MBTA Bus & BRT

ceo

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I'll give the Broadway service increase some love. Somerville restriped Broadway from the Main St intersection to Sullivan with dedicated bus/bike lanes, and it honestly has made the traffic kind of suck. And that's with the Ball Square bridge closed for the GLX construction. Buses go faster, so more people ride them, but so far there aren't any more of them, so they get really crowded and people who live closer to Sullivan are SOL. Hopefully with the service increase it'll get more riders on the bus and people will stop whining (I know, a little optimistic on that last one).
 

Arlington

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WHen the Center City Link proposal says "potential to thread additional" Northside, Westside, & SL4&5 through the corridor, are they saying that they'd extend some of these to the seaport?

I can totally see where this would get its rolling stock "funded" through a combination of:
- Replacing some 4 & 7 runs (the 4 is such a sloppy mess)
- Generally moving the fleet faster through the core

I'd love to see the same basic fleets moving fast through downtown so as to extend to the seaport:
92/93 (Charlestown),
325/326 (Medford Expresses)

Do you think I hould I picture the SL4 & 5 going "up" to North Station via Congress, or "out" Summer St?

Same with the 500-series from the west: should I be picturing that they'd go to Haymarket and NS (to support new office space there)?
 

sm89

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I'll give the Broadway service increase some love. Somerville restriped Broadway from the Main St intersection to Sullivan with dedicated bus/bike lanes, and it honestly has made the traffic kind of suck. And that's with the Ball Square bridge closed for the GLX construction. Buses go faster, so more people ride them, but so far there aren't any more of them, so they get really crowded and people who live closer to Sullivan are SOL. Hopefully with the service increase it'll get more riders on the bus and people will stop whining (I know, a little optimistic on that last one).
"To support the city’s investment in bus infrastructure, the MBTA in September adjusted Broadway’s route 89 bus schedule to add 10 additional bus trips on weekdays, 26 additional trips on Saturdays and 24 additional trips on Sundays."

 

Lrfox

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"To support the city’s investment in bus infrastructure, the MBTA in September adjusted Broadway’s route 89 bus schedule to add 10 additional bus trips on weekdays, 26 additional trips on Saturdays and 24 additional trips on Sundays."

Awesome. Broadway is my primary means of getting from home to 93 South to visit family/friends, etc. on weekends. When they first painted the lanes, I was concerned that A) People would ignore the lanes and drive in them anyway (they did at first, and occasionally still do but not as much - there are trouble spots) and B) The loss of lane combined with the relatively frequent lights between Central and McGrath would lead to lengthy backups. While I've only driven the route a few times during rush hour, traffic isn't much worst at all. The biggest backup factor is the Broadway/McGrath light cycle and grid lock which isn't because of the bus lanes. As a passenger on the 89, it's a marked improvement. I'm happy to see the data is indicating that I'm not imagining it.
 

sneijder

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Still some work to do on the 1 Bus corridor from Central Square to the Mass Ave bridge. Currently have short segments of southbound-only painted bus lanes and flex-post separated bike lanes. But parked cars are still taking full lanes in areas where the bus constantly gets stuck (near the Grand Junction crossing). Buses have to share their red-paint lane with any right-turning cars. Traffic backs up on the bridge entering back bay, making the cambridge to copley trip often faster via red > green. Can we re-stripe the bridge so there is a bike + bus lane on each side?
 

ceo

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"To support the city’s investment in bus infrastructure, the MBTA in September adjusted Broadway’s route 89 bus schedule to add 10 additional bus trips on weekdays, 26 additional trips on Saturdays and 24 additional trips on Sundays."
Did not know that. Thanks!
 

HenryAlan

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Still some work to do on the 1 Bus corridor from Central Square to the Mass Ave bridge. Currently have short segments of southbound-only painted bus lanes and flex-post separated bike lanes. But parked cars are still taking full lanes in areas where the bus constantly gets stuck (near the Grand Junction crossing). Buses have to share their red-paint lane with any right-turning cars. Traffic backs up on the bridge entering back bay, making the cambridge to copley trip often faster via red > green. Can we re-stripe the bridge so there is a bike + bus lane on each side?
Mass Ave from Central Square all the way to BMC should have bus/bike priority lanes. It's ridiculous that it hasn't been done yet.
 

Arlington

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"To support the city’s investment in bus infrastructure, the MBTA in September adjusted Broadway’s route 89 bus schedule to add 10 additional bus trips on weekdays, 26 additional trips on Saturdays and 24 additional trips on Sundays."
I wonder how many buses were added (vs the same number of buses being able to make more trips given faster turns)
 

sm89

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I wonder how many buses were added (vs the same number of buses being able to make more trips given faster turns)
It was one of the resource neutral changes. Most of the improvements are off-peak and were accomplished by ending the line at Davis instead of Clarendon Hill.
 

FK4

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Still some work to do on the 1 Bus corridor from Central Square to the Mass Ave bridge. Currently have short segments of southbound-only painted bus lanes and flex-post separated bike lanes. But parked cars are still taking full lanes in areas where the bus constantly gets stuck (near the Grand Junction crossing). Buses have to share their red-paint lane with any right-turning cars. Traffic backs up on the bridge entering back bay, making the cambridge to copley trip often faster via red > green. Can we re-stripe the bridge so there is a bike + bus lane on each side?
The traffic on the Harvard Bridge has been absolutely nightmarishly horrendous for years at this point… i’ve only experienced it myself once, but it’s always visible from Storrow or the Esplanade. I don’t see buses as being a great option as long as that traffic exists, but I also just don’t see, given the amount of cars, how you drop a lane on both sides on this bridge. It’s a major corridor, and improving the bus service is not going to magically reduce all the auto traffic on Mass Ave.
 

JeffDowntown

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The traffic on the Harvard Bridge has been absolutely nightmarishly horrendous for years at this point… i’ve only experienced it myself once, but it’s always visible from Storrow or the Esplanade. I don’t see buses as being a great option as long as that traffic exists, but I also just don’t see, given the amount of cars, how you drop a lane on both sides on this bridge. It’s a major corridor, and improving the bus service is not going to magically reduce all the auto traffic on Mass Ave.
Let's try a thought experiment about the cross-town traffic on Mass. Ave.

Mass Ave serves as a major cross-town feeder from the SE Expressway to Central/Kendall jobs center. People shun the #1 bus, because it gets stuck in this traffic all the time.

What if in addition to the bus lanes on Mass Ave you also provide linked parking at the Melina Cass exit to the SE Expressway -- if you are using the T from the parking, you get a discount. Is it possible to change behavior?
 

HelloBostonHi

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Still some work to do on the 1 Bus corridor from Central Square to the Mass Ave bridge. Currently have short segments of southbound-only painted bus lanes and flex-post separated bike lanes. But parked cars are still taking full lanes in areas where the bus constantly gets stuck (near the Grand Junction crossing). Buses have to share their red-paint lane with any right-turning cars. Traffic backs up on the bridge entering back bay, making the cambridge to copley trip often faster via red > green. Can we re-stripe the bridge so there is a bike + bus lane on each side?
The bridge is getting a bus lane next year according to MassDOT, but I don't think it will be full length. As for the Cambridge Mass Ave bus lane the MBTAs own website admits that hasn't really worked: "Complications with the design and implementation have resulted in limited benefit for bus riders, but the MBTA and city are committed to working together to find solutions that improve bus travel and maintain a safe environment for pedestrians and cyclists. "
 

FK4

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Let's try a thought experiment about the cross-town traffic on Mass. Ave.

Mass Ave serves as a major cross-town feeder from the SE Expressway to Central/Kendall jobs center. People shun the #1 bus, because it gets stuck in this traffic all the time.

What if in addition to the bus lanes on Mass Ave you also provide linked parking at the Melina Cass exit to the SE Expressway -- if you are using the T from the parking, you get a discount. Is it possible to change behavior?
I think Mass Ave is about as much of an all-purpose road as can be... that's why reducing traffic on it is going to be very tough. There really needs to be a Red Line branch running under it. I know even if funded that's a 20 year project but I think for a lot of regions of the City, adding bus lanes is either infeasible or not gonna cut it as far as seriously helping flow. The fact is that we have too many people in too small an area, and at a certain point the only way to fix that is to dig under...

Now, an area that could be, and should be targeted is eliminating all parking on the South End leg of Mass Ave... that's a no brainer.
 

fattony

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I think Mass Ave is about as much of an all-purpose road as can be... that's why reducing traffic on it is going to be very tough. There really needs to be a Red Line branch running under it. I know even if funded that's a 20 year project but I think for a lot of regions of the City, adding bus lanes is either infeasible or not gonna cut it as far as seriously helping flow. The fact is that we have too many people in too small an area, and at a certain point the only way to fix that is to dig under...

Now, an area that could be, and should be targeted is eliminating all parking on the South End leg of Mass Ave... that's a no brainer.
BRIEF TANGENT - I'm not saying Mass Ave doesn't need rapid transit, but it can't/shouldn't be a branch of the red line. That would be a "reverse branch" such that the line splits in the CBD. That's bad transit.

Call me a transit optimist, but I think a bus lane on Mass Ave is appropriate, will be effective, and will not lead to Armageddon. Every time there is a reduction in car lanes people say "but where will all existing the traffic go?!??!?" An yet it always finds a new equilibrium - the traffic goes back to the same place induced demand traffic originates from.
 

Riverside

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When the Center City Link proposal says "potential to thread additional" Northside, Westside, & SL4&5 through the corridor, are they saying that they'd extend some of these to the seaport?

I can totally see where this would get its rolling stock "funded" through a combination of:
- Replacing some 4 & 7 runs (the 4 is such a sloppy mess)
- Generally moving the fleet faster through the core

I'd love to see the same basic fleets moving fast through downtown so as to extend to the seaport:
92/93 (Charlestown),
325/326 (Medford Expresses)

Do you think I hould I picture the SL4 & 5 going "up" to North Station via Congress, or "out" Summer St?

Same with the 500-series from the west: should I be picturing that they'd go to Haymarket and NS (to support new office space there)?
+1 all around. I love this idea (and love that they are doing something similar in Providence with the Downtown Transit Connector) and I also have so many questions.

I would hope that the 4 would be entirely rerouted onto this corridor, except perhaps at the southern end in Southie, where it could keep the branch to Drydock....

...which feeds into my next hope, which is that SL2 would be retired altogether and have its rolling stock reallocated to SL1 and SL3 (and potentially to SLW).

I would imagine that the 7 itself would be extended up to North Station, and run, along with the 4, as the backbone of the service, as you suggest.

As for through-running other services, that's a really interesting question. I don't know what to think about the various suburban expresses -- I think it would depend on how fast buses really can move through the corridor. I'd be worried about them getting stuck in the core, as opposed to actually going out to the suburbs.

I am very confused what the heck SL4 and SL5 are supposed to contribute here. Unless those SL2 buses I mentioned earlier get reallocated to SL4 to support through-running, then the SL4's already-meh frequencies will just be tanked by extending the run.

My only other quibble with the plan -- from the slide, it looks like the South Station stop will be at Summer and Dorchester. I understand why they'd want to do that -- easier than screwing around with Atlantic Avenue -- but, while it's close-ish to the eastern edge of the Commuter Rail platforms, it's a bit of a ways from the rapid transit headhouses.

Looks like about 750 feet to me. By comparison, the Winter Street Concourse is 550 feet, while the distance from Winter/Washington/Summer to Washington/Milk (i.e. Red Line Downtown Crossing to Orange Line southbound State) is 760 feet.

I don't really see a good way around this, but it's a bit of a shame.
 

Equilibria

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Apparently Amazon wants the Quincy Lowe's as well. Interesting to see Palmucci so sanguine about this, given that there's no way Amazon is a "better neighbor" than the T.


“It’s an ideal commercial space. It’s right off the highway, right across from the MBTA station, and we’ve had lots of interest from lots of different entities,” City Councilor Brian Palmucci, whose ward includes the site, said. “As with every company or any entity that comes, the first step is to have a conversation with the city and with neighbors to see what the impacts would be on the neighborhood and traffic in the area.”
I'm curious what his motives are here. Since I presume he knew of Amazon's interest last week, he's playing a game in Amazon's favor.
 

KCasiglio

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I think it boils down to one generates tax revenue for the city and one dosen't. Also, dunking on the MBTA is probably the safest political move possible for a south quincy city councilor. I wonder if we're going to get an alarm sounding letter like we did for the bus depot 🙄

(Sorry for the low quality I don't have a scanner)
 

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iPhones have a document scanner in the Files app. On the Browse page click the ... in the top right hand corner.
 
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HelloBostonHi

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I'd be so confused if I saw this in Chicago
Fun to see we're already at bus 1983 considering we started at 1925 with this order, meaning we're at 58/194 so far. Solid progress compared to the RL/OL rollout, and since the new order for bonus buses is with the same company and the same spec it'll keep rolling through Fall 2020, so the total new buses coming is 254...
 

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