Editorial: Year end musings

We tend to take the “half-full” approach to measuring the contents of the year gone by— in this case, 2019. In the Dorchester context, it has been a mixed-stocking, as always. But from this vantage point, it contained more candy canes than coal. What will we remember about 2019? Here’s a quick sampling:

Red Line goes off the rails— A June 11 derailment that destroyed a trackside signal bungalow at JFK-UMass station brought summertime subway service to its knees and exposed the extreme vulnerability of the system writ large. T officials might lean on the adage “It’s always darkest before the dawn” while they start to roll out new generation cars for the Orange and Red Line over the coming months. But, at year’s end, a new, highly critical report made it clear that it will take way more investment and talent than is currently on hand to get the MBTA up to modern standards.

On the brighter side of the transit equation: The new Blue Hill Avenue station debuted last February, the final in a series of new stops built along the Fairmount Line over the last decade. Later in the year, the MBTA board signaled its support for the eventual transition of the Fairmount to a rapid-transit system, more akin to the Red or Orange lines.

Last stop for the Mattapan-Ashmont trolleys— The MBTA board also signed off on a plan that will cycle the vintage 1940s era Presidential Conference Committee cars off the Mattapan line, replacing them with newer generation vehicles over the next 7-10 years. It was a tough but prudent call by T officials.

A horrible loss— No year passes us by without some form of atrocity. In February, a 23-year-old Dorchester native, Jassy Correia, was found murdered, allegedly by a 32-year-old Providence man who kidnapped her outside a Boston nightclub.

Bayside deal leads development— In the summer, the UMass Building Authority signed a lease agreement with private development team Accordia Partners for the 20-acre Bayside site that could net the university— and the Boston campus, in particular— between $192.5 million and $235 million over the coming decade. Also, in the last year: a proposal that could bring the tallest structures ever to Dorchester’s skyline came into sharper focus when Center Court Partners went public for their plans for the Morrissey Boulevard parcels they own. By the fall, the heights of two residential towers they’d like to build were lowered to 17 and 15 stories, respectively; still, they would add significant height and density to the neighborhood.

Up from the ashes in Ashmont— The “feel-good” story of the year on the development front came in June, when city and state officials joined Trinity Development, Inc., at the grand opening of the Treadmark building across from Ashmont station. The six-story, mixed-use property includes 83 units of housing, much of it affordable. And, after the first iteration of the building was destroyed by fire in June 2017, this year’s successful opening was a much-needed morale boost for everyone involved.

New blood for City Council— Three new people were elected to join the Boston City Council next year, including Dorchester’s Julia Mejia, who will be the first Latina woman to serve as an at-large councillor. Next year’s panel will also include Ricardo Arroyo, representing parts of Mattapan, Hyde Park, and Roslindale; and Liz Breadon from Allston-Brighton.

In next week’s Reporter, we’ll have a more in-depth presentation of the year in review. What would you include? Send us your ideas to newseditor@dotnews.com.

Finally: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our readers, advertisers, neighbors and friends.

– Bill Forry