columbia Road adjacent to the Four Corners station; a multi-million dollar renovation of Harambee Park is in the works; and major roadways around the Blue Hill Avenue stop are being redesigned. Investments in public transit complement these advancements.

Advocating for a stronger regional rail system to be established over time, the City expects that this system would address congestion from private vehicles entering and exiting the city limits.  Additionally, it would lower emissions, meet climate goals, and improve public health, particularly if the rail system were electrified.   

To accelerate improvements in public transit, the City of Boston has invested in a dedicated Transit Team within the Boston Transportation Department that is working with the MBTA to improve service, and create innovative solutions.  Progress has been made and efforts to further enhance public transit service will continue. Recent collaboration between the City of Boston and the MBTA has resulted in several achievements including:
  • Bus priority lanes that welcome bicyclists have been built on Washington Street in Roslindale, Brighton Avenue in Allston, and North Washington Street, offering quicker commutes for the thousands of people who ride on them each day.
  • MBTA passes have been made available to 7th through 12th grade students in all Boston schools.
  • Seniors have been protected from the MBTA fare increase.
  • Late night bus service has been provided to support third shift workers.

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