Community hears city's plans for Fields Corner MBTA station area

With construction on the Fields Corner MBTA station nearing completion, city officials took the time Tuesday night in Fields Corner to discuss with the community some newly proposed plans for the streets and areas around the station. The new plans, presented by Dick Hardy of the Boston Transportation Department, pertain to parking and traffic flow problems in the area.

The core of the plan is to eliminate stress, safety concerns, and overall inconvenience of MBTA riders parking their cars for free on city streets around the Fields Corner station, leaving those doing business in the area and residents without a place to leave their cars.

"In my opinion, there is a lot of space being wasted that we could be using," Hardy said, starting the meeting off by explaining his goals. "We want to minimize traffic into the neighborhood and keep people on the main streets."

Many of his proposals involved extending the areas of two-hour-only parking on Dorchester Avenue, Charles St., and Lincoln St. The restrictions on two hour parking eliminate the problem of commuters parking in those areas all day long, and the areas that would extend these have no restrictions in place right now. Charles St. would have a temporary "delivery zone" put in place for the morning hours. A key part of the proposal was turning Freeman St. into a one-way road from Faulkner St. up to Charles St. The reason Hardy stressed this as necessary was to reduce the ability of drivers to "circle the block" around the station, reducing traffic flow and a safety concern. This move would also help the MBTA buses coming out of the station, Hardy added.

Residents from around the area and community leaders seemed to back the majority of these suggestions, at least for a temporary trial period of 90 days. The main concern from residents, however, was that the new rules would have to have actual enforcement, or would prove worthless.

"The transportation enforcement officers, we don't see them around here too often," Ed Crowley said. "We can't say enforcement to you enough."

Other community members shared Crowley's thoughts: just putting up the signs doesn't mean anything if there aren't any officers to tag the cars with tickets, or eventually tow them off.

Eventually the group decided on 90 day trials for most of the proposed plan including the Freeman St. switch, and the creation of a pick-up or drop-off section under the red line overpass on Dorchester Ave. Hardy said he would try to have these put in place by the middle to the end of July, and that the 90 days would leave open chances for residents to voice their opinions on the changes before anything turned permanent.