East Boston State Representative Adrian Madaro recently appeared on Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) news to talk with host Chris Lovett about the traffic issues East Boston has been facing in recent years.
On the show, which can be found on YouTube, Madaro pins Eastie’s traffic woes on a couple of different factors.
Madaro’s said Eastie geographic location as a connection to the North Shore coupled with a recent explosion of Uber and Lyft trips to Logan Airport has been a recipe for congestion.
“There was a recent report that ranked Boston the most congested city during the rush hour commute in the entire country,” said Madaro. “While we can be proud to be a city of many firsts that is a dubious distinction that we don’t want to be first in the rankings. I’d argue East Boston is ground zero for those congestion issues and I have no shortage of phone calls to my office on this issue.”
While Lovett asked if the recent real estate and population explosion in Eastie is contributing to the traffic Madaro was quick to point out that most of the drivers causing congestion are not Eastie residents.
“We (Eastie) are the nexus for all North Shore commuters going into downtown during the morning rush and frankly those folks do not have many options in terms of (alternative) public transportation,” said Madaro. “You do not have an efficient ferry system, a dedicated bus lane on the highways, a blue line that goes to Lynn a commuter rail that goes far enough and folks choose to drive–and in many cases drive alone in a single vehicle trip.”
Madaro told Lovett that more is needed to be done to curb people from choosing to drive from points north.
“We have to made public transportation more clean and efficient,” said Madaro. “Once people know they can rely on a train or bus that gets from point A to point B in an affordable and efficient manner you will start to change behavior.”
Madaro said this would include a expanded ferry service, dedicated bus lanes that travel north, a connection from the Blue Line to the Red Line and the Charles/MGH Station. Madaro also touched upon his legislation to reduce tolls for commuters who can travel to and from work at off-peak times instead of during the morning commute.
Also, Madaro blamed the dramatic increase in Uber and Lyft trips to the neighborhood.
“There were 12 to 15 million Uber and Lyft trips to Logan last year,” said Madaro. “Five million of those came to the airport or left the airport empty. Removing those five million ‘deadhead’ trips would be a huge step in the right direction.”
Madaro expressed some frustration over the lobbyists from the RideShare companies opposing Massport’s plan to end curbside pickup and drop offs at Logan for Uber and Lyft and force the drivers to pick up and drop off inside the Central Garage. That plan would have better paired Uber and Lyft passengers with drivers already at the airport and curtail the number of trips arriving and departing Logan empty. “It was insulting to the community of East Boston,” he said of the pushback from RideShare companies. “They were not acknowledging the role that are playing in the congestion issues that are eroding the quality of life for my constituents. You had Massport proactively offering proposals that would have benefited the community and would have alleviated some of those congestion issues starting with those five million dead head trips.”