1.252J | Fall 2016 | Graduate

Urban Transportation Planning


Assignment 4

Planning for Growth in the Lower Mystic

What: An 8-page (max) double-spaced memo to the Boston Chief of Streets

Who: Individual assignment

Due: Week 14

Please refer to Assignment 3 for background information on development in the Lower Mystic area


After assessing the level of growth projected from the various developments in the Lower Mystic area, the impacts and capacity constraints of major transportation infrastructure in the area, and projected and estimated mode shares, now it’s your turn to propose as individuals how to achieve a transportation plan that can maintain and improve access to jobs and opportunities while supporting the plans and goals of the surrounding cities. In particular, please answer the following questions, building off your assessment in Assigment 3:

  1. What short-term (1-5 years) recommendations would you make to keep I-93, the Orange Line, and Rutherford Avenue operational?
  2. In the long term (5-25 years), what do you think are the most important interventions to make for I-93, the Orange Line and other transit service, and the Rutherford Avenue corridor?
    1. Transit projects could include BRT, DMU service along the commuter rail line, Orange Line upgrades, etc.
    2. For Rutherford Avenue, given the presumption of the Wynn report that the Rutherford Avenue tunnel would continue serving 1,700 trips per day, what do you recommend for the city of Boston? If you don’t recommend keeping the tunnel, how do you recommend serving those 1,700 trips?
  3. How do you recommend paying for your solutions? What are the potential sources, and who has the greatest responsibilities to pay?

To guide your overall thinking about the transportation plan for this area, and to answer the three questions above, consider using the following remaining questions from the 19-step process, if it’s useful to guide your thinking:

  • Step seven: develop solutions.
    1. In addition to the recommendations you make for I-93, transit, and the Rutherford Tunnel, what other improvements or policy changes would you make to support transportation access and a liveable environment in the area? Possibilities include land use recommendations, parking limitations, pedestrian and bicycle access, travel demand management, etc.
  • Step eleven: predict outcomes, benefits, costs.
    1. Can you implement “back of the envelope” projections to indicate whether your solutions could accomodate the level of demand anticipated on the three major pieces of infrastructure identified (I-93, Orange Line, Rutherford Avenue)?
  • Step twelve: consider finance.
    1. How do you recommend financing the improvements you’ve recommended? How much, roughly, is needed, and who should pay? Is this realistic?
  • Step thirteen: build a constituency.
    1. Who is likely to support your recommendations and why? Can you build a coalition to move your recommendations forward?

Your individual recommendation is due week 14.

Background Resources

Lower Mystic Regional Working Group

City of Boston Sullivan Square/Rutherford redevelopment plans

Inner Belt/Brickbottom plans (Somerville)

Wynn Everett SSFEIR (PDF - 1.2MB)

Orange Line -  Focus 40 Orange Line upgrades

Katie McLaughlin’s thesis

MassDOT Everett Transit Action Plan

Course Info

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