Melnea Cass Blvd

Matthew

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[Can't seem to find a thread about this, so...]

City of Boston is publicizing a new meeting on Jan 28th.

We now have a revised concept plan we're excited about presenting to the community at large on January 28th at Boston Water & Sewer Headquarters, Harrison Avenue, from 6-8pm
http://www.cityofboston.gov/transportation/melnea/
http://www.cityofboston.gov/images_...mmunity Meeting DRAFT Jan 2015_tcm3-49713.pdf

Quick take: it looks like they're proposing bi-directional cycle tracks on both sides of Melnea Cass in order to 'reserve' space for a future median BRT option (what they had proposed initially and was rejected for widening the street too much).
 

sm89

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While I'm all for cycle tracks. I think it's silly to build the corridor with the expectation that it will be basically completely redone when they decide to add the BRT median. Waste of money to not just build it now.
 

Arlington

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While I'm all for cycle tracks. I think it's silly to build the corridor with the expectation that it will be basically completely redone when they decide to add the BRT median. Waste of money to not just build it now.
I've come to accept baby steps, especially if they include signal priority for Bus (which this does), and the cycle tracks represent a gradual expansion of the pavement (and keeping all those trees!)

Phasing is a way to respect the neighborhood's need to change gradually--to not repeat the mistakes of Urban Renewal, and to give them infrastructure that they're "ready for"

In 20 years, when the street is ready for its mid-life rehab, the neighbors will probably demand a reserved BRT median themselves or demand that the street get an exclusive Bus/Uber/Google lane (whatever).

I view this similar to how by 2025 all of the opponents of bringing the GLX to the MVP/Rt16 that killed it in 2005 (pushing it into "Phase 5") will have been replaced by a new generation begging for transit.

There are enough people begging for transit today and not getting it that I don't see a need to force it. (Besides, I'm a sucker for mature trees)
 

Shepard

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From personal experience, I believe this is one of the corridors on which a dedicated BRT median would improve traffic flow for everyone on the road. So many of the backups here occur because the buses pull in and away from the curb at the wrong time in the light cycle, mucking up everything for all the other vehicles. And yet, I've never seen this used as an argument in favor of dedicated bus lanes or medians.
 

Arlington

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So many of the backups here occur because the buses pull in and away from the curb at the wrong time in the light cycle, mucking up everything for all the other vehicles.
Organization before Electronics before Concrete.
Let's give Electronics (signal priority for bus) a chance to fix exactly the problem you describe :)
 

elemenoh

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The cycle tracks look great, but it seems really odd to me that all of the bike infrastructure starts to disappear at Albany St and by the time you hit Hampden St there's not even an on-street bike lane. Get to Mass Ave and you're back in the traditional Boston mixed traffic free-for-all at the Expressway ramps.

The Boston Bikes network plan 5+ year plan shows a cycle track all the way down Melnea Cass to Mass Ave to connect with another cycle track southbound on Mass Ave.

Like the missing BRT, leaving out important bicycle connections just seems really short-sighted.
 

Matthew

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It makes sense when you consider that the cycle tracks are just there to reserve space. That's why they're not correctly designed with protected intersections either. It's just filling space.

But now they've opened the concept, which is great. Having bi-directional cycle tracks on both sides of Melnea Cass may actually turn out to be a really good thing. They just need to fix the intersections and complete the connections to the east. Melnea Cass isn't a major bus corridor and may never be, so this might turn out to be the long-term form for the street.
 

FK4

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THANK GOD. So this means that Boston is not going to use that federal grant to widen Melnea Cass after all? I disagree that adding bus lanes here would make any difference.
1. The signals on the road are IDIOTICALLY timed and that creates much of the traffic that the buses get stuck in
2. The real bottlenecks for buses are getting from Melnea to points beyond the termini of the boulevard (IE, across Mass Ave and beyond Ruggles). It is so misguided and stupid to speed buses along just to get them into the real traffic jams down the road. Nobody is taking a bus from Shawmut to Hampden. These are crosstown routes. And the argument that we should start building the ring here and now, to get things started, is not a good one, since I see no clear plans on what the realistic next step is, of fixing the congerstion on the real problem streets of Mass Ave and Ruggles. Leave this road alone, it's ugly and wide enough as it is.
3. I bet and hope those cycle tracks stay for good. Maybe the city will actually start repaving the track more than once every two decades and mow the grass more than once a year there now. It's usually so tall you can't even see the homeless people sleeping in it.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Good first step. What really needs to change is the way the land abutting the Blvd are planned and developed. The Madison Park area for one was designed like a suburban subdivision and by the looks of the community map in that document at least someone is thinking about higher density along MCB. Fixing lanes and lights are great for traffic but how you build out the street will determine how urban it is. If done right this will totally knit the lower South End with Dudley Sq.
 

BKNA

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last nights presentation is on the city website. there is also a link to a map where people can leave comments.
 

BKNA

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worst news: BRT or bus lanes still aren't part of this project.
BRT was initially included for this project. the publc did not want MC Blvd widened, so they were removed.
check out the April 2015 presentation which documents the removal.
 

millerm277

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bad news: the bike lanes are one direction
At first I thought you meant they were only one way, not what the designs show which is lanes on both side of the road.

I hate bidirectional bike lanes in any remotely busy area, they tend to make it impossible to pass another cyclist because of the oncoming traffic.

So I'd say it's great news.
 

FK4

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Instead of all of this wasteful nonsense, they could do what they deliberately avoided doing for years, which is to simply repave the existing cycle track, and retain the safety amendments to the corners (cuz people whip around the corners off MCB, not cool)... They finally, a couple years ago, actually cut the grass around it which used to grow hip-high, perfectly obscuring all the rampant drug use in the weeds... but I'm convinced they never repaved the cycle track partly because they wanted to justify the widening project.

This whole thing is a big wast of money. I use this corridor often, by bike and car. There's no need for cycle tracks on both sides; the east side is more than sufficient and the sidewalks on the west side are perfectly wide for pedestrians as is. MCB has possibly the worst examples of poorly timed lights in a city that doesnt bother to coordinate signals at all, anywhere... fix the lights and maybe traffic wouldn't be such a nightmare.

So glad they got rid of the bus lanes... that was the dumbest project ever.
 

sm89

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Instead of all of this wasteful nonsense, they could do what they deliberately avoided doing for years, which is to simply repave the existing cycle track, and retain the safety amendments to the corners (cuz people whip around the corners off MCB, not cool)... They finally, a couple years ago, actually cut the grass around it which used to grow hip-high, perfectly obscuring all the rampant drug use in the weeds... but I'm convinced they never repaved the cycle track partly because they wanted to justify the widening project.

This whole thing is a big wast of money. I use this corridor often, by bike and car. There's no need for cycle tracks on both sides; the east side is more than sufficient and the sidewalks on the west side are perfectly wide for pedestrians as is. MCB has possibly the worst examples of poorly timed lights in a city that doesnt bother to coordinate signals at all, anywhere... fix the lights and maybe traffic wouldn't be such a nightmare.

So glad they got rid of the bus lanes... that was the dumbest project ever.
I honestly have no idea why they don't maintain the existing cycle track.

Why is there no need for cycle tracks on both sides? That's like advocating for one way sidewalks. It's all about access and these are long blocks which will have many access and egress points.

Melnea ALREADY HAS coordinated signals but congestion at either end (the connector and Tremont St) causes them to be much less useful. In the morning you could theoretically travel from the connector to Tremont at 25mph and not get one red light. In the evening it switches to favor the other direction.
 

bakgwailo

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Ridiculous that this doesn't include an actual separate transit ROW that could be used today as BRT and then in the future LRT.
 

JeffDowntown

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Ridiculous that this doesn't include an actual separate transit ROW that could be used today as BRT and then in the future LRT.
Come on now, you understand how transportation planning works in Massachusetts.

Never future-proof a design if you know that there is a good chance that you (and your buds in the trades) will get to reconstruct it again in a few years. Guaranteed future employment.
 

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