Bus-stop shift is permanent

The new location for the Cambridge-bound bus stop at Lake Street is permanent.

Street sign denoting a temporary bus stop

Last week

This week

The stop will not revert to its former location in front of the Capitol Theater when the pilot program ends on November 2, though the Town had characterized all of the elements of its Bus Priority Pilot program as temporary tests.

The idea of moving the bus stop to what traffic engineers call “farside”—the far side of the intersection—predates the bus-priority pilot, which began on October 9.

However, the last time the idea was discussed publicly, in the early 2000s, community sentiment lined up against the move.

The Transportation Advisory Committee briefly considered raising the issue in connection with the Mass. Ave project but declined to do so.

Entrance to the Capitol Theater, icnluding theater marquis and a sign advising that the bus stop has been moved.

Bus riders can longer shelter under the marquee of the Capitol Theater in bad weather.

The Lake Street signal has been a bottleneck for MBTA buses that must both queue up to traverse the intersection and discharge and board passengers.

Planners and others involved with the bus pilot generally expect the move to improve bus service without adversely affecting other transit modes.

However, the move eliminates parking on the short block in front of Christo’s Market, and means that bus riders may no longer shelter under the marquis of the Capitol Theater in bad weather.

Until last week, signage at the news stop had suggested the location was temporary.

The MBTA made the change last week after a request from the Town.

Chalk up another use for duct tape.

Moving the bus stop is probably a good idea. Ideally it should have been considered—publicly—during the design phase for the Mass. Ave. Project.

However, I still think this change should have been decided after the community had an opportunity to comment. That process was strongly implied by the Town as it sought buy-in for the pilot.

Arlington benefits tremendously, both in understanding and goodwill, when it commits the time and effort to consult its residents.

I hope the next step will be to build some kind of shelter at the bus stop.

3 comments so far

  1. markk02474 on

    The move was more recently discussed than the early 2000’s. It was discussed with the bus stop consolidation and length project, and the Mass Ave. project because the spot in front of the Capitol was overloaded as a bus stop, right turn lane, loading zone, and passenger drop off. I feel most for the businesses on that block and around the corner on Lake. The Capitol theater needs to buy/build some parking for its patrons and commercial tenants.

    • Adam Auster on

      Discussed, but publicly? It was not in the bus relocation plan from the T that I recall.

  2. Ray Jones on

    I agree, this should have been discussed publicly. What’s the usual process for moving a bus stop, in terms of involving the community and local government in the decision?

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