Exchange South End Shows Traffic Concerns in PNF Analysis

By Seth Daniel

With up to 7,000 workers could likely come many new headaches on the roadways according to a traffic analysis in the Exchange South End Project Notification Form (PNF) – an analysis that predicts 20 percent of the 10,000 new vehicle trips would come and go from the already-congested Albany Street corridor.

The traffic analysis was the big unknown that had been put to the side during a plethora of community meetings to share initial ideas for the development earlier this year – mostly because the study hadn’t yet been completed. However, with the filing of the PNF last week came the detailed analysis of intersections and corridors around the former Boston Flower Exchange property.

The analysis predicted 4,880 new pedestrian/bike trips, 4,600 new transit trips, and 10,062 new vehicle trips throughout the day at the development after full build out. The morning peak hour is expected to add 1,161 new vehicle trips to the area and 711 new transit trips – something many are concerned about given the infrastructure deficiencies in the area. A similar number of trips were predicted for the p.m. rush hour.

In the analysis, as in most traffic analyses, signalized intersections are graded from A to F based on the average stop delay in seconds per vehicle. As a result of the analysis for building Exchange South End with an entrance on an East Canton Street extension road, many intersections would be downgraded in the area.

An F equals greater than 80 seconds, and an E represents between 55 and 80 seconds delay.

Many of the intersections studied are downgraded to E or F.

According to the PNF, some of them include:

  • The signalized intersection of I-93 NB Frontage Road/Albany Street Connector/DPW Driveway decreases to a D during the a.m. peak hour. The Albany Street eastbound approach decreases to an F during the a.m. peak hour and operates at an E during the p.m. peak hour.
  • The signalized intersection of I-93 SB Frontage Road/Albany Street/MBTA Driveway continues to operate at C during the a.m. peak hour and D during the p.m. peak hour. The Albany Street northeast-bound approach decreases to E during the a.m. peak hour and operates at E during the p.m. peak hour.
  • At the signalized intersection of Malden Street/Albany Street (a new light just now being installed), the Malden Street eastbound approach decreases to E during the p.m. peak hour.
  • The intersection of East Canton Street/Albany Street/Exchange Driveway will need to be signalized to accommodate the new site traffic. That new intersection will operate at C or better during both the a.m. and p.m. peak hours and all of the individual movements will operate at D or better during both peak hours.
  • At the unsignalized intersection of Wareham Street/Albany Street, the Wareham Street eastbound approach decreases to F during the p.m. peak hour. (For unsignalized intersections, an F means more than 50 seconds delay).
  • At the unsignalized intersection of Albany Street/East Brookline Street, the East Brookline Street eastbound approach decreases to F during the a.m. peak hour.
  • At the unsignalized intersection of Albany Street/Stoughton Street, the Stoughton Street eastbound approach decreases to F in both the a.m. and p.m. peak hours. The Stoughton Street westbound left-turn lane decreases to E during the a.m. peak hour and decreases to F during the p.m. peak hour.
  • At the unsignalized intersection of BioSquare Drive/East Canton Extension, the East Canton St eastbound approach operates at F during the a.m. peak hour and D during the p.m. peak hour.

The analysis predicted that 35 percent of the traffic would be coming from I-93 Northbound, and 20 percent from I-93 Southbound. However, another 20 percent is predicted to be coming to the site from local roads, including Massachusetts Avenue and Albany Street through the Boston Medical Center campus.

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