Update: Dartmouth & Stewart Streets Intersection Pedestrian Safety Initiative

By Nina Garfinkle

Thanks to all who were able to join Wednesday’s virtual meeting with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD). Some good news was shared about the Dartmouth & Stuart Streets intersection: the staff confirmed the area falls within City jurisdiction, with opportunities for short- and long-term fixes. Funds for short-term changes will hopefully make it into the FY’25 budget, and if funded, could be done in the second half of 2024! 

Thank you to Councilor Flynn, Representative Moran, William Moose and Frances Oliveira (BTD), and Julia Campbell (DPW) for their time and engagement.

Below are highlights of the discussion.

Overall

There is substantial interest in fixing this intersection by everyone.

Short-term solutions: Road paint and traffic signal timing fixes seem likely, maybe other non-construction interventions. These changes must be requested and make it into the FY2025 budget.

Challenges

* BTD is currently creating its work plans and will align the work with available staff. 
* Current funding limits internal staff and funding for design services internally and to contractors (thus limiting these types of safety projects here and across the City on a regular basis.
* Fixes need to be ADA-compliant.

Short-term fixes
Propose a budget for design services to assess the whole “Dartmouth Street corridor” to ensure near-term efforts won’t interfere with longer term capital projects. 
Initiate stakeholder outreach and begin to build relationships for changes along the corridor, which will be helpful in both short and long-term. 
Make on-the-ground fixes likepaint, light timing, and other non-construction types of changes.

Long-term fixes
Build on stakeholder relationships. Some of the properties that would allow for real change via construction are owned by developers. Extending sidewalks by Copley Place requires involving those stakeholders (i.e., Simon Properties) and their associated funding.
Shared jurisdiction of real estate and tunnels required to rebuild the median. The MBTA, Mass Turnpike, the City of Boston, and MassDOT all own different parts that would need to be coordinated for construction, complicating construction and adding expense.

The following schedule was outlined for the short-term efforts:

•      January: Submit budget/internally

•      May-April: Internal budget meetings; opportunity for public comment 

•      July: Monies allocated, and outreach begins (assuming funding is included in the budget); engagement and design process begins.

•      Fall of 2024: painting begins; retiming of traffic signals 

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Send letters!

Lend your voice by writing to Councilor Flynn and BTD to emphasize including the short-term project into the FY’25 budget, as it is a priority intersection given the number of people it affects.

Send your letters to:

Frances Oliveira, Community Engagement Specialist, BTD  frances.oliveira@boston.gov

City Council President Ed Flynn  Ed.Flynn@boston.gov

Below is a template for your reference.

Thank you for being fellow advocates for this important safety and accessibility enhancement to our neighborhood.

I/We want to express our appreciation for the staff’s work so far regarding this important intersection planning project that affects neighbors, workers, and visitors alike. It’s an intersection regularly used by children going to the Central Boston Public Library, and everyone commuting in or out of the second busiest train station in the City (workers and visitors alike). Addressing this intersection would safely knit the South End and Back Bay neighborhoods together, with positive effects on commerce, culture, and accessibility.

As such, funding for the project should be included in the FY’25 BTD budget. In addition, we think there is a critical need to fund additional staff capacity in order to bring important safety projects like this to Boston’s neighborhoods across the City in a timelier manner. 

What You Can Read Next

An Earth Day Commendation for Jackie Royce

Ward 4 member and Boston Green Action co-founder Jackie Royce was honored at a Boston City Hall Earth Day celebration on April 22. The official resolution is in “recognition of Environmental Stewardship in the City of Boston.”   Congratulations,

Read More »