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MassDOT Issues RFP for Lynn Transit Action Plan Study

Posted on November 13, 2018

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) today announced that a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued for a Lynn Transit Action Plan Study, which will focus on strategies to enhance the quality, capacity, and reliability of public transportation for residents and local businesses in Lynn, Massachusetts. 
 
In order for the MBTA’s Focus40 draft plan to move forward with concepts related to improved transit service in the Lynn area, specific and effective short-term, medium-term, and long-term strategies will be identified and reviewed within the Lynn Transit Action Plan Study. The Study is anticipated to begin early next year and will include opportunities to create and improve bike and pedestrian access to transit locations, possible ferry services, and existing public transportation routes.
 
“The goal of the Lynn Transit Action Plan Study is to develop a list of options that potentially can improve travel opportunities for the people of Lynn and the surrounding area,” said MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “The study results will provide the MBTA, the City of Lynn, residents, and stakeholders ideas to focus on, both what can be accomplished in the short term, and also provide ideas that are worthwhile to consider implementing in the long-term.”

“This RFP will serve as the platform through which we can have a thoughtful, constructive conversation with key stakeholders about ways to improve mobility,” said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. “By taking a team approach, we can work together to make improvements that benefit all transportation modes and support the local business community. At the same time, this study will allow us to identify additional opportunities for the longer term.” 
 
“This study will enable a better understanding of Lynn’s assets and challenges as the Lynn LEAD team continues to partner to improve the city’s infrastructure and create a foundation for long-term success,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “Beginning in 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has worked with local and federal officials, along with community groups and the private sector, to provide tools and resources to enable Lynn to achieve its economic vision. This study is another example of our efforts and we look forward to the results as we continue to deliver for the residents of Lynn.”

“With collaboration at the federal, state, and local levels, the Transit Action Plan for Lynn will create an unprecedented opportunity to improve our local transportation system. It is important that all stakeholders have an opportunity to share their thoughts and we will work with MassDOT to make sure that public outreach is a priority during the study period,” said Senator Brendan P. Crighton. “This action plan will result in clear priorities for transit improvements for the City of Lynn and surrounding communities, and that is the first step toward transformative change for the North Shore.”

“Access to high quality, affordable, and reliable multi-modal transportation is vital to the revitalization and continued economic growth in the City of Lynn,” said City of Lynn Mayor Thomas M. McGee. “This study will help us create a strategic plan to address the immediate and long term transportation needs of the city.”
 
MassDOT developed this plan in consultation with the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) Working Group. Launched in November 2015, the LEAD team is a cross-governmental working group comprised of U.S. Representative Seth Moulton, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Ash, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton, MassDOT Secretary Pollack, Mayor McGee, Senator Crighton, Representative Daniel Cahill, and local stakeholders. Meeting regularly throughout the years with its designees meeting monthly to review projects and track progress, the LEAD Working Group is aimed at promoting community revitalization in Lynn by aligning economic development initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels.
 
The MBTA’s Focus40 draft plan identifies Lynn as a “Priority Place” within the existing transit network, which means it would benefit from and can support a higher quality of transit service. A stronger transit network is also a vital part of supporting the City’s lower income and immigrant communities. Many of Lynn’s 95,000 residents commute to Boston (approximately twelve miles away), or to other areas of the North Shore. A number of immigrant communities also comprise Lynn with about 50 percent of households speaking a language other than English at home. Financial burdens are also a reality for many of Lynn’s residents with 20 percent of households living below the poverty line and an average household income of $50,000. 
 
The MBTA network currently serves Lynn mainly through the Commuter Rail and several bus routes. The Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Line includes Lynn Station, which provides service to North Station in 20 minutes, with many of Lynn’s residents also living within walking distance of the Commuter Rail in Swampscott. Several bus routes operate within Lynn to Wonderland Station on the Blue Line (an approximately 15- to 30-minute bus ride), to other parts of the North Shore (including Salem and Marblehead), and via express service to Downtown Boston. 
 
Lynn residents and riders experience a number of transportation issues and challenges. There is a high level of transit dependency with MBTA passenger survey data showing between 32% and 44% of bus riders living in a household without access to a personal vehicle. Through reliability data gathered in August and September 2018, it was also found that nearly all regular (non-express) bus routes serving Lynn operated below reliability targets of 75%. None of the MBTA’s 15 high-frequency Key Bus Routes serve Lynn and data has shown there is a need for more service during off-peak hours. While the Commuter Rail provides easy access to Downtown Boston, this service may present a financial burden for many commuters. 
 
The Lynn Transit Action Plan Study will identify improvements to address these challenges and improve transit accessibility, including new services, operational changes, capital investments, and other tactics. The Study will assess the area’s existing and projected conditions in order to identify transportation challenges; identify and evaluate a comprehensive list of improvements; and produce a final set of recommendations. Lower-cost actions will be identified for short-term implementation. Larger, more long-term investments will also be identified, including assessing the appropriateness of major projects or improvements like the potential of rapid transit, Commuter Rail, or water transportation.  
 
Focus40 is the MBTA’s 25-year investment plan to position the T to meet the needs of the Greater Boston region in 2040. Focus40 provides a roadmap for the development of future MBTA five-year Capital Investment Plans, identifying twelve investment Programs (key system upgrades) and focusing on ‘Priority Places’ for new or improved service that have the greatest likelihood of delivering ridership and other meaningful benefits to the region.

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