Mayor Walsh has announced his 2019 environment and transportation legislative package containing six bills focused on preparing for and mitigating climate change, as well as advancing transportation projects and increasing safety on city streets.
The first of two environmental bills focuses on the Mayor’s plan for a Resilient Boston Harbor to protect against rising sea levels and climate change. It would create a regional commission to determine which entity should lead major coastal and inland resiliency projects, as well as how the projects will be funded and prioritized.
District-level planning for the Downtown and North End neighborhoods, as part of Climate Ready Boston, is expected to start early this year and will include new designs for Christopher Columbus Park, Langone & Puopolo Parks and Sargent’s Wharf.
Some district planning has already been completed in places like East Boston, where a deployable flood wall was installed; Charlestown, where part of Main Street will be elevated; and South Boston, where stormwater flood planning is being conducted at Moakley Park.
Most recently the City, in partnership with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), submitted its proposal for a $10 million FEMA pre-mitigation grant to begin resilience work along the Fort Point Channel. Learn more about the coastal resilience projects with the City’s tracker.
The second environmental bill would impose a fine on natural gas providers for the total volume of all gas leaks, incentivizing the utility companies to update their infrastructure and providing revenue for climate-ready municipal projects.
This bill would accelerate Boston’s progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions, an important task if Boston is going to meet its goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. The City is currently updating its Climate Action Plan to identify immediate steps to take in order to reach this goal.
Mayor Walsh is also proposing four transportation bills that further the goals of Go Boston 2030, which aims to reduce traffic; encourage travel by transit, bike and on foot; and ensure safety and accessibility for all users of Boston’s streets.
The first bill would allow cities and towns in Massachusetts to pass taxes to fund specific transportation projects. The second, in an effort to promote safer streets, would allow for photo enforcement for school buses with cameras to capture violations when the STOP arm is deployed and for addressing Blocking the Box traffic violations.
The third transportation bill would allow cities and towns to add parking assessments in private parking garages. These funds would then go toward road and bridge maintenance, as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
The final bill would update the Transportation Network Company legislation to better align with the State’s and City’s climate and mobility goals. New assessments would encourage reduced traffic and carbon emissions by carpooling, using public transit, biking or walking.
Learn more about this legislative package on the City of Boston’s website.