Container and delivery trucks are rumbling through South Boston and the Seaport 6,000 times a day on average, according to a new Massport survey, rattling the high-priced loft and condo tenants.
The estimated truck traffic, culled from a survey of nearly 30 area businesses, comes as steam picks up on a proposal to overhaul Cypher Street in the Seaport, which officials and advocates say could not only help trucks weave through the busy neighborhood but serve cyclists and pedestrians as well.
“What’s missing is the link,” Massport CEO Tom Glynn said in a Herald interview, adding that a proposal to extend Cypher Street a block to E Street is “one of the highest priorities” as officials examine transportation fixes for the Seaport.
“A lot of folks moving to the Fort Point area, they weren’t necessarily expecting the volume of trucks,” he said. “That’s the polite way of putting it.”
Massport officials surveyed 28 South Boston businesses and others, such as the Conley Terminal, Boston Fish Pier and the U.S. Postal Service, and determined trucks are making about 6,000 daily trips in and out of their facilities, including more than 900 out of Conley Terminal.
The state has sought to address that, investing $75 million to build a freight corridor from the terminal to divert container trucks off of nearby West First Street.
But finding a route for trucks, notably via Cypher Street to the South Boston Bypass Road and off of the growing residential stretch on D Street, is something that’s “gotten a lot of attention lately” among city officials, the state and advocates, according to Rick Dimino, CEO of the group, A Better City.
“We have to find a way to balance the future transportation network there, and trucks are going to be part of that,” Dimino said. “We’re balancing that — being able to support the residential and mixed uses, too. That’s why this has become an important priority.”
Tom Tinlin, MassDOT’s highway director, said there’s not an exact cost yet for extending Cypher Street, though the project could be included as part of $25 million the state authorized for road improvements in the Seaport area over a five-year period.
“Truck access has to be, if not enhanced, at the minimum preserved” through the project, Tinlin said. “But also, it’s about making sure we’re opening the street to a more safe pedestrian and cyclist experience as well.”
That officials are calling a plan a priority is a good sign, longtime resident Gary Godinho said.
“To come up with these alternative truck routes to alleviate the truck traffic on D Street, especially with the Lawn on D, is a smart thing to do,” said Godinho, who is a member of the South Boston Waterfront Neighborhood Association but stressed that he was speaking for himself and not the organization.