- Felix Arroyo (website: http://forwardwithfelix.com/)
- John Barros (website: http://www.barrosforboston.com/)
- Charles Clemons (website: http://charlesforboston.com/)
- John Connolly (website: http://www.connollyforboston.com/)
- Charlotte Golar Richie (website: http://www.charlotteformayor.com/)
- Mike Ross (website: http://www.mikerossboston.com/)
- Bill Walczak (website: http://www.billforboston.com/)
- Marty Walsh (website: http://www.martywalsh.org/)
- Charles Yancy (website: http://www.charlesyanceyformayor.com/)
Felix Arroyo (for Mayor)
Government work best when it works with you and not over you. Having an open, inclusive and transparent governing style is not only good governance, it is the only style we should accept. I believe that all Bostonians should have a say in the direction of our City and especially those most affected by the decisions at hand. The mayor's power does not come from City Hall, but from the people he or she represents. We will work to ensure that all Bostonians feel as though they matter, that their voice matters and that the culture of City Halls reflects that belief. We will help foster that by offering multi-lingual and cultural competent services in every City department to meet the needs of residents who speak different languages and utilize social media and other creative outlets to help all communities stay informed and a part of the process.
If we are serious about limiting our carbon footprint and making Boston a more sustainable city, we must become a city that will promote and prioritize all active and affordable forms of transportation so Bostonians can get around the city safely. All Bostonians? quality of life will be improved by safer, easier, more affordable, and more enjoyable commutes.
John Barros (for Mayor)
City needs to go to where the people are, not just assume folks will come to meetings.
Meetings have to be part of a process where it's clear what is being decided/planned and who has what authority. Nothing is more exasperating than asking people to participate, but not allowing their voice to have any influence on the process. We need to delegate more decision - making authority downward into neighborhood processes.
Access to information and analysis is critical for all, and affirmative efforts (i.e. translated materials and simultaneous translation) are needed to ensure that those with less English or formal education can access the information they need to participate.
The knowledge of local residents needs to be valued and gathered. Especially in transportation issues, people who are in a place every day will know many things that traffic consultants do not. Community-based data and research should be supported in community processes. Lots of us have done our own traffic/pedestrian/bike counts or identifying dangerous intersections before the body count is in.
But there are also things that we can start trying in the City. The U-pass is just such an idea. As Mayor, I can work with our universities, hospitals, and other big institutions to offer a universal transit pass to their students and employees. These institutions would pay for these passes as a benefit for their people, but the result would be more funding for the T as well as more riders. Tufts UEP graduate students estimated that more than $100 million could potentially be generated for the MBTA from the region's 250,000 college students. U-passes can become part of the transportation management plans that are required in major developments in the city.
In this process, residents need to discuss and debate how zoning can lead to a more livable city and transportation system. That means they'll have to discuss and understand the pros and cons of building more densely, all the ways that people get around and preparing for more people walking, biking, and riding transit. All people have the right to participate in these important discussions, and not all neighborhoods will come to the same conclusions. But we know it's time for a 21st century vision of transportation and livability and that means reducing our overdependence on the automobile.
Some specific things I'd support include:
- Reducing diesel pollution by passing the Diesel Emission Reduction Ordinance.
- Neighborhood plans for walkways and bikeways to get to school and access parks/recreational areas.
Charles Clemons (for Mayor)
John Connolly (for Mayor)
There is a role for technology in the community outreach process, such as providing better translation options and online notices for meetings. I've made my campaign platform available online in seven different languages, and I believe we need to do more of that in all our city communications, including our notices for community meetings. But posting a meeting notice online isn't enough. As mayor, I will make sure that we are reaching out to the communities and getting the word out in multiple formats, including direct outreach with residents in the neighborhoods.
We also need to improve the experience at community meetings. Too often these meetings are dominated by presentations from city officials and project consultants, and community input is tightly controlled and pushed to the last few minutes. We need these meetings to be a true two-way street. We should also experiment with holding community meetings at different times or on weekends, so that residents who work the second or third shift are able to participate. And we should make it easy for those who cannot make it to a submit their thoughts online.
The measure of a successful intersection cannot just be the number of cars that can get through in a cycle. It must also include the safety and convenience of cyclists and pedestrians.
The T's debt and maintenance backlog has forced the T to make the most of the infrastructure we have instead of pursuing expansions. Running Diesel Multiple Units on the Fairmount line and pursuing true Bus Rapid Transit from Logan Airport up to Chelsea and East Boston are smart moves given the fiscal climate. As mayor, I would push the T to expand this strategy, running subway-like service on other commuter lines within the city and looking for opportunities to implement true Bus Rapid Transit (off-bus payment, boarding at all doors, dedicated bus lanes that are truly off-limits to cars, and prioritizing buses at intersections). I would also prioritize late-night service, which would help workers in healthcare, public safety, hospitality, and other industries who don't work weekday hours, and would provide residents with a safe, reliable, affordable way to get home after enjoying Boston's culture and nightlife. It makes no sense not to provide this service now.
To pay for this, we are going to have to think differently about paying for the T. I believe that a UPass program, first proposed by advocates in 2012 and then again this year, is worth exploring. Similar programs elsewhere have require voluntary buy-in from universities, and as mayor I would work to bring our institutions of higher learning to the table and make the case for their participation. Finally, I believe we need to be much more aggressive in pursuing public private partnerships to fund transit. New Balance is funding the construction and operation of a new commuter rail station in Allston-Brighton. I believe we should be pursuing more partnerships of this kind, especially for major projects like the expansion of South Station, which involves a significant real estate opportunity.
Obviously, space is at a premium on our city streets, but interventions like the Western Avenue cycle track -- moving the parking lane out to serve as a buffer between bikes and traffic -- can be done without much cost or loss of parking. We need to find more instances like that, including rethinking the design of entire roads as they come up for reconstruction to find more space for bikes. We should also pilot the use of separate bike signals that reflect the very real differences between bikes and automobiles and give cyclists some added protection at intersections. And yes, there may be instances where we will remove parking in order to better accommodate cyclists.
Regarding bike parking, Boston is lagging behind our neighboring communities installing bike corrals, which can house a dozen or more bikes in a single automobile parking space. In a city where space is at a premium, these are a no brainer. When we reform our zoning code, we should do so in such a way as to require indoor bike parking in large office and residential buildings. New York city has an ordinance that requires landlords to respond to tenants' requests for bike parking or to get a waiver from the city. While I would prefer a more comprehensive, code-based solution, a similar ordinance here in Boston would help in the short term.
As mayor, I would apply our complete streets guidelines to all street projects: if a city street is being redone, it will be redone with bike facilities. And to pay for it, I'll instruct my transportation department to aggressively pursue grant opportunities, both from the federal government and from private sources like Bikes Belong and the Rockefeller Foundation. And just as we ask developers to contribute to roads and transit to serve their projects, we should be doing the same with bicycle facilities.
As mayor, I will make sure the city is making the most of opportunities like the Fairmount line. I will prioritize true transit oriented development and make sure that we have housing that is affordable for local residents near transit oriented developments. As I said above, I believe that DMUs could provide the potential for subway-like service on Fairmount, and we should explore expanding that strategy to other commuter lines to provide that level of service to more of the city. We also need to prioritize buses. The MBTA is currently making changes to improve service on its most used bus routes. Technology allows us to track buses in real time and give them priority at intersections. As mayor I would look to deploy this technology widely so as to give residents dependent on bus service the best possible experience. The T is also planning to extend the Silver Line past Logan Airport to East Boston and Chelsea on a dedicated busway. This will help a community currently underserved by transit.
And while I plan to be a forceful advocate for more transportation funding, I will also be a vocal watchdog of the MBTA, to make sure it is following through on its planning. Boston pays by far the largest city assessment to the T. We have an obligation to make sure we are getting our money's worth for all our residents.
One of the biggest challenges we face in Boston is the high cost of housing. We need a housing plan that will prioritize a holistic approach aimed at increasing affordable housing and middle-market housing in Boston. We need to give young artists, young professionals, and young families a path from rental to ownership and from one bedroom to two-to-three bedroom units. We need to make a priority of transit-oriented development that includes housing, retail, and commercial space, so that housing is accessible to stores, jobs and educational opportunities. Reducing parking requirements in appropriate places and with community buy-in could be a key strategy for lowering construction costs and creating a true middle-market for housing in Boston.
At the same time, we have to work hard to engage Bostonians in a discussion about parking. I very much like the idea of a pilot district. I believe that this is an issue where our neighborhoods can serve as laboratories of innovation. Working with our Main Streets and neighborhood organizations, we can try out some of these new concepts (an occupancy goal, more metered parking, changes to residential parking) in order to work out logistical challenges, collect data and make a case to the rest of the city. We also need to make sure that changes to parking are accompanied by improvements to transit, biking and walking in the area, so that we are giving residents viable alternatives to driving. And we need to see parking policy not as punitive to those who drive but as making parking easier to find and more convenient.
We need to make sure that our parks are well-lit, well maintained and inviting, especially if we are going to be bringing more pedestrians and cyclists into them. Where possible, we should have separate bicycle and pedestrian facilities, especially for parks that are along major commuting routes. Our open space is an important resource as we plan a bike networks for commuters and recreational riders alike. As we continue to expand Hubway into our neighborhoods, we should locate stations near or in parks to promote exploration and travel beyond our busy streets. Our master planning for open space should encompass transportation and vice versa.
Charlotte Golar Richie (for Mayor)
Mike Ross (for Mayor)
Residents of Forest Hills and surrounding communities have invested a significant amount of time and energy into debating the options for the Casey Overpass. The resolution of that planning process is the proposal to remove the Casey Overpass and replace it with surface roads. While I understand that there are many residents who would like to replace the crumbling structure that now stands with a new overpass, I support the results of the community planning process to replace the overpass with surface streets. As Mayor, I would work closely with all stakeholders to advance a smart street design for the area that was focused on multi-modal uses of the roads, appropriately managed MBTA bus routes, and aggressively sought to mitigate congestion. The potential to re-knit the community by following the community plan to remove the overpass is tremendous and I look forward to strengthening the Forest Hills community
To move the people and commerce of our global city we need to investing in enhanced street infrastructure for multi-modal forms of transportation--most especially walkers in every neighborhood. As Mayor, the first thing I would do to address this set of issues would be to hire a transportation commissioner with a background in cycling, a commitment to multi-modal transportation and "complete streets" design principles, and an understanding of how to leverage networking technologies in our street system to significantly ease car traffic. As part of their commitment to multi-modal transportation, my commissioner will have an natural inclination to improve the state of walking in Boston. Even still, I would certainly be open to creating a Boston Walks Director within the transportation department.
To fund this service expansion, I will work with our area universities to implement the U-Pass program, which lets those institutions purchase MBTA passes for every one of their students at discounted rates. The U-Pass program has the potential to generate close to $50 million in revenue for the MBTA, more than covering the estimated $10 million cost of renewed and expanded late night service. Through smart policies and collaborative partnerships we can make this work, and as Mayor, I will make sure we do.
Transit-oriented development has the potential to spark new growth and development that will strengthen neighborhoods across Boston. As Mayor, I will work with the community to plan first, then build, so that new growth meets the vision of the residents who live there. I will also encourage up-zoning to support greater height and density of development, and requirements to include car-sharing parking spaces and dedicated bicycling parking for residential and commercial developments.
However, we still must deal with the cars that are on the road today. As Mayor, I would support transitioning all two-hour street parking in the city to meters to put a real price on parking and work through a community planning process to address the challenges of neighborhoods with more residential permits than actual parking spaces.
I would support parking benefit districts as one way to make this change in a way that maximizes benefits to business districts. Parking benefit districts dedicate a portion of the revenues generated from newly installed parking meters to local improvements that promote walking, cycling and transit use, such as improved sidewalks, curb ramps, lights and bicycle lanes. Additionally, it can be used to encourage drivers to consider other ways to reach their destination without driving and parking. Cities like Austin, Texas are currently utilizing this innovative model. I would also lead the implementation of mobile apps that identify open parking spaces for drivers to reduce time spent driving in search of spaces, resulting in less congestion and carbon emissions from circling vehicles.
I am also in favor of opening up trails and sidewalks that run through our parks to bikes. It simply makes sense to allow those people who travel to a park by bike to ride through them. We can do this in a way that is safe for both bikers and pedestrians, through signage, street markings, and even widening paths to make room for bikes.
Bill Walczak (for Mayor)
I am committed to ensuring that all Boston neighborhoods are livable. Shortly after my wife and I were married and had moved into an apartment near Codman Square which, at the time, was reeling from abandonment and arson, violence and drugs. Recognizing the importance of combatting the sense of hopelessness that pervaded the neighborhood, I became a leader in the civic association and offered ideas on how to deal with the many issues facing the community. We began by organizing community residents around the creation of a strategic plan for the neighborhood.
The strategic planning process involved hundreds of residents and resulted in a 40 page document which called on the community to work with government, nonprofits and local businesses to build a new Codman Square area that would be stronger, healthier, and more livable. Because of the broad community buy-in, we were able to secure funding to build a community health center as an anchor institution. We also organized block groups and crime watches and camped out at Roberts Park to drive the drug dealers out. We collaborated on the development of new youth programs, the creation of a strong Neighborhood Council to monitor progress and, over time, we added financial literacy, adult education, public health, and youth entrepreneurship programs. More recently, we incorporated a charter school to provide young people an opportunity to explore health careers as an alternative to street crime. This strategic planning process has been updated every decade since the initial one in 1989.
I support the decisions to replace these outdated roadways with surface roads. We no longer need roads designed to help people flee the city. And we no longer need roads that divide neighborhoods. For the first time in many years, Boston's population is growing. People are moving back in from the suburbs. And what we need at this point in the City's history are roads that bind neighborhoods together.
That said, I understand why these decisions are so controversial. And while I trust transportation engineers' analyses that show these changes will not lead to the kind of congestion and gridlock that many fear, I understand why residents of those neighborhoods would be skeptical.
They have every right to be skeptical because of the way planning has been done - or, more accurately, not done - over the past several decades. The last comprehensive review of Boston's zoning code was done in the 1980s and the last comprehensive transportation plan was done in 2000. Real estate development and transportation decisions have been done in such a piecemeal fashion over the past decades that one can hardly blame people for doubting the wisdom behind them. These three transportation decisions should have been made as part of a comprehensive planning process that engaged residents in developing an integrated transportation, housing, open space/environmental and commercial master plan to guide the decisions about Boston's future growth.
As Mayor, I would formalize this process by making sure that the neighborhood liaisons hired by the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services are selected based on their history of advocating for their community. I want to bring activists and agitators into City government to make it work for people living in our neighborhoods. I would charge ONS Neighborhood Liaisons with working with BRA and BTD planners to hold community meetings in locations and at times that meet the schedules of neighborhood residents such as church basements after Sunday services.
And, as I indicated above, I would also reach out to elected/appointed officials in surrounding communities to agree on ways to engage residents from our respective communities in a regional planning process.
I've also been following the work being done in Pittsburgh with Carnegie Mellon on a new adaptive traffic signal control technology that combines concepts from the fields of artificial intelligence and traffic theory to allow traffic signals to communicate with one another and collaboratively adapt to actual traffic conditions in real time. Among other things, this technology promises to dramatically reduce harmful vehicle emissions and frustratingly long travel times through urban neighborhoods. And it has the potential to make existing traffic systems work far more efficiently without having to widen roads or eliminate street parking in a way that works for automobiles, bikes and walkers. That work is in the pilot phase in Pittsburgh, but I would move quickly to import it to Boston, once it's been perfected.
In addition, as stated above under "Walking," I would pursue technological improvements such as smart traffic signals that allow traffic signals to communicate with one another and collaboratively adapt to actual traffic conditions in real time. Among other things, this technology has the potential to make existing traffic systems work far more efficiently without having to widen roads or eliminate street parking in a way that works for automobiles, bikes and walkers.
I know from personal experience how difficult it is to work with the MBTA. I worked long and hard with my Dorchester neighbors to push the T to construct a new platform on the JFK/UMass Station in the 1980s. As mayor, I would be prepared to advocate strongly with the state to secure lower fares for people who live on the Fairmount line. As mayor, I certainly will support working with the MBTA and fighting with the state if necessary around the issue of how to create fair fares.
I would a cost-benefit analysis of charging performance-based prices for curb parking throughout the city's commercial district as well as an analysis of the impact of returning the revenue to the metered districts to pay for added public services.