Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative (FIPI)|
The Fairmount Indigo Planning Intiative is a two
year BRA study announced in February 2012 by Boston Mayor Thomas M.
Menino which will look at short and long-term
strategies for improving capital investment, public realm improvements
and job access along the 9.2 mile Fairmount Indigo commuter rail
line. Linking South Station to Readville, the Fairmount crosses
through Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park on its way to
The initiative is the BRA’s largest
planning study to date and will impact 132,000 residents who live
within a half-mile of the commuter rail line. The study will identify
corridor-wide opportunities for commercial and residential development,
transit access, public realm enhancements, and community building
initiatives and will lay the groundwork for new opportunities
to improve resident quality of life.
the Fairmount line is local train service from South Station
to Readville. It looks, acts and feels like "commuter rail" but
wants in the
worst way to become a light rail line - the color indigo - standing as
equal with the other colored lines in Boston - red, green, blue, orange
and silver. Until October 2012 when the 5th station stop was
Fairmount train consisted of only four stops plus South Station.
When the development is complete, there will be ten stops.
factors are making the conversion of Fairmount service slow in
the coming but this "train" is gaining momentum as it moves down the
planning path. Essential in the BRA planning process is a 25
member CAG or corridor-wide advisory group that meets monthly with the
BRA and their consultants, The Cecil Group. Integral to the
group's membership are representatives from several of the NDC's, CDC's
and other non-profits who have been working on the issue of
transportation equity, in some cases, for more than 15 years.
Nothing could have come at a better time than the Globe's article, as
if "the stars were aligned." And with such a rallying cry for CAG
members, especially under the organizing efforts of Steve Roller, they
put together a "letter to the Globe editor" suggesting that one
solution is at hand in the form of the Fairmount Indigo line.
Letter to the Editor in Response to the Globe Article
The November 25 Boston Globe cover story "Black commuters face longer
trips to work" provided overdue attention to how Globe-identified gaps
in our under funded MBTA system disproportionately impact communities
of color. The article describes Boston's subway and bus lines as
a "system of haves and have-nots," particularly highlighting the "void
between the Orange and Red subway lines" in Dorchester, Roxbury and
The article also rightly points to a resource at hand to address these
problems. A long underutilized commuter rail line - the
"Fairmount Indigo" line - runs right through the heart of this void,
from South Station to Readville. Some 132,000 people live along
the Fairmount corridor which is defined as the area within a half mile
either side of the Fairmount Indigo line - about one out of every six
Service along the line, however, is sorely lacking, greatly restricting
access to public transit for these residents. Weekday service is
infrequent, and there is no weekend service at all. Fares also
are badly structured, up to $6 per ride, triple the rate for most
Boston-based routes and a major disincentive for potential
Fortunately, major changes are underway along the Fairmount Indigo
line, driven by communities along the line and supported by the MBTA
and the City of Boston.
- Several new stations are
being created with funds from Big Dig mitigation settlements, including
at Talbot Avenue (opened last month), and at Newmarket and Four
Corners/Geneva Avenue (under construction to open in 2013).
- Public and private funders
have provided more than $27 million to support revitalization projects
along the line. Community organizations that have long advocated
for these efforts have plans at the ready for housing and commercial
- In 2012 the Boston
Redevelopment Authority is sponsoring its largest community planning
initiative to date – the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative (FIPI) -
to generate an overarching vision and redevelopment strategy for the
Fairmount Indigo corridor.
With this groundswell of grass-roots and institutional support, the
time is ripe for the state legislature and the MBTA to lend greater
support to bring the potential of the Fairmount Indigo line to
At a minimum, residents on the line need weekend service, more frequent
weekday/evening service, and more affordable “Zone 1A” rates throughout
the line. These are initial but essential steps toward realizing
the community's vision for the Fairmount Indigo line to evolve into a
rapid transit service like a Red or Orange line.
And they will begin the process of eliminating the glaring disparities highlighted by the Globe story.
This letter signed by Members: Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Corridor Advisory Group
Your comments will be posted here and in the Letters to the Editor after processing.
Posted: December 14, 2012
Nancy J Conrad