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Plans to Improve Seaport District Transit Focus on Buses, Ferries, Bikes, and Ride Shares

Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) continued the discussion for their South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan with residents and stakeholders on Wednesday morning.

Undertaken by the City of Boston, the BPDA along with the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) has studied Boston’s current transit connections and gathered recommendations for improving services to the South Boston Seaport District. The BPDA has prioritized the plan in order to enact short-term fixes while maintaining a focus on the long-term improvements for residents, stakeholders, and employees of the area.

The South Boston Seaport District’s residential, commercial, and institutional development has been ever-expanding with a 36% increase in employment between 2011 and 2015, and an 80% rise in housing since 2010. The BPDA’s plan focuses on improving transit to the area through bus and shuttle network, water ferries, bike sharing and ride sharing, as well as other private sector initiatives.

Some aspects of the plan have already been implemented such as the Fan Pier / Lovejoy Water Ferries, D Street Silver Line signal improvements, adding 19 peak-hour trips to the MBTA route 7 and 9, along with many more transit upgrades.

The BPDA has received dozens of recommendations for the transit system. The Silver Line Capacity Study, which is still underway, has been assessing the capacity of the MBTA’s Silver Line routes in the South Boston Seaport area to understand the system’s needs. The Seaport Circulator, which involves a multi-vehicle circulator system, would connect the South Boston Seaport’s most vital transit hubs.

The City of Boston has also been undergoing preparations for designing a “people-first” Northern Avenue bridge. In response to growing traffic congestion, the bridge would focus on pedestrians and cyclists, as well as transit and emergency vehicles. Continuing with the idea of a people-driven transit network, the plan also includes last mile improvements in the form of Blue Bikes and improved sidewalks.

Creating pick-up and drop-off zones within the Seaport District was also suggested as a way to tackle the increase of ride-share services in the city. An issue raised at the meeting regarded implementation and enforcement of such zones. Officials stated that the agency is working closely with the transit police as well as the police department to implement and enforce any new traffic regulations and patterns.

The BPDA expects to continue working toward narrowing down which specific recommendations to explore further and welcome input from those who would be impacted. Share your feedback by emailing SouthBostonSeaportTransit@Boston.gov through the end of January.

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