Study of local transit under way this week

Transportation officials will begin a series of meetings this week aimed at gathering input on transit needs of Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury. Three “kick-off” meetings will be held this month, with the first set for this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at the Devine Golf Course Clubhouse in Franklin Park.

The other meetings are set for Wed., Jan. 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the Mattapan Branch Library, and Thurs., Jan. 13, at 5:30 p.m. in the Dudley Branch Library. The study is expected to take 15 months.

The $291,000 project, which will focus on areas between the Red and Orange Lines on the MBTA that are not within a half-mile walk of stations on either line, comes after state lawmakers representing the three neighborhoods called on transportation officials to pull back on the proposal for an express busway along Blue Hill Ave. Community members raised concerns about the proposal, dubbed “Route 28X,” because they said it would tear up the street for the busway and eliminate parking spaces.

Lydia Rivera, a spokeswoman for the MBTA, said in an e-mail that officials at the agency and the state’s Department of Transportation are taking a “fresh look” at strategies for improving transportation in the three neighborhoods.

Funding any work following the report is another story, she said. “More ambitious long-term improvements would require continued advocacy on the part of the community, elected officials, and stakeholders, in partnership with the MBTA and MassDOT, to secure necessary funding.”

– REPORTER STAFF