How to get around by bicycle during the Sumner Tunnel closure

The Sumner Tunnel will be closed seven days a week from July 5, 2024 to August 5, 2024.

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Traveling via bicycle is a great way to avoid congestion and help reduce the number of cars on the road.

This guide provides new bicyclists and experienced bicyclists information and options for using bicycles as an alternative form of transportation during the Sumner Tunnel summer closure. Information on how to take bicycles on trains and ferries, where to lock your bicycle, how to use BLUEbikes, recommended bicycle routes, and more is provided below. The Sumner Tunnel shutdown will impact local and regional traffic. It is highly recommended that you begin to plan and test alternative routes prior to the closure that begins on July 5th.

Please plan for extra travel time. Learn more about the Sumner Tunnel project.

How to use BLUEbikes

  1. If you are a member online or would like to become a member online, you can select purchase options through the BLUEbikes App or visit bluebikes.com. Non-members can purchase passes from any BLUEbike station kiosk using a credit/debit card. 
  2. Find docking stations near you and your destination on BLUEbike's System Map
  3. If a member, use your member key at a station kiosk to unlock a bike. Non-members will get a ride code to unlock a bike from the station kiosk after purchasing a BLUEbikes pass.
  4. Take as many short rides as you want while your pass or membership is active.
  5. Return your bike to any station and wait for the green light on the dock to make sure it is locked.

The City of Boston has additional resources on how to use BLUEbikes, including an instructional video.

Annual and monthly memberships are $129 per year and $29 per month, respectively, which includes unlimited 45-minute rides. Adventure Passes are $10 which includes unlimited 2 hour rides for a 24 hour period. Single trips are available for $2.95 for the first 30 minutes and $4 for each additional 30 minutes. More pricing information can be found here.

People who qualify for the Income-Eligible Program can use BLUEbikes for $50 a year, or $5 per 30 days of riding.

How to take your bike on the ferry

MBTA Ferries

Bicycles are allowed on all MBTA ferries at all times. Just ask the ferry crew where to place your bicycle upon boarding the ferry. The MBTA’s East Boston ferry, which runs between Long Wharf and Lewis Mall Wharf, will be free from July 5 to August 5, 2024.

More MBTA ferry resources:

Seaport Ferry

Bicycles are allowed on the Seaport ferries at all times. Just ask the ferry crew where to place your bicycle upon boarding the ferry.

There are two Seaport Ferry routes: between Lovejoy Wharf near North Station and Fan Pier in the Seaport, and between Lewis Mall in East Boston and Fan Pier in the Seaport.

More Seaport ferry resources:

Salem Ferry

The City of Salem is served by a seasonal ferry operated by Boston Harbor Cruises. The ferry runs from late May to October 31 and departs from the Salem Ferry Terminal on Blaney Street and Boston’s Long Wharf. Bicycles are allowed at all times. Just ask the ferry crew where to place your bicycle upon boarding the ferry. Visit the Salem Ferry website for more details, schedules, and pricing.

Winthrop Ferry

The Town of Winthrop runs a ferry between Winthrop Landing, Logan Airport, Boston’s Seaport (Fan Pier), Boston’s Central Wharf (Aquarium Landing), and Squantum Point Park Landing in Quincy. Bicycles are allowed at all times. Just ask the ferry crew where to place your bicycle upon boarding the ferry.

Boston Water Taxi

Under certain circumstances, water taxis may not be able to accommodate bicycles on board at the discretion of the captain, especially during peak demand periods. Therefore, it is recommended not to plan to take bicycles on water taxis.

More Boston Water Taxi resources:

How to take your bike on MBTA vehicles

You can utilize the MBTA Trip Planner to plan your commute with the wide variety of MBTA modes available. The Trip Planner allows you to select your preferred modes of transit and type of route.

You can find detailed information about bringing bicycles on MBTA vehicles and parking at MBTA stations here. Bicycle options vary by transit mode and train line. Folding bikes are allowed on all services at all times if they are completely folded. 

Bicycles on the Blue Line

Weekdays

  • Inbound, except 7-9 AM
  • Outbound, except 4-6 PM

Weekends

  • Inbound, all day
  • Outbound, all day

Bicycles on the Silver Line

  • Bicycles are never allowed inside of buses
  • SL1, SL2, and SL3 are now equipped with front-of-bus bike racks
  • SL4, SL5: On front-of-bus bike racks, all day

Bicycles on the Bus

  • Bicycles are never allowed inside of buses

Weekdays

  • On front-of-bus bike racks, all day

Weekends

  • On front-of-bus bike racks, all day

Bicycles on the Commuter Rail

The ability to bring your bicycle on the Commuter Rail varies by line. You will see bike symbols on the schedule timetables if bicycles are allowed. Please visit the MBTA Bikes website for your desired Commuter Rail line to determine whether and when you can bring your bike on a Commuter Rail train.

Please note that people in wheelchairs use the same space as bicycles and get priority over bicycles.

How to take your bicycle to your destination

Routes with On and Off-Road Bicycle Facilities  

Many communities have designated bicycle routes that can safely get you to your destination. You can explore MassDOT’s bicycle facility inventory here.

Boston

Chelsea

Everett

Revere

Suggested bicycle routes

Bicycle routes between Downtown Boston, transit stops, and points north of Boston have been identified to assist people who choose to bicycle plan their bicycle trip.  

Northern Strand Route - This route connects Lynn to Downtown Boston’s North Station utilizing the Northern Strand trail, Gateway Park trail, and shared bicycle/vehicle facilities.

East Boston Greenway Route - This route connects Constitution Beach, in East Boston, to Downtown Boston utilizing the East Boston Greenway, the MBTA’s East Boston ferry, as well as the Seaport ferry. The MBTA’s East Boston ferry, which runs between Long Wharf and Lewis Mall Wharf, will be free from July 5 to August 5, 2024. 

Chelsea and Everett Overland Route - this route connects the Northern Strand Route with the East Boston Greenway Route utilizing the Chelsea Greenway and local streets with on and off-road bicycle facilities.

Where to leave your bicycle

A Bicycle parking inventory for Sumner Tunnel closure area has been developed to identify some areas where bicycles can be parked and locked. There are many locations to park and lock your bicycle that are not identified in this inventory but please remember never to lock your bike in a place that may block a pedestrian’s path of travel such as a handicapped parking signpost, benches, and railings.

Most MBTA train stations provide bicycle parking. More information about MBTA bicycle parking can be found here. Some stations, such as Wonderland, Salem, and Beverly Depot provide secure indoor bike parking at “Pedal & Park” facilities. In order to access MBTA Pedal & Parks, please register your Charlie Card here at least 24 hours in advance of your first use.

Safety tips

  • Safety Basics for Bicycle Riders: The City of Boston has compiled this resource with tips on what to do before you ride, how to ride on city streets, and tips for riding in different weather conditions.
  • Bicycling with Buses: People riding bikes and people driving buses often share space on the road. MassBike and LivableStreets Alliance collaborated with the MBTA and the City of Cambridge to create this guide to stay safe while bicycling around buses.
  • Current roadway conditions, traffic, incidents, and highway construction activities can be seen on the Mass 511 website.

Additional Resources

Local bike organizations

Free bike repair/maintenance resources

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