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Columbus Avenue in Roxbury could get trolley-like bus lanes

The Jamaica Plain Gazette reports the Boston Transportation Department is looking to build dedicated bus lanes - and stops - down the center of Columbus Avenue for the 22, 29 and 44 lines. Passengers will get to the stops via new crosswalks. BTD estimates the plan could shave four to seven minutes off the typical ride.

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There are no bike lanes in the proposal, and the proposed configuration will have bikes sharing the single travel lane with cars at the bus stops and then fighting to keep it when parking resumes past the stop. When I asked about this, they claimed that the road was too narrow to include bicycle lanes in the proposal (sure is wide enough for parking though!), that bicycles cannot share the bus lane due to the grade of the road, and that there is some nebulous plan to connect Seaver St to the southwest corridor via side streets that will ignore the problem entirely.

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You bet your ass there’s space for parking. We still live in the area!! Take the bus and get the hell outta the way.

I just remembered that public streets were built for you to store your private property on, not to facilitate people moving around town.

That is going to save a lot of people a ton of time. Plus they can use these lanes for shuttles when the orange line is shut down for repairs.

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I don't think the article says this, but the plan is for these lanes to run from Jackson Square to Walnut Ave., so really only near the OL at the beginning, then running away from it. Here's some more info:

https://www.boston.gov/departments/transportation/columbus-avenue-bus-la...

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Where would this run from? Starting at Roxbury Crossing and end at Jackson Sq?

Ideally they'd run it right up Seaver to Blue Hills as that's a wide road the whole way.

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It's probably Jackson Square to Walnut Ave.:

https://www.boston.gov/departments/transportation/columbus-avenue-bus-lanes

I don't totally understand why the project would stop at Jackson instead of going all the way to Tremont @ Rox Xing, since of the three bus routes mentioned, two of them (22 and 44) go to Ruggles. It's not totally clear from the website whether the bus lanes would actually stop at Jackson, or whether it's just that the larger transit improvement project is focused from Jackson to Walnut.

Will they avoid some of the issues that helped kill the 28X idea?

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Oh man, I'd forgotten about the 28X plan/idea/proposal... I remember there being lots of pushback but I never knew what killed it. I take the 28 and other buses travelling up and down BHA. I used to use the 22/29 routes that are incredibly slow when traffic is heavy. Any improvement will be greatly appreciated.

This is great! More of this please!

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Assuming that drivers actually let people cross to the stops safely.

Now if they would just implement congestion pricing and use that to make the buses run frequently and with no fare collection you could start to do something about the congestion in the city.

Interesting. The Rt 28X was to have been a center lane bus lane following this same route but people as a community through Roxbury and Mattapan where this would have been built were resoundingly against it. So much for neighborhood input? The main issue was construction dust in an area with the highest rate of asthma and lung disease in the city. The plan would also have eliminated many places to cross the street to get to homes and business due to the dedicated lane being bordered by Jersey Barriers. Seems the MBTA is back-dooring the original plan. We'll see if this flies with the area residents.

For the background. Not sure about backdooring given that the 28 runs on Warren to Blue Hill and the 22 runs Columbus to.... ohhhhhhhhh...Ii get it. Doh!

A design that creates a barrier in the middle of the street and makes pedestrians have to walk a half mile out if their way to cross would make Columbus even more like a highway and that would be a Bad Thing. It would be great if designs on that kind of projects took crossing the street into consideration and included bridges or something to enable people to reach the bus way without having to walk in front of tons of speeding cars.

My kids go to school over here and the traffic from Roxbury Xing through there is disgusting at all times. I literally have spent 15+ mins because of all of the bus/car traffic

Dedicated bus lanes are dedicated when private vehicles cannot drive on them.

Can't help but see the community engagement and positive action by the city to re-orient street space here, and then contrast that with the morass that is the Centre Street road diet in West Roxbury because of loud, dumb NIMBYs having temper tantrums.

Maybe what works as community engagement and positive action in one part of the city doesn’t work in others. Welcome to West Roxbury living. Don’t expect that to change. Calling them “loud, dumb NIMBYs having temper tantrums” instead of trying to understand their perspective and what it is that they are trying to protect might get you a lot farther.

Giving up parking spaces for bikes without giving a place for cars to go isn’t going to cut it. It’s just not. There will always be people who drive. There are disabled people. There are elderly people. In other words, there are people who are medically incapable of riding bikes. Not everyone can ride a bike. Not everyone wants to ride a bike. Please don’t assume that what’s best for you is best for everyone. That’s both ableist and ageist.

Calling someone “loud” and “dumb” because you don’t get your “road diet” sounds more like a temper tantrum to me instead of describing the residents’ concerns and how they could be mitigated so everyone gets what they want.

I think a dedicated busway is a great idea.

But I'm skeptical and then some when BTD says, oh, general traffic won't get any worse, because our computer simulation shows that a new traffic light pattern can handle it.

My experience is that even in the busiest, most critical locations, with a lot of bus traffic that deserves not to be delayed, BTD gets the light timing totally wrong, in ways that make terrible use of the available road space.

Or they don't bother to maintain the equipment, like the exit from the Ruggles busway where the vehicle sensors haven't worked in years.