Campbell: Blue Hill Ave. conversation needed

Add Boston City Council President Andrea Campbell to the list of officials talking about creating a dedicated bus lane along busy Blue Hill Avenue.

In a wide-ranging interview on the CommonWealth Codcast with three members of TransitMatters – Josh Fairchild, Jim Aloisi, and Jarred Johnson – Campbell said transportation is one of the top issues in her district, which covers parts of Mattapan, Dorchester, Roslindale, and Jamaica Plain.

“More and more people are paying attention to transit and transportation because they need to get to their jobs, or they need to get their kid to school, or they need to get someplace for a recreational purpose and they don’t want to be on a bus for an hour or two,” she said. “If we want them to connect to these opportunities, we have to have a really thorough and thoughtful conversation about Blue Hill Avenue – dedicated bus lanes, rapid transit, everything needs to be on the table.”

In March, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh accelerated the city’s efforts to launch dedicated bus lanes; Blue Hill Avenue was broached as a possibility at that time but city officials said more outreach to residents in the area was needed first.

Aloisi pushed for bus rapid transit service on Blue Hill Avenue in 2009 when he was serving as state secretary of transportation in the Patrick administration. That proposal had to be withdrawn in the face of community opposition. Aloisi has said building community support for such a project must be a priority.

“If we can unlock Blue Hill Avenue, it’s a master class in figuring out how to bring transit and social equity to a broad spectrum of people,” he said.

Campbell also talked about the need to reduce driving speeds, curb the number of crashes, and improve public safety.  She said an ER doctor who cycles around the city made a big impression on her when she testified at a transportation hearing from the perspective of someone who has been hit by a car and regularly treats people who have been hit by cars.

“She says we don’t respond to these crashes or fatalities the same way in which we pick up our trash,” Campbell said.  “If someone’s calling about trash and recycling in the street, we’re on it. We’re out there doing it quickly. She said yet when I’m calling related to an intersection that is creating consistent crashes, the response is not the same. This is a public safety emergency.”

Campbell said she thinks it’s a resource issue for the city – public safety departments need more money. Aloisi backed passage of legislation authorizing regional ballot initiatives, which would allow communities to raise transportation revenues on their own. He also called for requiring safety impact reviews for development projects; the reviews would be similar to the current environmental impact reviews except focused on public safety issues.

Campbell said she thinks the additional resources to address transportation issues could come out of the existing city budget, specifically out of funding for the school department. She noted the school department receives a third of the city’s budget and total spending is rising (up $26 million in this year’s budget proposal) even though enrollment is declining.

“Public safety issues are just as important,” Campbell said. “We can’t just keep waiting in this space because people are dying.”

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

A new report says there is a $1 billion difference between the spending outlined in the education legislation filed by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz and the bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker. (CommonWealth) Lawrence S. DiCara says additional funding plus reform equals the right equation for education legislation. (CommonWealth)

Ex-UMass trustees say a Senate budget provision is misguided. (CommonWealth)

Climate and housing activists Craig Altemose and Karen Chen find common ground on the governor’s proposal to raise the deeds excise tax. (CommonWealth)

Amaad Rivera says Massachusetts has a white supremacy problem. (CommonWealth)

Thomas Barnico of Boston College Law School traces the link between Dartmouth College of the early 1800s and today’s college oversight bills. (CommonWealth)

As Beacon Hill prepares a hearing today on a bill to expand abortion rights, questions are being raised over whether the measure goes too far. (Boston Globe)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

While politics in Boston have been moving steadily to the left, Mayor Marty Walsh stays in the cautious middle, says the Globe.

A Berkshire Eagle editorial criticizes the Stockbridge Select Board for proposing to schedule public comment at the end of meetings — after issues are already decided.

With 587 apartment and single-family units in the works around Bridgewater, town officials say their hands have been tied when it comes to regulating housing developments due to state affordable housing regulations. But Town Manager Michael Dutton says the projects will bring Bridgewater over the 10 percent affordable housing threshold set by the state, giving the town more control over what housing projects are built. (Brockton Enterprise)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Andrew McCabe, who was acting director of the FBI in 2017, visited the Provincetown International Film Festival where he warned that foreign meddling in the 2020 presidential election will be more skillful than last time, and encouraged Congress to continue investigating President Trump. (Cape Cod Times)

Among the Bay State’s congressional delegation, US Sen. Elizabeth Warren and US Reps. Ayanna Pressley and Seth Moulton support impeaching the president, while the others do not. (Eagle-Tribune)

ELECTIONS

At a town hall event in Peabody, Congressman Seth Moulton said his exclusion from the first Democratic National Committee debates has not deterred him from the “marathon” contest of running for president. (Gloucester Daily Times)

With eight staff as of late May, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld has had a tough slog so far in his bid to challenge President Trump in the New Hampshire Republican primary. (Lowell Sun)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The University Station development in Westwood, which was laid low by the recession a decade ago, is finally on track. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

Former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift is jumping back into public policy and the spotlight by agreeing to take over at the helm of LearnLaunch, a Boston-based incubator for ed tech startups. (CommonWealth)

The Fall River School Committee has amended school bell schedules and approved changes to start and end times for five of the district’s 16 schools after complaints from parents (Herald News)

HEALTH CARE

The Massachusetts Nurses Association says Bay State hospitals have parked $1.6 billion in the Cayman Islands. (MetroWest Daily News)

A Globe editorial backs state Rep. Andy Vargas’s bill calling for an end to religious exemptions for childhood vaccinations.

The first two states to legalize marijuana are now grappling with the effects of teenagers gaining access to very high potency pot and the risks to mental and physical health its posing. (Washington Post) Two physicians pen a New York Times op-ed saying states legalizing marijuana should set the minimum age to purchase pot at 25 because of its deleterious effects on the still-developing brains of adolescents and young adults.

ARTS/CULTURE

The fourth annual Humaflock in Scituate is in jeopardy. Organizers say that the event — a colorful, crowded, float down the South River — is cancelled this year unless they can secure a federal permit due to the large number of people interested in attending. (Patriot Ledger)

About 57 minutes into Boston Public Radio, sculptor Nancy Schön called in while Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was on to announce that she and the city have found a resolution for sun-baked hot metal turtle she built for a Beacon Hill playground. A canopy will be built above it to create shade. (WGBH)

TRANSPORTATION

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak apologized for the inconvenience caused by the recent Red Line derailment, and said “tangible benefits” from investments in the T are near. (CommonWealth) The Braintree branch of the Red Line is back in operation, with passengers no longer needing to switch trains at JFK/UMass, but T officials said all Red Line passengers should nonetheless plan for a 20 minute longer ride. (Boston Globe)

Ari Ofsevit of TransitMatters explains why the derailment at JFK/UMass on the Red Line is continuing to cause delays up and down the line. (CommonWealth)

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority launches some service at night to see if residents will use it. (Berkshire Eagle)

The Standard-Times reports that auto insurance prices can vary widely according to a driver’s zip code — including on the South Coast.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Chris Egan of the Massachusetts Forest Alliance says proposed changes in biomass regulations make sense and are no big deal. (CommonWealth)

The Environmental Protection Agency is directing three sewage treatment facilities along the Merrimack River to reduce the output of bacteria and provide more timely alerts about sewage discharge. (Salem News)

MEDIA

DigBoston editor Jason Pramas talks about how to find news you can trust.