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Summer Street Pilot Program

We're launching a pilot bus/truck lane program on Summer Street between South Station and South Boston beginning December 4th, 2023. This project will include bus/truck lanes, better bike lanes, and improvements to pedestrian infrastructure. These updates will make this corridor more safe, reliable, and efficient for users.

The South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan (SBTAP) is an ongoing planning effort. That planning effort will make recommendations for bus and rail access improvements to the Seaport. Early community feedback has highlighted the need for near-term improvement along Summer Street. We plan to improve the transit experience for thousands of daily transit users on Summer Street with new bike facilities and a pilot bus/truck lane program in order to make the corridor safer for all. 

The project 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.

Community Insight

Community Insight
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

NOVEMBER 30TH, 2023 UPDATE 

Construction:

The construction of the Summer Street pilot bus/truck lane program has been underway throughout the last few months. Through close partnerships with stakeholders, including MassPort and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, we have already begun making adjustments to improve the pilot installation. The pilot construction was delayed by supply chain issues related to roadway paint supply. 

Pilot Launch:

We aim to officially start the pilot program on December 4th, during which enforcement will begin. 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. 

SEPTEMBER 22, 2023 UPDATE

The Summer Street Bus/Truck Lane Pilot Project project is almost complete! We are on schedule to wrap up by early October and we will begin the evaluation process as soon as installation is complete. 

Roadway Striping:

Our contractor is working to install roadway striping paint. We aim to have this done by September 29. However, weather and crew availability can disrupt the work. The contractors typically work after 7 p.m. in an effort to minimize disruption to traffic and transit. There will continue to be parking impacts on Summer Street while this work is happening to give crews enough space to work. 

Flex Posts for the Bike Lane

BTD will install flex posts on Summer Street during the week of September 25 from West Side Drive to East 1st Street. These flex posts will ensure that cyclists are kept safe. We will use cones as a temporary measure between West Side Drive and West Service Road as we procure a different flex post which can be affixed to the bridge deck using an epoxy. We cannot use standard flex posts on the concrete bridge deck. 

Signals:

Signal work is done and new bike signals will go live as soon as striping work is completed. 

We will provide an official announcement for the bus/truck lane pilot going live as soon as striping work is complete.

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

Neighborhood benefit

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 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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