Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll and the 18 communities of the North Shore Coalition unveiled the Coalition’s transportation vision for the North Shore region and outlined short- and long-term actions to provide a 21st century transportation system for North Shore residents.
In a press conference on November 1 at Salem State University’s Enterprise Center, municipal leaders in the North Shore Coalition announced a regional commitment to pursue a regional bike share program, municipal green fleets, improved water transportation services, and electrified and reliable commuter rail service. The vision includes 19 recommended action items that municipalities can undertake themselves or together with neighboring communities, to improve transportation in and around the North Shore.
Data from MAPC indicates that 108,000 North Shore residents travel to jobs outside of the region daily. 36,000 travel to Boston, Brookline and Cambridge. About 95,000 residents in the North Shore travel to jobs within the region and an additional 68,000 residents from across the Commonwealth travel to jobs in the North Shore.
The North Shore region has experienced increased commute times in recent years, while facing higher MBTA fares. An average commute from Lynn—a community only 12 miles from downtown Boston—has seen the average transit commute time increase from 44 minutes in 2010 to 54 minutes in 2017. Two important bus routes—435 and 436—that serve transit dependent workers in Peabody have an on-time performance of 60%.
Work toward this regional transportation vision began over a year ago when the Coalition asked the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to study the region’s mobility and challenges with first-and-last mile connections. In 2018, the Coalition secured funding from the Efficiency & Regionalization Grant program to implement some of the study’s recommendations. MAPC worked with the City of Beverly, the Town of Danvers and business leaders to implement the North Shore Wave, a shuttle bus service connecting commuters from Beverly Depot Commuter Rail Station to businesses located at the Cummings Center, Trask Lane and Cherry Hill Drive.
Residents, local leaders and businesses all agree that the current transportation system is not reliable enough to meet the needs of employees and customers in the region.
Many North Shore communities have already started Complete Streets projects and the Coalition highlighted four other priority actions: electrifying and improving commuter rail service, expanding regional water transportation options, adopting municipal green fleet policies and expanding charging station availability, and promoting regional bike share and micromobility. The Coalition’s vision also includes 19 action items that municipalities can pursue individually, regionally and with the assistance of the Commonwealth.
The group also acknowledged that the 21st century transportation system they envision will come at a financial cost, so they are also making specific recommendations for transportation funding.
-North Shore Alliance for Economic Development
Read the full vision statement here