Building on his commitment to create a safer, more equitable transportation future for Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a $5 million annual investment included in the city's recommended Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) operating budget and capital plan aimed at upgrading transportation infrastructure to benefit all modes of travel. The investments will contribute to the ongoing implementation of the 58 projects and policies identified in Go Boston 2030, which is the city’s long-term transportation plan unveiled in 2017. These proposed investments complement the transportation investments in the full operating budget and capital plan.
"Getting from point A to point B should be safe, affordable, and reliable -- and this strategy is a bold, progressive way to ensure transportation in Boston is equitable for everyone," said Mayor Walsh. "Last year, we promised to make transportation in Boston better for all with our Go Boston 2030 plan, and these improvements and investments do just that. We're committed to creating a strong transportation network by investing in both short and long-term projects that will create greater transportation access that is reliable and safe for all users of our city's streets."
As the funding that the city provides to the state for public transit continues to increase, Boston must utilize its limited revenue streams to support its own new projects and plans. To increase investments in Boston's streets and transportation options, this package of investments is funded through a strategic set of increases to its current parking fine structure, designed to reduce congestion and emissions, increase cleanliness, and improve the parking experience.
Altering the city's current parking fines will encourage better compliance with existing laws and bring Boston's fines in line with some peer U.S. cities. For example, the fine for double parking in Boston is currently $30 for Zone B and $45 for Zone A and is recommended to be increased to $55 and $75 respectively. However the double parking fine is already significantly higher in San Francisco at $110, New York City at $115, and Chicago at $100. The City of Boston has not raised parking ticket fines in 10 years. The expected new revenue from the modified parking fees will be invested back into city streets.
The estimated increase in revenue through the updated fines will be $5 million, with that new revenue reinvested back into priorities identified by constituents through the Go Boston 2030 plan. These include:
Strengthening Bus Transit
Through the recommended budget, the city will launch its first "Transit Team." This team will work with the MBTA to improve public transit, with a particular focus on bus service, which services 350,000 trips each day.
Through the Transit Team, the city will work with the MBTA to identify key bus corridors and implement strategies such as transit signal priority and dedicated bus lanes to improve the bus riding experience.
The transit team is expected to include:
- A transit coordinator and an additional staff person to design bus lanes and implement transit signal improvements.
- Four operations staff focused on managing dedicated bus lanes in the City of Boston.
- Among the strategic bus corridors identified in Go Boston 2030 are Washington Street between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills, Washington Street Silver Line service, and Brighton Avenue, Blue Hill Avenue, and North Washington Street.
State Representative Russell Holmes, who co-chaired the Go Boston 2030 advisory committee, said, "The Mattapan neighborhood realizes heavy bus ridership, but there is no direct public transportation connection between Mattapan and the Longwood Medical Area. Building a direct connection will have dual benefits, providing the community with reliable bus access to area medical institutions, as well as offering Mattapan and Dorchester residents with a quick connection to the many economic opportunities available in the LMA."
Increasing Safety for Walking & Biking
The top priority in Go Boston 2030 is increasing safety on our streets. As part of this recommended budget, the city proposes a series of investments to accelerate our ability to deliver on that priority, including:
- An additional $750,000 for the Walkable Streets program, nearly doubling the city's investment in building out a better pedestrian network.
- $400,000 for the Green Links program, a new dedicated source of funding for filling missing bike and pedestrian connections to parks and paths, such as three that are currently underway: the Roxbury-Fenway Connector linking the Southwest Corridor and the Emerald Necklace; the Roslindale Gateway path; and a multi-use path connecting Fenway and Yawkey Stations.
- An additional $300,000 for the strategic bike network program, raising the annual investment to $1.2 million for building out high quality bike infrastructure in Boston.
- Two new planners and two new engineers to focus on designing and implementing key Vision Zero programs, such as Neighborhood Slow Streets, and efforts to make quick improvements to some of Boston's most challenging intersections.
- Up to four new maintenance & operations personnel to ensure that infrastructure added to improve street safety, such as pedestrian delineators and flex posts, are kept in a state of good repair.
Through these investments, and the investments the city has already made in its capital budget, it expects, over the next four years, to build 15 Neighborhood Slow Streets areas, complete 15 miles of protected bike lanes, and make improvements to 15 of the most challenging intersections.