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Last updated: 5/22/19

Brighton Avenue Bus Lane

A new bus lane is coming to Brighton Avenue, between Cambridge Street and Commonwealth Avenue.

More than 14,000 MBTA bus passengers travel between Union Square and Packards Corner each day on one of two MBTA routes.

We want to improve the commutes of bus passengers and the 1,300 daily bike riders along this key corridor. At the same time, our goal is to improve pedestrian safety. Learn more about the project below.

Still have questions? Contact:
Transportation
1 City Hall Square
Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2026
United States
Project timeline
  • Street re-paving: first two weeks of May 
  • Lane painting: to be completed by mid-June, with the inaugural ride taking place in late June
  • After a six-month period, we will review how effective the lane is and propose improvements if needed.

Why add a bus lane

Why add a bus lane
Waiting for Route 57
High ridership

Bus lanes have been used throughout Boston to improve bus frequency and reliability. This section of Brighton Avenue serves MBTA Routes 57/57A and 66, two of the system’s highest ridership routes.

Route 57 in traffic
High delay

On a typical weekday, bus passengers are delayed a total of 20.6 collective hours along this section of Brighton Avenue alone. Delays can run up to 10 minutes during the worst periods of morning congestion.

Cover of GoBoston2030
Go Boston 2030

The new bus lane aligns with the Go Boston 2030 goals of:

  • providing consistent, on-time service
  • ensuring predictable commute times, and
  • prioritizing the movement of people over cars.

Project history

A Key MOBILITY CORRIDOR 

Brighton Avenue, between Cambridge Street and Harvard Avenue, is a priority corridor for improving bus service. In 2016, the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization identified the area as having some of the highest bus passenger delays in the city. The next year, Go Boston 2030’s Action Plan designated rapid bus service on Brighton Avenue as a priority project.

In March 2019, Mayor Walsh announced the creation of a new bus lane along this section of Brighton Avenue.

Community input

The community organizations of Allston Main Streets, the Allston-Brighton Health Collaborative, and LivableStreets Alliance have been tireless advocates for a bus lane along this section of Brighton Avenue. These groups have been instrumental in collecting feedback on bus service from riders and community members. Our Transit Team has also reached out to all businesses along the eastbound side of Brighton Avenue that may be affected by this bus lane. As we work toward putting the bus/bike-only lane in place, we will continue to reach out to residents and the public for their feedback.

A-Line

Brighton Avenue transit history

The section of Brighton Avenue that will include this bus/bike-only lane was once a part of the Watertown Branch trolley. This trolley was the "A" branch of what is today's Green Line. The trolley traveled:

  • underground from Park Street Station to Kenmore Station
  • above ground along a separated central median from Kenmore to Packards Corner, and
  • was street-running, mixed with traffic, between Packards Corner and Watertown Yard.

The trolley was taken out of operation in 1969, at which point it was replaced with today's 57 bus route.

The tracks were finally removed in 1994.

Evidence of success: Roslindale Bus Lane

Roslindale Bus Lane

In 2018, the City added a permanent bus lane on Washington Street, inbound from Roslindale Village to the Forest Hills Station.

The bus lane received strong support from Roslindale residents, bus riders, and cyclists. After the pilot ended, MBTA data confirmed that riders benefited from the bus lane

Travel times

When buses used the lane, travel time was reduced by 20 to 25 percent during the worst hour of congestion (7:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.). The bus lane saves:

  • 26 hours of passenger time on a typical day, and
  • 38 hours on days when road congestion is at its worst.

In a survey of bus riders and bicyclists, 94 percent supported a permanent bus and bicycle lane. Of the bus passengers, 92 percent thought the bus lane decreased their travel time. Of the bicyclists, 89 percent reported feeling safer in the shared lane.