Lawton’s Plan for Mass and Cass

Overview

The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard is out of control. A pending crisis since 2014 was allowed to spiral into chaos without mitigation or common sense. A mistake is not a mistake until you refuse to correct it; blame it on ubiquitous ambivalence or failure of policy-makers; Moving forward together is a priority. 

My view is a compilation of the many who have been sounding the alarm, enduring the negative impact of public policy failures, offering solutions, and holding public officials accountable, and will evolve with greater knowledge of the intricacies of implementation but with no less resolve to find a viable solution

Short Term

● Provide voluntary inpatient treatment on demand for those on the cusp of escaping Mass and Cass by will or out of necessity. This proposal will provide an option for those who wish to escape the physical circumstance of Mass and Cass. 

● Provide nautical transportation to Long Island. 

● Secure a perimeter surrounding Mass and Cass starting from the known neighborhood incursions, and centralize and contain this nameless neighborhood. 

● Establish an enforced drug-free zone.

Boston has exhausted millions of federal funds for housing, infrastructure, and economic development. How much of that funding has gone to address the problem of Mass and Cass? A priority has been made to improve the physical infrastructure for Bostonians while ignoring the concerns of people who use it. That must change. 

Understanding that drug addiction may not be the only cause for being an inhabitant of Mass and Cass, better communication between stakeholders may produce a policy we can all be satisfied with and proud of.

Long-Term 

● We need to explore regional options literally down the Pike (Interstate 90). For nearly a decade, the City of Boston has endured the failures an incoherent or non-existent regional policy. I encourage Boston’s elected officials to work together to nudge state and federal officials to intervene. 

While no solution or policy can reasonably expect to satisfy all stakeholders at their desired pace, this is a “ chip away “ challenge that must begin. John F. Kennedy best described our current dilemma and a pathway forward by stating: “ Courage not complacency is our need today, leadership not salesmanship. And the only valid test of leadership is the ability to lead and lead vigorously.”

Bostonians are demanding that leadership.

Lawton’s Plan on Transportation

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OVERVIEW

Transportation is an issue that I have spent most of my adult life addressing. My early involvement in the Mass Dept. of Public Works sought to reduce the number of cars on the road in the late 1970s and 80s with a program called Mass Pool and Caravan. It sought to match individual drivers with those going to the same or nearby location, mostly outside the city. The van was subsidized, insured, and chipped away at the number of cars on our streets. We must revisit innovative ideas that work and explore new ideas to reduce traffic and improve air quality in our neighborhoods.

My second experience with transportation was addressing the blatant disparity of public investment in infrastructure in the City of Boston. I authored and filed legislation through State Representative Charlotte Golar Richie in 1998 to study, plan and implement mass transit initiatives. I wrote and filed legislation to compel the MBTA to clean up their commuter rail dumping grounds from appliances, tires, and trash. We can all see a huge gap between mass transit lines on the MBTA Mass Transit Map. You will find Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan parts in that gap. 

Had the path of the orange line remained, Nubian Square would be a hub for commercial and educational interest and activity. The move to transfer mass transit a half-mile away from a historical commercial district isolated this commercial district. It also created greater challenges for attracting long-term business anchors and support for small businesses. While these issues are primarily state issues, there are no limitations on vociferous advocacy for the residents of Boston. That means applying the political heat when and where needed.

It is now more important than ever.

Pedestrian safety in Dorchester, Roxbury, South Boston, and surrounding communities has been my priority for decades. More people and cars and less enforcement mean greater pedestrian danger. I have lost family members and friends to hit-and-run, negligent, and impatient drivers. Let's not wait until the unthinkable happens again.

My first steps as your City Councilor in the area of transportation will be to audit existing traffic safety policies and enforcement and begin to design approaches with the community and small business owners in mind.

My Plan

For far too long, the voices of small businesses in District 3 have been ignored or dismissed. I am grateful that the Boston Police Department has responded to small business owners' safety concerns by offering technical assistance. Though, it is  a good start, BPD street patrols in all business districts of District 3 will provide another level of security for small businesses.

  • I will urge increased coordination between BPD and the Transportation Department to address traffic congestion hotspots.

         And non-compliant drivers to speed limits and safety signage.

  • While staffing shortages challenge the additional demand for enforcement, the periodic concentration of resources in different parts of the district will lay a foundation for deterrence district-wide.

The legislation I proposed in 1998 is still relevant today.

  •  Absenteeism was the greatest impediment to student learning and socialization during my teaching career. Increased attendance must be accompanied by revitalizing the school environment and making education more practical and fun.

  • Re-entry into civil society by incarcerated individuals must be a priority always. Providing options for redemption and the tools for rebuilding their lives is a small investment with big rewards.

  • The inequities in mass transit and LRV service connecting Mattapan via Roxbury to downtown will fill in the wide gap in mass transit between the red and orange transit lines.

  • The condition of the commuter rail track areas entering Boston has long served as a dumping ground for old tires and rubbish that still exists. There needs to be a clean-up and implementation of mitigating measures.

  • The bill requiring flashing lights at all elementary school zones was incorporated into an omnibus bill and passed.

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Email us at lawtonfordistrict3@gmail.com

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Paid for by the Committee to Elect Barry Lawton