Building Our Community: Mayor’s State of the City Speech Calls for Creation of an East Boston Transportation Action Committee

In his State of the City address Tuesday night at Boston Symphony Hall Mayor Martin Walsh announced the creation of an East Boston Transportation Action Committee.

Anyone who has lived in this community prior to and after the removal of the Sumner Tunnel toll plaza and reconfiguration of the roads leading into the tunnel by MassDOT knows traffic has gotten only worse in Eastie.

At a community meeting called by East Boston’s elected officials last year, MassDOT was forced to admit that when designing the new entrance into the Sumner Tunnel the state agency used outdated traffic projections. MassDOT predicted traffic going into the tunnel would grow by .5 percent each year. Going on those projections traffic into the Sumner should have only grown by 2.5 percent from 2013 to 2018. However, MassDOT engineer Andrew Paul reported that traffic had exploded and there was a whopping 47 percent increase in tunnel traffic since 2013. That is nearly 45 percent more than MassDOT predicted over the same time period.

This represented a growth 20 times what MassDOT expected.

“This year, we will build on our community planning in East Boston, launching a Transportation Action Committee to address the traffic challenges there,” said Mayor Walsh during his State of the City Tuesday night. “Transportation is crucial to ensuring our residents can get to their homes, their jobs and their schools, and my Administration will continue working hard to create the best transportation options for residents in Boston. I look forward to working with the East Boston community to make transportation better for all.”

The Transportation Action Committee in Eastie will address the unique circumstances in the neighborhood. The committee will include local residents, advocates and stakeholders.

In November, Mayor Walsh announced a significant milestone reached on the implementation of the City’s Go Boston 2030 transportation plan, with more than half of the 58 projects and policies identified in the plan currently underway. The comprehensive plan was unveiled in 2017, and is designed to provide, by the year 2030, a safe, reliable and equitable transportation system that also supports Boston’s climate goals. In just two years, the Boston Transportation Department and its partners have made significant progress on their planning goals, designed to increase safety, accessibility, equity and affordability in transportation for all residents. Twenty-one projects are already in implementation and another 17 are in design.

Important projects under consideration in Eastie include improving bus reliability on Meridian Street, designing Bennington Street to be safer and more bike friendly, and reimagining Day Square with additional public space.

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