The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has announced that the renovation of Fairmount commuter rail line will be on the list of transit projects designed to mitigate air pollution from the Big Dig. The City Record and Boston News-Letter wholeheartedly endorses this decision, along with the inclusion of a Green Line extension to Union Square and West Medford. We're less thrilled with the addition of new parking spaces to commuter rail stations but we can understand the logic of getting cars off the road so long as the new parking lots don't continue to encourage exurban development and sprawl.
One of the first posts on the City Record and Boston News-Letter advocated increased service along the Fairmount line. This isn't a new idea--historically the Fairmount line had more stations than it does at the present time and it helped set off a building and economic boom in 19th Century Dorchester. We believe this investment in the Fairmount line will stimulate the economy along the corridor it serves. The stations, currently slated for Newmarket (the South Bay shopping district), Four Corners, Talbot Avenue, and Blue Hill Avenue will cost around $100 million and could be complete by 2011.
In recent years Dorchester has seen an increase in transit oriented development: Trinity Financial has plans for a commerical/residential development at Ashmont Station, a developer will be building condos on Dorchester Avenue across the street from the Fields Corner T Station, and the Salvation Army has plans for a new community center across the street from the Uphams Corner stop on the Fairmount Line. Projects completed within the past few years near the Savin Hill T Station (newly renovated) include the row of townhouses along Sydney Street and the Spire building. While developers continue to press for high density projects which are poor fits for the surrounding neighborhoods, the City of Boston needs to do more to show developers, both large and small, about the possibilities which exist for development along transit corridors. An excellent overview of the Fairmount line corridor can be found here.
For more information about the public hearings and comment period for the proposed transit projects, click here.