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Mayor Wu announced a heat emergency in the City of Boston through Wednesday, July 17. Cooling centers will be open at 14 BCYF community centers Monday through Wednesday, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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Summer Street Pilot Program

We launched a pilot bus and truck lane program on Summer Street between South Station and South Boston on December 4, 2023. This project includes bus and truck lanes, better bike lanes, and improvements to pedestrian infrastructure. These updates will make this corridor more safe, reliable, and efficient for users. We will be evaluating this project over the coming months and would like to get your feedback!

The Pilot seeks to implement strategies to eliminate serious and fatal traffic crashes, simplify intersections, improve the transit network, expand the bike network, improve walkability, and enhance the neighborhood experience.

The Summer Street Pilot is a recommendation of the BPDA’s South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan (SBTAP) which passed the BPDA Board in December 2023. Community feedback and data in the study highlighted the need for near-term improvements along Summer Street to improve transit, bikes, and pedestrian trips in the near-term. Summer Street also must be improved for the long-term future to accommodate growth from development projects and increase in port activity. 

Other efforts that contributed to the Summer Street Pilot included: 

  • Recommendations from the South Boston Sustainable Transportation Plan that encouraged more multimodal improvements to the South Boston Waterfront/Seaport District. 
  • Go Boston 2030 which highlighted the need for bike accommodations on Summer Street.
  • Feedback from MassPort about the importance of Summer Street as a freight corridor. 

Through this Pilot, we are studying the experience of transit users on Summer Street and bikes, trucks,  experience for thousands of daily transit users on Summer Street with new bike facilities and a pilot bus and truck lane program to make the corridor safer for all.

Community Insight

Insights
Buses are crowded and unreliable

Route 7 buses remain crowded and prone to delay. A rush-hour trip can take an extra 10-20 minutes and reliability is low.

"My commute on the 7 bus is slow and frustrating." - Summer Street Employee

Bike facilities should be expanded

Cyclists do not have a comfortable or consistent bike connection along Summer Street.

"I avoid biking on Summer Street because I don't feel safe." - South Boston Cyclist

Accommodate economic activity

Improve access to the Port of Boston with bus/truck lanes and overall mobility options for people who live and work here.

"This is not a pleasant street to cross in a wheelchair." - South Boston Resident

Updates

May 28, 2024, Update

Open Houses: 

The City of Boston is hosting three open house events for the Summer Street Pilot Program. This is your opportunity to engage directly with the City and share your feedback on the pilot. Your input is vital to shaping the future of Summer Street. Join the City to ask questions, hear updates on the pilot, and enjoy complimentary food and refreshments. Please spread the word and encourage your neighbors, friends, and family members to attend. 

Open House dates, times, and locations: 

  • Tuesday, June 11, from 5 - 8 p.m. at The 105 by Breakthrough (105 W 1st St, Boston, MA 02127)
  • Friday, June 14, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. via Zoom

Zoom Registration

  • Monday July 8, from 5 - 8 p.m. at Tynan Elementary School (650 E 4th St, Boston, MA 02127) 

Can't make it in person? You can still provide feedback via email at transit@boston.gov

Spring 2024 Summer Street Sign / Striping Updates:

In coordination with key stakeholders, including BCEC, MassPort, and the MBTA, BTD is making improvements to the Summer Street Pilot this spring. These change help to address issues with clarity, improve bus stops, and improve pick up/drop off areas. These updates have included: 

  • Minor updates to signs and striping to help clarify roadway usage (e.g. additional right turn arrows)
  • Bus stop striping improvements to add clarity to bus stop locations 
  • A new bus stop at Summer Steps to provide better access to the Summer Steps and emerging parts of the Seaport. 
  • Striping changes in coordination with BCEC to better accommodate pick up/drop offs. 
  • Striping changes to Pumphouse Road / Summer Street in coordination with MassPort

We are also evaluating traffic signal timing this spring to see if there are opportunities for timing changes and adjustments. This work is still in progress. 

MARCH 21, 2024, UPDATE 

Community Engagement: 

We want to know how the Summer Street Pilot is affecting the Seaport and South Boston! Do you travel along Summer Street? Fill out our Project Survey and let us know how the pilot has affected your trips.  

We’re working hard to connect with local residents, businesses and industries. 

  • We presented at the Fort Point Association in late February, and are looking forward to presenting at other neighborhood associations in April. 
  • We are holding stakeholder focus groups with local commuters, bus operators, and members of the hospitality, trucking, and maritime industries.
  • We are hosting open houses in South Boston, Fort Point/Seaport, and virtually this May.
  • We are distributing posters and flyers with pilot information and invitation for feedback to businesses, schools, community centers, and faith institutions along the pilot corridor and throughout the South Boston neighborhood. 
  • We are sending out over 1,400 mailers to residences and businesses adjacent to the pilot corridor. 
  • We are passing out flyers at Bus Stops along the Summer Street corridor to directly interact with Route 7 riders.
NOVEMBER 30, 2023, UPDATE 

Community Engagement: 

Once the pilot has launched, we will hold another round of public discussions throughout the community. We hope to gather feedback from residents, businesses, and surrounding agencies, to continue informing design adjustments and longer-term planning efforts for Summer Street. 

Data Analysis:

Throughout the six-month long pilot phase, we will collect and monitor data to both inform these near-term amendments and future decisions. 

Corridor improvement

Using community feedback, we have identified Summer Street as an opportunity for near-term, multimodal improvements. Our plan considers a range of transportation improvements throughout the corridor. The pilot will begin with a series of short term changes that will be made permanent if found to be successful. 

  • New pilot bus / truck lanes will provide better passenger amenities while improving the reliability of bus service. Trucks will also be permitted to use the bus lane to accommodate heavy truck traffic from Massport. These lanes will be permanently implemented if they are found to be useful during the pilot period beginning December 4th, 2023. 
  • Protected bike facilities will allow for low-stress and safe connections between South Boston and Downtown Boston. New connections will be made between existing infrastructure.
  • An improved pedestrian experience will be had with the addition of transit/bike infrastructure. With improved traffic management along the corridor, pedestrians will be able to have a safer experience.

How Bus Lanes Work - image courtesy of the City of Cambridge
image courtesy of the City of Cambridge

Neighborhood benefit

Benefits

Severe Delays

More than 4,600 daily passengers use the MBTA 7. They experience crowding, unreliable service, and slow-moving traffic. As the South Boston and Seaport Waterfronts continues to grow, we know these conditions could become worse. Our proposed bus improvements to Summer Street could save up to 10 minutes on rush-hour trips. This would save hours weekly for commuters from South Boston and the Seaport. 

 

Map

With improved 7 bus service, South Boston and Seaport residents will have better connections to the Red Line and Downtown, especially those in City Point. For bikers, a Summer Street protected bike lane will connect South Boston and the Seaport to existing bike infrastructure downtown, and the recent Crossroads project in the Fort Point Neighborhood. 

 

Fire Truck

With worsening traffic, response time for first responders is increasing. Emergency vehicles are allowed to use the bus lane. This enables quicker access for fire, EMS, and police to South Boston Waterfront locations. Our plans are designed to accommodate emergency vehicles. This will help reduce response time along the corridor. 

 

bike

Summer Street is a critical missing link in existing pedestrian and bike infrastructure in the City. With protected bike lanes and safer pedestrian access, the South Boston Waterfront becomes more accessible. Connections to downtown also become safer and more efficient.

 

traffic

Our project has minimal traffic impacts and prioritizes buses, pedestrians, and cyclists. For local commuters in cars, traveling on the corridor will take a similar amount of time as it does today. Our Summer Street redesign will likely dissuade commuters from outside the city from using South Boston communities, including City Point, Fort Point, and the Seaport as a cut-through.

 

Project Documents

Documents

This folder contains quantitative data and community feedback collected during the 2024 Pilot Period. We will be actively adding to this folder as we continue to consolidate data and conduct community engagement. 

Recording of the Street Open House/Community Meeting held virtually via Zoom on June 14, 2024. 

Presentation from the Summer Street Open House/Community Meeting at the 105 by Breakthrough on June 11, 2024. 

Poster Boards from the Summer Street Open House/Community Meeting at the 105 by Breakthrough on June 11, 2024. 

This flyer summarizes the pilot project's location, start date, potential impacts, and implementation process. 

These infographics highlight current conditions throughout Summer Street and the evaluation metrics that will be used to measure the Pilot Project.

This brochure summarizes project goals, evaluations, and potential impacts. 

Presentation from the Summer Street Open House/Community Meeting at the Tynan School in South Boston on April 19, 2023.

These plans highlight new pavement markings and street signage that will be implemented in the pilot stage of the Summer Street redesign. 

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