Micro-Bus Path? Newly Approved Shared Path Could Be Transportation Hub

After a new community benefit shared path has been approved through the Little Mystic leasing process, one resident has proposed the idea of using part of the path for a micro-bus local transportation corridor.

Dan Jaffe has been pushing the idea for some time as the transportation director in the 02129 Neighbor Alliance – particularly with the introduction of so many new living units in the Bunker Hill redevelopment project. However, there was never any groundwork done to house the path – until now. The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) announced this month one of the community mitigation pieces for the renewal of the MassPort Little Mystic lease would be the creation of a shared path along the railroad right-of-way along Terminal and Medford Streets.

Jaffe said that is exactly the corridor he has pinpointed for some time to provide a local public transportation service via Micro-bus – which is an electric vehicle that can carry between six to eight passengers. He would propose that a small fleet of the vehicles travel between the Little Mystic and Sullivan Station – the majority of it being on the shared path adjacent to Medford Street.

“We have some big boulders to roll out of the way to get this to happen as drawn,” he said. “We may have to drop back some of the pathway to streets beyond the Medford and Terminal Street sections. I hope we can get some interest in Town for this kind of transportation as the One Charlestown project parking and traffic won’t work as they have presented.”

Jaffe’s idea would have a hub on state property under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge where the Micro-buses would be stored and worked on. It would be the starting point for the routes as well. The route would run along the Little Mystic and then on the Pan Am Railroad right-of-way to Schrafft’s. Then it would cross over via D Street and Spice Street to arrive at Sullivan Station.

Such local transportation options are used in Europe and in other parts of the United States. Because Charlestown is so isolated, Jaffe said he could see an internal transportation system working quite well, similar to the private buses that serve Winthrop exclusively.

So far, Jaffe said he has run the idea by several local officials and some transportation experts. While there is much more to do, he said he feels like it’s a promising start.

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