City releases Go Boston 2030 15 year transportation planning report, ideas

Jule Pattison-Gordon | 3/8/2017, 11:22 a.m.
The city’s Go Boston 2030 plan provides recommendations for linking low-income communities to job centers, reducing disproportionate transit cost and ...
Mayor Martin Walsh spoke to reporters about Go Boston 2030. Banner photo

The city on Tuesday released its Go Boston 2030 plan to guide the city’s transportation goals and planning. During a meeting with reporters on Monday, city spokespeople said the plan’s main goals are to create transportation links that will boost economic mobility, bring greater equity and respond to climate challenges. Residents engaged in the planning process largely said they wanted transit to be safer and public transportation options to be more accessible, predictable and convenient.

On the web

Read the report: www.boston.gov/go-boston-2030

Links to jobs

A 2011 study cited in the city’s Go Boston 2030 report states that median incomes in Boston range widely, from $182,000 in Back Bay to $32,000 in Roxbury, and that households without cars are more likely to have lower incomes, making them especially dependent on biking, walking or public transit.

One method the city proposes for boosting incomes is by prioritizing the creation of better transit links between low-income communities and sites of high job concentration such as the Longwood Medical Area, Logan Airport and South Boston Waterfront. Recommendations include creating safer biking connections as well as more direct transit routes connecting Dudley Square, Uphams Corner, Cleary Square and Widett Circle to the Seaport or LMA.

Transit cost and time burdens

The report also states that the city expects that providing more direct rapid transit options and alternatives to owning personal vehicles will reduce the high share of income that households in some neighborhoods spend on transportation, as well as cut down on lengthy commute times.

A household earning the median income, on citywide average, spends about 13 percent of its income on transportation. Neighborhood by neighborhood, the average share of income going to transportation drops as low as 6.6 percent for those living on the South Boston waterfront and rises as high as 16.4 percent in Hyde Park and 16.5 percent in West Roxbury. In Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury, the average budget share going to transit are 14.3 percent, 12.5 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively, although cost burdens rise to as much as 33 percent of household income in some low-income sections of these neighborhoods, states the report.

Additionally, at 34 minutes, Mattapan residents experience the longest average commute in the city, with the citywide average at 29 minutes. In Roxbury, the average commute is nearly 28 minutes and in Dorchester about 32 minutes. Those who undertake commutes longer than an hour disproportionately are concentrated in several neighborhoods, with the highest levels in Mattapan, East Boston, Dorchester and Hyde Park.

Better buses

Currently, communities of color are especially reliant on buses and tend to experience longer bus commutes than whites, the report states. In contrast, communities in close proximity to rail stations are predominately white.

City officials agreed on the need to improve speed and reliability of public transit as well as cross-town connections. Plans include connecting Mattapan to the Longwood Medical Area via rapid bus transit, which could feature exclusive bus lanes designated on some streets, signal priority and all-door boarding. The design and vehicle construction costs are pegged at $55 million. Execution will require MBTA participation and could take 5 to 15 years, the report states.