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[June 9: This article has been updated to include additional details about the Lynn ferry.]
North Shore residents may soon be able to take to the sea as an alternative to the grueling land-based commute to Boston. Lynn’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation voted to approve a deal last week that would allow the MBTA to run a passenger ferry from the city’s marina to downtown Boston. And with the two-month Summer Tunnel closure now just a month away, Lynn Mayor Jared Nicholson tells WBUR’s Dave Faneuf the “timing is ideal.”
- Lynn briefly piloted commuter ferries in the past, most recently in 2017. However, the new deal will lease the city’s pier, terminal and marina to the T for two years — with an option to extend for another three, according to the Daily Item.
- The specific schedule has yet to be released, but MassDOT says the ferry will operate on weekdays only, with 10 trips per day. Lynn officials said last week that the 30-minute trips will be centered around the morning and evening commutes. The T also plans to use a 149-passenger boat — about the same size as the agency’s permanent South Shore ferry.
- More details: The ferry will run between Lynn's Blossom Street dock and Boston's Central Wharf (near the New England Aquarium). It will cost $2.40 each way — the same price as an MBTA subway trip or Zone 1A commuter rail fare. There'll be free parking in Lynn and bicycles are allowed on the boat.
- Why now? North Shore officials have been lobbying for decades for a permanent commuter ferry service of their own. Nicholson told Faneuf that with the Sumner Tunnel closure happening soon, this offers “a real way to mitigate some of the havoc that’s going to wreak on our roads.” According to Google Maps, a weekday morning drive from downtown Lynn to Boston already averages around 45 minutes, but can be nearly twice as long if traffic is bad. Lynn’s commuter rail station is also currently closed for upgrades, making public transit to Boston a multi-switch, 45-minute affair.
- What’s next: MBTA officials say ferry service could start in July, right in time for the Sumner closure. But before we get more details, they need to finish additional “procedural and operational steps.”
In other MBTA news: T leaders will submit a new worker safety plan to the Federal Transit Administration today, after the first version of their plan was rejected last month. MBTA General Manager Phil Eng told WCVB yesterday the new plan includes more details, particularly “more clarity on the short term measures.” Eng said he’s confident the new plan will get a “positive” response.
- Why you should care: If the FTA rejects the safety plan again, the T would have to stop all ongoing work on the tracks. That could have a huge impact on the efforts to improve service.
- Why it’s necessary: The FTA found several glaring issues with the MBTA’s policies after five “near misses” between trains and workers on the tracks earlier this year.
The Winter Hill Community Innovation School building in Somerville will stay closed for the rest of the school year, after a piece of concrete fell inside a stairwell last week. As WBUR’s Max Larkin reports, the incident comes after parents and educators raised concerns about a variety of issues at the 400-student school, which has a focus on serving students with autism and newly arrived immigrants.
- What’s next: Somerville officials plan to resume classes for Winter Hill students this Thursday at three different off-site, temporary classrooms. You can read more details and updates here.
Journalists at Gannett, the country’s largest chain of local newspapers, are walking off the job today in protest of working conditions and deep cuts in recent years. However, only one of the dozens of Gannett-owned Massachusetts outlets is taking part, according to the Boston Business Journal: Cambridge-based website Reviewed.USAToday.com.
What part of the MBTA is shutting down this week? It’s the Red Line — at least part of it. Service between JFK/UMass and North Quincy on the line's Braintree branch will be replaced by shuttle buses each night through Thursday starting at 8:45 p.m.
- Commuter rail service on the Greenbush, Kingston and Middleborough/Lakeville lines between South Station and Braintree will also close early at 7:30 p.m. Express shuttles will run between the two stations.
P.S.— Come get a taste of another flavorful CitySpace event tonight. Australian-born author and chef Hetty Lui McKinnon will discuss her plant-based recipe cookbook, which was recently named one of Bon Appetit’s best of the year. Tickets include a sampling of food from the cookbook — including spicy noodles and sweet potato black sesame bundt cake.