Massport, Boston feud over possible South Boston bus improvements; which could include letting truckers use dedicated bus lanes

A war of words between Massport and city planners broke out this week over a city proposal to create dedicated bus lanes in the “Summer Street corridor,” with each telling local business owners to ignore anything the other side says.

At issue is Boston’s ongoing South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan, in which city transportation officials and the BPDA have been trying to figure out how to fix the Gordian traffic knot the South Boston waterfront became after development exploded in a previously lightly populated area basically served by a single bus line.

Earlier this week, city officials say, Massport e-mailed Seaport businesses urging them to, if not call up the BPDA and yell, at least e-mail the agency with complaints about the potential impacts on businesses that rely on truck traffic of possible dedicated bus lanes on Summer and nearby streets.

Boston Streets Chief Chris Osgood and BPDA Director Brian Golden fired back yesterday, expressing surprise that Massport is getting all angsty over a plan it’s been involved in creating and that, in any case, they recognize the importance of trucking in a district in which the city and Massport both let a once extensive rail network wither and die – specifically by agreeing to let truck drivers use any dedicated bus lanes.

Also, they retort, unlike Massport, the city has to consider the needs of not just industrial concerns, but residents and workers in the area – and besides, it’s time for Massport to step up and do something about all the traffic it’s basically responsible for by allowing non-port-related development on the land it owns along the waterfront:

Since the early 1990s, Massport has successfully planned, permitted and constructed over 7.4 million square feet of new non-port related development in the South Boston Seaport district. This includes residential, office, hotel and other commercial uses. With this development and density and pressure on transportation infrastructure, Massport has generated significant revenue and is therefore in a position to support mobility solutions and improvements. Massport needs to be holistic and help create real solutions that serve the needs of the entire South Boston Seaport community and all users (residents, retail shoppers, tourists, conventioneers, restaurant patrons, commercial office and industrial and R&D workers) and all modes [mass transit, cars, pedestrian, bikes, and the trucks that also serve the BPDA’s tenants at the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park (RLFMP)].

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