Boston lays out transportation goals for 2030

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BOSTON – Boston took a step closer to creating a new transportation plan this week, sketching out a proposed shape of its mass-transit systems for the year 2030 under a draft of the blueprint released Friday.

It includes a kind of wishlist based on inputs from city residents and those who live in the 101-community Metropolitan Area Planning Council, or MAPCO, district of suburbs. Barely half of residents outside the city would like to use mass transit for commuting by 2030, and fewer than half of city dwellers say that would be their preference.

The document indicates that about 40 percent of MAPCO-area residents use transit systems currently, including about 10 percent who rely on commuter rail, and about a third of city residents use buses or the subway to get to and from work. Much of the city’s mass-transit network came to a halt for days or weeks as record snowfall buried the region last winter, which may have influenced views of residents who rely on the system.

Walking is the current mode of transportation for almost 15 percent of city residents, and that percentage would rise to 20 percent by 2030, according to the document. Biking would jump to about 8 percent from just under 2 percent today.

Nine themes emerged from 5,000 questions asked by Bostonians and 600 comments from residents obtained through “visioning” meetings during the first few months of 2015. The city is seeking more public input on transportation needs to help prepare for specific steps forward.

“We have identified early action projects to improve safety on our streets, fight congestion, and improve access for pedestrians and bicyclists,” Gina Fiandaca, the city’s transportation commissioner, said in a statement.

Officials are looking for more public input through outreach efforts to neighborhoods and through “Idea Roundtable” meetings set for Nov.10, 14 and 18. The goal is to complete an action plan by the summer of next year.

Access, safety and reliability are the focus points for the initiative. Under access, the strategy includes connecting low-income communities to “job-rich districts” and ensuring that every Boston resident is located within a 10-minute walk of a public-transportation point, a Hubway bike stand or a ride-sharing stop. The plan also calls for working on Green Links that will connect neighborhoods to the city’s greenway and park system.

“Our transportation action plan will lay out an ambitious roadmap to address inequities in underserved neighborhoods, connect our workforce to job opportunities, and prepare our systems for climate change,” Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement.

The initiative also would work to slash the number of vehicular collisions and improve the reliability of bus and subway schedules.

The initiative, called Go Boston 2030, is headed by state Rep. Russell Holmes (D- Boston) and Richard Dimino, the chief executive of A Better City, a nonprofit organization that led a push to build the central artery tunnel through the city in the 1990s and more recently has championed the construction of a direct transit link between the North Station and South Station commuter rail hubs. To read the full report, visit Go Boston’s website.

Contact Kara Bettis at [email protected] or @karabettis