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. The Lynn legislative delegation including Senator Brendan Crighton and State Representatives Dan Cahill, Lori Ehrlich, and Donald Wong successfully advocated for the inclusion of Lynn as a Priority Place in the Focus40 Plan.
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.
“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.”
“Residents of Lynn need better transit options to access jobs, healthcare and higher education. I am pleased that MassDOT has recognized our community as a priority and look forward to an engaging process that ultimately addresses both the challenges and opportunities regarding public transportation in Lynn,” stated Representative Dan Cahill.
“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.”
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 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.”
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 twenty 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 percent 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 percent. None of the MBTA’s fifteen high-frequency Key Bus Routes serve Lynn and data has shown there is a need for more service during off-peak hours.
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.