For some residents, Boston is dense and walkable, making it easy to participate in our diverse economy and green spaces. For other Bostonians, economic and social mobility is stymied by an unreliable bus network, aging transit infrastructure, and poorly designed streets and sidewalks. Growing up, Andrea lived this every day on her commute to Boston Public Schools, and she and her family continue to face a lack of reliable transit options living in Mattapan, the neighborhood with the longest commutes in the city. Andrea also sees first-hand the disproportionate impact of fossil-fuel pollution on neighborhoods like her own and knows that Boston’s transportation system drives and reinforces the deep inequities in the city.
The twin crises of COVID-19 and climate change have made painfully clear that our transportation system just doesn’t meet the needs of Bostonians, whether it’s a grueling bus commute, gridlocked roadways, poor sidewalks, or ancient trains. Transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions comprise 29% of Boston’s total emissions — an urgent priority for our future and a fundamental opportunity to reshape our city equitably.
Andrea has a comprehensive vision to reconstruct a sustainable transportation network so we can build a more equitable Boston. She envisions a city of 15-minute neighborhoods, so that all Bostonians can share in the benefits of a safe, walkable, and prosperous city. As we invest in our neighborhoods and build a green transportation economy for all Bostonians, Andrea will ensure that Bostonians living in “environmental justice” communities — neighborhoods most impacted by the impacts of climate change, bad transportation policies, and environmental racism — are able to access the jobs of tomorrow. With equitable transportation, we can address unequal access and health impacts, provide efficient, reliable, and affordable options to all Bostonians, and improve health and safety on every street in every neighborhood.
As Mayor, Andrea will:
Build A City of 15-Minute Neighborhoods
A 15-minute neighborhood is a community where residents live within a 15-minute walk from their basic, day-to-day needs, such as grocery stores, libraries, and parks. Some Bostonians live in these neighborhoods, enabling them to participate in the economy and live, work and play in safe, clean, green spaces. Others do not, and instead face limited amenities, access, and opportunity — a divide that has only been exacerbated by the travel limitations imposed due to the pandemic. Andrea will integrate inclusive design into city projects and create walkable and livable communities with safe, active, accessible streets for residents, including people of all ages and abilities.
- Envision resilient and vibrant neighborhoods. Our auto-centric past limited access, opportunity, and equity for Boston residents. As a result, Boston has a substantial barrier to building 15-minute neighborhoods: past decisions about street design and priorities emphasized moving cars through our neighborhoods as quickly as possible. Now, it is time to prioritize movement of everyday residents within our neighborhoods. With city-led investments, intentional zoning, and mixed-use, transit-oriented development, residents can have everything they need – grocery stores, schools, parks, small businesses – within 15 minutes of their doorsteps. This concept is quickly becoming a new model for cities to cut emissions and improve quality of life: reducing car trips for families, supporting small businesses, increasing walking and biking, and improving the health of residents and the environment by investing in the fabric and interconnectedness of our communities.
- Expand planning capacity and accelerate project implementation. Andrea will recenter our planning and project initiatives to focus first on ensuring that Boston streets are safe and active places for friends and neighbors to live, play, and build community. The Walsh Administration has increased Boston’s planning and project management capacities, but we need to accelerate this investment by hiring more planning staff and funding more capital projects to transform streets. Andrea will direct more resources to education and engagement, equipping residents with the tools to advocate for the best safe streets infrastructure. Andrea will embed a Safety Impact Review, akin to an environmental review for new projects, into existing review processes for new projects that impact sidewalks and streets.
- Safe streets for all of Boston. Boston’s current Neighborhood Slow Streets program, which implements incremental traffic-calming measures after an extensive planning process, pits neighborhoods against each other competing for planning staff and project dollars. Andrea will expand program capacity, streamline the review process, and immediately implement a variety of inexpensive, quick upgrades that will have a significant impact on slowing drivers and making streets safer for users of all ages and abilities, including children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. Andrea will also work with the Transportation Department and Public Works to ensure these departments are equipped to maintain our existing infrastructure and implement quick fixes, such as daylighting intersections, and more clearly painting crosswalks. Improvements to our city streets will be guided by a goal of improving quality of life and preventing traffic related fatalities and serious injuries. Andrea will evaluate and then optimize Boston’s snow removal plans and operations to ensure that sidewalks and bike lanes are cleared quickly after snowfall.
- Reimagine our neighborhood business districts. Boston’s neighborhoods are home to a diverse array of business districts, and Andrea envisions them serving as destinations — not throughways. Andrea will invest in street projects that serve to connect our neighborhoods, prioritize communal gathering, build social connectivity and cohesion, and increase economic activity. Safe streets that include people who walk and bike over parking and vehicle travel lanes are also good for business: Andrea will prioritize small businesses, outdoor dining, and community spaces over parking spaces that come at the expense of the greater good. She will expand pilot programs that open streets to people, support our local restaurants and nightlife, and create placemaking events like community block parties that have been popular in neighborhoods across the city from Newbury Street to West of Washington in Dorchester to Roslindale Square.
Make the Bus Work Better For Bostonians
Buses provide a vital transportation link for Bostonians: more than a third of all MBTA ridership, 410,000 bus riders, traveled around the Greater Boston region daily before the pandemic. Nearly half of those bus riders are people of color and 41% are low-income, as compared to 31% and 27% of subway ridership. City Hall can play an outsized role in making buses work better for Bostonians — this is achievable, and a key driver of racial and socioeconomic justice. As displacement pressures grow, bus riders are being forced to travel even farther and longer. Making the bus work better will make Boston work better — Andrea will be laser focused on making buses free for Bostonians and making them run faster, more frequently, and more reliably.
- Free the bus for passengers. Andrea will work with State House leaders, other municipalities, and the private sector to make local buses free. Eliminating fares is achievable: bus fares comprise less than $40 million, or 6%, of total MBTA fare revenue. These fares are overwhelmingly paid by low-income passengers and people of color, reinforcing racial inequities in income and asset building. Eliminating fares will translate to improved service, by decreasing time required at each bus stop, removing the need for an expensive network of vending machines (both on the buses and throughout the region), and by allowing riders to board through all doors. Freeing the bus will attract new riders to one of the most cost-effective modes of transit, enable low-income workers to save more, and drive economic and environmental benefit.
- Free the bus from traffic. Andrea will free the bus from traffic by expanding dedicated bus lanes and signal prioritization to make commutes shorter and more reliable. Under her leadership, City Hall will invest in staff capacity and capital projects to quickly implement bus-only lanes, improve and expand bus shelters, and repair and maintain sidewalks so they are safer for all users. Shorter and more reliable bus commutes will attract passengers from vehicles to the bus, decreasing traffic congestion and reducing emissions. In places like Summer Street near South Station, and Washington Street in Roslindale where bus lanes have been implemented, even car drivers benefited from reduced congestion and not having conflicts with the bus, and cyclists experienced safer commutes on these busy streets. The City of Boston must be a leader in adding world class bus rapid transit (BRT) on our busiest corridors and providing true rapid transit-like service to neighborhoods that are not on the subway network.
- Free the bus from emissions. Andrea will work with the MBTA to explore battery-powered buses and battery electric trolleybuses and end in investment in diesel and natural gas-fueled buses. Due to technological advances, trolley-battery buses can run off-wire for more than half their route and battery electric buses can extend their range by rapid charging both during and in between trips. Identifying what needs to be done to convert all bus routes to battery powered buses and electric/battery-powered trolleybuses will benefit riders with greater bus reliability, improve air quality and improve conditions for businesses with better on-time arrival of employees. It will also reduce emissions in environmental justice communities who face higher levels of asthma due to poor air quality. Capitalizing on the rapid improvements in battery operated buses, Andrea will ensure that Bostonians benefit from the electric bus pilot projects the MBTA pursues while pushing for more rapid acceleration of clean transportation options across the public transportation spectrum, including the City and the Boston Public Schools fleet.
- Free the bus from bureaucracy. Key to investing in our transportation system is continued expansion of Boston’s planning and project management capacity. The MBTA has not fully funded its Bus Transformation Office, which is tasked with redesigning the MBTA’s bus network to reflect modern-day travel and employment patterns. Our bus network is still built around a century old streetcar system and should be updated to reflect new areas of residential growth and new job centers. Boston should take the lead in this planning effort to better design our bus network and increase collaboration with other transportation networks, such as the Seaport TMA and MASCO in the Longwood Medical Area.
Embrace Technology and Innovation to Lead a Just Transition
The transportation sector is advancing new technologies such as micromobility (e-bikes and scooters) and autonomous vehicles. Boston must start planning for them now — and ensure that the transition from fossil fuels is a “just transition.” Andrea will will ensure that all Bostonians can benefit from a green technological revolution by creating pathways to jobs and prioritizing small and women and minority owned businesses, and embrace e-mobility devices that provide new affordable transportation options at a time when the average price for a new car has passed $40,000, while also ensuring that adequate regulations are in place.
- Invest in training a new transportation workforce. As technology changes, new jobs emerge. Boston can be a leader in autonomous vehicle research, development, and production — creating high quality jobs in the process. The Green Economy has the potential to be a game-changer for environmental justice communities, if we prioritize them. Andrea will expand “green-collar” training programs to ensure city residents have access to the green jobs of the future; she will connect innovative transportation companies with vocational education programs, community colleges, and unions to train our young people to be future leaders and innovators in environmental sciences, engineering, and resiliency. As our city leads in inventing transportation technologies of the future, Andrea will lead in a way that ensures entrepreneurs of color and more of the people who have historically been left out of the innovation economy have the career experiences, networks, and access to capital to be able to participate fully in these high-growth sectors and the economic benefits that will flow from commercialization of these technologies.
- Build equitable access to the green economy. Resilient infrastructure will be the key to a more livable and sustainable city, but how we build it is equally important. Right now, just 1% of city contracts for construction and professional services go to women and minority owned companies. That is unacceptable — our green investments must reach all of our communities. Under Andrea’s leadership small businesses, including women and minority owned businesses, will have access to a budding green economy and play a part in building the transportation network of the future.
- Make Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) work for Boston. TNCs such as Uber and Lyft increase vehicle miles traveled and cause congestion, but they can play a more constructive role in the transportation ecosystem. Andrea will utilize curbside management best practices, ensuring that TNCs observe road safety rules and provide more dedicated pick up and drop off locations. Andrea will lead the efforts to increase TNC fees to generate funding for transportation improvements and call for the Legislature to further regulate TNCs to ensure protections for both riders and drivers and increase transparency. Andrea will work to utilize anonymized TNC data to better analyze transportation demand patterns and build bus and transit service that is responsive to current needs.
- Expand access to electric vehicle charging. Owning an electric vehicle should not be exclusive to those that have access to off-street parking and a private charger. For those residents who do own a car, the city should expand access to on-street electric vehicle charging, allowing renters to access EVs and reduce their carbon footprint. As the market provides more opportunities for affordable EVs, the city must be prepared to provide the infrastructure needed for all Bostonians and visitors to the city to charge their EVs. More EVs on the streets will reduce air pollution and traffic noise, and access to this new technology and the benefits it provides must be felt in every neighborhood.
- Electrify City vehicles. We can and must electrify all city vehicles as soon as possible to stop the disproportionate impact that fossil fuel emissions have on low-income communities, from small city vehicles to large vehicles including utility trucks, waste trucks and street cleaning equipment. Chinatown has the worst air quality in Massachusetts while communities of color in our city face the highest exposure to pollution statewide. The COVID-19 pandemic has further revealed a catastrophic inequity in air quality. Under Andrea’s leadership, Boston will become the first large school district in the country to fully electrify our school bus fleet – saving the city money, making the air cleaner, and our streets safer.
Build Connected, Low-Stress Opportunities For Biking
Boston needs a city-wide connected bike network that is safe, includes protected lanes, and is attractive to all riders, including children, families, and older adults. LivableStreets’ 2020 report on Boston’s GoBoston 2030 plan stated that Boston is not on track to meet its Better Bike Corridors goal, a city target to build 60 miles of bike lanes and dedicated, curb-protected pathways by 2030.
- Better connect Boston’s neighborhoods with protected cycleways. Off- street connections like the Emerald Network can extend active transportation greenways beyond Franklin Park to better serve and connect neighborhoods like Dorchester and South Boston, enable cross-city access, and build the connected bike network Boston needs. Andrea will accelerate the construction of bike facilities to meet the goal, and partner with labor unions to create more jobs for neighborhood residents during construction, resulting in safer streets for bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers alike.
- Use micromobility and e-mobility to drive equity. Andrea will work with State government to legalize e-scooters, e-bikes, and other small electric mobility devices. These devices can fill gaps in our transportation system, giving residents additional affordable transport options for the first or last mile to and from transit connections or neighborhood errands. Micromobility can also provide a more realistic mode of transportation for commuters and delivery workers and help reduce the number of cars clogging our roads. The City can regulate e-mobility devices to ensure that they don’t block sidewalks, partner with companies to provide affordable options to low-income Bostonians, and push for fair labor standards.
- Lower the barriers to biking. In partnership with the community, Andrea will expand programming for anyone interested in learning how to bike, including in Boston Public Schools and beyond. She will continue expansion of BlueBikes and enhance utilization of low-cost memberships available to residents. A comprehensive approach to biking will include a bike network that connects the City and encourages biking in Black and brown neighborhoods.
Become the Commonwealth’s Leading Advocate for MBTA Improvements
Andrea will set a clear vision for the future of Boston’s transit system, fight for riders, and push the MBTA to ensure that the public transportation system serving Boston, particularly communities of color, receives the investment it needs. The state abdicated this responsibility by cutting MBTA service in 2020-2021, despite the infusion of federal funding assistance. As mayor of Boston, Andrea will be the region’s leading voice for public transportation improvements that will make the city more healthy and more equitable.
- Invest in the MBTA. Andrea will partner with Boston’s State delegation to push for greater state investment in the MBTA, to expand service and improve its capital equipment and infrastructure. Andrea will also work with our State delegation to provide Boston with a dedicated seat on the new MBTA Board as well as the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors. As the center of the New England economy, Boston needs its own representation in directing the state’s transportation systems.
- Transform our rail network. Andrea will work with state and federal officials to transform our legacy “commuter” rail network into a regional rail network that meets the needs of a 21st century economy. Our commuter rail system is presently structured only to move suburban commuters in and out of Downtown Boston on a typical workday schedule, but it has the potential to give Boston residents more opportunities to find a job with good pay and a manageable commute, visit family members in other communities, or explore outside of Boston, hiking, biking, or spending a day at the beach. A regional rail network will recognize how people work and live now, starting with the Fairmount Line, which provides crucial rail service to long underserved communities. Andrea will advocate with Boston’s State and Federal delegations to dedicate funding for upgrades to the Fairmount Line that will increase service and improve reliability for passengers. Electrification will reduce emissions in the area while providing a shorter commute with greater flexibility and reliability. Andrea will also advocate for the state to transition the commuter rail fare system to one that sets a subway fare for all Boston stops. Fast, frequent, and more affordable regional rail service will significantly improve quality of life for the city’s residents.
- Invest in a comprehensive ferry system. To fully connect our communities and bring Bostonians together, we must consider alternate modes of transportation and fully leverage all of Boston’s unique assets, including the Inner Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands State and National Park. Andrea will partner with the MBTA, ferry operators, waterfront and transportation advocates, and other stakeholders to implement a cohesive system of water transportation. Ferries could finally give bicyclists from East Boston a safe, direct route to the rest of Boston and give residents in Harbor Point a way to bypass congestion and the busy Red Line. Andrea envisions a fully operating, electrified fleet of ferries that can create more diversity in how we travel, fully utilize Boston’s harbor islands, and increase access to our waterfront parks and islands for all residents.
- Advocate for the state to move ambitiously on climate policies that benefit Boston. Andrea supports recent state efforts to raise revenue for investments in transportation through the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). TCI is a “cap-and-invest” program that lowers greenhouse gas emissions by pricing fossil fuels to match the environmental damage they cause and raising revenue to invest in clean transportation. As Mayor, she will advocate for State leaders accountable for their commitment to invest 35% of TCI revenues on improving transit options in environmental justice communities while pushing them to increase this investment to 40% of revenue in line with commitments made by the Biden-Harris Administration. Andrea will also explore new options to equitably raise revenue and develop innovative financing options for transportation improvements including fees on parking lot owners and a city-run green bank.
Lead Comprehensive and Equitable Regional Planning and Investment
Boston lacks a cohesive, regional environmental and transportation vision, but Andrea will build one, and leverage a stronger partnership with the State to implement it. In addition to MBTA, Andrea will partner closely with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Massport in crafting and executing her vision of more equitable planning and development processes. For example, a recent redesign proposal for Melnea Cass Boulevard would have decimated tree cover in Roxbury, even as communities of color have experienced a long-term decline in their tree canopy. Andrea will center communities of color in planning and development, and expand our capacity to proactively plan and implement street improvements that result in tangible benefits to quality of life for all Bostonians.
- Center I-90 Redesign on Allston and Transit. Decisions made at the state level have long-lasting impacts on all Bostonians. The I-90 MassPike project has the potential to reshape Allston to provide a better connected, more cohesive neighborhood and increase transit options through the construction of the new West Station, a new transportation hub in Beacon Park Yard in Allston. Andrea will center the needs of vulnerable road users, bicyclists, and transit riders: she will fight for a less obtrusive at-grade highway and transit investments that expand access and improve air quality. Andrea will push for new pedestrian and bike connections across I-90 and a new buffer park. The new Boston streets created as a result of this project must prioritize pedestrians, bicyclists, and neighborhood cohesion. This multimodal approach must be also taken during the redesign processes of other state controlled roads and parkways in Boston, including the Arborway and Morrissey Boulevard.
- Complete the Red-Blue Connection. The Red Line and the Blue Line do not connect, placing needless obstacles in the way of commuters accessing important job centers, such as Kendall Square or Logan Airport. The MBTA drastically overestimated the costs of making the Red-Blue connection, and the state has failed to plan ahead and coordinate with the MGH expansion project and Cambridge Street reconstruction, two opportunities to improve transportation access city-wide. Andrea will advocate for the construction of the Red-Blue Connection. This project will have benefits ranging from a safer, more pedestrian and bike friendly Cambridge Street, to less crowding at other Downtown stations
- Expand transit access. There are many parts of the city where Commuter Rail and subway trains speed past underserved neighborhoods, but this is fixable. Andrea will fight for state and federal funding to fill gaps in transportation, including working with the MBTA to add infill Commuter Rail stops in Hyde Park, River Street in Mattapan, and the Sullivan Square subway station; ensuring that accessible vehicles are added to the Mattapan Trolley; and studying extensions to the Orange Line and additional ferry service in East Boston, Dorchester, and South Boston. Andrea will also fight for residents in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan to have more access to the Seaport District using the new Red Line test track, a right of way through South Boston that has been rebuilt after years of abandonment.
Boston has an historic opportunity to rebuild and reimagine our city’s transportation system. Andrea will create 15-minute neighborhoods throughout Boston, while building a public transit system that expands access to economic opportunity and addresses the disproportionate impact of fossil-fuel pollution on our low-income communities. Andrea will close the gaps in our unequal transit system to help every community thrive with safe and well-connected streets. With Andrea as Mayor, Boston will become the most livable city in the country as our residents build the green transportation economy of the future.