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Pressley secures $20 million for Roxbury transportation projects

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Pressley secures $20 million for Roxbury transportation projects
Warren Street may receive improvements as part of $20 million in federal funding secured by U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley. Banner file photo

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley secured $20 million in federal funds for street improvements for Malcolm X Boulevard, Melnea Cass Boulevard and Warren Street. The funding for the three Roxbury thoroughfares will be targeted toward streetscape improvements aimed at improving climate resiliency, making sidewalks more accessible and streets more safe.

The tree thoroughfares make up the city-designated Roxbury Transportation Corridors project. City officials say the three corridors have some of the highest bus ridership and worst delays in the MBTA system.

While separated bus and bike lanes may be part of the reconstruction of the streets, city officials, speaking on background, said any such changes would be implemented only after community groups and stakeholders weigh in. The work will include updating wheelchair access at intersections, many of which do not have accessible ramps.

The $20 million in funding comes through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grants program. In addition to improvements in accessibility, the grants program also funds climate resiliency measures aimed at mitigating stormwater runoff, which can cause flooding and reducing so-called hot spot heat zones, areas where and excess of pavement and a lack of trees can cause significantly higher temperatures than those in surrounding areas.

“Transit justice has always gone hand-in-hand with racial, economic, disability, and environmental justice, and it is imperative that our transportation investments reflect that,” Pressley said in a statement. “I’m proud to have helped secure this essential funding for the Roxbury Corridors project, which will support safer, more reliable, and more accessible modes of transportation for the diverse communities who live and travel through Roxbury. I thank Mayor Wu for her partnership and for prioritizing community input on this important project, and I look forward to seeing it come to fruition.”

In addition to transportation improvements, work on the corridors project may include enhancements to bus stops, tree plantings and narrowed crosswalks, according to the city’s Roxbury Transportation Corridors website.

“We are very excited to secure funding for environmental resilience and sustainable transportation in the Roxbury neighborhood through this federal grant,” said Kirstie Hostetter, a transit planner with the Boston Transportation Department. “We haven’t made decisions on specific design features, as we plan to lead with an extensive community engagement process to inform the use of these funds. The only way to implement this project in a way that benefits the Roxbury community is to let community voices lead the process, and that is what we plan to do.”