SEAPORT ECONOMIC COUNCIL DISCUSSES EXPANDED FERRY SERVICE ALONG MASSACHUSETTS COASTLINE

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Photo Courtesy of Boston Harbor Association

Earlier this month, members of the Seaport Economic Council were briefed on a dozen sites which have been identified by stakeholders as having the best potential for new or expanded ferry service by the Boston Harbor Water Transportation Study.
Routes between these sites are being analyzed to select the three routes most likely to have financially sustainable service. Business plans for these proposed routes will then be completed next spring.

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said the Baker-Polito Administration “believes that by partnering with cities and towns, we can help deliver more sustainable and efficient services to meet the needs of the communities we serve. We appreciate the continued collaboration between all non-profit organizations, businesses and municipalities involved in the Boston Harbor Water Transportation Study.”

Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack said, “We see water transportation as an important travel option in the future and are pleased to now have possible sites for new or expanded service.” Secretary Pollack chairs the Water Transportation Advisory Council which she has charged with assisting MassDOT in creating a practical and actionable plan for a sustainable Water Transportation network.

Deputy Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Carolyn Kirk, Vice-Chair of the Seaport Economic Council, said, “We look forward to continuing to explore increased and new ferry service in the Boston Harbor. Investing and enhancing maritime transport aligns with the Seaport Economic Council’s strategic objectives to leverage the assets of our coastal communities, create new opportunities for residents, and support the blue economy.”

Thirty dock sites around Boston Harbor were studied in order to compare multi-modal access, existing infrastructure conditions, travel time savings, and demand from the surrounding market area. Twelve of the thirty locations with the greatest capacity for supporting new or expanded service have been identified for further study. Using the data collected from a stated preference survey conducted in August and September, a transportation demand model will now be run for each location in order to further evaluate possible new routes.

In the next phase of the process, several North Shore, South Shore, and Inner Harbor routes will be studied. Expanding existing services from Hingham and Hull will be evaluated in conjunction with the evaluation of new routes from Squantum Point/Marina Bay in Quincy and Fallon Pier on Columbia Point in Dorchester. An Inner Harbor circulator route will be considered among and between combinations of the following sites: Logan Airport and Lewis Mall in East Boston, Navy Yard Pier 4 in Charlestown, Lovejoy Wharf next to North Station, Long Wharf and Rowes Wharf in Downtown Boston, and Fan Pier and World Trade Center East in the Seaport. Continued North Shore services from Salem and Winthrop will be incorporated into the model while Lynn will receive support for implementing a business plan for new ferry service from their Blossom Street Pier.

The Seaport Economic Council of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Affairs, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the Barr Foundation, the Cabot Family Charitable Trust, and the developers of both the Envoy Hotel and Clippership Wharf are also supporting the study. The National Park Service is funding a connected study that is looking at improved ferry services to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Boston Harbor Now President and CEO Kathy Abbott said, “It’s been important from day one that we hear from people around the Harbor and evaluate all of the possible options for the next generation of ferry service. Public engagement and communication has been at the forefront of our work, and we’ve gotten great insights from current and potential ferry users.”

The Feedback from the Stakeholder Workshops and Existing Conditions reports which were shared at the Open House can be found online at bostonharbornow.org/water-transportation-study.