The issued a statement expressing anger and a sense of betrayal at the MBTA’s Board decision to not include renovation of the blighted Arborway Yard Transit Facility in the Authority’s long-term budget.
The planned facility would radically transform the mostly empty 18 acres in Forest Hills into a state-of-the-art transit-oriented development that would greatly benefit the MBTA, commuters, and the neighborhood. The estimated pricetag: $220 million. Eight acres would be for community use, such as housing, park space and retail.
Local elected officials led by Mayor Thomas Menino say they are committed to construction of the Arborway Yard Transit Facility and to obtain the eight acrespromised by the MBTA for community development purposes.
Over 500 JP residents sent emails or signed petitions to MBTA General Manager Richard Davey requesting inclusion of the Arborway Yard Transit Facility in the Authority’s Capital Improvment Plan. Fifteen neighborhood organizations signed a joint letter requesting inclusion of the Arborway project in the Authority's CIP budget, in addition to letters by Menino, State Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, Representatives Liz Malia and Jeffrey Sánchez, and City Councilors Felix Arroyo, Stephen Murphy and Matt O’Malley.
According to the committee all members of the MBTA Board of Directors and the State Secretary of Transportation received copies of the petitions, emails and letters.
An April 6 vote by the MBTA Board of Directors to not include funding for the Arborway Yard Transit Facility ”clearly represents a broken promise to the community and to all our elected officials” reads the statement.
The all-volunteer committee vows to “continue to advocate and organize to ensure that the MBTA fulfills their promise to the community.”
In spite of the setback the committee expresses commitment to “continue working with the MBTA leadership to identify funding opportunities, both within the CIP budget and outside sources of revenue to fund the Arborway Yard.”
The organization is also working with Rep. Malia and Sen. Chang-Diaz to explore funding through bonding legislation. City Councilor Matt O’Malley has filed a hearing order to discuss the environmental impact of the temporary bus facility now in place at the Arborway Yard
The committee intends to continue to build a strong coalition of neighbors and organizations who support construction of the Arborway Yard Transit Facility.
If you'd like to become involved in supporting community-friendy redevelopment of this extensive area of Jamaica Plain you may contact the committee and its chairperson Henry Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.