The Urban Ring is a State proposed 25-mile long transit project that would run in a roughly circular corridor just outside of central Boston. The corridor passes through Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Medford and Somerville. The Urban Ring is not a BRA or City project; it is a State project. As key stakeholders, the City and BRA participate in and monitor the planning process for the Urban Ring.
Designed to provide more direct trips within the Urban Ring corridor, improve connections with the “spokes” of the MBTA existing rapid transit system and relieve congestion in the core of the MBTA system, the Urban Ring also offers opportunities for transit-oriented development and denser “smart growth” development around the many new and improved stations it would provide.
On January 22, 2010, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT, which merged EOT with other State transportation departments) suspended further environmental review for the Urban Ring Phase 2 project. While suspending MEPA review of the project, MassDOT committed to continue transportation planning, civic engagement, and implementation of early action improvements within the Urban Ring corridor.
MassDOT has signaled that it will proceed with aspects of the project following a three-part strategy:
(a) the implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT) service in high-value segments of the Urban Ring in a manner consistent with the recommendations of the November 2008 Revised Draft Environmental Impact Report;
(b) the pursuit of other BRT elements, such as the MBTA’s ongoing Key Bus Routes initiative, as part of a coordinated strategy of achieving BRT levels of service on other routes in the corridor; and
(c) continued planning, analysis, and civic engagement with the Citizen Advisory Committee and Compact Communities for the full Project as an integrated system.
Further updates on the Urban Ring will be provided on this web page and on the MassDOT Urban Ring Home page at www.massdot.state.ma.us/theurbanring.