MassDOT, the Sumner Tunnel, and Bottlenecks in East Boston
All seemed like smooth sailing when the the idea for the demolition of the Sumner Tunnel toll booth plaza was first proposed, but the morning bottlenecks caused after the toll booths were taken out tell us that something has gone drastically wrong, or maybe it is simply a case of incompetence in properly executing the proposed work.
While the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (Mass DOT) and the City of Boston are struggling to find the errors that have created this nightmare since the roadwork on the Sumner Tunnel toll booth plaza was begun, many parents who transport their kids to school in the mornings are suffering the consequences of this ineptitude and ineffectiveness. In addition, people who have to leave East Boston to get to work, college, hospital, etc. are also suffering.
As the traffic engineers try to mitigate the errors and failures that the work has caused, they have designed new alternate routes through the neighborhood to help drivers with the delays in their activities, but even then, it does not seem to be improving, but rather, worsening.
Without being a subject matter expert on this, I believe that we should return to the six previous lanes on the plaza. This would mean eliminating the green spaces that Mass DOT planned, but given the problems that we have now, that design is clearly not working, and that is a very serious problem.
Although Mass DOT says it is working to reduce the impact on the local community as well as the public that uses these routes, the truth is that it seems that these are false promises, because the reality is the opposite. We are living in an environment of frustration and anger in the streets of East Boston, and we feel abused and outraged because our right to freedom of movement has been infringed.
Organizations such as Mass DOT, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), and Mass Port’s officials should better coordinate and speed up efforts to mitigate the disorder that is really affecting the behavior and mental health of the workers who live in East Boston.