One bus route's weird mall jag

The Amateur Planner fulminates a bit on how the 34E bus between Forest Hills and Walpole has to go on a lengthy expedition through the driving morass that is the Dedham Mall; wonders why it doesn't just drop off/pick up passengers on Washington Street at the mall entrance:

The loop-the-loop to access the mall unnecessarily lengthens the route, costs the T money, costs passengers time, and subsidizes private development, all to service the front door of an auto-centered development.

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Free tagging: 

Comments

Not the only one

By on

The 134 serves Meadow Glenn Mall in the same way, with the same time loss.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I used to ride it everyday

By on

I used to ride it everyday and it was a nightmare. I just pay the extra money and take the commuter rail and walk 15 min so I don't have to deal with the 134 anymore. Ran late everyday.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Stop and Shop

By on

There are a lot of people who grocery shop and it would be very difficult to carry groceries up that hill. I agree the loop around the stores isn't necessary (and safe with cars and pedestrians) but there definitely should be a stop by Stop and Shop.

up
Voting is closed. 0

If the powers that be were at

By on

If the powers that be were at all sensible, the grocery stores would go where the people are instead of where there's enough space for a gigantic parking lot.

up
Voting is closed. 0

But they did go where the people were

By on

Few of the younger generation will remember that the Dedham line bus (now the Rt 34 (and before there was even a 34E) used to terminate at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Washington Street at the town line. From there we schlepped to the Dedham Mall - the first one.

The section with Sears was the first and only Dedham Mall in the beginning and the building now occupied by Bobs was the original Stop & Shop back in the day. When buses started to ply the mall they ALL STOPPED where the Toys-R-US is located now since that was the front door. Friendly Ice Cream was right there as well.

Time marched on and Stop & Shop moved to the "second mall" and occupied the building now held by Dick's Sporting Goods. More time marched on and S&S built the structure where they are now, moving even further away.

I think the bigger problem is that not all drivers are making their appointed stops. Many a morning driver is skipping the stop at Sears/Old Navy, and some are skipping that stop on the return trip.

Now, making the bus stop in one place might make sense if the Dedham Mall actually had a place for people to walk between the two segments, which by the way, are actually two separate malls. Have you ever tried to walk from Sears to Stop & Shop? Get insurance first.

Indeed, what happened to the plan to route the 34E through Legacy Place? That was on the drawing board at one time. NIMBY maybe?

DMK

((Who still remembers the railroad tracks and the Washington Street bridge about where the retaining wall is now behind Lowes. Yes, RR tracks. That was the main line back before I was born and part of the fateful route traveled by the train that was wrecked at the Bussey Street Bridge.))

up
Voting is closed. 0

You think that's bad - try

By on

You think that's bad - try taking the 10 to copley from andrew square when it goes through south bay.

up
Voting is closed. 0

not that bad

At least the #10 just makes a pass through the mall - not a circuitous route as in this original article.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Well it must be such

By on

an inconvenience for her to sit on a warm bur while it drives it predetermined route. A lot of people are using that bus service to go food shopping, maybe she'd appreciate if those individuals lugged all of their groceries up to Washington to help speed up her Travels.

Its "public" transportation, not a "private" coach.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Misunderstandings of how transit works

By on

This is a common debate, between transit as an efficient transportation mechanism and transit as a last-ditch social service. Most agencies try to straddle the two goals with their collection of routes, some more successfully than others. To be efficient, a route has to be as close to straight as possible, with no diversions. That's why transit planners always try to encourage urban planners to arrange entrances to buildings along corridors.

While you only think of the people who use the 34E for grocery shopping, you are blithely dismissing all of the people who use the 34E as radial transit to reach Forest Hills. They matter too, and wasted time going in a loop is wasted time. It's also an immense expense for the MBTA to bear (hence "subsidy for a mall").

If the loop through the mall costs $300,000 a year to operate, I don't see why that money has to come from the MBTA (and all of us). Secondly, it doesn't make sense to put the mall-loop into a radial transit route. The mall-loop should probably be broken out into its own separate route that serves the mall and its customers more specifically. It can have a more appropriate schedule too. And funding should come from the mall owners.

You think you're clever calling it 'not a "private" coach' but in fact, it is acting as a private coach: the MBTA is being forced to spend an additional $300,000/yr for the benefit of the privately-owned mall.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The 34E does by-pass the mall

By on

The 34E does by-pass the mall during the morning rush-hour and outbound during the afternoon rush-hour, the footnotes in the schedule show that. During the time period when demand for direct trips is at its greatest, the route does follow the direct path. The 34E also has quite a lot of people making local trips that never take it all the way to Forest Hills.

Besides shoppers, another sometimes forgotten group of people who use the bus are people who work at the mall, making it more difficult to reach the mall via transit can make it more difficult for someone to access the jobs there.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Bus service to the mall doesn

Bus service to the mall doesn't benefit the mall/developers. It benefits the many non-drivers who work or shop at said mall.

up
Voting is closed. 0

It benefits bad planning at riders' expense

By on

Again, a loopy route through the mall is much more than most people who use transit expect. I use the bus quite frequently. I do not expect to be picked up and dropped off at my door. Nor should I. Nor should anyone. I typically walk between 5-10 minutes to get to a bus stop, and that's normal.

But according to your (chaosjake and anon) arguments, the bus should pass in front of every person's home and business because that would benefit the non-drivers who live at those places and the people who work at those places.

Clearly that is not feasible. So there must be some balance between serving everyone's front door and running an efficient, straight-line route. You are already accepting that trade-off. I am merely pointing out that running a bus through a loopy route in a mall is still a step too far.

Such routes come about because of bad transit planning, and bad city or town planning. They are a sign of failure. Sometimes we have to live with failures like that, hence my suggestion to split off a "community route" that focuses on being a social service. But it's a social service that covers up for a major defect in land use planning.

Unfortunately, I can see why we have such shitty transit in this country just from your responses. Very few people here understand why this route is bad, why transit can't do everything you want it to do, and the trade-off between efficiency and minimizing walk-time.

The next time service cuts and fare hikes come up for discussion, remember this route.

up
Voting is closed. 0

My only question to you

By on

Are YOU going to take it up with every single bus route that goes thru some private property and tell them "Sorry no more servicing private property"? Yeah I don't think that will go over to well. You'd have a lot of businesses and employees pretty mad.

This would cut so many bus routes.. notably the 350, 351, 354 that service the Burlington Mall and office parks around 128. Outside of the local trips many of those buses take to get the mall area (i.e. Arlington Center), the vast majority of riders are to/from the malls and office parks. You want to eliminate these routes also?

Matthew, I get your point about the bus route being a bad route. I get it. And it is, but your argument that buses should not service malls/office parks/other private areas is as clueless as the OP who wrote this piece. As you said, its a balance, but your argument is off balance.

Your thoughts are seemed as "ideal" for you. And yes I believe straight line is always be the best way but sometimes its not where the most riders will want the service to be. I bet if you looked at real ridership numbers (and not off the cuff noticing), your opinion would be vastly different. (And funny, even the OP, nor you, or anyone else in this entire thread even bothered to pull out daily boarding numbers off this route to make an argument)

PS- You aren't even close to understanding why we have shitty transit in this country is because of bus routing. Not even close. Read up sometime, you'll see that we're a car centric culture, and where public transit means "poor people". Remember in other countries, people BEG for public transit to come. It means jobs. It means commerce. In the US, we have cities and towns who FIGHT public transit from coming to their town in favor of the car. Until this paradigm changes, public transit will always be light years away from the way it is elsewhere in the world. (And once it changes, then you'll quickly see these in-efficient bus routes change)

up
Voting is closed. 0

It's the 'loop' part that is bad

By on

Matthew, I get your point about the bus route being a bad route. I get it. And it is, but your argument that buses should not service malls/office parks/other private areas is as clueless as the OP who wrote this piece. As you said, its a balance, but your argument is off balance.

I'm not arguing against "serving private property". I'm arguing against having bus routes that go in loops.* As is the original poster, Ari, who is not clueless and knows plenty about how public transit works.

The 34E runs in a mostly straight line from Walpole Center to Forest Hills. The diversion to serve the Dedham Mall is an oddity. In order to justify it, you have to claim that most of the riders coming from Walpole, Norwood, Dedham, and Boston are going to the Dedham Mall (or at least, a very significant plurality). Otherwise, you are likely adding pointless minutes to the ride of numerous other folks who are trying to get from point to point along Washington Street. And it's not just the Forest Hills riders who get screwed -- it's everyone going to any point along Washington Street that is not the Dedham Mall.

Your thoughts are seemed as "ideal" for you. And yes I believe straight line is always be the best way but sometimes its not where the most riders will want the service to be. I bet if you looked at real ridership numbers (and not off the cuff noticing), your opinion would be vastly different. (And funny, even the OP, nor you, or anyone else in this entire thread even bothered to pull out daily boarding numbers off this route to make an argument)

You clearly didn't read the article very well, because Ari did pull up ridership numbers. And in particular, the net cost of running the bus per rider.

The MBTA does not publish a ridership breakdown of the 34/34E by stop because it is not a key bus route. They don't even tell us the ridership on each branch individually. But we can draw a few conclusions from the fact that the peak trips (and late night trips) all skip the Dedham Mall: it's not as important as you think it is. The resulting schedule appears to be a hybrid torn between serving riders from Walpole, Norwood and Dedham vs being a community service route. As Waquiot noted, the diversion to serve the Dedham Mall has grown ever more complicated over the years, and it's likely due to political pressure.

You aren't even close to understanding why we have shitty transit in this country is because of bus routing. Not even close. Read up sometime, you'll see that we're a car centric culture, and where public transit means "poor people".

Those reasons are very closely related. Street and development patterns that serve car culture, such as highway ramps and cul-de-sacs, are absolutely hideous for efficient bus service. The more you develop land in a car-centric manner, the less effective transit can be.

Since, as you correctly pointed out, transit is assigned a stigma in this country, major developers and planners don't really care or think about the implications of their plans on transit. Furthermore, nobody cares about the inefficiency of the resulting transit, not even people on this website, apparently. Despite that, people who ride transit do value their time, even if they're not as rich as the car drivers.

To end this on a positive note: if Dedham continues to determine that the mall is worth a diversion, then it would be best for the diversion to be as quick and direct as possible. Instead of having the bus do 3 weird loops through the parking areas, the route should do as few loops as possible, making stops along as small a diversion as possible. If the mall was really interested in boosting the use of transit, they would work on rearranging their drives and parking area in order to create this path for the bus, and they would create a nice waiting area for the bus riders, with easy walking access to the rest of the site. Yes, this would entail some construction work, but it would easily amortize out to be much cheaper than running buses through those inefficient loops over the years.

[*] I think this whole "private property" phrasing came about because one anon commenter accused Ari of wanting a "private coach" and I pointed out that serving the privately-owned mall makes it more of a private coach than anything.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Quick Reply

By on

Okay quickly replying so please excuse me if I don't get to all the points I need to reply to... but this stood out

Since, as you correctly pointed out, transit is assigned a stigma in this country, major developers and planners don't really care or think about the implications of their plans on transit. Furthermore, nobody cares about the inefficiency of the resulting transit, not even people on this website, apparently. Despite that, people who ride transit do value their time, even if they're not as rich as the car drivers.

Kinda true but not really. I think this is more about funding.

Let's look at the 112 for an example. I use this one because it services a mall, and has a very odd route since it also services Admiral's Hill and the Chelsea Home. Its a long route. End to end its about 45 minutes (and yes I often ride it almost end to end). By car, same route takes about 20.

It really should be TWO routes. a 112A, which would service Wood Island -> Bellingham Square -> Admirals Hill -> Mall. 112B which would service Wellington -> Everett sq -> Chelsea Street -> Soldiers Home.

Why? there's so few people ride it end to end and use as a spoke bus. Meaning most riders get ON at a subway stop and get off somewhere in the middle of the route, and do not use it to say get from Santilli Circle (Everett) to Day Sq (eastie). So why have one long as route that, where it often goes off schedule because its so long.

But its easier and cheaper for the T to pay one drive for the existing route, rather than 2 drivers, two buses, and other costs to have two routes. (and less funding per rider for each of those routes, vs a combined total per rider for the combined route)

My point. Once the paradigm changes from car centric culture to a public transit one, we start to see more $ increased for funding for public transit. Remember every rider on a bus is subsidized in some way. This means that more money per rider that is allocated, the more likely a new route to mimic existing services, or increased services will happen. But until that does, we're left with very long routes that go all sorts of places when a 'straight line' was far faster.

The T isn't bad.. Go to a city where they have less than stellar bus service. Some bus routes (like the 5 I used to ride in Atlanta) can be up to an hour an half from end to end with a headway over an hour! (2 hours on a Sunday). Some routes are even longer that service outlying park and ride lots (the one from Mansell to Lindbergh Station) is over 2 hours! And gosh for bid you miss a bus... you're screwed. Even closer to home, like the PVTA, has routes that are hours long but service many areas in the Pioneer Valley. They just have to. Not enough funding for new buses or drivers.

And yes I am lumping everything under the "private property" because many people on here and the OPs post seemed to be upset that it was servicing private property and not a public way in such a hair brained manner.

PS - One thing I want to add for EVERYONE here. You don't like the way a bus goes? SPEAK UP. And I don't mean on here. Write to the T and attending planning meetings. They DO take these into consideration when doing their planning for bus routes. A example of this is the 89 and 89D bus. Someone a while back thought it would be an excellent idea to have the 89 (Sullivan <--> Clarendon Hill), alternative between Clarendon and David Square. The T agreed at the next planning meeting to do so. Yes it took 2 years to implement, but its done. So they do listen!

PPS - So much for a quick reply.. oh well.

up
Voting is closed. 0

yeah

By on

I used to ride MARTA all the time. I tell folks, you don't realize how good the T is (in terms of service area) until you've been elsewhere.

The #5 was the pits before North Springs Station was built. It used to dead end at the Park and Ride on Hammond. Now it at least head ends at two stations. (and a spur to service the Park and Ride lot it used to service at the end)

I lived off of Northeast Expressway for a bit. That bus blew. Who the hell rides a bus between 9a and 5pm that mirrors an expressway and basically hits apartment complexes? No one does. It was useless to get to work on. After 5, it was a hour long walk to Brookhaven Station. Those were the days... an hour walk at 6am to make it to my meat cutting job at Kroger for 9am. Yeah I didn't live there long...

up
Voting is closed. 0

I take that back

By on

I lived off of Northeast Expressway for a bit. That bus blew. Who the hell rides a bus between 9a and 5pm that mirrors an expressway and basically hits apartment complexes?

I know the answer. "The Help" does.

Atlanta has 700 and 800 series bus routes. They aren't (or were not printed when i lived there) on schedules. They are designed for "the help" and getting "the help" to and from their employers. Most of these routes service "rich" areas with expensive condos or mansions existed. Many only did 2-3 runs in the morning and 2-3 in the afternoon. And funny, there was no other service to these areas except for these special routes.

So you want to complain about how we're paying for special routes to service people with special transit needs? Look at these... bus routes so the poor "help" can get to their "rich" employers and no other reason except that.

Anyhow I digress..

up
Voting is closed. 0

Buses in DC

By on

I took a bus to the subway in Washington a couple of times. It was astounding how many times the bus would leave the main route, drive around an apartment complex or office park, and rejoin the main road at exactly the same point. It was torture, and as a result the bus route was obviously de facto welfare transportation instead of efficiently serving all those apartments and offices it was circling through.

up
Voting is closed. 0

funding

By on

But its easier and cheaper for the T to pay one drive for the existing route, rather than 2 drivers, two buses, and other costs to have two routes. (and less funding per rider for each of those routes, vs a combined total per rider for the combined route)

The 34E is a radial route that travels in nearly a straight line from Forest Hills to Walpole Center. It's a bit different from the 112.

Ari addressed the cost argument and pointed out that with the time savings from re-routing, one of the buses that currently circulates on the 34E could be redirected. Say, it could be used for a community route that serves the mall, for instance. Likelihood is that the cost would be the same for the MBTA and the time-cost would be lower overall on average.

The T isn't bad.. Go to a city where they have less than stellar bus service.

Hey, I've lived in places with worse bus service as well. That doesn't make loopy mall diversions any less terrible.

I'm all for people getting more involved in bus planning decisions. And it's good to have a basic understanding of the constraints of what transit planners are dealing with when they look at possible routes. A lot of the times, these bad or sub-par routes come from public demands that the "bus stop in front of my place" and lack of political will to push back. A more informed public would understand that if they want to have good bus service, then straightening out the route as much as possible is the best for everyone.

Actually, if any of you do decide to get more involved, I recommend reading Jarrett Walker's Human Transit -- it's meant to be such an introductory text -- to help regular people (non-specialists) understand what makes a good route and what trade-offs there are to be made.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Meetings

By on

. A lot of the times, these bad or sub-par routes come from public demands that the "bus stop in front of my place" and lack of political will to push back.

A lot of this are the public input meetings and the lack there of attendance. A good example was the Key Bus Routes meetings. I sat on the ones for the 111, 116 and 117. We knew as a committee that the bus stop at Thatcher Street in the North End would be removed due to its proximity to Haymarket station (was well within the 750-1000 foot requirement for bus stops).

Welp, they went and moved all the bus stops and a few weeks later some north end group bitched because the stop was gone. Then they had another meeting, and poof the stop was back.

My argument is this.. Where were you when we were having the key bus route meetings to talk about bus stops? Ya I guess folks were "too busy" to attend but boy came out on droves when the change was done and they didn't like it.

This goes back to my original point, don't like it? Get involved. You can't have a say if you don't attend meetings (or at a minimum know about a project and opt to write in your comments to the MBTA).

Lack of attendance is why may routes remain unchanged for decades. No one cares until a change is made.

A foot note.. I urge people to read the publication put out by the CTPS, which is the commitee that oversees service changes. Its a very long read of many different proposals for changes, and WHY they were rejected. It gives you some good sight into how the process works, what roadblocks may be in the way, and understanding why some things are selected and some are not. In detail. If your into transit like I am, it's a very good and interesting read.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The number of people who use

By on

The number of people who use the diversion should be a major factor in determining if it is good or bad. To decide that it is bad without knowing the number of users that would benefit from a faster through-routing vs. those that benefit from the diversion is jumping to conclusions. No one is suggesting that every employment location is deserving of direct bus service, conversely, no one should automatically assume that the numbers of riders that would benefit from a diversion are trivial enough to be less than the number of riders that would benefit from a through-route.

up
Voting is closed. 0

What i never understood

By on

Is the route from Rozie Sq. to The Hills during rush hour.

Is it necessary the have the 30, 34, 34E, 35, 36, 37, 40, 50 and the 51 all make every stop between the two point. Particularly during the AM rush when you add school buses to the mix and the crossing guard at Archdale who routinely creates a traffic jam by talking to MBTA drivers.

up
Voting is closed. 0

agreed

By on

but on a much larger scale. I've never understood the T's lack of willingness with "X" routes. Yes there's a handful of them but there could be more. No need for multiple routes to all stop at the same stops. Yet the T has yet to embrace this type of efficiency yet. So many routes would benefit from a X variant to speed things up.

(and yes I am aware that some X's to exist but as other numbers, i.e. 111C, 89D, etc, but those really aren't express so to speak, they are just shorter routes than the initial one)

Some examples would be... 1, 116, 117, 111, 39, 57.. all of these routes (which are also key routes) would benefit from express service.

up
Voting is closed. 0

In defense of stops

By on

I'd guess at least half the ridership on all of those routes comes from that mile of Washington Street. Be careful what you wish for, because if you lived on an express route, the T would probably schedule you for cutbacks in the next schedule revision.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Yes, let's get rid of all the

By on

Yes, let's get rid of all the MBTA routes that benefit private businesses. That will include places like their bus stops at MIT and Harvard, the Northeastern Green Line stop (all private universities), and the new Assembly Row T station (built entirely to service a massive new outdoor shopping mall).

The T is paid for through a combination of fares, advertising, and taxes. The MBTA takes from both sales taxes (which these businesses inevitably pay directly or indirectly) and they charge towns directly for stops and stations in those towns, which of course are passed on by the town governments to property owners in the form of property taxes. But let's charge private businesses twice because the T benefits them, eh?

up
Voting is closed. 0

You've gone loopy

By on

Yes, let's get rid of all the MBTA routes that benefit private businesses. That will include places like their bus stops at MIT and Harvard, the Northeastern Green Line stop (all private universities), and the new Assembly Row T station (built entirely to service a massive new outdoor shopping mall).

Why would we ever want to get rid of MBTA routes that benefit private businesses?

None of those stations or bus stops require massive diversions with loopy routings. All of them follow the fundamental law of good transit routings: "Be on the way." That's the most important thing: all those private institutions and businesses that you named are "on the way" of existing lines.

If you bothered to sit down, and actually read what we have been writing, then you would realize that we are only arguing against loopy routes. A geometric argument. Plain and simple. If you want an efficient bus route then it should be straightened out as much as geography allows, with no detours. As much as possible.

Why you seem to keep wanting to drag "private vs public" in, I don't know. I think it has something to do with your attempted class-warfare-style whinging about "private coaches" that backfired. You still don't get it, I see.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Maybe if...

By on

Maybe if the 35 didn't abbreviate hours after 9 pm. After that only the 34 collects people working at the malls or needing to reach it since many stores, especially the S&S are opened much later.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I'm sure the elderly and

By on

I'm sure the elderly and disabled appreciate it.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The bus used to turn at the

By on

The bus used to turn at the Boston - Dedham line by the donut shop, When the MTA became the MBTA , or there abouts , the new and improved route dropped the people at the fruit stand on Washington street by the concrete pipe yard entrance. Before that , you had to get on the other bus at Forest Hills that didn't stop at the Boston stops at all.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Lost fruit stand

By on

I love references to things that aren't there anymore (well at least when I remember them.)

up
Voting is closed. 0

The opening to the Mall from

By on

The opening to the Mall from Washington street was across from where East street Dedham comes out . This entrance was led into the construction yard ,owned by the Pacella Brothers, where they made concrete drainage culverts and pipe. This road now might go to the trash plant , which was an incinerator at first, now it's a transfer plant I believe. This road had a fruit stand on one of its corners. The Dedham Mall was probably built on land bought from the Brothers, because at it's beginning it was as if it was built in a construction yard.And before that time , on Washington street proximate to that access road , I kind of remember a steel suspension bridge over rail tracks that was removed at one time. I know someone that did some digging there hitting a lot of steel in the ground. I remember that getting to the Halfway Cafe was quite the project due to the bridge removing construction.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Incinerator Road

By on

Yes, in fact the road off Washington that leads to the mall is still called Incinerator Road. Not very inviting...

up
Voting is closed. 0

Well there were some business

By on

Well there were some business nearby too, guess you had to call it something. But basically it was created to get into the pipe works until people needed it , then they laid down some asphalt.Dont think it even had a name until the incinerator was built.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Too far to walk

By on

I bet it's close to 1/2 a mile from the top of the hill at Washington St to the front door to Stop & Shop. If it were flat, I wouldn't be so strongly against the idea of making people walk. However, that is a very steep hill and not designed to be particularly pedestrian friendly. Let the old ladies keep their bus route to the store.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Don't forget the poor lady

Don't forget the poor lady who just got struck and killed crossing Washington a block from there.

up
Voting is closed. 0

64 bus too

By on

As it goes down North Beacon in Allston, it dives into Guest Street and stops at the Stop-and-Shop (as well as WGBH and New Balance HQ) instead of staying on Beacon St and having people come an extra block to the main road.

up
Voting is closed. 0

64 doesn't go to Stop & Shop anymore

By on

It's probably because of the construction, but the 64 stopped doing that loop on Guest Street early last year. I'm not sure if it will resume once construction is over, but I always thought it was stupid (especially given that that the Stop & Shop stop is a flat 1/10th of a mile from North Beacon Street).

up
Voting is closed. 0

Potential answers

By on

Because...

...we built our cities wrong. (These large lots were designed for cars, transit can only act as a band aid for it.)
...we have irrational expectations for public transit. (The time cost of transportation is rarely considered by developers. Route extensions cost everyone something.)
...it is hard to say no when the costs can be hidden. (Adding distance/time is costs driver/bus time, and the T is at capacity (bus availability) at peak hours. So any costs would probably be extracted from the stretching the route itself or taking from someone else's route.)

The most efficient bus route to get people from point A to B is a straight line. So to future Developers, Businesses, Residents and Politicians; remember be on the way.

up
Voting is closed. 0

This.

By on

Yes, if our cities were built like cities, with store entrances abutting sidewalks and parking lots located in alleys, buses could just stop in front of stores.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The proverbial little old lady conundrum

By on

There is an argument that there is a value in having the bus serve the existing grocery store (a 2000-foot/8 minute walk from the main roadway), but there are a variety of issues with this argument:

  • It gives the impression that we should reroute bus service to some private developments and not others.
  • It rewards development away from existing transit nodes.
  • There is a Star Market which is only about 750 feet/3 minute walk from the route at Dedham Plaza about a mile south, but it doesn't get direct bus service.
  • There are other grocery stores right on the 34E including Harvest and Tropical (both local businesses) but don't get a similar subsidy.
  • The 34 route could serve the store instead of the 34E, which would shorten trips for through-riding passengers (the majority of riders on the route) by several minutes and save the T money.
  • If we design transit to serve the proverbial little old lady, it will only be useful to the proverbial little old lady, and everyone else will drive. It's a bad precedent.
up
Voting is closed. 0

Shaws and Village Market

By on

The Village Market is also right on the route.

Don't any buses go down Spring St past the Shaws? That would also give non-driving West Roxbury, Roslindale residents another shopping option. Different route, but the same basic communities being served.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Only the 36

By on

Only the 36

up
Voting is closed. 0

Good poiints Ari

By on

The one other thing I would add is that people take that bus to more than JUST the Stop & Shop. I think a lot of people who work in the stores in the mall take that bus to and from work.

up
Voting is closed. 0

a 2000-foot/8 minute walk

a 2000-foot/8 minute walk from the main roadway: With no safe pedestrian access from the grocery store to Washington, it doesn't matter how long you estimate it would take someone to walk up or down that hill.

There is a Star Market which is only about 750 feet/3 minute walk from the route at Dedham Plaza: This store is located at the same grade as the roadway, with a sidewalk.

The 34 route could serve the store instead of the 34E: Valid point

If we design transit to serve the proverbial little old lady, it will only be useful to the proverbial little old lady, and everyone else will drive: Everybody who's interested in going to the Dedham Mall and can drive already does drive. Those who can't drive rely on the bus.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Hmm...

By on

I hate to propose yet another variation (there are already about 14 total variations of the Routes 34 and 34E) but...

Create a new route: Route 34M Forest Hills Station - Legacy Place LIMITED

It would service the following stops ONLY:

- Forest Hills Station upper busway
- Washington/Archdale
- Roslindale Square
- Washington/Beech
- Washington/Lagrange
- Washington/Grove
- Dedham Mall
- Dedham Plaza
- Legacy Place
- Rustcraft Station

Coordinate with regular Route 34E thru-service and market the hell out of it. Perhaps this could be done in conjunction with some through Fairmount Line trains to Rustcraft. And yes, the MBTA should get Legacy Place (or the tenant stores) to chip in for a crossover/baby interlocking near Endicott. Ideally, most shoppers coming from Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park could just take the train to Rustcraft and connect to a shorter bus trip to the Dedham Mall. Folks from JP, Roxbury, Roslindale, etc. could just snag the bus at Forest Hills or along Washington Street.

Evaluate after one year and amend service as needed.

Now if only GM Scott could stop giving people hugs long enough for the MBTA Biennial Service Plan process to get moving again; thus, giving the riding public the opportunity to discuss this and other ideas to improve service.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Legacy Place definitely needs

By on

Legacy Place definitely needs bus service. The closest bus stop is a half-mile walk, which isn't bad in good weather and if you're physically able to make it, but it's a far cry from the door-to-door service provided to the Dedham Mall.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I would be interesting to see legacyPlace's opinion

I wonder if the operators of legacy place would be fully-supportive, lukewarm or against opening up bus access from Boston. I always got the vibe there that they are really happy they don't have "those people" as well as large groups of loitering teens from scary non-suburban addresses hanging out there or (gasp) going to the movies. They pretty heavily cater to the suburban crowd and their fleets of SUVs. If you wanna waste time on a nice day just attach a Lululemon bag to a fishing pole and dangle it from the legacy place garage - you'll be hooking dead-inside soccer moms in no time.

Besides the larger/cheaper supermarkets are there any other rozzie-adjacent bus routes that could get someone to Costco or BJs? I read an article recently on how it "costs money to save money" and one of the points was that low income areas often don't have easy access to places like Costco where you can bulk buy necessities and common staples.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Employees

By on

Well, as mentioned above in regards to the Dedham Mall, many of the people who get on and off there are probably store employees. A route that served Legacy Place would increase the number of potential employees for stores, as well as potentially free up parking spaces for paying customers. So in that regard, it would be a positive change for the mall management.

up
Voting is closed. 0

But those Costgo and BJ

By on

But those Costgo and BJ require membership, up front money. Perhaps $50 or more a year. And you buy bulk, things are packaged in multiple items. I think the BJ / Costgo customer spends money on fewer items but higher sales ticket.That is one reason why I dont think the BJ to be built in Roxbury Crossing is practical. These stores are meant for the car driving consumer.

up
Voting is closed. 0

6 minute walk

By on

6 minutes and 0.3 miles from the nearest bus stop according to Google Maps, and they are usually pretty generous in their walking time. Or you can walk 3/4 mile from Dedham Corporate Ctr station on the Franklin Line. This doesn't sound like it needs a special bus diversion, as you could easily find that kind of a walk necessary to many destinations downtown.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Amateur Planner has a very

By on

Amateur Planner has a very strong opinion for someone who just rode the 34E one time. And one can't help but wonder how often he/she rides any public transportation - at least anyone who does ride public transportation can't help but wonder.

I got a job at the Dedham Mall over a year ago and have been regularly riding the 34, 34E, 52, and 35 to and from since then. It was a shock to find out that there is no realistic public transportation for workers (and shoppers) early and late in the day or on Sunday. Hanging out in the break room for an hour or more is as much a time waster as sitting on the bus while it loops thru a mall parking lot. But at least the workers don't whine about it, they just read while they wait. After 9:30 pm, the waiting is done up on Washington St which is brutal on one's health in the winter. And as we, sadly, recently learned, Washington St is dangerous.

Then there is the disabled and the elderly who use public transportation to get to the Mall to get their shopping done. The elderly tend to take the bus when it is still light out. The blogger took the bus in the evening, so probably didn't see how important those buses are to the elderly, or anyone who cannot walk longer distances or up a steep hill - particularly with packages.

Amateur Planner is so narrow mined it's amazing he/she didn't post about how much time and money would be saved if MBTA only served the 9-5 workers and the able-bodied.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Thank you for making my

Thank you for making my points more lucidly and passionately than I seem to be able to today!

up
Voting is closed. 0

Thank you!

By on

Thank you... I have a reply half written about this post (I saw this yesterday on Twitter)

I agree, this rider based their sole opinion on ONE ride. Sorry, that's not enough to make such an evaluation on a route ridership.

I have more when I post later on my lunch. But thank you..

up
Voting is closed. 0

It's mission creep

By on

When I was a lad, the 34E used to turn in at Incinerator Road and went down the hill to the Dedham Mall entrance by the Stop and Shop. From there I think it went over to Providence Highway left, else it went back up the hill and continued on (I cannot remember which.)

Then, the Super Stop and Shop opened on the other side of the Mother Brook. It was a hike to the mall proper (probably starting the mall's decline) so they needed a stop. The mall was still going, so the first stop remained. Eventually the stop was moved to Sears, which is good as the mall was dying, but Sears remained. Then, they built an even newer Super Stop and Shop and replaced the other one with Dicks. That supermarket was even further away. Meanwhile, the mall proper was reimagined. I don't think there's an internal portion anymore, but there are stores that are patronized.

Stop and Shop is way too far from the bus stop, and this written by someone who walked from Roslindale Square to Forest Hills. I would imagine that anyone who lives in Westwood or beyond is not taking the bus to Forest Hills, and as noted there are runs that skip the mall altogether. The T serves the Burlington Mall. It serves the South Shore Plaza. I've seen bus routes lengthened by a much smaller strip mall in Minneapolis (and it was the airport bus back in the day) so this doesn't seem to be a big thing.

But whatever, one man's opinion on another man's opinion.

up
Voting is closed. 0

There are a lot of S & S 's

By on

There are a lot of S & S 's here. Do you remember the quonset hut one right at the rotary, where the Child World is, behind the Midway Cafe , not to be confused with the Midway Cafe in JP.?

up
Voting is closed. 0

You're old, kvn

By on

"Where Child World is"? It is a Bob's Discount Furniture, which in turn replaced Circuit City. Surely there was something else between that and Child World.

It did amaze me that at one time there was a Child World and a Toys R Us at the Dedham Mall. Of course, mom would drive us between the two, since they were a mile apart. That's right folks, the entire Dedham Mall sprawl complex is a mile long.

up
Voting is closed. 0

What I can remember is the S

By on

What I can remember is the S & S in a quonset hut type building they used back then. Then it moved to the new mall. Where the original one was, there was the Midway Cafe and the rest was the pipe works yard , stuff piled all over the place in no particular order.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Quonsett Style

By on

Yes. The Bob's store is that footprint. It was topped off to create Boston Baby, later Circuit City, later best Buy, later Bobs, later.........

In fact the original S&S in Roslindale was on the Staples footprint and was also a Quonset hut style. That was also topped off when Ashmont Discount moved in.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Mall Design

By on

I have always hated the design of that mall. To get from one side to the other, you need to cut through Sears, but there are no signs telling you this, you just need to stumble on it.

They seem to like to make it as difficult to shop there as possible. Getting from Lowe’s to A.C. Moore is quite an expedition.

up
Voting is closed. 0

That's because it started out as something very different

By on

The original Dedham Mall, the one that decimated Roslindale Square, was your basic indoor mall: They had an anchor store (Sears), inside corridors, a sort of food court (well, a Sbarro at any rate), even a Santa at Christmastime.

It just got sadder and sadder every year and eventually they shut down the inside mall thing and turned the mall into the seemingly random jumble of big-box stores it is today. Radio Shack, the video-game place and the sneaker place are kind of holdovers (and Sears, of course).

If you want to see something similar happening today, go down to the Walpole Mall, where the interior section seems to shrink by the week and it's becoming a big-box strip mall.

And then they added that new strip that starts with Dick's and ends with Stop & Shop. Originally, Stop & Shop was where Dick's was and there was nothing much to the side closer to West Roxbury (actually, going even further back, Stop & Shop was where Bob's is now). The Sears auto center was basically where the IHOP is now; in between it and the supermarket was a big parking lot where they'd hold a carnival one week every summer.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Carnival!

By on

It makes sense that it started out that way. I can't imagine that happened on purpose.

Now let's bring back the carnival. I have fond memories of the carnival in the one strip mall of the seventies hometown of my youth.

up
Voting is closed. 0

From http://deadmalls.com

By on

From http://deadmalls.com/malls/dedham_mall.html

Posted July 25, 2003 (user submitted)

The Dedham Mall opened in the 1960's, but we never could find the date. It was a popular hangout - when I was a kid in the early-mid 80's, it was THE place to be seen.

There was a Child World across the lot, where Circuit City is now. Pizzeria Uno, also in the lot, was once a York Steakhouse.

The mall had a Bradlees, Walgreens (closed in 2000), Friendly's (closed in 2000), Woolworths (with a Woolworths Diner next door), Weathervane, Bedazzled, Record Town, Tello's, Irish Cottage, Kaybee Toys, Friendly's Restaurant, Stacy's Yarn and Crafts, Debby's Pet Land, the Wine Cellar, Booksmith (later Waldenbooks), Foot Locker, Baker's Shoes, Olympia Sports, Hannoush Jewelers, Belden Jewelers, GNC, Original Cookie Co, C.B Perkins Tobacco, and various other small shops that all disappeared starting in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. However, it seems as though the mass exodus happened between 2000-2003.

My best memory would be the Collectible shows they would have-tables set up all throughout the mall, featuring every type of collectible you could possibly think of.

As of now, there is only a Radio Shack, Sears, and Foot Action USA that are open in the space that the mall used to occupy. The rest of the stores that remained have moved outside to the strip adjacent to Old Navy and DSW Shoe Warehouse. There's been some talk of completely renovating the mall, adding a second level and the sort. That has NOT come about, but there is something being added into the mall... what that is exactly is not yet known. Some say it's going to be a Christmas tree Shop.

When we went to take pictures, we found a large warehouse in the old Brigham's ice cream parlor. As we took pictures, a worker stopped and stared out at us for a good two minutes, then walked over and pulled the overhead door down. Rude!

Exclusive Photos:
Exclusive deadmalls.com photos coming soon!

The sign. Not sure if it's original, but it has been there since at least the very early 80's.
The outside of one main anchor, Bradlees, which closed around 2001. They very recently started picking this apart, taking down the sign and gutting the interior.
The Bradlees mall entrance, which is about the only open entrance into the mall.
Inside the mall, looking at Bradlees.
Sbarro, right across the hall from Bradlees. It left the mall about the same time as Bradlees.
The former Avenue clothing store, which is now home to the temporary rest rooms.
C'est Bon, which closed fairly recently, sometime in 2002.
Things Remembered, which also closed in 2002 and still had stuff inside.
Brigham's ice cream, once a fairly popular chain in the Boston area that is now pretty scarce (however they do sell their ice cream in supermarkets). This one closed in early 2003. This is where a makeshift warehouse seemed to be set up, and where the nasty workers gave us the evil eye for snapping pictures.
The ever-recognizable label scars of Waldenbooks (formerly Booksmith), which closed in early 2003 along with its next door neighbor, Foot Locker.
More Waldenbooks, and a glimpse into a closed-off section of the mall. On the same side as Waldenbooks, there was a Foot Locker, Talbot's, Record Town and what used to be Anderson Little, the men's store.
Benches blocking access to that part of the mall. The wall at the end of the hall was put up to keep people out, as Sears is still open on the other side of the wall.
Looking left from in front of Sears, which is still open. Waldenbooks and everything else is on the other side of that wall. On the same side as Sears, there was the Irish Cottage, Baker's Shoes, and This End Up Furniture. Now there's nothing.
This last one isn't really a mall picture per se, but I couldn't resist taking it as it's right next door and deader than a doornail. Levitz Furniture is so close to the mall that you can get to it without getting on a road. It closed in or around 2000.

http://dedhamtales.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/mall-ad478.jpg
This ad lists all the stores that were still in business in September, 1986. Woolworth’s was still hanging in there in ’86, but. alas, looks like Wrangler Wranch had reached the end of the trail.

http://dedhamtales.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/mall476.jpg
Inside the mall in 1986. Check out the sunken garden!

up
Voting is closed. 0

Dedham Mall= Walpole Mall= Watertown Mall

By on

All three really have the same vibe and were probably built around the same time. It does amaze me every time I go to Walpole that it keeps on keeping on. We went to the Watertown Mall after Christmas. We did everything via the interior court.

I do want to note (and yes the dead mall article reprinted states) that there were several anchors. I remembered Bradlees, but somehow I forgot Woolworths, which is bad as my sister worked there. I also want to say a Marshalls or like store opened by the Stop and Shop. That was the high point of the mall.

Still, all three of these malls are still around, yet the Atrium is on its way out (I only go by outbound and at night, but it looks like it is being torn down) after less than 30 years.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Watertown Mall - does it really exist?

As far as I can see, it consists of a Target, a Best Buy, and a Registry of Motor Vehicles office, and that's it.

Everything else is across the street at the Arsenal Mall Marketplace "Project".

up
Voting is closed. 0

I think that's the reason for

I think that's the reason for the equivalence made above (Dedham Mall = Watertown Mall = Walpole Mall). They are all at some point in the transition from 1980s style indoor mall to outdoor mall/big box plaza. In Dedham, the transition is complete, with no indoor connectors between the stores now arrayed as a strip mall. The Watertown Mall still has that one little hallway connecting Target and Best Buy to the RMV, and in Waltham, the transition is in an earlier phase, with more big retailers anchoring a mall that is now largely closed storefronts inside.

up
Voting is closed. 0

We're just opposites

By on

Leaving the Watertown Mall parking lot last week, I turned to Mrs. Waquiot and commented on the pending redevelopment of the Arsenal Mall.

There are a few shops inside. We got some pants for Waquiot Jr. at Carters. There's this store called "Tobacco Shed" that sells tobacco products, soft drinks, and the like (including hookahs) next to Moda, which has children's backpacks on the wall. There is no wall between the stores. So, if you are looking for a water pipe and some back to school items, bingo!

In short, not the liveliest malls, but surviving.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Yes

By on

Hence, we were staring at it while leaving the Watertown Mall, leading to the conversation.

My point is that Arsenal is being redeveloped while Watertown is still doing its thing.

up
Voting is closed. 0

The Arse Mall is what keeps

The Arse Mall is what keeps the 70 bus from being useful and timely in any way. In addition to stopping to let on average of 15 people on at once, they come in with gigantic shopping bags to take up space on the already overcrowded bus.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Or maybe ridership from that

By on

Or maybe ridership from that mall allows the T to run the very frequent weekend schedule that the 70 enjoys. Not too many T bus routes that go 7+ miles out into the suburbs run every 10 minutes on Saturdays.

up
Voting is closed. 0

if anyone's reading this mall bus thread a week later...

By on

On Saturday afternoon I rode the 70, and measured the delays on Arsenal Street.

3:47 red lights
0:27 passenger boarding/exiting

The problem isn't the crowds boarding at the mall stops. It's Watertown's inability to program their traffic lights properly. (Though faster fareboxes wouldn't hurt.)

up
Voting is closed. 0

If you register

By on

and comment on a thread, you can keep on following the discussion.

This not to get on you "anon (not verified)", unlike those other things you have written. However, registration has its privileges.

Thanks for the info. The 34E does have a much worse jag than the 70. Imagine having to go into the parking lot of the Arsenal Mall and the Watertown Mall on a Saturday afternoon.

up
Voting is closed. 0

I have no trouble keeping up

By on

I have no trouble keeping up with old threads I'm interested in.

My concern is when *I* post in an old thread, will anyone else notice?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Mall Style

By on

The current layout of the mall is a hodge-podge because that is not what the original Dedham Mall looked like.

The original mall built back in the 60s was a series of stores that connected through a central open-air courtyard. Some of the stores had entrances on the back side (now the fronts of the stores we see today), but many did not.

At a later date the Dedham mall was enclosed but the central courtyard remained for a long time, later being boxed in to create another store. The enclosed mall also had many smaller courtyard shops and carts along connecting pedestrian ways. (Think of it as a clone of the Cambridge Galeria on a smaller scale and all on one level).

After the mall was sold to new owners they started to close stores and do-away with the inside courtyard and move all of the entrances to the exterior outside walls.

Sears main entrance was where it is now where you enter on the RT 1 side where the appliances are. The "back door" entered into the interior mall courtyard and pedestrian walkway. During the rebuild, Sears took over footage that was the former interior pedestrian walkway and a segment of what was FW Woolworths resulting in the entrance next to Old Navy as it is today.

So to fault the design of today is misplaced unless you know the history of the many changes - most not approved by the people who shopped there. What you have there is the result of over 50-years of changes.

In those days, the 60s through the 80s, the Dedham Mall was a destination where you shopped, ate (Friendlys, Woolworths, a couple of pizza places, Brighams, etc), shopped some more, saw the dentist, got your hair done, and hung around.

If you were really "back in the day" at Friday noon the organist at the Wurlitzer store would demonstrate the big 4-keyboard instrument and it would echo throughout the whole mall. Talk about drawing a crowd!

up
Voting is closed. 0

DMK has the knowledge

By on

On another thread, we were going on about a proposed development that we saw perhaps differently. At the community meeting, he started talking about ice skating in what was at the time of the meeting an overgrown, wooded, lot, so a long time ago. He knew more about the geology than the people who drew up the plans did.

In short, the dude is a font of knowledge on the Roslindale area.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Well......

By on

That why I ride a unicycle! Phhhhh!

up
Voting is closed. 0

In the abstract, which would

By on

In the abstract, which would y'all prefer, a bus system which follows the trolley lines as they were in 1926, or one that serves today's employment centers and shopping destinations?

I vote for the latter, but the T for the most part does a very bad job of it. In general, if an area didn't have bus service in 1960, it doesn't have it today, even if thousands of people live or work there.

Just look at the bus systems in places like Seattle and San Francisco: excellent coverage anywhere there's development, and express buses all over the place, including plenty of suburb-to-suburb routes.

Looking at this particular example, I think it's important for the 34E to serve the northern (Stop-n-Shop) and main sections of the mall. It's too bad the mall's road system doesn't make this quicker.

A few weeks ago down by Legacy Place, I saw a small horde of people walking through a rain storm down Elm Street. It took me a minute to figure out why: they had just gotten off the bus at the nearest stop on Washington. I felt terrible for these people, that the T hadn't bothered to serve what's the biggest trip generator in the local area.

Considering the 350: the vast majority of ridership north of Winchester, especially in the reverse-peak, is to the mall. Second to that is Lahey Clinic and the office parks along the way. Hardly anyone rides all the way up to North Burlington -- the bus is empty up there most trips. Yet 20 to 30 minutes of every round trip are spent on the segment north of the mall. And in the PM rush, all outbound trips skip the mall, which means employees have to walk more than a mile from the nearest stop.

My proposed solution: in exchange for planning permission to build a big mall, towns should require that developers work with the MBTA to design a road system that works for buses. And the T shouldn't be afraid to add and reroute service where it's needed, even if that means cutting service to places that currently have it.

up
Voting is closed. 0