Key Milestones

  • 2000-Greater Four Corners Action Coalition launches transit equity campaign to improve the Fairmount Rail Line
  • 2004-The CDC Collaborative forms and begins to purchase vacant properties for sustainable development near the rail line
  • 2005-The MA Secretary of Economic Development and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority commit to build four new stations
  • 2006 –A court settlement to mitigate the Big Dig/Central Artery highway project includes construction of the four stations
  • 2008-The Fairmount Greenway Task Force (link to website Fairmount Greenway page) begins planning for new open space and biking and walking trails close to the rail line
  • 2007-Uphams Corner and Morton Street station renovations are complete
  • 2009-Four Corners/Geneva Avenue Station starts construction
  • 2010-Talbot Avenue and Newmarket Stations start construction; Blue Hill Avenue/Cummins Highway Station begins design planning process
  • 2011 – Fairmount is selected as a HUD/EPA/FTA Sustainable Communities Partnership
  • 2012The Boston Redevelopment Authority launches the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative
  • 2012-13 Three new stations open: Talbot Avenue, Four Corners/Geneva Avenue and Newmarket
  • 2014 MBTA announces one affordable fare and new weekend service
  • 2015 The Fairmount Indigo Network of over 20 organizations is established

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has invested $200 million to

  • Provide higher-quality transit service
  • Alleviate the congestion of overcrowded buses
  • Create “walk to” stations that better serve local residents

“Organizing at the grassroots level with neighbors and community partners builds power and brings success. – Gail Latimore, Executive Director, Codman Square NDC

2006-Fairmount-Line-Rally (1)In 1855, The Fairmount Line opened as the Midland Railroad as one of Boston’s first passenger railroads with a peak of 11 stations serving residents in the burgeoning surrounding communities. After World War II, although freight service continued, passenger service did not resume due to disinvestment that followed racial changes and the post war movement out to Boston’s suburbs.

In 1979, the MBTA restored service at two existing stations—Uphams Corner and Morton Street—to reroute commuter trains during the Southwest Corridor Orange Line reconstruction. However, service was limited and did not serve most of the residents living in the Fairmount Corridor.

In 2000, the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition launched the fight to create new stations to bring “transit equity” on the Fairmount Line to create better public transit options for the predominantly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods surrounding the line. The transit equity goals are to complete new stations, guarantee affordable fares, and increase service levels, as a new Fairmount/Indigo Line– integrated into the MBTA rapid transit system. For years, the predominantly African American, Latino, Caribbean and Cape Verdean immigrant residents have had to rely on lengthy bus rides with transfers to get to work and schools, taking up to 1 1/2 hours to get to downtown Boston. No rapid transit serves these neighborhoods.

The 9. 25-mile Fairmount Line is unique in the Commuter Rail system since it runs entirely within the City of Boston—from Readville north to South Station downtown. But unlike the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority rapid transit lines, the Fairmount Line has infrequent service and had fares that were too high ($5.50 & $6.00) for residents to use on a daily basis. Peak hour service is every 30 minutes and only every two hours at off peak times and no service in the late evenings.

In 2004, four community development corporations (CDCs), located within the “Fairmount Corridor,” joined the transit campaign. The CDCs also created the Fairmount/Indigo Line CDC Collaborative (The Collaborative). The Collaborative launched an ambitious “Transit-Oriented-Development” (TOD) agenda to transform vacant and distressed properties, within half a mile of the stations, into new housing, commercial uses, jobs and open space.

Today, The Collaborative continues to lead sustainable development around the Fairmount/Indigo Line. BUT also to prevent the kind of speculation, gentrification, and displacement that often follows transit expansion (Maintaining Diversity in Transit-rich Areas).

In 2016, The Collaborative includes three of the original CDC members: Dorchester Bay EDC, Codman Square NDC in Dorchester and Southwest Boston CDC in Hyde Park. The Collaborative also works allies in Mattapan like Mattapan United and Mattapan Food and Fitness.

The CDC members have 35 plus years of successful community development and resident organizing, The Collaborative accomplishes far more than any member could on its own. The members share expertise, coordinate TOD planning, organizing, and joint fundraising, and benefit from the creative energy that comes from pursuing a common goal. Each CDC takes the lead to identify and undertake promising local TOD projects located within their service area. Each CDC also involves residents and community leaders living near their stations to shape these projects and to help achieve the Fairmount Line improvements.

The Collaborative is integrating affordable and mixed-use housing along with new retail and job-generators within walking distance to the Fairmount stations. New development and arts and culture efforts are creating more lively, healthy and special places in which local families can thrive. A new “Fairmount Corridor” is emerging –linking these neighborhoods by the Fairmount/Indigo Line. This “Smart Growth Corridor” ( pdf link: Newest Smart Growth Corridor) is being created with the engagement of hundreds of residents and community leaders who want greater economic opportunity and “greener” more sustainable communities for them and their children.

The Collaborative has gained attention regionally and nationally. In 2011, the Collaborative was recognized as a national pilot of the federal Sustainable Communities Partnership of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Transit Administration. The City of Boston also launched a Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative through the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) to maximize the economic development opportunities that can be linked to the Fairmount Line expansion.

Three new stations opened in spring 2013 and ridership has increased 3-fold since then.

We are actively engaged in the broader Fairmount Indigo Network supported by the Boston Foundation and involving more than 26 local community organizations. The FIN seeks to achieve equity in improved transit, increased affordable housing and displacement prevention, and expanded economic opportunities.


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