Southie, Eastie to get ferry connection as city, state work to prevent Innovation District gridlock

City and state officials today announced a series of traffic-improvement steps to keep the burgeoning Innovation District from choking on its own success, ranging from the mundane - better lane markers on the Moakley Bridge - to a new ferry service between East Boston and South Boston, scheduled to start sometime next year.

The city will use a $1.3 million federal grant to help pay for two ferries to shuttle commuters between the two waterfront communities; East Boston had long been promised ferry service.

"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," the city says. Absent were any announcements of improvements to Silver Line service.

Other plans include:

  • "Time to Destination" electronic signs will be installed in the area in November;
  • " 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;"
  • A detailed traffic study of 63 intersections in the district and along the Greenway
  • "Smart" parking meters that will be able to tell a smartphone app where the available parking in the area is;
  • Creation and enforcement of "Don't block the box" boxes at Seaport Boulevard and Sleeper Street and Atlantic Avenue and Summer Street;
  • Look at opening the haul road and the Ted Williams HOV lane to all traffic while the Callahan Tunnel is shut for repairs;
  • More Hubway stations in the district next spring.

Also, the Northern Avenue Bridge will get new "architectural decorative LED lights" by the end of the month, even as the city and residents try to figure out what to do with the hulky old span.

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Comments

I can tell you right now

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there are not enough people in East Boston who will be commuting to the Innovation District in the AM. It would be cheaper to put a bike lane in the Ted Williams Tunnel.

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With all these companies

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With all these companies moving into the Seaport, East Boston is the perfect (relatively) affordable place for the young professionals they are trying to attract. These aren't the people who are going to be able to buy the luxury condos going up the district. They are the people who dont mind commuting on the T or by boat. Silver line expansion to the East Boston area besides the Airport would be huge, as would regular ferry service. It's really too bad the Silver Line never got it's own right of way under the harbor. Even as electric buses that would be a huge plus.

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The problem with the Silver

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The problem with the Silver Line isn't the harbor crossing. It's the stupid traffic lights in South Boston, congestion at the airport terminals, and the cramped interior layout of the buses.

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They come in the PM

They come from East Boston in the PM to empty the trash, vacuum the carpet, wash the floors etc.. Housekeeping and kitchen staff come in the AM for hotels, however.

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Pretty sure I come from East

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Pretty sure I come from East Boston to write software. Check your stereotypes at the door, please. Eastie isn't the same neighborhood it was 5 years ago and it is going to be completely different 5 years from now.

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Is the airport included in

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Is the airport included in this assessment? I can only assume that this ferry would primarily cater to new arrivals on their way to the hotels near the convention center as much as commuters from Eastie. If so, how do they get to this ferry from the terminals? A shuttle? Where can we find details?

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There is already a shuttle

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There is already a shuttle from the terminals to the water dock. Granted, it only runs every 24 minutes, but still...I would hope they would up the frequency to match any schedules.

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So they are admitting that

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So they are admitting that the costly Silver Li(n)e has been a colossal failure when it comes to providing adequate transit service to the Seaport District? Maybe it would have been a good idea to not design the damn place with Houston sized roads when the connections to the area aren't that suburbanly over sized.

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Connections needed to be increased

Clearly, the connections in and out of the district needed improvement to go along with all the development deals. The road capacity within seems historical with being a freight area and need for free mobility and parking of trucks and trains connecting cargo with ships. Don't cyclists ride on water?

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Water

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Not only do cyclists ride on water but we walk on it too.

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With all the effort that went

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With all the effort that went into planning the redevelopment, it's particularly frustrating how screwed up the transportation is in the Innovation District.

The wide tangles roads are terrifying for pedestrians. Yet the terrible traffic light timing, brand new spaghetti street pattern, and lack of signs make it not particularly easy or quick to drive either.

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What about Summer Street?? It

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What about Summer Street?? It's a nightmare at rush hour, add in a convention and the taxis trying to cross 3 lanes of traffic to make a right turn.

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Remember

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When they proposed the Convention Center? We were all told their would not be any traffic issues because attendees would be taking public transportation and their would be no gate shows where attendees would be driving.
They should put a bike lane on Summer Street and install a boatload of bike racks.

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Yes, and we should all be

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Yes, and we should all be that much more skeptical of the promises of the Suffolk Casino and the similar promises they are making.

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Did anyone really say that?

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Did anyone really say that? Do you have a cite?

Because I would have called BS at the time.

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You know what else would reduce traffic over there?

Not mandating that everybody go to work and leave work at the same time every day. They're not manufacturing anything over there. Any employees in that area who can give me a justifiable reason why the boss demands that they show at the same times every day instead of doing some work from home?

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Working from home is going out of style..

...among managers in the private sector. Based on a few articles I've read (more like glorified blurbs in online articles, to tell the truth), a growing consensus of managers feel that people who work from home, don't really.

As for flexible schedules at an office, there's quite a bit of that already. In fact I know only one person who works anywhere in Boston at a white-collar job whose boss "demands that they show at the same times every day" I think the trend is towards flex time (put in 8 hours, but come in whenever) and away from "working from home" which is increasingly interpreted as "f-ing off from home."

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Is there?

Well, then why don't more people seem to show up at 2 PM and leave at 10 PM? I would do that if I had an M-F office job with flexible hours. I haven't gotten up before 10 for work since high school...I don't plan to start in my 30s.

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Already happening.

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Those traffic studies have already started in the past few months, with sensors going up on Congress street near the Fire Station Museum. Those LED panels just got installed on the Northern Ave Bridge yesterday and today. They're pretty weird looking when they're on during the day, and they cycle through the color spectrum.

The area really, really needs enforcing of the "don't block the box" thing though. Traffic strangely always seems worse when controlled by police in the area, as they only have a handful of officers directing the flow of traffic in the area without any understanding or regard to the surrounding intersections being controlled by lights and not humans. What might work better is having a roving group of officers cycling through the intersection and ticketing those who violate the rule. Do that regularly enough and people might actually stop running red lights to block up the intersection.

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Promises

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This was promised to be completed by the beginning of Summer 2013. It was a federal grant for the purchase of two ferries, and to build a dock area at either Maverick Square or along Border Street. They were going to basically add a stop to the Long Wharf - Charlestown route. I live in Maverick square and work in Charlestown, exactly one mile as the crow flies, and it takes me between 45 min and an hour to get to work. Granted, I did choose to live in Eastie, so I have to be careful about complaining. However, I think that once the ferry service is in and maybe after a couple years when people know about it and are familiar with it, it will be frequently used. Living in Maverick, the main 'rush hour' is inbound between 12pm-3pm and outbound between 10pm-1am. Mostly second shift folks that live here, which may have an affect on the ferry service use.

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