Urban Ring: A transit injustice in the making?

June 20, 2008

Monday night in Roxbury, the state Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) held the last in a series of meetings about the Urban Ring. This proposed network of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines would run in a loop around Downtown Boston, offering connectivity for communities that are underserved by the MBTA’s rapid transit routes.

A slide in the consultant's presentation on the Urban Ring

Employees of Earth Tech, the state’s consultant for the project, shared how the Urban Ring would pass through the Melnea Cass corridor, using renderings and design guidelines from the Roxbury Master Plan. After passing through a tunnel under the Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA), the Ring would come above ground at Ruggles Station, then travel in a dedicated busway on Melnea Cass Boulevard. Some service buses along the Urban Ring would also include a stop at Dudley Station, running in mixed traffic down Washington Street. These presenters insisted that the Urban Ring would provide accessibility benefits to Roxbury residents and learn from the <a href=” http://www.ace-ej.org/service_on_the_silver_line_bus_anything_but_rapid_transit
“>mistakes of the Silver Line Bus.

Despite problems with facilitation and misleading information about the format of the meeting, TRU members and Roxbury residents were able to raise some critical concerns about the project. A vast majority of the project’s funds ($1.5 billion out of $2.2 billion) will go towards the tunnel under the LMA. Other neighborhoods will have to deal with the noise pollution and traffic congestion of running buses above ground. This hugely disproportionate investment is only another instance of transportation racism and classism that we fight against. Read more…

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