The Walsh administration’s attempt to map out Boston’s future gained momentum with last week’s release of the Imagine Boston 2030 draft report. Next Wednesday, Mayor Walsh will kick off an even more intense engagement effort that he has dubbed Imagine Boston 2030 Week. It’s a series of public events intended to draw in new voices — and ideas— from the neighborhoods. It’s a good opportunity for folks who’ve been quietly roasting their own chestnuts of ideas to bring them into the public square.
Here in Dorchester and Mattapan, the potential conversion of the Fairmount Line from its current state as a underperforming commuter rail line jumps out as a giant opportunity. The Imagine Boston team sees that, too. They’ve scheduled an event next Thursday afternoon (Dec. 1) that’s essentially a round-trip excursion on the Fairmount Line that will leave from South Station at 4:30 p.m. The intent, along the ride, is to “discuss coordinated investments to expand opportunity for residents and strengthen connections between key neighborhoods and the city’s economic centers.”
That’s a good start, but transitioning the Fairmount into a rapid transit line should also be front and center. For years, transit equity advocates have called for the Fairmount to become the Indigo Line— more akin to the Red or Orange Line as suits a transit corridor serving city neighborhoods. That’s where this rail corridor should be headed next.
On Dec. 3, the Imagine Boston leaders will turn their attention to “completing the Emerald Necklace”— with a tour from the Hubway station at Franklin Park to Moakley Park at the other end of Columbia Road. The two-hour tour starts at 10 a.m.
Another event, on Mon., Dec. 5, will convene at Mattapan Community Health Center at 6:30 p.m. to focus on data and trends related to the city’s growing workforce.
Finally, another sponsored event at East Boston’s Piers Park is one that people in Dorchester should seek to engage in. The round-trip ferry ride on Sun. Dec 4 (10:30 a.m.) will focus on preparing for climate change and emerging job centers along the waterfront.
We hope that the Imagine Boston 2030 effort will — in coming months— encourage a similar tour of Dorchester’s waterfront from Dorchester Bay to the Neponset River in Lower Mills. Columbia Point, Port Norfolk, Savin Hill, Cedar Grove, and Lower Mills— teamed with communities like Quincy, Squantum, the Harbor Islands, and, of course, downtown Boston, should have a daily nautical transit system as a viable alternative to land travel.