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City to debut Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative to community Saturday

Posted by Patrick Rosso  November 15, 2012 12:44 PM

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(Image courtesy BRA)

The Boston Redevelopment Authority is gearing up to officially debut the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative to the broader community and encourage public participation in the planning effort.

A community forum will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Salvation Army Kroc Community Center from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., to introduce the public to the initiative that will guide planning over the next decade along the 9.2-mile corridor.

Running from South Station to Readville, the corridor follows the MBTA’s Fairmount Line, which exclusively services Boston, with stations in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park.

A new station on Talbot Avenue was recently opened by the MBTA, to read more about it, click here.

“We really want to let people know that there is a lot going on along the line,” said Jeremy Rosenberger, a project manager for the BRA. “We want to get people involved and pick their brains about what the city can do in the short and long term along the corridor.”

The planning initiative, which officially started in February, will work over the next year to develop a plan for the corridor and look at ways to boost economic development, promote business, and improve access to transportation for residents.

Using the MBTA’s Fairmount/Indigo line, which is in the process of adding new stations, as a jumping off point, the initiative will eventually generate a broad vision, shaping and guiding growth along the corridor for the next decade.

“We’re in a unique position to figure out how we can position the corridor in the future,” said Rosenberger. “We want to see what the shared ideals are and how we can build upon that.”

The BRA and its Citizen Advisory Group, which is made up of residents, businesses, nonprofits, and stakeholders from across the corridor, has been meeting over the past year to begin the process of developing a vision and corridor-wide goals.

Tackling everything from streetscapes to zoning, the initiative will come up with specific goals and guidelines that will help implement the community and BRA developed plan.

Both short and long term goals are being developed, ranging from ways to improve pedestrian access points to eventually converting the commuter line into a more traditional rapid transit line similar to the Orange Line.

“The big game changer for this is to turn the line into a rapid transit line and all these small changes will add up to the message that this community deserves rapid transit,” said Rosenberger.

In addition to the broad community plan, three specific “Station Area Plans” will be developed to target stops along the line to focus resources and community input.

Uphams Corner was the first area designated to receive the specific review, the other two have yet to be determined. In addition to the extra resources, a separate Working Advisory Group has been formed to target improvements in the community that can jumpstart business development and community connectivity.

“The upcoming meeting for the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative will really be a launch point for the community to become more heavily engaged in this planning initiative to develop strategies for improving capital investment and job access along the Fairmount Indigo commuter rail line,” said Max McCarthy, executive director of the Uphams Corner Main Street and member of the CAG. “The strategies developed should ultimately yield more investments, better job access, and more streetscape improvements to the various neighborhoods along this commuter rail line.”

In addition to the conversations revolving around Uphams Corner, separate groups have also been popping up, targeting the line for their own specific goals, including one that aims to “green” up the line.

As plans slowly develop and the working groups and the BRA cement their ideas the community will play an important role in providing street-level input about what will benefit the neighborhoods and stimulate the corridor.

“The one thing we want to see is a large community participation,” said Rosenberger. “The more people involved the more people can see the change they want.”

Planners hope that Saturday’s meeting will really be what’s brings out the community and provides that much needed input. Translators will be in attendance Saturday, along with BRA staff and childcare will be provided.

For more information, provided by the BRA, about the initiative or the upcoming meeting, click here.

Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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