This is in response to "Widening Melnea Cass a bad idea" authored by guest columnists.
The Boston Transportation Department has been holding community meetings on the project since 2011, we’ve done extensive outreach and have a dedicated webpage (http://www.cityofboston.gov/transportation/melnea/)
The design has neighborhood support, but the authors have not attended the meetings to participate in the process and voice their concerns. As a result, the column contained misinformation as follows.
The design is neither "ill-conceived" nor "knee-jerk." Including transit lines in future road design for the boulevard has a history dating back to the 1970’s and has been reaffirmed in the Roxbury Strategic Master Plan and Urban Ring planning. The current design stays true to that vision. Connecting the job centers via public transportation is a service for the neighborhood, not a detriment.
Rebuilding with state of the art equipment and materials, all ADA compliant and inclusive of bicycle connections, will not make the street "less safe" for pedestrians and cyclists. Rather, pedestrian bump outs, handicap ramps, etc., will combine to enhance safety.
Although existing trees will be impacted to create space for the center median transit way, hundreds of mature trees will be preserved and over a hundred more will be added, resulting in a net gain.
Finally, the designs for the north side of the street are 100% inclusive of the South Bay Harbor Trail plans for an exclusive 10 foot bike path and an 8 foot minimum walkway for pedestrians.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide the facts on the Melnea Cass Boulevard project.
--Thomas J. Tinlin, Commissioner, Boston Transportation Department