transport | urbanism | adventures | pontification
July 18, 2008
In its efforts to improve customer service, the T encourages riders to “Write to the Top” to report any service that is not courteous, clean, accessible, or dependable. Yet these customer service improvements have not been adequately focused on bus riders. It took the T until April to start displaying bus operator numbers on buses’ LED information screens, and information to contact bus superintendents is buried in the T’s website. So we put together our own guide to submit complaints (or commendations) for specific bus routes. Click here to view TRU’s Rider’s Rights Guide. Read more…
Yesterday, I went to a Post-Foreclosure Eviction Blockade that was hosted by ACE’s partner City Life/Vida Urbana. We succeeded in forcing Countrywide/Bank of America to back down from evicting a woman who was willing to pay rent. The Boston Globe covered the protest and put together a good video in which you can see some of ACE’s interns and staff.
July 3, 2008
On Thursday, Mayor Menino issued an executive order to green City Hall, requiring city departments to use green cleaning contractors, recycle more, and take simple energy conservation measures.
This order came one day after Governor Patrick signed into law the Green Communities Act. The new state law strengthens Massachusetts’ renewable energy standard so that by 2030, utilities will be obligated to generate at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. It also forces utilities to enter into 10 to 15 year contracts with sustainable electricity developers. This will provide funding for the development of green technology, focusing specifically on Massachusetts-based firms.
The Governor asserted, “This legislation will reduce electric bills, promote the development of renewable energy, and stimulate the clean energy industry that is taking root here in the Commonwealth.”
ACE believes that all communities should share the benefits of this new wave of green legislation. Cleaner energy production and the benefits of new green collar jobs should go to communities that have been overburdened with environmental injustices, not just higher income neighborhoods. Read more…
June 26, 2008
Local and state officials visited Roxbury yesterday morning to open a time capsule from 1922. The capsule was found in the cornerstone of an expansion to Dudley Square’s Ferdinand building, which is being renovated into a city office building. Mayor Menino, State Representative Byron Rushing, State Senator Diane Wilkerson, BRA Director John Palmieri and members of the Dudley Vision Task Force helped present the capsule to the public. Representative Rushing provided a salient overview Roxbury’s history, highlighting the different groups of people who have lived in Roxbury over the centuries.
Inside the capsule were newspapers from June 1922, Ferdinand’s Furniture advertisements, and a list of Ferdinand’s employees. Read more…
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.
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…
June 9, 2008
Last Thursday, ACE and REEP attended a Roundtable Discussion hosted by the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA). The discussion was held in conjunction with the opening of an exhibition of political posters on display in CPA’s Henry Wong and You King Yee Memorial Gallery.
These posters, from the collection of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, challenge viewers to grapple with the intertwined effects of gentrification and displacement.
Coalition members from more than ten different community-based organizations, including ACE, gathered to discuss the Right to the City framework within the context of gentrification. As the discussion developed, a number of participants expressed an interest in reviving the Whose Boston? campaign and coalition. Two particular ideas brought forward were refocusing to build a citywide message that our communities are here to stay, and strengthening it by linking more socially conscious artists with organizers. Read more…
June 6, 2008
As our first heat wave begins in Boston, consider planting a tree to keep things green, shady, and cool. Planting trees does more than beautify neighborhoods. Well positioned trees drastically reduce energy bills by providing shade for buildings. They also provide millions of dollars worth of air purification, reducing local pollution and respiratory problems. Read more…