MAPC & Neponset River Watershed Association kick off phase two of Boston to Blue Hills
Written by Marah Holland, Senior Transportation Planner
February 12, 2024 - The route between Boston’s southern neighborhoods and the Blue Hills has long been identified as a gap in the regional transportation network, both for transit and trails. In 2023, the staff for the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) completed a study called “Unlocking the Blue Hills: Addressing Equity and Access in the Blue Hills Reservation,” which found that people without access to a vehicle have significantly higher travel times to the Blue Hills, and limited safe, convenient, enjoyable options for getting there.
The Boston to Blue Hills team, including MAPC and the Neponset River Watershed Association (NepRWA), have spent the last year conducting various community engagement activities to hear from the local community in Mattapan, Milton, and Quincy about their interest and ideas for a walking, biking, and rolling route from Boston to the Blue Hills.
The project team conducted a survey in early 2023 that received approximately 1,000 responses and showed 90% support for a route that allowed them to safely bike, walk, and roll from the Neponset Greenway to the Blue Hills. Of the survey respondents that had been to the Blue Hills, more than 90% of them drove. Of the people that hadn’t been to the Blue Hills, 70% of them hadn’t visited because they had no way of getting there. We also heard a lot of support for using the trail in a variety of ways, and for connecting to various destinations and resources along the route.
In addition to the public survey, the Boston to Blue Hills team met with numerous community-based groups, conducted a site visit, held a virtual public meeting, and met with regional and state agencies and advocacy organizations to determine community support, priorities, and ideas for this route.
We are now moving into phase two of the project, which will focus on design and engineering. This phase will focus on Blue Hills Parkway, Unquity Road, and sections of Hillside Street and Chickatawbut Road from Houghton’s Pond to Route 28. We are continuing to partner with the Town of Milton and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) throughout this project.
In 2024, the Boston to Blue Hills team plans to continue to engage the community through stakeholder meetings, public meetings, site visits, youth events, and more. Check out the project’s website for more information and sign up for our email list!