Could it be? Could South Boston finally have reliable buses and less traffic and congestion? State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and State Representative Nick Collins have announced a new plan! See press release below:
State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and State Representative Nick Collins announced a comprehensive transportation plan to improve public transit while reducing congestion.
Building off the progress made in the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan, Sen. Forry and Rep. Collins spent the last two years pushing officials from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to continue working on transit issues in South Boston.
As part of that effort, Sen. Forry and Rep. Collins urged the MBTA and MassDOT throughout 2016 to include South Boston in its Capital Investment Plan for FY17-FY21. As a result of their advocacy, approximately $11 million has been earmarked for transportation needs in South Boston. The Capital Investment Plan includes:
$9.7 million for the Cypher Street extension from D Street to E Street and reconstruction of E Street to extend from Cypher Street to Summer Street;
$700,000 to study Kosciuszko Circle;
$500,000 to plan, design and construct parallel parking along Columbia Road from I Street to Preble Circle;
$135,000 to upgrade the traffic signal at the intersection of I Street and Day Boulevard; and
$100,000 to facilitate transportation needs on Columbia Road.
“I would like to thank Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin and MassDOT for addressing Day Boulevard and Kosciuszko Circle in their Capital Investment Plan,” said Rep. Collins. “It is my hope that these recommendations will address long-standing issues at these two intersections, relieving traffic congestion and increasing the quality of life for our residents and commuters alike.”
“I am pleased the MBTA and MassDOT are committing to a review of services in South Boston,” said Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. “These agencies will also analyze the best ways and solutions to upgrade Day Boulevard and Kosciuszko Circle which suffer from gridlock and are serious public safety concerns. Ensuring safe roads and reliable transportation options to our residents are critically important,” concluded Sen. Forry.
Currently underway is an examination of South Boston bus systems by MassDOT and the MBTA. As part of that conversation, Rep. Collins and Sen. Forry have advocated for a series of short-term and long-term fixes to improve service in South Boston. Short-term proposals include:
Revitalizing the City Point Bus Terminal on East First Street to accommodate passenger platforms and other amenities; and
A review current bus routes for inclusion of express routes.
A public meeting will be held later this month to discuss MBTA route improvements.
However, cognizant that some of the long-term transportation needs in South Boston and throughout Massachusetts require substantial funding, Rep. Collins and Sen. Forry have urged the MBTA to examine the possibility of capturing value from existing MBTA assets by leasing air rights above the Red Line layover tracks at Cabot Yard. Significant money raised by a similar project in Hudson Yards, New York, was used to improve public transportation without increasing the tax or fee burden on riders and taxpayers.
“By capturing value from existing assets, the MBTA will be able to realize significant sources of income and in turn can make the necessary investments in transportation infrastructure which will benefit commuters in South Boston and the system as whole,” said Rep. Collins. “Examples of these improvements may include infrastructure upgrades for bus service, traffic signals, and congestion relief in one of our busiest neighborhoods. This would help set the T in the direction of economic sustainability and provide funding for much needed infrastructure upgrades without new fees or taxes. These kinds of creative solutions are necessary to address financial woes before we resort to privatizing services.”
The MBTA, in response to the lawmakers’ requests, are currently studying the potential value of this proposal.