By Seth Daniel
It’s not hard to see East Boston or the North End from pretty much anywhere in Charlestown.
Sometimes, it almost looks like one could swim right over with little effort.
However, getting there by land – that’s a whole other story.
That’s why Councilor Sal LaMattina has put in a Council order this week calling for all of the major players in the City to look into a water ferry service that would connect Charlestown, East Boston and the North End. Councilor Bill Linehan has joined him in the effort and is adding the Seaport District to the neighborhood ferry connection.
LaMattina introduced the order at Council on Wednesday morning, asking for the City of Boston, MassDOT, MassPort, the Convention Center, residents and anyone else to chime in on the possibility of connecting neighborhoods in his district by water.
“It’s something I think that Charlestown, East Boston and the North End – as well as the Seaport – could really benefit from,” he said. “To get from East Boston to the Seaport or to Charlestown is very difficult. Water transportation could help residents with all the construction going on and the upcoming North Washington Street Bridge project that’s coming. We really need to think differently. The water transportation has been lacking in Boston. We have all these neighborhoods and we don’t connect with each other even though we’re so close. We could connect with a water ferry.”
LaMattina’s order calls for a hearing due to the fact that Boston is experiencing a boom in development – the largest in its history – and the population has grown by 40,000 people in the last five years. He said Boston Harbor is the City’s greatest asset and it’s not being used.
LaMattina rolled out the plan in Charlestown on Tuesday night during a fundraiser held on his behalf.
“In Charlestown, they don’t have a beach,” he said. “They could easily take that ferry to East Boston and there is a beautiful greenway that leads right to Constitution Beach. They could bike there. The North End has a pool and folks in East Boston might want to visit the pool or check out a restaurant in Charlestown.”
LaMattina said he knows that MassPort has $1 million for its ferry from Long Wharf to Logan Airport, a service that he said is not used often and could be diverted to his ferry idea. He said he would also call on the development community, as well as the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).
“The BRA has money for two ferries from the federal government and I’d like to find out where that money is being used,” he said.