SBTAP (the South Boston Transportation Action Plan) has the mission to improve traffic of all kinds in the central area of South Boston.  Last week, SBTAP held a community meeting and presented an initial list of draft recommendations to accomplish this.  Patrick Hoey, the Neighborhood Planning Director from the BTD (Boston Transportation Department) gave the presentation.

It is important to note that SBTAP’s recommendations do not apply to all of South Boston. The SBTAP area amounts to just about one-third of the total square footage in South Boston, and it’s bordered on the west by Old Colony Boulevard and Dorchester Avenue down to Broadway Station.  It extends to the east between First Street, Ninth Street, and Day Boulevard all the way to Farragut Road.  The entire Seaport District, the Andrew Square neighborhood, and Castle Island/Conley Terminal aren’t part of SBTAP at all.  SBTAP deals with nine “corridor” roadways, especially East Broadway, West Broadway, and most of Dorchester Street.

The meeting, held at the Tynan School, opened at 6:20.  Lydia Polaski, South Boston’s agent on the ONS (Office of Neighborhood Services) read a communication from Mayor Wu stating that the time for comments is being kept open and that bike lanes would not necessarily be authorized along Broadway, but on a side street instead.  District 2 City Councilor Ed Flynn voiced his strong support of “Safety First” along Broadway, especially for pedestrians and at crosswalks.

The SBTAP presentation was broken down into “near term recommendations” that mostly dealt with safety, and a “longer-term vision” for the future.  The need for better safety mostly deals with pedestrian traffic, especially at crossings.  The longer-term vision will involve total redesign of roadways following a full community redesign process.

A question-and-answer period followed the presentation by Patrick Hoey.  It was heated to say the least.  Issues included the problems with parking, and the continuing need for auto travel, especially along East and West Broadway.  “Southie must drive!” became almost a slogan during the Q-and-A.  Setting aside lanes specifically for bicycles was another arguing point, perhaps influenced by six months of the Summer Street Pilot Project, where designated lanes for bikes, buses, and trucks were established.  Perhaps the most valid questions had to do with loading and unloading trucks along Broadway, especially on West Broadway between E Street and Perkins Square.  Many small businesses in South Boston require daily drop-offs and deliveries; these were not really addressed in the SBTAP presentation last Thursday.  Other than the need for safety upgrades, the East Broadway/West Broadway/Dorchester Street complex of roads actually seems to work fairly well, even though there are frequent holdups and traffic jams.

For your information, an Open House meeting on the Summer Street Pilot Program is scheduled for tonight, July 8 (5 p.m. to 8) at the Tynan School.  Please plan to attend.


District 2 City Councilor Ed Flynn


Patrick Hoey, Neighborhood Planning Director at the BTD (Boston Transportation Department).