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South Boston WaterfrontThe South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Committee, including the leadership of MassDOT, the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Massachusetts Port Authority, and A Better City, today announced the action steps that are currently underway, or about to be underway, that will begin to bring improvements to residential, commuter, and visitor mobility in the South Boston Waterfront District.

The action steps released in a Progress Report come directly from the larger South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan created by the Committee and released in January of 2015 and fulfill a self-imposed six-month deadline of initial activities. The steps currently underway or about to be underway to improve transportation in the district for neighborhoods, businesses, the port-based industries, and hospitality include:

  • A six-month pilot program to be launched on August 17th that will open up the South Boston Bypass Road to non-commercial traffic at all times in the section from Richards Street to West Service Road.
  • The pilot also includes opening 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 will also open up the I-93 Northbound HOV lane from I-93 to the Ted Williams Tunnel to all cars at all times.
  • Improvements were made to the Silver Line’s speed in June through changes in signal timing, which will be studied for further modifications. Real time arrival information electronic boards will be posted in South Station, Court House Station, and World Trade Center Station in the fall to improve customer experience on the line.
  • A four month pilot of temporary, low-cost wayfinding signs launched at 20 locations throughout the district on August 10th to test improvements to the pedestrian and visitor experience. People are encouraged to provide feedback about the signage on social media using the hashtag #WalkSBW.
  • The City of Boston is working to make pedestrian improvements at three major locations in the South Boston neighborhood.
  • In July the ParkBoston System was expanded into the Waterfront district that allows users to pay parking meters and feed the meter when they are away through a free app for Apple and Android phones.
  • Two new Hubway stations funded by the developers of Seaport Square will be added in August to the 10 that are present in the district today.
  • The MCCA and the Seaport Transportation Management Association will continue to work with businesses to develop consolidated shuttle services with better levels of service that will move employees between the district and South and North Stations.

“Whether you’re driving, walking, biking, boating, or taking the T to and from the waterfront, these action steps will improve the commuting experience for everyone,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Last year, we convened all of the important agencies and gathered input from the community to develop a very thoughtful approach to addressing transportation issues in this growing area of our city. I’m pleased that recommendations from the study are being implemented, and I look forward to more progress from our collaboration.”

“MassDOT, the City of Boston, and the partnering agencies proactively came together to create a plan based on our experience and community input to improve mobility, the economy, and the quality of life in the South Boston Waterfront district and adjoining neighborhoods,” said Thomas J. Tinlin, MassDOT Highway Administrator and a South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Committee member. “We are now taking action and delivering on that plan to begin bringing relief to congestion, improving the transit systems, enhancing intermodal connections, and creating better experiences for pedestrians and bicyclists.”

“Our ability to move forward on these important steps is made possible by the support of the Baker administration, Congressman Lynch, Senator Forry, Representative Collins, Councilor Flaherty, and Councilor Linehan,” said Fred Peterson, Interim Executive Director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. “To see elected officials, private sector, public sector, and the South Boston Waterfront neighborhood come together to affect real progress is exciting as we realize the results of our collaborative work now and into the future.”

“Massport is happy to report on progress on the South Boston Waterfront Transportation Plan and hope that all involved will continue to make further the improvements for the benefit of all users of the waterfront without hampering the needs of the maritime industry,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn.

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.

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