Everyone in Metro Boston deserves safe, affordable, and reliable transportation options, but communities of color have been chronically neglected when it comes to prioritizing improvements on our streets.
At our StreetTalk, "Broken Buses + Incomplete Streets: Addressing Inequity in our Transportation System," we discussed why and how city transportation planning needs to address these systemic inequities head-on.
Economic opportunity and public health in urban areas depend on access to safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options -- but communities of color in Metro Boston continue to be left behind. According to MAPC's State of Equity Report, black riders spend 64 hours more per year on MBTA buses relative to white riders and often end up paying more for it. In these communities, a fight to win transportation improvements comes at the risk of gentrification and displacement.
At our StreetTalk we heard from Rehana Moosajee, who against the all odds, brought South Africa’s first BRT system to disconnected communities; Julian Agyeman who discussed why complete streets aren’t truly complete if they don’t account for the people who use them; and Allentza Michel put the spotlight on local transit justice leaders who are working to close the gap.
This event was hosted in partnership with The Neighborhood Bike Forum Steering Committee, Roxbury in Motion, Boston Cyclists Union, T4MA, Boston Alliance for Community Health, and ITDP. A special thanks to the Roxbury Innovation Center for hosting.
Julian Agyeman Ph.D. FRSA FRGS, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University.
Julian Agyeman is the author or editor of 11 books, including Just Sustainabilities: Development in an Unequal World (MIT Press, 2003), Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice (NYU Press, 2005), Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability (MIT Press, 2011), Introducing Just Sustainabilities: Policy, Planning and Practice (Zed Books, 2013), Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, and Possibilities (Routledge, 2014),Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities (MIT Press, 2015) and Food Trucks, Cultural Identity, and Social Justice: From Loncheras to Lobsta Love (MIT Press, 2017).
Rehana Moosajee is a former Councillor from the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. Known as The Barefoot Facilitator, she has a history of community activism and has served in a range of civic groups. During her tenure as the political head of Transport in Johannesburg she led the team that delivered Africa’s first full Bus Rapid Transport system – Rea Vaya.
She has been called upon to share her learnings and insights at a variety of events – including among others - the International Transport Forum, the American Public Transport Association, the Eschborn Dialogues as well as the Gordon Institute of Business Science. She serves as a Research Associate at the South African Cities Network, is a member of the Advisory Board of the African Centre for Cities and a board member at PlayAfrica. Rehana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Allentza Michel is an urban planner, artist, policy advocate and researcher with a background in community organizing. Her 17 years of diverse experience across community economic development, education, food security, public health and transportation inform her current work in civic design, community and organizational development, and social equity.
Living and working in low-income communities in Boston with limited transit options and transportation infrastructure led Allentza to coalition building and community planning, with a particular focus on transportation planning. As Coordinator of the Fairmount Indigo Network, she works with 36 organizations and coalitions that seek to bring equitable community development and resources to the Fairmount Line neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan and Hyde Park, which are also some of Boston’s most underserved communities.