Bus priority experiment in progress

Front of MBTA 79 bus as it moves past stalled traffic along the temporary bus lane demarcated with orange and white traffic cones.

The 79 bus takes advantage of the temporary bus lane at about 7:15 AM on October 9, the first day of the trial. At Thorndike Street looking back to Arlington Center.

Arlington’s bus priority experiment will end on November 9. There will be a community evaluation of the program on November 14.

Let’s inspect this work in progress by walking from Lake Street to Route 16.

The bus lane (above) is only in effect from 6 to 9 AM on weekdays. Read more »

Rainbows over Mass. Ave.

Rainbow arcs over Mass. Ave. shops with wet street in the foreground

Mass. Ave. earlier this afternoon, facing Cleveland St..

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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

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Temporarily permanent

Update: I completely misread this. Temporary sign to come down; the change is permanent.

More follows.

Street sign" Temporary Bus Stop, board bus here" MBTAStreet sign: "This bus stop is now closed permanently. MBTA buses will not stop here to board or alight passengers. Please use the new stop location at 190 Mass. Ave."
Thanks for clearing that up, MBTA!

Just to be clear: Arlington’s bus-priority pilot program is just four weeks long.

At the end of it, unless the Town makes a further decision to make part or all of the test permanent, the status quo ante will be restored. Completely. Read more »

Bus coming through

Front of MBTA 79 bus as it moves past stalled traffic along the temporary bus lane demarcated with orange and white traffic cones.

A bus takes advantage of the temporary bus lane at about 7:15 AM on October 9, the first day of the trial. At Thorndike Street facing Arlington Center.

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New curb extension temporarily removed

Flanked by orange and white safety barrels, men in yellow safety vests dig up the sidewalk as subervisor and police officer look on

A work crew, with police detail, removes the curb extension on Mass. Ave, by Lafayette St. earlier today.

What happens when the Bus Priority Pilot meets the Mass. Ave. Project?

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A blog about Mass. Ave.

Excavating by Lake St. in sun and shade, April 28, 2015.

This blog is a direct consequence of the Mass. Ave. Project in East Arlington (2008 – 2016) and its many odd characters and controversies.

What was once reported as news on this blog is, today, a chapter of recent history:


Today I write less often, and about other things.

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Bus-priority trials OKed

Lake St., Bus Lane, and Route 16

Orange safety sign that reads "New Traffic Pattern Ahead"

The sun will not rise until 6:51 AM in Arlington on October 9.

But by that time Town workers will already have set up the temporary bus lane authorized earlier this evening by the Town’s Select Board. Read more »

Residents weigh 9 options for 3 bus choke points

A consultant explains some options for the troublesome Route 16 intersection.

The contours of a month-long pilot program to explore how to speed commuter buses during the morning rush hour took a more definite shape earlier tonight.

But business owners, who have criticized the effort, were not visible at the second public meeting on the project.

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Bus Priority Plan Gets Second Hearing

Bus riders, your time may finally come.

The 77 bus leaving the Arlington Heights busway.

Photo courtesy Pi.14159265358979

The plan to test ways to speed bus traffic on Mass. Ave. in East Arlington is advancing to its second community meeting, on Wednesday, August 15, at 7 PM at Town Hall.

What’s At Stake

Motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists got some relief from the Mass. Ave. project in East Arlington, but Mass. Ave. bus riders routinely see 20-minute delays inbound during the morning peak.

Among other things, the delays lead to reductions in overall service volumes, since fewer buses complete their runs per hour as a result.

The tests are scheduled be carried out in the month of October and may include bus lanes, signal changes, and other temporary changes to the layout of the road. Read more »

Innovation Ave.

Four Lime Bikes in Arlington

A platoon of the new bike-share bicycles in Centennial Park in East Arlington on June 30.

Our sleepy town has suddenly become a hotbed of experimentation in transit and public space, raising both hopes and eyebrows.

A dockless bike-share system, Lime Bike, debuted last week, and the distinctive yellow-and-green two-wheelers can be found all along Mass. Ave.

For a month this fall Arlington will try out some changes to Mass. Ave. to speed buses on their way during the morning rush hour.

Further up Mass. Ave., in the center, Whittemore Park will see a 3-month trial run as a beer garden starting in a few weeks.

Only a faddish fool would say that all change is good, but isn’t openness to improving things something to celebrate? Read more »

The $700,000 Traffic Light

Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars

Last October 18, one day after the public hearing where residents were prevented from asking about the cost of the Lake Street signal project, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine shared the current estimate with YourArlington.com’s Bob Sprague.

The project, which would place a traffic signal where the Minuteman path crosses lake Street, would cost around $700,000, many times its original cost estimate of $150,000.

That’s a lot for a single traffic light, even accounting for the tie-in with the nearby signal at Brooks Ave. and landscaping on the path.

So in this post, I’d like to explore some issues around the sometimes-forbidden topics of cost and financing for this project, as best as I understand them.
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