Report lays out Boston’s transit wish list
Boston residents want the city to eliminate fatal traffic crashes, make sure every household is within a 10-minute walk of public transportation, and ensure that MBTA trains and buses arrive on time at least 90 percent of the time, according to a new report released on Friday.
The city says the report lays out the transportation goals of thousands of Bostonians, and represents the next stage of City Hall's planning initiative called "Go Boston 2030." The initiative aims to use feedback from the broadest group of Bostonians possible to develop long-term transportation plans.
An "unprecedented" number of responses is allowing officials to hear what residents want the city to do before projects are planned, said Gina Fiandaca, the city's transportation commissioner.
"Generally, we have a preconceived plan and some options and we hold meetings, and we'll talk about them, and at the end of the day, we'll say, 'Choose A, B, or C,' " she said. "And that's not the case here."
As part of the Go Boston 2030 process, the city dispatched a van to different areas of the city and held several events to gather feedback on transportation; more than 6,000 residents responded. Officials then boiled down the comments to formulate respondents' most important transportation goals.
"What we really wanted to do is open the process to people we might not have had a chance to encounter," said Vineet Gupta, the director of planning at the city's transportation department. "In many cases, we found out, they hadn't been engaged in any city process. For them, it was a real eye-opener."
Based on data collected over the last year, residents hope that the city will:
■ Lower the default speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour.
■ Increase the number of train stations that have bus service, shuttle service, and access to car-share or bike-share stations.
■ Reduce the percentage of income that poorer households spend on transportation.
After officials gather more feedback on the report, they will release a final action plan in the spring of 2016.
Friday's report mentioned some general transportation goals for the city. For example, residents want to improve transit options so that residents from outlying neighborhoods can more easily get around town, without having to use central transit hubs such as Park Street and Downtown Crossing.
But the report also suggested specific, numeric goals, such as decreasing the average commute time by 10 percent for all Bostonians. That would drop the current average from 28.8 minutes to 25.9 minutes.
Achieving the goals detailed in the report will require substantial support from state agencies, as well as city offices. The city wants to ensure that MBTA customers will experience late trains or buses only 10 percent of the time, which will require buy-in and help from the T.
The report also publicizes some projects that are already underway, such as Vision Zero, a nationwide initiative to eliminate all fatal traffic crashes.
The plan also suggests relatively inexpensive improvements, such as repainting streets and placing planters to mark bike lanes on the street. Doing so can help slow drivers in corridors and intersections known for traffic accidents.
Chris Osgood, the recently appointed Chief of Streets, say such projects have been emerging from continual conversations with residents, and show that the city wants to move as quickly as possible to keep up the momentum for change.
"We don't need to wait until the spring of 2016 for things we want to do right now," he said.