Transit Projects

North Shore Transit Improvements

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Project Description
Project Status
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Alternatives
Frequently Asked Questions
Scoping Report

Draft Major Investment Study

Project Description

The purpose of the North Shore Transit Improvements project is to identify the inadequacies of the transit system in the study area and provide a strategy for making improvements to address these needs. After studying various alternatives, the study will ultimately recommend projects that address these issues, and are eligible for at least partial funding by the federal government. The project will look at improvements to rapid transit, commuter rail, buses and parking.

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Project Status

In February 2001, the MBTA initiated the North Shore Major Investment Study (MIS), in accordance with federal planning regulations.

Two kinds of needs for transit improvements have emerged from the extensive public process related to this study. Areas from Salem north are better served by improved access to Boston through upgrades to the existing commuter rail system. Lack of highway access for areas from Salem south suggests an investment in a high-density type of transit service. Because of these differing needs and associated solutions, the MIS was expanded to include a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that will focus on the corridor between the City of Revere and the City of Salem. The MIS will continue to address issues of a regional nature that encompass the entire 32 community study area and all modes of transit. Through the dual MIS/DEIS processes, the MBTA expects to determine a locally-preferred alternative for the Revere to Salem Corridor within the DEIS and to prioritize investments into short, medium, and long range timeframes within the MIS. The Authority is currently finishing up work on the draft documents for the MIS and DEIS.

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Draft Environmental Impact Statement

The purpose of the EIS, formally called "North Shore Transit Improvements between Revere and Salem, Massachusetts", is to identify, analyze, and evaluate alternatives for improving mass transit within the project corridor. The scoping process helps to establish the alternatives and impacts, including environmental concerns that will be addressed in the DEIS. The process is designed to obtain input from agencies and from the public. This input has been summarized in the Scoping Report. Following this intensive public scoping process the MBTA recommended the following alternatives be carried forward for evaluation in the DEIS and at the July 17, 2002 meeting of the North Shore Transit Improvements Steering Committee, the Steering Committee voted unanimously to include these alternatives in the DEIS. The alternatives include:

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Alternatives:

Alternative 1 - No action
Alternative 2 - Transportation System Management (TSM)
Improved Commuter Rail Headways and Reverse Commute Opportunities
Reduced Bus Headways for Express and Local Service
Extended Bus Service Hours
Potential Addition of Diesel Multiple Units (self propelled railcars)
Alternative 3 - Blue Line Extension to Salem via Eastern Route Main Line
Alternative 4 - Blue Line Extension to Salem via Narrow Gauge and Eastern Route Main Line
Alternative 5 - Blue Line and Commuter Rail Intermodal Connection in Revere
Provide physical link
Develop site consistent with local planning

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of this project?

The need for better rapid transit service in the North Shore region was first identified in the 1970's. In 1976, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) purchased most of the active rail lines and rights-of-way in the region, then owned by the Boston & Maine Railroad, with the intent of upgrading the existing Commuter Rail service. Subsequently, the MBTA has made major investments in the upgrading of existing Blue Line services as well as Commuter Rail facilities, equipment, and services.

There are also potential economic benefits from improved rapid transit service to the North Shore, particularly in the City of Lynn. Unemployment levels in Lynn are among the highest in the study area (and higher than the State average) and the extension of rapid transit service is seen as vital to the economic prosperity of the City. Further, the improvement of rapid transit service to the North Shore will increase access to and from the Boston area employment centers and would improve reverse commuting opportunities to study area communities.

How were the DEIS alternatives identified?

Over the course of the development of the Major Investment Study (MIS), the MBTA worked with the North Shore Transit Improvements Steering Committee to develop a list of transportation improvements within the 32 community MIS study area. When it was decided to move forward with a DEIS, the alternatives within the ten-community DEIS study area were carried forward for consideration in the DEIS Scoping process. This initial list was developed from previous studies and new input collected at many of the public meetings held during the MIS process.

During the scoping process new alternatives were introduced that were evaluated by the MBTA and the Steering Committee. Additional comments were collected well after the official April 19, 2002 close of the DEIS scoping period, and a final decision was made at the July 17, 2002 Steering Committee meeting when the list of alternatives were unanimously approved by the Committee. For more information about the process, decision-making, and the results, please see the DEIS Scoping Report.

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Scoping Report

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