MBTA Bus & BRT

DAVE

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I really hope the neighborhood is more receptive to the idea than they were in 2009-10. That said, even if I were generally opposed, I would support pretty much anything if it involved a redesign of Mattapan Square so that buses don't have to go to Milton to turn around and come back to the station. That alone adds 5 minutes to the trip and is completely unnecessary. So, my take is build it as rendered, and fix the Mattapan Station access, and this will be a huge win for bus transit in that neighborhood.

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Also, Seaver St. is definitely going to need to get this same treatment. That would give us a BRT corridor all the way from Mattapan Square to Jackson or even further.
Yeah, I would love to see bus lanes extend from BHA to Seaver-Columbus; Warren to Nubian, and Columbia to Mass Ave. They are all wide enough streets to handle it.
 

guitarguynboston

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I'm sure it would never happen since they pretty much put lipstick on pig calling the Silver Line the Silver Line to hide the fact that Washington Street never really got their true Rapid Transit but shouldn't all MBTA BRT routes be Silver Lines like the Commuter Rail being purple on maps? It would help with the maps for riders showing what is BRT vs say regular buses(Yellow.)
 

HenryAlan

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I'm sure it would never happen since they pretty much put lipstick on pig calling the Silver Line the Silver Line to hide the fact that Washington Street never really got their true Rapid Transit but shouldn't all MBTA BRT routes be Silver Lines like the Commuter Rail being purple on maps? It would help with the maps for riders showing what is BRT vs say regular buses(Yellow.)
In theory, I agree, but the issue with all dedicated bus lanes that aren't part of the official Silver Line, is that none of them serve an entire route. The 9 bus routes that use the Washington St. bus lanes in Roslindale, for example, have no bus lanes for most of their routes. Same goes for the new Columbus Ave. lanes, and I'm pretty sure all the other places with fresh red paint. Only the Silver Line buses have that for the entire route.
 

DAVE

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In theory, I agree, but the issue with all dedicated bus lanes that aren't part of the official Silver Line, is that none of them serve an entire route. The 9 bus routes that use the Washington St. bus lanes in Roslindale, for example, have no bus lanes for most of their routes. Same goes for the new Columbus Ave. lanes, and I'm pretty sure all the other places with fresh red paint. Only the Silver Line buses have that for the entire route.
And even then, the SL buses didn't have it for the entire route until recently also...and if we're being really precise, they still don't have bus lanes south of melnea cass to nubian station
 

Riverside

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I haven’t read the proposal yet, but my immediate thinking is that it shouldn’t be silver on the map unless there is rapid transit stop spacing. Or otherwise efforts at placemaking to actually create a “line” out of it.

My perspective is that bus lanes should become the basic expectation on all major thoroughfares. It should not be exceptional, which to me points away from “Silver Lining” it on the map right now.
 

bigeman312

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Personally, I'd like to see Silver Line (or equivalent) branding and mapping reflect only corridors that meet the "minimum definition" of BRT.

Minimum Requirements for a Corridor to Be Considered BRT

  1. At least 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) in length with dedicated lanes
  2. Score 4 or more points in dedicated right-of-way element
  3. Score 4 or more points in busway alignment element
  4. Score 20 or more total points across all five BRT basics elements
By my calculations, that still does not include any present corridor in the MBTA system. I wish the MBTA was a bit more honest about this fact.

Depending on the final design for this Blue Hill Ave project, this could be the MBTA's first actual BRT corridor.
 

JeffDowntown

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Personally, I'd like to see Silver Line (or equivalent) branding and mapping reflect only corridors that meet the "minimum definition" of BRT.



By my calculations, that still does not include any present corridor in the MBTA system. I wish the MBTA was a bit more honest about this fact.

Depending on the final design for this Blue Hill Ave project, this could be the MBTA's first actual BRT corridor.
Intriguing -- even the Seaport Silver Line Busway does not meet that BRT requirement -- not long enough!
 

bigeman312

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Apparently there's something

I appreciate the ITDP "standard" but it doesn't work for Boston because our bus routes are so short.
This is just Boston Exceptionalism being used to excuse the fact that the state opted for marketing over justice and actual BRT when establishing the Silver Lie (TM).

There have been many proposals over the years that would have brought BRT to Boston, but none have come to fruition yet. Hopefully that is about to change.
 
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lainpimicaja

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This is just Boston Exceptionalism being used to excuse the fact that the state opted for marketing over justice and actual BRT when establishing the Silver Lie (TM).

There have been many proposals over the years that would have brought BRT to Boston, but none have come to fruition yet. Hopefully that is about to change.
At this point, I think it's a matter of time for meeting the ITDP BRT standards.

If / when the Columbus Ave center-running bus lanes are extended north toward Tremont St and Ruggles Station (which the MPO has agreed to fund), it'll almost break the 3km / 1.9 mile mark. Blue Hill Ave, which just received the RAISE grant from USDOT, is just under 3 miles between Warren St and Mattapan Sq. The SL4/5 is about to turn 20 - I can see all these center-running projects nearby sparking some local conversation for rehab'ing Washington St (it could also make it easier to look at better biking facilities, which are also badly needed there).

As a side note, I think that there's too much weight given to the ITDP gold standard. BRT is great, but there are plenty of instances of good bus service (thinking London in particular), where there's no hand-wringing over whether it's meeting each of these standards. The focus first and foremost should be on providing frequent, reliable, safe, and accessible service that riders need.
 

bigeman312

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At this point, I think it's a matter of time for meeting the ITDP BRT standards.

If / when the Columbus Ave center-running bus lanes are extended north toward Tremont St and Ruggles Station (which the MPO has agreed to fund), it'll almost break the 3km / 1.9 mile mark. Blue Hill Ave, which just received the RAISE grant from USDOT, is just under 3 miles between Warren St and Mattapan Sq. The SL4/5 is about to turn 20 - I can see all these center-running projects nearby sparking some local conversation for rehab'ing Washington St (it could also make it easier to look at better biking facilities, which are also badly needed there).

As a side note, I think that there's too much weight given to the ITDP gold standard. BRT is great, but there are plenty of instances of good bus service (thinking London in particular), where there's no hand-wringing over whether it's meeting each of these standards. The focus first and foremost should be on providing frequent, reliable, safe, and accessible service that riders need.
I 100% agree. 20 years after the Silver Lie, we are finally closing in on having some actual BRT in this city.
 

Riverside

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The quality of SL1's journey to the airport notwithstanding, it seems a bit extreme to say that the Piers Transitway isn't BRT. If you are traveling between South Station, Courthouse, World Trade Center, and to a slightly lesser extent, Silver Line Way, the experience is pretty much equivalent to riding the Green Line. I understand the need for a length requirement in the formal definition of BRT, but that tunnel is the appropriate length for that corridor, so it seems like a needlessly rigid application of the criteria.
 

bigeman312

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That's fair. The Piers Transitway has an argument, while the Washington Street corridor most certainly does not. This is where the Silver Lie moniker stems from, when "equal or better" service was promised to replace the Orange Line Elevated.

Personally, I have a hard time considering the SL1 or SL3 to be BRT given that so much of both of those routes are so problematic. If there was some semblance of bus priority between the Piers Transitway and the Airport, I'd be more on board with giving that corridor the BRT nod. But, as is, the TWT is such a mess for the Silver Line, that the short (albeit BRT standard, length-aside) Piers Transitway doesn't make up for it.

If Logan Airport was where Silver Line Way is, I'd totally ignore the length requirement and say that it is an appropriate piece of infrastructure and BRT-enough.

If Silver Line Phase 3 wasn't abandoned, and Washington Street had infrastructure that met the criteria of BRT (like the Columbus Ave center-running lanes), then the Silver Line would appropriately have easily met the definition of BRT. That is the bar that should have been hit to market the Silver Line as BRT honestly. As is, the MBTA opted for dishonesty in marketing, and that's a shame.
 
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Brattle Loop

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I understand the need for a length requirement in the formal definition of BRT, but that tunnel is the appropriate length for that corridor, so it seems like a needlessly rigid application of the criteria.
I agree. It's overly formalistic an argument if the Transitway is excluded from the definition of BRT solely because of its length.

the experience is pretty much equivalent to riding the Green Line.
While it (probably) wasn't what you meant, and I agree with the actual argument, I laughed when I read this because the last time I rode in the Transitway (it's been a while) I had to wait as a series of SL2s went through before finally an SL1 came along, and I recall thinking at the time that it was so like my years riding the Green Line with all the bunched Bs and Ds and nothing to North Station :ROFLMAO:
 

Riverside

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While it (probably) wasn't what you meant, and I agree with the actual argument, I laughed when I read this because the last time I rode in the Transitway (it's been a while) I had to wait as a series of SL2s went through before finally an SL1 came along, and I recall thinking at the time that it was so like my years riding the Green Line with all the bunched Bs and Ds and nothing to North Station :ROFLMAO:
Actually this was indeed part of what I meant! Which makes my point all the more so: the reliability of SL1 is garbage, but so is the reliability (for example) of the B, and we don't let that disqualify the Green Line from being considered rapid transit (even if we are tempted at times).

That being said, I would be willing to adjust my claim slightly, and argue that specifically the SL2 and SLW service within the Transitway qualifies as BRT, with SL1 and SL3 buses being layered in as non-BRT elements. I think that distinction rapidly approaches becoming a "distinction without a difference", but I could still be convinced.
 

curcuas

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Perhaps the answer here is to highlight the bus routes with consistent dedicated lanes on the map? It should be clear to the average visitor or infrequent transit user that it's easy to get to nubian from downtown or franklin park from jackson sq (and soon ruggles) on dedicated, high freq busses no matter how the routes are constructed. Similarly forest hills to rozzie sq.
 

Brattle Loop

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This is always claimed as a ‘promise’ but no proof of this has been shown.
I don't know what 'proof' as such there is or may have been, but the idea that they promised "equal or better" has been kicking around for a while.

This Boston Globe piece from 2006 (when the Silver Line Phase III was in its death throes) quotes a Sierra Club spokesman saying "[the Silver Line/Phase III proposal] does not meet the commitment that the T made to provide 'equal or better' service when the Orange Line was torn down."

So it's definitely not just here that there's been an understanding that the Elevated was not supposed to get an inferior replacement.
 

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