Walsh wants to pilot 2 more dedicated bus lanes
Also plans to open pickup-dropoff zone for ride hailing apps
BOSTON MAYOR MARTY WALSH is launching two more dedicated bus lane pilots this year and plans to begin community discussions about a separate lane for buses along the length of Blue Hill Avenue.
Aides to the mayor said he will announce a dedicated AM peak bus lane on Brighton Avenue in Allston and an all-day inbound dedicated bus lane on North Washington Street from the Charlestown Bridge to Haymarket during a speech Thursday to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.
City officials said they are negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the MBTA on how the bus lanes will be operated and maintained. They also said they hope a new two-person transit team at City Hall will help accelerate the development of dedicated bus lanes, which many transit advocates see as the key to making bus travel quicker and more efficient.
“We have significantly improved our capacity to move more quickly,” said Chris Osgood, the city’s chief of streets.
Walsh is also launching over the next two weeks the city’s first designated area for Uber and Lyft pickups and drop-offs. It will be located at Boylston and Kilmarnock streets and operate from 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. each day. City officials said the ride-hailing apps will steer customers within a two-block area to the pickup and dropoff zone in a bid to reduce double-parking and congestion in the area.
Osgood said four parking spaces will be eliminated to make space for the new pickup-dropoff zone. He said Uber and Lyft worked with the city on selecting the location but are not contributing any money for the project.Walsh, who reduced the speed limit from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour in January 2017, plans to call for an additional reduction to 20 miles per hour on neighborhood streets. Osgood said reduced speeds should reduce pedestrian fatalities, of which there were seven last year. The proposal requires the approval of the Boston City Council and the Legislature.
Walsh is also negotiating with the MBTA to provide T passes good for unlimited use on buses, subways, and some commuter rail lines to an additional 10,000 students in grades 7 through 12. Currently, the city pays the T $29.50 for the passes, but restricts their use to students who live a certain distance away from their school. Walsh is now trying to make the passes available to all students, no matter where they live. Aides said price negotiations with the T are ongoing.