Running Head: TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN BOSTON 1
TRAFFIC CONGESTION IN BOSTON 9
Portfolio Project – Traffic Congestion in Boston (Draft)
Tina Outerbridge Moriarty
ENG102 – Composition II (GT-CO2)
Colorado State University – Global Campus
May 9, 2019
Traffic Congestion in Boston
After spending a total of $24.3 billion dollars of tax payer’s money on improving infrastructure to alleviate traffic ten years ago, Boston has moved from being ranked 8th in the country for traffic congestion to being ranked as the worst with the average commuter spending 165 hours per year stuck in traffic, partly because the state scrapped plans to update the transit system to include improvements to the regional and local rail lines ironically because of the cost. The state must now pursue alternate plans to improve the system in order to make it more convenient for commuters to park their cars and use the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) services.
According to Boston Urban Planning (2013), Boston followed other cities such as New York in opening an urban highway system during the 50’s that would bring automobiles in and out of the city easily and conveniently. The Central Artery was an elevated six lane highway that ran right through the heart of the city. It carried about 75,000 vehicles a day but by the early 1990’s the population of Boston and the state of Massachusetts was increasing to where the Central Artery was carrying 200,000 automobiles per day. The traffic congestion spanned up to 10 hours per day and the accident rate was four times higher than the national average for urban interstates with estimates of stop and go traffic increasing to 16 hours per day by 2010. The roadway was carrying the burden of traffic in and out of the city all day every day with a structure that was deemed to be in danger of imminent collapse and something had to change.
In the early 80’s, then transportation secretary, Fred Salvucci, proposed the idea that instead of building a new central artery structure, the roadway should be rerouted to snake underground through the city and through the harbor. The concept was not entirely new; Interstate 93 was already underground from one part of the city to another. Boston would simply finish the job, tear down the unsightly Central Artery, and reconnect severed neighborhoods in the process. This would also help the federal transportation system complete their interstate highway system and therefore they would help to fund the project (Flint, 2015).
The official end date of this mega-project would span thirty years from planning to completion in 2006 and would cost more than $20 billion dollars more than originally budgeted due to unnecessary cost overruns, delays, problems with materials, faulty lighting and corruption (Moskowitz, 2012). Four key projects were completely eliminated from the Big Dig in regards to the public transportation system that would have complemented the other...