As the city’s largest neighborhood, Dorchester is the site for several initiatives and priority areas highlighted in the Imagine Boston 2030 draft that was released in May. The Fairmount Line, in particular, is singled out by officials for a combination of transit and development needs as the corridor’s population booms along with the city.
The second Imagine Boston 2030 draft builds on an earlier draft from 2016, delving more deeply into its focus areas. It is the city’s first comprehensive planning effort since the 1960s, effectively an umbrella over sub-master plans that addresses topics like transportation, climate resiliency, and school facilities.
Unlike the GoBoston 2030 plan, Imagine Boston does not pin dollar values to projects, nor does it commit to a timeline independent of existing budget items or sub-plan priorities.
Boston is doubling down on the Fairmount Corridor, an area of close to 200,000 residents now connected by a commuter rail spine long besieged by unreliable service and low ridership. The corridor envelops the city’s largest populations of communities of color, sizable and growing immigrant communities, and Boston’s fastest growing population of school-aged children.
“However, physical infrastructure, gaps in transportation access, and the enduring impact of past policies— from redlining to busing to urban renewal—have created areas where the urban fabric separates communities and reinforces physical, social, and economic inequalities, “ the report notes.
It calls for eventual “subway-level service,” but increasing investments in the corridor communities is long overdue, the report notes. Along with improving the “quality and frequency” of service for the line connecting Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Dorchester with South Boston, the 2030 plan commits to public- and private -sector investments, anchored by new anti-displacement policies.
Hubs along the way are identified for their potential growth, such as the Readville, Newmarket, and Uphams Corner neighborhoods. Noting planned investments in an area – like improvements to the Strand Theatre or the Uphams Corner library – the report maps out potential enhancement space along Columbia Road and Dudley Street, the latter connecting the Fairmount/Indigo Line station with the village center.
Green space assets like Franklin Park are also noted in the plan for increased investment.
The BuildBPS facilities master plan ties in as well, with expected renovations for schools along the corridor. Imagine Boston leaders also touted a system introduced in the city’s Resilience and Racial Equity Program, which would ideally help evaluate any new policies along the corridor from an equity perspective. A notable component to this system is a built-in trigger for a policy reevaluation and new plan of action within six months if there is a greater than 10 percent net loss of households making under $50,000, in 2017 dollars, from the corridor after a new policy is put in place.
The full 420-page report, complete with graphics, can be read online at imagine.boston.gov. Its release kicked off a 30-day comment period ending on June 19. Comments can be submitted directly online, but the team is also putting out copies of the plan at public libraries.