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South Boston WaterfrontThe South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Committee, made up of the leadership of MassDOT, the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Massachusetts Port Authority, and A Better City, today announced that Friday February 19th will be the final day of the six-month pilot that opened the South Boston Bypass Road to non-commercial traffic. Now this pilot shifts into its second phase where public feedback is gathered and the data is analyzed.

The six-month pilot program was launched on August 17th and opened the South Boston Bypass Road to non-commercial traffic at all times in the section from Richards Street to West Service Road, and opened the South Boston Bypass Road in the eastbound direction from I-93 to Richards Street during AM peak hours (6:00 am to 10:00 am). The pilot also opened the I-93 Northbound HOV lane from I-93 to the Ted Williams Tunnel to all cars at all times. The implementation of the six month pilot was one of the cornerstone achievements on the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Committee’s list of short-term improvements for the South Boston Waterfront.

MassDOT worked closely with the Port Area commercial trucking community, which relies on the Bypass Road to sustain their businesses, to monitor the impacts of the trial. Final approval to open the South Boston Bypass Road was granted by the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) in August, with the understanding that this would be a six-month pilot to assess the impact and viability of opening the road to non-commercial traffic.

The South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Committee has committed to undertaking a public process to review the results of the pilot and determine the next steps for the South Boston Bypass Road. A public meeting will be held in March to review the results of the pilot and solicit input from the public. The South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Committee will also continue to work with the maritime stakeholders in the area to understand how the pilot impacted their operations.

The initial data from the pilot shows that the changes had no adverse impact on traffic mobility in the South Boston Waterfront. A notable change of volume was in the eastbound direction of the South Boston Bypass Road between Cypher/ Richards streets and West Service Road where volume increased approximately 21% since the start of the pilot, equating to about 100 more vehicles per hour using the road during the AM peak period. The initial data for I-93 Northbound HOV lane from I-93 to the Ted Williams Tunnel also suggested additional improved usage of the road without significant adverse impacts on travel time for motorists.

Following the closure of these facilities to non-commercial traffic, the Massachusetts State Police will begin a progressive enforcement campaign to remind motorists of the traffic circulation changes. After a brief transition period, the post-pilot data collection phase will begin and run through March. A formal report documenting the findings of the pilot, including pre, during, and post-pilot conditions will be finalized in the spring of 2016.

Motorists can expect to begin seeing message boards at the end of this week alerting them to the restrictions, which go into effect on February 20th.

Growth in the South Boston Waterfront has accelerated in recent years, and projections are showing future development adding more than 17 million square feet in the Waterfront a 72 percent increase from the current status that will add approximately 9,200 new residents and 22,900 new jobs by 2035. Added to this will be the growth of the port and maritime activities and increasing convention and hospitality activity. This will increase the total transportation trips with origins and / or destinations in the Waterfront by as much as 63 percent during peak commute hours.
Knowing that portions of the current transportation system in the Waterfront are nearing capacity, the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan Committee created a plan that provides immediate, mid-term, and long-term recommendations to improve transit; highways and streets; and pedestrian, water, and bicycle mobility serving the district as well as increased accessibility for persons with disabilities.
The South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan builds upon the successes of the South Boston Waterfront district and seeks to ensure its ability to reach its full potential as both a vital economic engine and a vibrant neighborhood by defining and prioritizing transportation investments, influencing people’s travel behaviors, and improving the public realm. The Plan’s major goals are to:
• Improve access and mobility for all– Improve multi-modal access to and from the South Boston Waterfront as well as improve mobility within the district for residents, workers, maritime-related commerce, and visitors
• Support economic growth and vitality– Deliver the transportation infrastructure needed to support a world-class economy
• Reinforce sustainable policies and programs– Align programs and policies to support more sustainable transportation choices and demand management to and within the South Boston Waterfront
• Enhance the public realm – Contribute to enhancing the attractiveness and quality of the urban character through ongoing transportation investment
• Contribute environmental and health benefits– Realize the positive environmental effects and health benefits that result from a more sustainable transportation plan
• Invest smartly for the future– Advance strategic investment in the South Boston Waterfront to ensure the longer-term financial and operational sustainability of its transportation system

A major part of the planning effort involved public engagement and input early in the process through a comprehensive Public Involvement Plan. This public process facilitated a dialogue on the issues and opportunities facing the South Boston Waterfront from multiple perspectives including the residents of South Boston and the Fort Point Channel communities, employers and employees in the South Boston Waterfront district, maritime and industrial businesses, agencies, advocacy groups, and neighborhood associations. There were five public meetings to inform and seek input on the plan.
Check the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan website.

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