When it comes to transportation in Cambridge and the surrounding area, a number of options are already in place. From buses to trains and ferries, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Yet, despite all of the transportation opportunities that are currently available, the area’s cities are well-aware that the current options simply are not enough to meet the demands of a growing population. Not only are additional transportation options necessary to meet the needs of the environment, but they are also needed to help to reduce and prevent congestion. To that end, here is a look at a few of the options that are currently being explored in the area.
Shared Bus-Bike Lanes from Cambridge to Watertown
One option that can potentially help to address the transportation needs of Cambridge and the surrounding area is the addition of shared bus-bike lanes. As such, Cambridge and Watertown are in the process of testing these lanes along the Mount Auburn corridor. If successful, the painted path may serve as a model for other congested bus routes.
In cooperation with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, Cambridge and Watertown have recently painted lanes for buses and bikes along the Mount Auburn Street corridor. This portion of road runs through both of the neighboring municipalities, offering a unique way to test the effectiveness of the program.
According to a recent release, only three percent of the vehicles on Mount Auburn Street from Brattle Street to Coolidge Avenue are MBTA buses during the morning rush hour. Yet, more than 12,000 riders use the 71 and 73 buses that service the corridor each day. With help from the funding provided by the nonprofit Barr Foundation, the two municipalities will work with state officials to stud how well the lane works toward meeting traffic goals.
North Station-Seaport District Ferry Coming in 2019
A privately funded ferry service connecting North Station to the Seaport District is also expected to start running early next year. While the ferry service was originally slated to start this fall, certain delays forced its backers to push the date back a bit further.
Originally pitched by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority as a way to ease congestion between the North Station area and Seaport, the project was later picked up by sponsors that include PricewaterhouseCoopers, Vertex and the Fallon Company. Unfortunately, the project has run into a couple of obstacles along the way. One of these obstacles was the fact that some of the backers needed more time to finalize their share of the funding for the project. Further delays were caused by the fact that the dock at Lovejoy Wharf near North Station will not be ready until the end of the year.
In the meantime, congestion between the North Station and Seaport has only been worsening. Due to the issues that are still being addressed, the exact launch date for the ferries is yet to be determined. Other pieces of crucial information are also yet to be released, such as how many of the seats on the ferries will be open to the general public and how much the fares will be.