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Go Boston 2030 truck solicits commuter questions

The city wants to know: “What’s your question about getting around Boston in the future?”
The Go Boston 2030 truck hit the streets of Boston this week.Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro

The people who live and work in Dudley Square are used to travel inconveniences, but one thing they are not used to is being asked what they would like done about it.

But on Thursday, community members were welcomed by the open ears of the Go Boston 2030 “What’s Your Question” truck, a question-collecting mobile that has been visiting city neighborhoods since Wednesday. Hot chocolate and a space heater were added as extra incentive for snow-stricken travelers.

The questions submitted by commuters will serve as a basis for the transportation plan Boston would like to have in place by the year 2030. So far, the truck has stopped in Mattapan, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods.

For decades, transportation planning in Boston has used a conventional model for public input — community meetings. But not everyone has the time, or the public transportation access, to attend such gatherings.

“We wanted to break away from that model and try and really understand what our residents care about when it comes to transportation,” said Boston Transportation Department Director of Policy and Planning Vineet Gupta. “Good ideas often results from a question.”

Roxbury residents Reynolds Graves and his girlfriend Rachel Redd, both 26, both wrote their questions on pieces of plastic that hung in the truck’s window. Each stops brings in between 75 and 100 questions, organizers said. Roughly 2,000 questions have been submitted online.

Redd asked about improvements to late-night bus service, something they agree is desperately needed in their neighborhood.

“I asked, ‘Will buses stay open past 12 a.m.? Because what if I go out late and don’t want to drive?” said Redd.

Graves was more concerned about whether Boston can look forward to an elevated T track by 2030.

“I think an elevated train would actually help with traffic on the street,” said Graves.

Mattapan resident Al Ortiz, 43, posed a question about bus reliability, as he has suffered more long waits and tedious bus rides than he’d like to recount.

“Usually it takes me 15 minutes from where I live to Forest Hills, but it took me an hour-and-a-half [Wednesday],” said Ortiz, adding that he’s pleased with the initiative.

“I think it‘ll make a difference,” he said.

David Price, a T rider who works in Dudley Square, was more concerned with foot transportation particularly during the winter.

“Why can’t we put steam pipes under sidewalks to melt snow the way they do in New York City?” Price said of the state of the sidewalks. “It’s pretty bad. It’s okay right now in Dudley Square, but I’ve heard horror stories about kids in neighborhoods who can’t walk to the bus. So it’s not the way it should be.”

“A lot of times people complain about the T, but they don’t often think about it and engage in conversation,” said Price.

Now, the questions will be divided into 10 categories, and presented at a two-day public forum at the end of March. The exact date and location of which have yet to be determined.

“We are very thrilled a lot of good feedback on uniqueness and how much it encourages people without any pressure to ask the questions,” said Gupta.

Questions can also be submitted online at GoBoston2030.org, #GoBoston2030 on Twitter, or by texting 617-925-6914.

The truck will make stops:

Friday

12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Chinatown Gate

4 p.m. - 7 p.m. East Boston - Maverick Square

Saturday

12 p.m. - 2 p.m. South End – Tremont Street at Clarendon Street

4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Dorchester – Upham's Corner

Monday

12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Downtown – Dewey Square

4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Charlestown – Public Library

Tuesday

12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Downtown Crossing – Summer Street at Washington Street

4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Fenway - Huntington at Forsyth

Submit questions to GoBoston2030.org, #GoBoston2030on Twitter, or by texting 617-925-6914

 
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