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Second phase of Healthy Streets street transformation announced

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Transportation

These changes advance the Mayor Walsh’s Healthy Streets goals to support a safe, reopening and equitable recovery.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced a suite of permanent changes to the City’s streets that will improve safety and increase the efficiency of bus commutes. These changes advance the Mayor Walsh’s Healthy Streets goals to support a safe, reopening and equitable recovery. In May, Mayor Walsh announced the first phase of Boston’s Healthy Streets program.

“It is critical that we continue to adapt our City streets to ensure safe, reliable transportation for all residents and workers who travel throughout Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. “These innovative programs focus on investing in bus priority, and protected bike lanes. As we continue to respond to and recover from this public health crisis, creating streets that are safe, accessible, and equitable for all will continue to be one of our top priorities.”

Tremont Street Bike Lanes, before and after

The City, in partnership with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, will be adding bus priority to three corridors. The MBTA and City of Boston seek to improve bus reliability as a way to enable more social distancing on transit. By improving bus travel times and reliability, the MBTA can run more service to Boston neighborhoods. The corridors include:

  • Columbus Avenue in Egleston/Jackson Square: Nearly one-third of those traveling on this section of Columbus Avenue from Walnut Avenue to Jackson Square move on buses, but passengers can face significant delays and crowding. Reliability will be improved by building bus lanes in the middle of the roadway served by new boarding platforms. Additional safety and accessibility improvements for pedestrians will also be constructed.
  • North Washington Street in the North End/West End: The North Washington Street corridor provides a critical connection for the MBTA Routes 92, 93, and 111 with service to Charlestown and Chelsea. On a typical weekday, 11-12,000 bus passengers use this corridor and these routes have seen high enduring ridership since the beginning of the health crisis.
  • Washington Street in Roslindale: Based on the success of the morning peak bus lane, the City and MBTA will add an outbound evening peak bus lane this fall or spring from Forest Hills Station to Roslindale Square. This bus corridor is used by 19,000 daily commuters and the new outbound bus lane will provide the same high degree of transit reliability in the evening peak as riders currently experience in the morning peak.

“Though many Bostonians have been able to switch to remote work, many others must report to their places of employment,” said Gregory Rooney, Acting Commissioner of the Boston Transportation Department. “These new bus lanes build on a proven track-record of success and will make sure some of our most essential workers have a reliable way to travel.”

In late July, the City created “pop-up” bike lanes on many streets in the downtown core. The lanes, which were in planning as part of the Connect Downtown project, created safe, separated bike facilities. Many of these bike lanes will become permanent additions to the street network this fall, including on Tremont Street, Boylston Street, Charles Street, Beacon Street, and Arlington Street. Traffic signals will be adjusted to improve safety and predictability. Additional planning and design work will continue through the winter to improve intersections for people walking and to grow this network of bike lanes.

“The last six months of life in Boston have underscored a fundamental need for our streets to adapt and serve our residents and businesses,” said Chief of Streets Chris Osgood. “From cafe seating to new bike lanes, we are stepping up to help an even larger swath of people as they navigate the public health crisis and resulting economic challenges.”

“We’re excited to bring high-quality bus priority infrastructure to these corridors, including major transit equity investments that will shorten travel times and promote good public health practices,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We appreciate the City of Boston’s partnership as we continue to collaborate with our municipal partners in building a robust network of high-quality bus priority infrastructure across our service area.”

The Boston Transportation Department has begun collaboration with residents along American Legion Highway in Dorchester and Roslindale to improve safety and slow speeding along the two-mile corridor. Planning and design work will consider changes that could be made before winter as well as those that can be completed in 2021.

The City of Boston continues to provide free 90-day Bluebikes passes to employees of local grocery stores, pharmacies, retail shops, and restaurants. Employees can request a free pass at boston.gov/bike-share.