At last week’s Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) meeting the board voted to authorize and issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire a consultant team to assist in the preparation of the PLAN: East Boston Multimodal Transportation Study.
According to the BPDA the purpose of the study will be to analyze Eastie’s multimodal transportation network, develop network recommendations for all travel modes, and design and implement time-sensitive recommendations.
According to the RFP the study will, “holistically analyze East Boston’s walking, biking, transit, and street networks and recommend policies, strategies, and improvements that respond to existing issues and support future growth.”
Proposals submitted in response to the RFP will result in the selection of a consultant team–employed under a single contract with the BPDA–with experience in multimodal transportation network analysis and modeling, transportation engineering, urban planning and design, and public outreach.
The team will be paid $360,000 for their services and will work with the BPDA and the community to identify focus areas for transportation analysis based on existing issues, neighborhood boundaries, travel origins and destinations, and key multimodal corridors, as well as based on areas that will see growth and enhancement.
Work on the study is expected to begin in April and completed within 24 months. Key tasks for the consultant selected through this RFP will include Development of neighborhood goals and vision that build on the Go Boston 2030 framework; Identification of transportation analysis areas; Existing and future scenario network analysis for all transportation modes; Written and visual content for the Existing Conditions Report and Neighborhood Plan; Generation and analysis of policies, strategies, and transportation improvement projects for all modes; Alternatives analysis, including planning-level design development and cost estimating; Recommendations and designs for immediate-term network improvements to be implemented during Study development; Recommendations for near-, medium- and long-term transportation improvement projects; as well as technical support and staffing for community and Advisory Group meetings.
According to the BPDA a key goal of the Study will be an actionable “menu” of immediate-, near-, medium-, and long-term multimodal projects that will form the basis for future development mitigation and transportation investments in the neighborhood.
East Boston is experiencing a period of tremendous growth with a population growth of 17 percent from 2000 to 2015. This is faster growth than the overall City’s growth of 10 percent over the same time period. While growth has brought welcome investment, increased development pressure has had impacts on the Eastie multimodal transportation network. Given Eastie’s proximity and connectivity to Downtown, the Seaport, and Logan Airport, the strong regional economy is further increasing the demand on the transportation network.
According to the MBTA, ridership on the Blue Line has increased 18.1 percent since 2014 while Red Line, Orange Line, and bus ridership has declined during that same period. According to MassDOT, the number of vehicles entering the Sumner Tunnel has increased by 47 percent since 2013. Resulting congestion is extending onto nearby local streets. In 2018 Mayor Martin Walsh and the BPDA initiated PLAN: East Boston, a neighborhood-wide comprehensive planning initiative of East Boston. PLAN: East Boston will produce a framework to predictably shape the future of Eastie; identify opportunities to preserve, enhance, and grow; and recommend immediate- to long-term improvement projects for the neighborhood’s transportation network.