The City of Boston and MassDOT is rebuilding the North Washington Street / Charlestown Bridge between Boston and Charlestown. It is designed with top-notch cycling and pedestrian facilities, but the designers seem to have forgotten about transit. Five bus lines cross the bridge carrying 20,000 passengers per day, including the 111 to Chelsea—a lifeline for that community—yet these riders are subject to the same delays as traffic.
There is plenty of room as the bridge is design for transit priority as it is designed, and it is most important to have a lane on the inbound side. At rush hours, 30 MBTA buses (as well as many private, last-mile shuttles) carry 1200 passengers across the bridge per hour. At the same time, the two lanes of traffic are used by about 2000 vehicles, or 1000 per hour. So a lane of buses is more efficient at moving people than a lane of car traffic, even if there's only a bus every 2 minutes.
What's more, this will dramatically improve operations and reliability. Approximately 5000 people cross the bridge inbound by transit during peak hours inbound, at times when there are often five to ten minute delays. If a bus lane saves an average of five minutes of travel time on weekdays, this will amount to an annual savings of 100,000 hours for passengers on the buses serving this route. For bus operations, a five minute savings amounts to 10% of the route, which would allow 10% more riders to be carried on the same number of buses, increasing the efficiency of the route.
It's also low-hanging fruit. The entire bridge is being redesigned, so it's easy to add in a few feet necessary for a bus facility. There are no parking spaces, so there are neither impacts to the neighborhood losing parking nor issues with designing roads to accommodate bus lanes and parking spaces, one of many of the problems the Silver Line has. It should be a slam dunk. If we can't get transit priority here, how ever are we going to get it elsewhere?
The West End Museum
150 Staniford Street
Boston, MA 02114We need as many people to come and speak out for transit priority as possible! See you there!
Can't make the meeting? Send public comments by Dec 25 to:
email@example.com attn Project File No. 604173
Patricia Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer, MassDOT, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, ATTN: Bridge Project Management, Project File No. 604173.