Confusion persists along bus routes that had their stops changed

Bus stop sign

As LifeLesson617 noticed in Grove Hall, the T did a better job of relocating bus stops along "key" bus routes than it did putting up signs alerting riders and drivers to just where those new stops are.

This is what happens when the MBTA changes bus stops that been parking for 100+ years.



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Same with handicap parking

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About 12 years ago my car disappeared. It turns out I parked in a newly-minted handicap spot at 2am the previous night. How was I supposed to see a the new sign on a barely-lit street? There was plenty of parking, I certainly did not need to park in that space.

$200 bucks and a bus trip to Hyde Park later, lesson learned.

nice try

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" It turns out I parked in a newly-minted handicap spot at 2am the previous night. "

Uh, yeah, no. Signs get put up by city DPW workers, who are not doing anything at 2AM except sleeping. The signs go up during the day. It's not anyone's problem but your own that you didn't notice the signs.

Similarly, this claim that there was "no notice" is a bunch of BS.

-There have been signs and notices posted all along the routes for MONTHS
-NUMEROUS community meetings
-VERY well covered in the Gazette and other area community newspapers

Furthermore, the new spaces have giant "BUS" lettering written in them!

What 'nice try'?

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I parked in the spot at 2am.

I did not say that BTD came in the middle of the night and magically turned the spot where my car was into a handicapped spot. Of course they probably put the signage up in broad day light a day or two before. Unfortunately, I was not there to see them install the signage and it was such a subtle change that I did not notice it. It was a long night at work, and I saw a space open that, for many months previous, had been a legal place for me to park.

I'm not asking anyone to take responsibilty for a mistake I made 12 years ago; I paid the tow lot and I paid my ticket in expedient fashion. It was an expensive lesson.

Furthermore, the new spaces

Furthermore, the new spaces have giant "BUS" lettering written in them!

The complaint seems to be that there's no notice at the old bus stop. Astonishing as it may be, not everyone who rides the T reads the Gazette or other community newspapers.

Typical half-assedness

I noticed a fair number of signs around my neighborhood about relocated bus stops on the 57 route, but no signs for the changes on the 66 route, either in Allston or in Mission Hill. The first morning I noticed that the stop at Cambridge & Franklin Streets, formerly in front of the Pizzeria Regina, had been moved across Franklin Street, I had about 30 seconds to dash across Franklin. Then I had to wave the bus down, and the DRIVER said he hadn't been told that the stop was moved.

The stop at Brigham Circle that used to be in front of the 7-11 has been moved back to in front of the Dunk's, but there's still a row of parking meters in the new bus stop space. The meters have been disabled but cars pull into the spots constantly. Again, no signs posted at the original stop, so for a good couple of weeks there were large clusters of people waiting for the bus there and a much smaller group waiting where the bus actually stops now.


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The signs for the changed bus stops only popped up in my area after I sent them 3+ complaints asking for clarification. The project was slated to effect key bus routes but they seem to have forgotten there are other routes that use the same stops as the 57.

I also ran to the next stop when I noticed them missing and asked the bus driver who had no idea what I was talking about. Buses continued to stop for people at the non-existant stops for several days even though smart people started parking in them already.

Altogether it was a really poorly communicated project.

They had public meetings on the new bus routes.

Over the past 2-3 years and tens of thosands of dollars later, the T condensed many of the mission hill/Roxbury bus routes to save time on runs. There were meetings, but probably no other announcement on when the stops were going to be changed. The MBTA moves the signs and put up new ones, and the BTD was a few days/weeks/ months late in changing everything else.

Text alerts?

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Why didn't the T announce the changes on the text alerts? That would at least make riders aware that they may need to double check for the bus signs. When you take the same bus for years, it's easy to miss.

At least I didn't see any alerts, it's possible I missed them.

Bus stop changes

They *twice* changed where the 18 stops along Dot Ave with no notices saying the bus stop had been moved and very recently changed the stops for the 22 along Talbot Ave, again with no signs. One guy had to run to get to the new stop when the driver refused to let him on at the old stop, even though the bus was stopped at a red light.

I've seen several people

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I've seen several people along Talbot Ave have no idea where the new bus stops are and I've seen a few bus drivers confused about new stops as well

Bus stop expansion

Somebody want to explain this crock of (expletive) to me? Any reason why the stops are lengthier? The one in front of my bar ate up another three parking spaces.

That's fair

But with less traffic after 8 PM (and more bar patronage), that's not really a concern that the bus pull all the way in, with fewer runs too. I guess expanding them is fine, but they shouldn't be 24/7 no parking tow zones either for the new full length.

Drinking and parking

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Are you saying that people ought to be encouraged to drive their cars to go drink at bars? :P

FWIW, I've seen tons of people park in the bus stops with no enforcement.

Why not?

It's not against the law to drink and drive. What are you, Kitty Dukakis?

I would guess because folks

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I would guess because folks parking were either over the bus section line or the buses did not have enough room to pull in because the previous marked zones were too small. They widened the spaces giving buses more room to get in and out of the stop.

Two weeks ago in Coolidge Corner

As of two weeks ago, the former first northbound stop on Harvard Ave for the 66 had a big rectangle painted on the street with BUS inside. I stood there with the crowd for a while before I noticed the tiny "bus stop moved" sign as the bus was arriving. We had to run about a block to the new stop. :(


Which stop do you mean? The stops in both directions at Harvard (Street, not Avenue) and Beacon are still in more or less the same places. The northbound stop may have been moved back near the parking in back of the bank building, although to be honest that stop has been creeping back in that direction for some time now. Do you mean the stop formerly at Harvard and Babcock? That one did get moved a fair way off, to Harvard and Stedman Street.

Also, that's not where Harvard Street (not Avenue) starts. The first stop on Harvard northbound is in Brookline Village, not Coolidge Corner, and Harvard and Kent Street. I don't think that one has been moved. On the other hand, if you do mean the first northbound stop on Harvard Avenue (not Street), that one is just before Commonwealth, in front of the TJ Maxx, and has indeed been moved a fair distance, to the other side of the traffic lights, right in front of the store entrance. Which is a little odd, because in most cases stops have been deleted/moved because there were too many stops too close together, but that change moves the stop further from the previous stop and closer to the upcoming stop at Harvard and Commonwealth.

Bus stop placement rationale

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The new stops are chosen with a few things in mind: better spacing, more clearance room, using far-side of intersection for higher efficiency, reuse of existing infrastructure, and adjustments for local conditions. Sometimes these cannot all be accommodated.

So with the bus stop opposite Verndale street it looks like they opted for the far-side of the traffic light, which also had an existing bench/trash receptacle there, even though it is a bit closer to Comm Ave.

In general, I wish they had been more communicative. I remember the meetings of two years ago, and it should not have taken this long to get bus stops moved. And then when they did do it, they should have put up signs in advance. I sent emails that went ignored, and I regularly kept asking drivers and managers what was going on -- they were not informed either. And the signs they did eventually put up were tiny and barely noticeable. I kept finding people waiting at closed bus stops because they did not notice the sign. For a week or so the drivers were picking people up anyway, but eventually that has to end.

Consultants eat up the money

Matt, its all very simple. With $10M in Obama stimulus largess, the bulk is to be spent on consultants holding public meetings and doing reports. The actual implementation is of secondary concern to that of transportation planners getting money. They must have just run out of money after paying themselves and buying benches and solar-powered trash cans to repaint pavement, change non-MBTA signs and parking meters, or try to educate the drivers and customers.

Far-side stops would make a

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Far-side stops would make a lot more sense if T buses got traffic light priority.

But the only priority system I've heard about is on the Silver Line Washington Street. The system might actually exist, or maybe they never got it working. And if it does exist, it's a really complicated scheme where the bus only gets priority if it's running late, and the bus's computer has to call the T's central computer, which calls the BTD's central computer, which maybe gets the message to the traffic light's local computer in time to help the bus.

Far side stops

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They do make a lot more sense with signal priority. But there's a few other very small advantages too. It's easier for the bus to pull into the stop (not sure if that's really a good thing), it separates the bus from right-turning traffic, and it avoids that weird situation where the bus is stopped but technically has pulled away from the bus stop. Not much, but it's also preparation for a future where signal priority is implemented, and I believe that's in the long run plans. You are right about the Silver Line scheme, but supposedly the T and BTD are working on better integration.

I did mean Harvard & Babcock/Stedman

Sorry about the street/ave confusion. And by first I meant "the first stop on Harvard Avenue/Street/whichever, north of Beacon". I didn't recall the names of Babcock and Stedman when I posted.

Also... this is probably a much later clarification than you were looking for. Is there a way to get notifications for replies here?

I never understood

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why Boston doesn't mark bus stops on the pavement. New York marks many of them with paint, cement "landing pads," etc, and the bus stop signs are colorful. San Francisco has the curb painted red at bus stops, and the bus stop signs are a colorfully spray-painted pole (not the most user-friendly for riders, but obvious to motorists.)

The Boston bus stops are rarely marked on the pavement, and the bus stop signs aren't always the most visible unless you're looking for them. The new ones in Brookline with the colored route map at eye level are pretty visible, but a lot of the white signs are faded, peeling, and hard to read, especially at less popular stops.

And why...

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...why aren't the Silver Line signs different from the bus signs? There is a stop for the 43 bus that is right near a Silver Line stop (right by the Boylston T, on Tremont), but I wasn't aware they were different until the day in the pouring rain that I was waiting at the 'wrong' stop (we're talking feet away from each other, folks) and the 43 driver wouldn't pick me up. Even when I chased him down at the red light and, when he told me (through the door) that i had been at the wrong sign, I explained I didn't even realize they were different. It was pouring out. The bus wasn't full. But all he would do is to tell me to get out of the street, and he moved on.

If the Silver line signs were shaped differently (at least at stops where this kind of confusion could happen), and/or if also there weren't often two bus stop signs at any given stop (why do they do that?), such things wouldn't happen. And I wouldn't have had to hail a cab in the poring rain and spend a lot of extra money to get to work.


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...the Silver Line is no different from a regular bus.

There's no excuse for the 43/55 bus stop not to be co-located with the 49 (whoops, it's the "SL5" now) bus stop, but let's try and avoid finding any more ways of "dressing up" a bus route that really needs to be a branch of the Green Line instead, okay? Instead of wasting money on artistic statements that don't shelter riders from anything and needlessly overdone totem-pole stop indicators, let's just throw "43 Ruggles Station" and "55 Queensbury Street" onto the existing "SL5" sign and focus our efforts on more important things... like, you know, actual shelters.

It's probably just part of

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It's probably just part of the usual reluctance to put up useful signs. Locals will know where the bus stop is; out-of-towners aren't welcome here.

Cement landing pads make too much sense

If reinforced concrete landing pads were used here for bus stops, then the pavement wouldn't sink so much and need repaving as often. If curbs were painted red where parking was not allowed, cities would lose too much parking ticket revenue and not enough sign clutter would line streets. That just makes too much sense.

Yeah, the dual rear wheels of

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Yeah, the dual rear wheels of an accelerating bus generate a whole lot of torque. In many busy bus stops around here, the asphalt has huge lumps and ruts. Concrete pads would be a really good idea.

Signs down in Jamaica Plain too

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The T took down bus stop signs along the 39 bus route and only put up signs that the bus stop has moved--with an arrow pointing
to which direction to look for the new stop--- but since there is no new bus signs, where to wait is a complete mystery. The confusion is too much for me. This is day 9 with no clue of where the new bus stops are. This leaves me no choice but to walk with the rest of the cats.

Who to blame, who to blame...

Well, for one, I think the MBTA did just fine in advertising the program and involving community input. If you missed out: sucks to suck. The failure comes in at the execution. Why is the contractor doing such a poor job with this? Do they simply not care because they have their money and so be it? Or was the MBTA not explicit enough as to how they were to inform the communities of changes?

Also, I just LOVE how the new 39 Outbound bus box at Brigham Circle always has an MBTA inspector's vehicle in it. It sets a great example because then others do the same! Freakin' ridiculous.

You're kidding, right?

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They did a terrible job advertising it. Not all of us are obsessed with public transportation and spend our whole day on and ArchBoston.

Uhm, yes

Uhm, yes, the MBTA *did* do a good job advertising the project. You should follow @MBTA or @MassDOT on Twitter, or check the T Projects page on the website once in a while. Or even read the Metro paper and take note of the blurbs, or pay closer attention to topics you come across on UniversalHub.

Theyadvertised for community involvement and published highly detailed documents. The problem lies in the execution, as I said. Stop crying because your unconscious. If you want to complain that they're not out there posting signs when push comes to shove, fine. But there's absolutely no need for you to be a cry baby over the design and planning.