City of Boston Partners with State Agencies on Immediate Transportation Improvements in the Innovation District
Collaboration will focus on proactive steps and future planning to improve traffic, public transit, biking and walking options throughout growing Waterfront
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For Immediate Release
October 02, 2013
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today joined representatives of MassDOT, the MBTA, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Massport, and A Better City to announce immediate, proactive steps that will allow the Innovation District to continue its rapid growth by preventing traffic congestion, improving public transit, and enhancing walking and biking options throughout the Waterfront. 

“The Innovation District has become a busy and thriving mix of business, industry, cultural attractions, restaurants, and residences,” Mayor Menino said. “The steps we are taking today – and planning for the future – to connect it with the rest of Boston will make it even more attractive and accessible to companies, their employees, residents, and visitors.”

The City of Boston has taken or will take significant steps to mitigate potential traffic issues and improve transportation options. They include:

  • Creating and enforcing “Don’t Block the Box” areas at the junctions of Seaport Boulevard and Sleeper Street, as well as Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street
  • Restriping the road surface on the Moakley Bridge, a major route in and out of the district, to guide motorists to travel lanes to I-93 and other destinations, preventing tie-ups caused by confusion
  • Installing, by the end of November, “Time to Destination” variable message signs that will provide drivers with accurate information on traffic to allow them to choose alternate routes
  • Coordinating with Massport and MassDOT to take steps to mitigate potential traffic issues that may be caused by upcoming construction work in the Callahan Tunnel.  This could include construction-related openings to general traffic of both the Bypass Road/Haul Road to motorists driving from the Southeast Expressway (I-93) to Logan Airport, and the HOV ramp to the Ted Williams Tunnel. 
  • With the assistance of a $1.28 million US Department of Transportation grant, procuring two ferries and implementing ferry service between South Boston and East Boston; Service is anticipated for a 2014 launch
  • Studying traffic signal timing and lane configurations at Atlantic Avenue and Seaport Boulevard, Sleeper Street and Seaport Boulevard, and 63 other signalized intersections located along the Greenway and in the Innovation District.  The results of the study will ensure that the most up-to-date motor vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle counts are used to optimize signal timings and determine the most effective lane configurations.
  • Installing “smart parking” sensors, in coordination with Massport, on Seaport Boulevard and Congress Street that will use a phone app to show drivers available parking spaces to prevent them from driving around looking for a metered spot.
  • In partnership with Light Boston, Inc, and in an effort to improve the pedestrian experience, working towards illuminating the Northern Avenue bridge with architectural decorative LED lights by the end of this month
  • Continuing the design phase of the rehabilitation of the Northern Avenue bridge, including the establishment of stakeholder meetings in the coming months to complete the environmental review process
  • Adding additional Hubway bike share stations throughout the Innovation District next spring

Efforts are also underway to improve public transit serving the Innovation District. The MBTA will assess and improve service in the Innovation District on key commuter bus lines such as the #4 and #7 within the next year. 

“MassDOT, the MBTA, the City of Boston, and other government agencies are working together to  proactively improve transportation in and out of the Innovation District today while preparing for future growth of people and businesses in the area,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey.  “The solutions being implemented now, and in the near future, will boost our economy and help the Innovation District thrive by maximizing the capacity of key roads and bridges, improving public transit, and providing more biking and walking options.”

The improvements will not only benefit commuters and visitors to the Innovation District, they will facilitate better travel to and from Logan International Airport and Black Falcon Cruise Terminal while ensuring that trucks servicing the port are not contributing to, or having their routes blocked by, congestion.

“The Innovation District and seaport are gateways to Boston for people and goods traveling by air and sea from across the world,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn.  “Massport is contributing resources and working with the City of Boston and other key agencies to implement immediate and long-term improvements to ensure that the Innovation District, Logan Airport, and our port can reach their fullest potential without being restricted by congestion on our roads or public transit.”

With hundreds of thousands of convention attendees coming to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) each year, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority is working with the other government agencies, providing resources, and including plans in its expansion and hotel development efforts to improve transportation in the Innovation District. This work will benefit those attending conventions, working in the area, and residents of South Boston.

“To keep Boston competitive as a top convention and tourism destination, it is important that attendees, business leaders, and tourists alike have a positive experience traveling to and from the BCEC, Logan Airport, hotels, restaurants, and cultural attractions located in the South Boston Waterfront and throughout the city,” said James E. Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.  “The MCCA is providing resources and incorporating improvements to streets, parking, and public transit into our expansion plans that will benefit those attending conventions, working in the area, and residents of South Boston.”

The planning efforts and administration of an Innovation District transportation plan are led by A Better City, a business organization with experience in transportation planning for Boston and the region.  A Better City will soon release a RFP to solicit consultant services for a comprehensive, forward-looking transportation planning effort for the future of the Innovation District. 

“A Better City is committed to economic growth by improving our transportation infrastructure throughout the Boston area,” said Richard A. Dimino, president and CEO of A Better City.  “The Innovation District serves as a job shed not only for Boston and the region, but throughout the Commonwealth.  We look forward to working with the City of Boston and other transportation agencies to improve access and mobility in this important economic center.”

“As one of the first major companies to establish themselves here in the Innovation District, we’ve seen the incredible growth of this area as well as the challenges that come with more commuters and visitors,” said Jim Gallagher, executive vice president at John Hancock Financial. “We are very happy to see the City of Boston partner with MassDOT and other state agencies to improve transportation in the Innovation District.  John Hancock remains committed to helping improve traffic in the city as well as the commute of our employees who come here every day.”

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