Roslindale bus lane pilot program planned for the spring
December 21, 2017
Mayor Martin J. Walsh in partnership with the Boston Transportation Department and MBTA today announced the successful completion of testing done on an exclusive bus lane on Washington Street from Roslindale Village to Forest Hills Station. As a result of the success of the testing conducted during the morning commute, a multi-week pilot program is being planned for implementation next spring. Over 60 percent of all individuals' travel in this corridor results from buses, which includes 10 different routes. The exclusive bus lane was also shared with riders on bicycles.
"The testing of an exclusive lane for use by MBTA buses, school buses and bicycles on Washington Street in Roslindale was well received by both bus riders and cyclists," said Mayor Walsh. "Observations made during the test runs, as well as feedback from the community, will help us to design a comprehensive pilot program to determine the benefits of an exclusive bus and bike lane on this busy street."
Testing took place on Tuesday, December 12, and Tuesday, December 19, from 5 AM to 9 AM. The inbound parking lane on Washington Street, between Roslindale Village and Forest Hills, was separated from general traffic through the use of 135 orange traffic cones that were placed temporarily along an approximately 1.5 mile stretch of Washington Street. Numerous MBTA buses and Boston Public Schools buses, along with a steady stream of cyclists, took advantage of the congestion-free exclusive lane to reach Forest Hills.
"Prioritizing buses between Roslindale Village and Forest Hills is a priority project outlined in Go Boston 2030, the City of Boston's long-term transportation plan," said Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina N. Fiandaca. "It is one of many new projects and policies being explored in an effort to ensure that Boston's streets welcome all users of the roadway safely, effectively and equitably. Examples of Go Boston 2030 initiatives that have recently been implemented or are underway include two new Neighborhood Slow Streets programs in Jamaica Plain and Dorchester, traffic safety improvements along Kneeland Street in Chinatown, and the construction of a new parking protected bike lane on Beacon Street in the Back Bay."
"The MBTA is pleased to be working with the City of Boston to try a bus-only lane during the morning rush hour in Roslindale," said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. "The trial run of the dedicated lane will help the City evaluate data as officials try to balance the needs of MBTA customers on buses, people who park along Washington Street and people who drive, to ensure there is a fair allotment of street space between them. Our hope is that we'll be able to find a way to make our buses work more efficiently, to give our current passengers better service and to attract new bus riders. The MBTA is striving to improve service, be a great collaborator, try pilots, and if they work, try to implement them."
The bus lane test runs took place on Tuesdays to correspond with an existing street cleaning regulation that already prohibits parking on Washington Street in the early morning hours. A temporary "Tow Zone, No Stopping" regulation extended the prohibition through 9 AM. Flyers were distributed, temporary signs were posted and variable message boards announcing the initiative were placed on site in advance of the two Tuesdays to ensure neighborhood and commuter notification. Construction work at the location was restricted during the impacted hours. BTD, MBTA and BPS staff was on Washington Street for the duration of the two test runs to witness the impacts of the exclusive lane first hand, and to ensure that people using all modes of traffic were accommodated.
Planning for the spring pilot program will include more in depth evaluation of the effectiveness of the exclusive lane. Roslindale residents and other community members are strongly encouraged to participate in the upcoming planning process.