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Study: Traffic Congestion From Bad to Worse

According to a newly released Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDot) study, traffic is only getting worse in the Commonwealth. 

Some of the most congested areas in the state are I-93 North from Braintree to Neponset, Route 2 East around Alewife, and I-93 South in Medford.

Traffic on Commercial Street last October.

“People in Massachusetts don’t need this study to confirm what they experience every day: congestion has gone from bad to worse, from occasional inconvenience and frustration to a constant and daily reality,” transportation secretary Stephanie Pollack wrote in the report. 

“Traffic and congestion are a nuisance for too many residents,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “From this report, we have identified several ways to address congestion by expanding capacity on our transit system, adding more housing, and exploring managed lanes to help make people’s commutes be more reliable.”

MassDot recommended to reinvest bus transit for the MBTA, increase MBTA capacity and ridership, and develop more affordable housing near public transit as possible steps to handle the issue.

Another suggestion was to charge drivers a fee to get into certain lanes during rush hour.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that dynamically priced lanes, in locations with parallel and free general travel lanes, can provide a real option for those willing and able to pay more to avoid congestion while simultaneously improving the performance of the entire corridor including the non-tolled lanes,” said the report.

The study also revealed that about 17 percent of roads in the Greater Boston area are still congested even when it is not rush hour. More than two thirds of the roads within Route 128 are congested by 5 p.m. The same is true for the morning commute. 

“The system is full, if not overflowing, with what traffic professionals call ‘recurring congestion’ that occurs every working day,” the reports says. 

Baker said one of the biggest difficulties for drivers about the congestion is the “unpredictability.”

“When you have a 20 to 30 minute ride but have to assume it might take much longer then yeah, that’s a tipping point,” he said during a press conference.

Read the full report here.

12 Replies to “Study: Traffic Congestion From Bad to Worse

  1. Can’t see that lane charging helps. It will make the no charge lanes that much worse. If everyone starts to pay, then the congestion will be the same and the State only collects more fees for making taxpayers pay for roads that they already paid for. Wonder if they considering reducing MBTA fares making them more affordable and increasing ridership. People having to endure the current commutes only put themselves through this because the alternative isn’t good, despite the fare increases.

  2. Traffic is a big problem, espically on Sundays in the North End. I wouldn’t mind having cars banned there during the feasts. No like during the parades traffic is always holding it up. Probably the only thing that irks about it.

  3. Sacrificing traffic lanes for bike and bus lanes was like pouring gasoline on a fire plus a construction project on every street and road to grease the unions only contributes to the madness. Of course you can roll the dice and risk taking the T, I would rather take my chances at the Encore Casino. 🃏🎲🎰

  4. Stop talking and do something about it. We don’t need any more housing and expanded lanes are not going to happen this is a living nightmare

  5. Marty Walsh better pray that those two union hacks who got convicted last week don’t “flip” on him ,

    1. Since they both reported to him, I don’t see how he can stay out of it. He essentially threw them under the bus, so my guess is that there is more to come

    1. PACKED? Only Stevie Wonder would say that. The bikes are on and in the the traffic lanes, on the sidewalks , going up one way streets , do NOT stop at red lights, give me a break please 🙏🏻

  6. The answer to this should be – more people should use public transportation. But it’s been so unreliable. I do think if the MBTA service was more regular, reliable, on time, more people would use it.

  7. Rachel ,your correct but your being too kind.The T is a disgrace and the hacks that run it solution is to increase the fares.

  8. How about the city stepping and doing it’s jobs on multiple levels?

    If they got their head out of their backsides, the problems can be lessened if not eliminated, but the city would rather keep things “business as usual”

    I’m all for bike lanes, but they have to be well planned. A perfect example is having a bike lane on beacon and comm ave heading toward Fenway. The traffic on beacon has gotten exponentially worse as there is one less lane… One less lane, same number of cars (or more) = more traffic. Keep the one on comm and undo the one on beacon.

    Parking in the middle of the street so cars have to wait till it’s clear to cross a double yellow to pass= traffic and asking for an accident.

    And there are plenty of other examples of how the city could make traffic better, but chooses not only to keep things “business as usual”

    Sadly it’s going to take an incident for the city to step up- just look at operation “clean sweep.” Methadone mile is so well known, it was covered on a National Geographic show years ago.

    And as far as the feasts and traffic- the vendors should not have spaces reserved for them (commercial st the last 2 weeks and Clark this week)- the feasts take away enough spots as it is and then you have out of towners taking resident spots. The vendors are here making money- they can pay to park in the parking lots. Residents driving around trying to find a spot, cause traffic… since the city issues the permits for parking lots, they could work with them to come up with discounted parking for the vendors and residents who can’t find a spot.

    If common sense was only common…

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