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A Street is a Terrible Thing to Waste: Boston’s Newest Bus Lane

Each weekday, half a dozen bus routes carrying 19,000 riders travel the 1.2-mile stretch of Washington Street to the Forest Hill Orange Line Station. Most people on the street at rush hour are riding in buses. Until May, the bus commute was usually slow and unreliable. When Mayor Walsh and the Boston Transportation Department converted a parking lane on Washington Street into a pilot bus lane during the morning rush hour, all of that changed. Bus travel time improvements were noticeable immediately.

Mayor Walsh announced on June 7th that the Washington Street bus lane would be made permanent, with the pilot lane marked by cones to be reinstated next week.

LivableStreets is working with the City to deploy more bus lane pilots like Washington Street throughout the city. To learn more visit www.livablestreets.info

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  • Koen

    hooray for that bus lane! But it is a VERY bad idea to combine bus and cycle lanes. These two just don't mix all that well. Perhaps for the young and fit, but it's not an environment for young kids or elderly cyclists.

  • HamTech87

    Reminds me of the 2nd Ave Select Bus Lane in NYC. My sister was so used to a slow ride on the old bus, that the first time she took the select bus she missed her stop by 20 blocks.

  • AlanThinks

    There are no elderly or children riding the lane at that hour. Slower Bikers that busses catch up to (rare because the busses make lots of stops) are goin yup on the sidewalk to let the bus pass. This dedicated lane has proven to be a safety blessing for the hundreds of cyclists traveling on Washington st. It has the endorsement of the local bicycling advocacy organization - Rozzie Bikes.

  • Koen

    I understand the huge improvement for buses, but just saying it will not induce the less than very confident cyclists to ride there. It's really a bus facility, not a cycling facility.

  • AlanThinks

    Tell that to the hundreds of cyclist - this one included - that are thrilled to have the full lane rather than be squeezed between parked and moving cars.

  • TheCriminalViolin

    How exactly to you would it be less likely a bicyclist with less confidence would be more comfortable in a 2 1/2 foot wide bike lane painted and unprotected on a car lane than in a FULL SIZE TRAFFIC LANE? Seriously! It just doesn't make a lick of sense! I only ride my bike on the sidewalk when I use it as I have no confidence nor trust in motorists. Bus drivers? I have LOTS of trust in. Plus, instead of being squeezed into such a tiny space in a car lane, having an entire full size traffic lane no long poses much if any danger to the cyclists with all the space making a "air buffer".

  • Koen

    both solutions are imperfect. A bus lane is not cycling infrastructure and a narrow strip of paint isn't either. I see why you'd prefer the bus lane, but it's just not good enough to call it 'cycling infrastructure'.

  • TheCriminalViolin

    Of course. But then again it also doesn't make that much sense to give Bicyclists their freaking roads, nor to add things like bullards or some kind of poles to a widened bike lane on a street. At that rate, they'd need to make extra space too, which guess who will be the one screwed over there? Us Pedestrians. The Sidewalks will be the first things sacrificed to make more room. Less logical than say widening sidewalks to allow for bicyclists and peds to share the same space.

  • Koen

    To make cities really livable the onus should not be on promoting the highest throughput of cars, but on making cities walkable and bikeable. So you'd need a change towards cities for people, instead of for cars. It can be done, as so many cities have already proven.
    If public transport and cycling are well catered for, you'll need a lot less space for cars, freeing up lots of space for walking at the same time. Walking should not be an afterthought. Inner city roads are not car sewers but living space