MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey and MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott opened this week’s 10th Annual Sustainability and Public Transportation Workshop sponsored by the American Public Transit Association (APTA) in Boston.
Secretary Davey listed the imperatives for focusing on sustainable transportation in Massachusetts, including owning and operating the oldest transit system in the nation (born in 1897); the need to keep the Commonwealth, its people and businesses moving; and the generational responsibility that Governor Deval Patrick often describes – to leave behind a better place than the one we have found.
Dr. Scott stressed the difference that sustainable transportation can make for people and their communities. Transit projects catalyze private sector development and help build the future. Every dollar invested in transit has a multiplier effect. In the case of the Green Line Extension (GLX), for example, a new program will identify and train workers for careers in transportation through partnerships with existing technical schools, industry training programs and community organizations. The Massachusetts Workforce Initiative Now – WIN – is sponsored by the cities of Cambridge, Somerville and Medford; project contractor White, Skanska & Kiewit; Bunker Hill Community College; and several community groups. The goal of the program is to produce the next generation of workers and leaders to keep Massachusetts moving. “We’re building a future,” said Dr. Scott, “for our system and our people.”
Sustainability also means investing in new plans, technologies and operating strategies. Andrew Brennan, the MBTA’s Director of Energy and Environment, highlighted the MBTA’s extension of the Green Line. As a transit project, GLX is inherently sustainable. Using MassDOT’s GreenDOT framework, GLX addresses seven key sustainability themes: air; energy; land; materials; planning, policy and design; waste and water. Brief examples include providing more “parking” for bicycles than cars; incorporating natural vegetation and green and blue roofs in the design; repurposing materials on-site; and planning for climate change and resilience. The Community Path will link GLX riders to stations, schools, community centers and house of worship.
Perhaps most significantly, the GLX will serve neighborhoods that are among the densest in the nation. With 44% of future riders living in non-auto households, extending the Green Line will make a tremendous daily difference. Travel time to jobs, school and medical appointments will be reduced substantially. When the GLX is fully operational, 71% of the households in the City of Somerville will be within a half mile of a station.
Making transit work helps communities to live and thrive – in the long run, letting people stay in their homes, walk and bicycle, travel to school and work, and age in place.
APTA recognized the MBTA for its outstanding sustainability achievements with a Gold level of certification shortly after this presentation. For more information, visit the Green Line Extension website.
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