Mayor Martin Walsh on Tuesday, April 3, announced a $5 million annual investment included in the City’s recommended Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) operating budget and capital plan aimed at upgrading transportation infrastructure to benefit all modes of travel.
The source of funding will come from an increase in ticket fines in Boston, designed to reduce congestion and emission, increase cleanliness, and improve the parking experience.
“Getting from point A to point B should be safe, affordable, and reliable — and this strategy is a bold, progressive way to ensure transportation in Boston is equitable for everyone,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement.
If approved by the Boston City Council, the parking fines and other changes would go into effect in fiscal year beginning July 1.
Altering the City’s current parking fines the Mayor hopes will encourage better compliance with existing City laws and bring Boston’s fines in line with peer U.S. cities.
For example, the fine for double parking in Boston is currently $30 for Zone B and $45 for Zone A and is recommended to be increased to $55 and $75, respectively. However the double-parking fine is already significantly higher in San Francisco at $110, New York City at $115, and Chicago at $100.
The City of Boston has not raised parking ticket fines in 10 years. The estimated increase in revenue through the updated fines will be $5 million.
These investments will contribute to the ongoing implementation of the 58 projects and policies identified in Go Boston 2030, the City of Boston’s long-term transportation plan unveiled in 2017.
“To manage our region’s growth, to address climate change, and to increase equity, we know we need to transform our transportation system,” said Chris Osgood, Boston Chief of Streets in a statement. “Building off the Go Boston Boston 2030 plan, this set of investments is a major step towards that goal.”
Through the recommended budget, the City will launch its first transit team that will work with MBTA to improve public transit, with a particular focus on bus service, which serves 350,000 trips each day.
A subset of the $5 million investment is focused on improving the basics of the City’s 800 miles of streets, 1,600 miles of sidewalks, and over 800 traffic signals.
This includes: $2 million increase in investment for roadway resurfacing and sidewalk repairs; $150,000 for stormwater interventions on roadways; new traffic signal engineer to manage and retime traffic signals; and two new traffic signal mechanics to keep signals working as designed.
As part of the recommended budget, the Mayor is also proposing a series of investments to accelerate the Go Boston 2030 commitments.
This includes $400,000 for the Green Links program, a new dedicated source of funding for filling missing bike and pedestrian connections to parks and paths, such as three that currently underway: the Roxbury-Fenway Connector linking Southwest Corridor and the Emerald Necklace; the Roslindale Gateway path; and a multi-use path connecting Fenway and Yawkey Stations.
“I’m thrilled that this year’s budget will include major investments to improve transportation access across the city,” said At-Large City Councilor Michelle Wu. “Not only does everyone benefit when we make transportation safer, more affordable and more reliable; the continued growth of our city and the economic mobility of our residents depend on it.”