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  • Roadway Redesign Could Open Up Access to Lynn Waterfront

    The City of Lynn has plans to redevelop 305 acres of waterfront real estate to vitalize the underutilized shoreline of Lynn Harbor with residential and commercial developments, marinas, a seaside boardwalk, and public greenspace. The parcels targeted for redevelopment are within easy walking and bicycling distance from downtown Lynn and adjacent neighborhoods, but a six-lane divided highway stands in the way and inhibits foot and bicycle traffic.

    Photo of bicyclists riding on sidewalk next to three traffic lanes
    Bicyclists resort to riding on sidewalks by the Lynnway. On-street
    bicycling is dangerous because of high vehicle speeds and a lack of
    bicycle lanes. (Photos: MAPC) 

    A study recently released by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) explored ways to open up access to the waterfront by redesigning a two-mile section of the Lynnway (Route 1A) and Carroll Parkway. Doing so would make pedestrians and bicyclists feel comfortable using the corridor, and would better incorporate transit services in the corridor, while maintaining capacity for motor traffic.

    The MPO staff, working with stakeholders on an advisory task force, identified a number of safety and traffic operations issues in the high-speed traffic corridor. Challenges for pedestrians include long crosswalks across the wide roadway, inadequate median refuge areas, and obstructed crosswalks. Bicyclists face unsafe conditions as there are no roadway shoulders or bicycle lanes. The corridor experiences a high number of vehicular crashes with 241 crashes occurring in a two-year period, two of which resulted in fatalities.

    Photo of pedestrian walking on median with three lanes of traffic on either side
    Multiple lanes of traffic on the Lynnway makes
    for a risky crossing by pedestrians.

    The study recommended several short-term measures to improve safety, access to the waterfront, and traffic operations. These include retiming and coordinating signals, opening the roadway median to provide pedestrian access to the ferry terminal on Blossom Street, creating shared-use lanes, and making improvements for the safety of pedestrians with disabilities, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Five alternative designs were also presented as long-term solutions. They include a “complete street” design that would reduce auto lanes to make way for a separated bicycle lane; a boulevard- style design that would incorporate a wide median;a plan for pedestrian bridges at several locations over the roadway, which would provide access to the waterfront from residential areas; and a design that would incorporate bus rapid transit (BRT) in the median. The concept of altering the traffic circulation on the Carroll Parkway to separate northbound and southbound traffic was also explored; however, doing so would have severe impacts on traffic flow.

    Aerial view of study area of the Route 1A/Lynnway/Carroll Parkway Study showing waterfront with arrows indicating the difficulty of access because of Route 1.
    The study area of the Route 1A/Lynnway/Carroll Parkway Study.