Some Thoughts About Boston’s Mayoral Forum on Transportation & Livable Communities

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With the all-important disclaimer that ‘livable’ is a dreadful word (could a community be ‘deathable’?). Anyway, eight of the twelve Boston mayoral candidates attended Tuesday night’s mayoral forum on transportation and livability (ugh). Some thoughts, in no particular order:

•This made me very depressed. Even the candidates I don’t particularly like (e.g., Connolly) are smarter than the median Congresscritter. While that’s a low bar, in all seriousness, most of the candidates are reasonably competent.

•I didn’t like cramming ‘livability’ and transportation together. The transportation issues were well covered, but crime (kinda important) and noise pollution weren’t really addressed.

•Most of the candidates routinely travel by car, not by mass transit.

•While a member of WalkBoston did get to ask a question, most of the non-car discussion focused on transit and biking.

•Arroyo’s top priority would be transportation equity–ensuring that low-income communities have access to transit–including late night service for workers (Ross has been a long-time proponent of late night service).

•Walczak’s top priority would be getting people out of cars and working regionally to enable commuters to use mass transit.

•Walsh would like to improve Boston’s relationship with the MBTA, connect bike lanes across the city, and synchronize traffic lights.

•Connolly wants a Red-Blue line connector, and wants all planning (i.e., BRA) to take a ‘Complete Streets’ approach.

•Most candidates were against increasing the number of taxi medallions, but supported things like Lyft and Uber (not sure I get that, but ok).

•Barros made the key point that planning needs to occur before the city sells (or approves the sale of) property. Once the sale goes through, the price the land owner paid has already constrained the possible options and will pit developers against residents.

•Unanimous support for the increasing the CPA tax to pay for affordable housing.

Anyway, you can find more information and the full video here.

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