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boston-harbor-nowMembers of the Seaport Economic Council convened today and were briefed on a dozen sites which have been identified by stakeholders as having the best potential for new or expanded ferry service.  As part of the ongoing Boston Harbor Water Transportation Study, routes between these sites will then be analyzed to select the three routes most likely to have financially sustainable service.  Business plans for these proposed routes will then be completed next spring.

“Our administration believes that by partnering with cities and towns, we can help deliver more sustainable and efficient services to meet the needs of the communities we serve,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to what the analysis of these potential routes will show us and appreciate the continued collaboration between all non-profit organizations, businesses and municipalities involved in the Boston Harbor Water Transportation Study.”

“We see water transportation as an important travel option in the future and are pleased to now have possible sites for new or expanded service,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The Baker-Polito Administration will continue to encourage conversations, listen to public input and work with municipal leaders, developers and non-profit and private sector partners to better understand where current and potential customers want to go and which ferry routes have the greatest potential to be financially sustainable and have growth potential over time.” Secretary Pollack chairs the Water Transportation Advisory Council which she has charged with assisting MassDOT in creating a practical and actionable plan for a sustainable Water Transportation network.

Thirty dock sites around Boston Harbor were studied in order to compare multi-modal access, existing infrastructure conditions, travel time savings, and demand from the surrounding market area. Twelve of the thirty locations with the greatest capacity for supporting new or expanded service have been identified for further study. Using the data collected from a stated preference survey conducted in August and September, a transportation demand model will now be run for each location in order to further evaluate possible new routes.

“I am excited to see the potential for Lynn’s ferry being recognized by the industry experts who have worked on this study with the support of MassDOT, Boston Harbor Now and the Water Transportation Advisory Council.  The time is right to make water transportation a key part of our transit system.  New and expanded ferry service offers a more immediate and sustainable solution to our regional gridlock. By looking to our natural resources as a coastal state, we can thoughtfully expand water transportation across Boston Harbor to improve the commutes of both those on the ferries–with shorter ride times and more reliable service–and those on the roads by reducing congestion.  Better connections and transit options will improve the quality of life for residents of our region and will spur economic development in the Commonwealth.  I appreciate the efforts of all who have contributed to this regional vision for water transportation and I look forward to continuing to work with the Baker-Polito Administration and the Seaport Economic Council to realize the full potential of water transportation for our region,” stated Senator Thomas M. McGee, Mayor-Elect of Lynn.

In the next phase of the process, several North Shore, South Shore, and Inner Harbor routes will be studied. Expanding existing services from Hingham and Hull will be evaluated in conjunction with the evaluation of new routes from Squantum Point/Marina Bay in Quincy and Fallon Pier on Columbia Point in Dorchester. An Inner Harbor circulator route will be considered among and between combinations of the following sites: Logan Airport and Lewis Mall in East Boston, Navy Yard Pier 4 in Charlestown, Lovejoy Wharf next to North Station, Long Wharf and Rowes Wharf in Downtown Boston, and Fan Pier and World Trade Center East in the Seaport. Continued North Shore services from Salem and Winthrop will be incorporated into the model while Lynn will receive support for implementing a business plan for new ferry service from their Blossom Street Pier.

“I welcome this opportunity to invest in expanding ferry service to and from the South Shore,” said Representative Joan Meschino. “Ferries play an integral role in our coastal communities’ transit oriented development.  Not only is the ferry a reliable and efficient transportation mode, but the ferry also plays a key role in a healthy local economy connecting the South Shore to Boston, the airport, and the Harbor Islands.   I would like to thank MassDOT, Boston Harbor Now and the Seaport Economic Council for their commitment to invest in a robust intermodal ferry system.”

“Our community believes wholeheartedly in the value and potential of water transportation for our residents, and we are looking forward to working together with our state partners on making full-service water transportation a reality in Quincy once again, said Quincy’s Mayor Thomas Koch.  I’m grateful to Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito for their ongoing commitment to improving transportation options across the Commonwealth.”

The Seaport Economic Council of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Affairs, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Barr Foundation, the Cabot Family Charitable Trust, and the developers of both the Envoy Hotel and Clippership Wharf are also supporting the study. The National Park Service is funding a connected study that is looking at improved ferry services to the Boston Harbor Islands.

“We look forward to continuing to explore increased and new ferry service in the Boston Harbor,” said Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk, Vice-Chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “Investing and enhancing maritime transport aligns with the Seaport Economic Council’s strategic objectives to leverage the assets of our coastal communities, create new opportunities for residents, and support the blue economy.”

Prior to making the dock site recommendations, Boston Harbor Now and the consultant team led by Steer Davies Gleave, held water transportation stakeholder workshops to collect dock site ideas, studied existing conditions, evaluated national best practices for ferry services, and collected 3,689 responses to a stated preference survey to understand how people make travel choices around Boston Harbor. On November 16, preliminary recommendations for each of the 30 dock sites were shared at a Water Transportation Study Open House.

“I am very pleased that Salem has been selected as a site for the next phase of the Boston Harbor Water Transportation Study,” said Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll.   “While our existing ferry service to Boston has proven to be a great success, we are confident that there is ample room for growth and an opportunity to expand this important service even further. Salem’s historic port and waterfront have long been a vital part of our community, from the age of maritime trade through today, and we are looking forward to strengthening our connection to this critical asset into the future. Expanded water transportation options are not only important to our economic growth, they also help us reduce traffic and bolster our commitment to sustainability. I would like to thank Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for their support of this important work and the other members of the Council for their commitment to our Commonwealth’s vibrant seaports, including Salem’s.”

“It’s been important from day one that we hear from people around the Harbor and evaluate all of the possible options for the next generation of ferry service,” said Kathy Abbott, the President and CEO of Boston Harbor Now. “Public engagement and communication has been at the forefront of our work, and we’ve gotten great insights from current and potential ferry users.”

The Feedback from the Stakeholder Workshops and Existing Conditions reports which were shared at the Open House can be found online.

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