Month-long test of a dedicated bus/bike lane on Washington Street in Roslindale begins Monday

Every weekday between 5 and 9 a.m. for the next month, Washington Street will have a lane set aside for just buses and bicycles between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills, to let transportation planners gauge whether the idea could work permanently.

If it does, officials will eventually do the same thing in reverse on the other side during the evening rush hour.

The lane will be created by banning parking on the side towards Forest Hills.

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Comments

Of course it will work. It

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Of course it will work. It already worked during the test last year. Bus lanes work all over the world. They aren't exactly complicated. A months long test is ridiculous. Just make it permanent and then identify other streets that need the bus lanes(there are a lot of them).

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Resident Parking

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One of the big questions is how badly will it effect parking for local businesses and local residents. Especially in a lower income neighborhood when the benefits accrue mostly to higher income commuters from further out. Balancing interests is never easy.

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Oh dear

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Someone just played the impoverished car owner card.

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Not that big a question

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How many of the businesses (without lots) on that stretch are open between 5 am and 9 am on weekdays? And anyone from farther out is not stopping during that time because the traffic is horrible. Mostly they're avoiding Washington Street if they can.

And how many parking spaces are we actually talking about? The residents will park on other nearby streets, just like they do during street cleaning.

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This is a great. Why only

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This is a great. Why only during AM commute, why not also during pm commute going to Roslindale sq?

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The afternoon commute is a different beast

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A big hiccup is the daycare center by Archdale. They have no parking, and having parents stop in the busway to pick up the kids would interrupt the flow.

In any event that trial is coming. My bet is that they will roll it out the same way the morning experiment went, with one day a week to start, then go from there.

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It's too bad

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we don't have some sort of municipal authority who has been given the power to punish drivers for openly flaunting traffic laws, like using dedicated bike/bus lanes as their own short-term parking solutions rather than driving a block or two to find an open spot to park while they go into the daycare. Perhaps they could levy fines against people who break the law, as a disincentive to doing so. Maybe we could let those same civil authorities punish other drivers, too, for things like blocking the box or making illegal left turns or driving too fast or veering in and out of lanes.

It's a shame no such group exists or ever could exist; I guess we'll all have to accept wonton illegal behavior by motorists as part of the cost of living in a city with cars.

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So,

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you are assuming that they will find "an open spot to park" driving around in circles, for, oh how long, Mr G? Why don't you give us a time frame. So, say, after 15, 20, 30 minutes, if they can't find an alternative spot, then they can do what? Punt? You do know that some day care facilities (or perhaps they all do?) charge extra if mummy and daddy is not on time to pick up their kids? No? Perhaps you can reimburse them for their trouble?

Come on, erik g. They are picking up their kids. So you expect them to park a mile down the street, if they are lucky, walk, pick up the kid or kids, and then walk back to their car? Human nature says, that ain't gonna happen so do you have a better solution? Oh, I get it, let us punish them.

I have a better one: How about not removing parking spaces near the day care?

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Park

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If you're okay with that, you should be okay with someone blocking traffic for a Dunkin coffee.....after all do you expect me to walk a mile as well?

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Huh

So hundreds of commuters should be forced to wait just because of some small, private business?

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How about

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Getting kids used to the idea of ... WALKING.

My two walked from a very young age because they hated being in the car.

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Someone doesn't have a kid

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And for the sake of those who do have kids, as I note, they will probably start this off with a one day a week pilot program, with a review to see what is working and what is not.

Everett's bus lanes are only in the morning, probably because of the commercial businesses along the route.

Someone does have a kid

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And doesn't buy that kids can't walk.

Mine walked a mile at a time starting at age two. Why? Because we walked all the time. Sure, we brought the umbrella stroller as a backup, but that didn't mean the kid couldn't walk a considerable distance before tiring. It wasn't uncommon for us to walk three or more miles in a day of outings downtown, only a small amount involving the stroller.

Tossed it out when the youngest was four.

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I dunno, man

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I have two, one of whom is in daycare and one of whom is in school. Daycare is nowhere near a train line, so I drive to pick the little guy up. The center is located on a one-way, single-lane road. Somehow I have managed never to leave my car with its blinkers on, holding up traffic while I enjoy a sweet 15-foot walk to the door . Sometimes it means I have to park around the corner or circle the block a couple of times, especially after snow storms. I can't say I've ever honestly considered doing otherwise, though it's interesting that the opinion split here appears to be heavily slanted toward "screw everybody else, park wherever you want," but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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But here's the thing

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Currently, the parents don't illegally park by and large. The chief reason why they don't is because currently there is parking in front of the center. Therefore, were they to ban parking in front of the center, that would be a big issue. One would image that parking on the side streets would be constrained by, well, parking being banned on Washington Street causing more people to park on the side streets. Conversely, parents could park on the other side of the street, then cross a very busy street without a crosswalk nearby.

My original point was that banning parking on that side of the street in the afternoon is not as easy as banning parking on the other side in the morning. Maybe things work out well for you with daycare. We lived walking distance from where Waquiot Junior was, but I saw the issues with people doing auto pickup and I know what is like dealing with a 2 year old, so perhaps you might want to rethink how much of the issue is real and how much of it is you not thinking about what other parents have to go through. Imagine that parking was banned on the street where you kid is. Imagine that the side streets were full of cars. That's what I'm saying.

Have you seen a 9 month old walk?

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Even having a two year old walk a few blocks is painful.

Again, we "walked" to and from daycare, but I saw what other parents went through. If this were a regular school you'd have an excellent point, but we're talking toddlers. Perhaps you might want to cut the parents some slack.

that's because

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You treat your child like an invalid and you get impatient.

2 year olds can walk just fine IF you let them. 9 month olds are carryable unless you have substantial disabilities.

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Conversely

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One can easily walk from the Square to Forest Hills, so let’s just not run buses along the route of the proposed bus lane.

Walk from where? If the

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Walk from where? If the nearest reliable legal parking is a block or two away, that could work. If it's three quarters of a mile away because of the reduced parking and other displaced parkers, not so much.

Neighborhoods built around transport other than cars are great. But you can't create one simply by removing parking.

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Are you sure?

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Are you sure?

Mapjunction shows not much was there on the 1905 Bromley Atlas. In 1924 the current houses were there, as were their garages.

And if we want to go back to the 1924 transportation system, T buses would have to run a heck of a lot more frequently.

Thanks, I'm aware.

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Thanks, I'm aware.

They're not coming back any time soon. But frequent bus service could return.

Seconding Erik

My kids went to daycare in Cambridge and in Somerville, where we all know there is loads of parking ... lol

There were times in the winter or when other things were going on that we would drop off or pick up using the car. That often meant that we had to park several blocks away from the center.

It wasn't a big deal. I carried them when they were babies, and they walked when they were older (less than 2 years apart). Yeah, two year olds walk slowly. So you walk slowly.

Shrug.

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Alright, let's try this again

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We're talking about going from a situation where one can park in front of or relatively near the entrance to the center to perhaps parking blocks away. My point from the beginning is that it is a big impact. And again, I'll note that somehow Everett has never tried rolling out bus lanes for the PM rush, probably because, again, taking the parking away from 3 to 6 or 4 to 6 has a greater impact on businesses than taking parking way before 9 AM.

The weird thing is that I totally see the need for bus lanes in the evening rush, but I also see that the logistics are not as simple as people make it out to be. That parents who picked their kids up with cars don't see this just amazes me.

There should be a crosswalk.

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This is one of those stretches of road where I hate to drive because people are always darting (or ambling) across willy nilly. I’m guessing that if there are more safe, marked spots to cross then there will be jess jaywalking and safer spots to cross for kids and families.

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> wonton illegal behavior

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> wonton illegal behavior

I didn't know they were also piloting this in Chinatown...

Why only during AM commute,

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Why only during AM commute, why not also during pm commute going to Roslindale sq?

Morning commute seems workable, being downhill.

Afternoon, though... I really don't think having bicycles pull the buses uphill would work very well.

Construction at Forest Hills

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The construction going on at Forest Hills has traffic backed up in every direction, especially on the north part of Washington Street. I would think that this would make it much more difficult to evaluate the efficacy of the dedicated lanes. But anything that would make that stretch of road passable during rush hour would be a great benefit.pm5t9

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Great Idea

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Blue Hill Ave should have a dedicated lane along with Washington street and Columbia road.

Planned and rejected

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Blue Hill Ave was subject of a plan for a BRT but the people of Mattapan rejected it so the plan was abandoned. Meaning... the people along the route said no.

Since you're in the know, of course ...

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You recall why the people along the route objected to it: The Silver Line extension was sprung on them with no advanced notice by the state, at a press conference at Dudley Square, just like every other alleged improvement since the el was taken away, only this time people said screw this, we want to be involved in the planning process and the state said, nah, we already planned this.

And that was the end of that.

I think I might be the only

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I think I might be the only one against this idea! This morning I got to forest hills MAYBE 3 minutes earlier than usual. I'd rather have the parking than a fee minutes difference in the commute especially since over the summer/school vacation the commute isn't bad anyway.

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There's an even better thing coming for Roslindale

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Mayor Walsh is including money in his capital budget this coming fiscal year (which starts July 1) for a bike/pedestrian path that would run from the Roslindale Square parking lot up to Forest Hills through the Arboretum.

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It seems kind of crazy to me

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It seems kind of crazy to me that a bike/ped path would even have "hours" to begin with, especially on a bridge where it is literally the only way to get across a body of water. Would we ever close a bridge to cars at night?!

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Not much difference

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I live on Washington St. and regularly take the bus to Forest Hills. I couldn't see a noticeable difference in time today. Because the new "bus lane" encompasses the bike lane, buses can go only as fast as the cyclists in front of them. Which in my case this morning was pretty slow. Its not the fault of the cyclists though. There simply isn't any where for them to go and now they have lines of buses breathing down their backs.

Bikes and buses sharing a lane?

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I'm glad the Walsh administration is finally doing something to improve public transit. So far, the transportation focus has been on adding bike lanes. I hope this succeeds.

Does it really make sense to have buses and bikes travel in the same lane? Is it safe, given that buses are not that maneuverable, make frequent stops and their drivers have limited vision? Won't cyclists slow down the buses?

Why not have the bike lanes on less traveled streets? Even if the distance might be greater, it would be safer and lessen congestion along the bus routes. There are lots of ways to get places, but none of us has a GPS app in our heads.

Because there aren't any

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Because there aren't any other streets. Washington is the only street between Roslindale Square and Forest Hills, except for a short one-way piece of South Street. I'm sure commuter cyclists know about it, and already use it if it makes sense.

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No, it doesn't really make

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No, it doesn't really make sense. I've complained about this before. As a cyclist, it sucks getting stuck behind a bus at a stop, because you're stuck breathing in the exhaust (which can be a real problem on a cold morning), and it also sucks having a bus stuck behind you, because they want to go faster than you, and are probably not going to be very patient.

Bus lanes are great, but they shouldn't need to come at the expense of bike lanes. I don't like that it seems to be an either/or. I'm glad the city at least recognizes this for the bus lane on the new N Washington St bridge.

You can't just say "put the bike lanes on less busy streets" though, because the busy streets follow where people want to go. The only alternative to using Washington St would really be the construction of a bike path following the commuter rail tracks, essentially an extension of the SW Corridor.

Yes, ideally we would have

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Yes, ideally we would have bus lanes AND bike lanes, but that's not possible here unless you ban parking on BOTH sides of the street.

IMO, bikes are not actually slower than buses along a route, and often times are faster, particularly if buses have to stop a lot to let passengers on and off. The other thing to keep in mind is that bus drivers are professionally trained, unlike the average Boston driver, so I actually trust them quite a bit. Also, if they hit someone or something, they lose their job, so it really is in their best interest not to do that.

Well then it sounds to me

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Well then it sounds to me like they need to ban parking on both sides. If that means there's no longer enough parking for nearby residents, tough. If there's really that much demand, redevelop some of the low density retail and surface parking as garages with ground-level retail. Or deck over the Northeast Corridor for parking. This is a dense city, it's time to get creative. Parking can be provided without it having to take up valuable street space that could otherwise be put to use conveying people.

Bikes are faster overall, yes. Buses definitely have a higher top speed though, and as anyone who's biked along a bus route knows, even if you end up getting there slightly faster, you're going to be leapfrogging the bus the whole way. And that's the problem. In a shared lane you don't have room to pass each other (assuming the general purpose travel lane is too congested to pull out into it to pass), so either cyclists are sitting behind a bus breathing in exhaust, or buses are crawling along behind cyclists. What makes biking faster most of the time is that you can keep moving when the bus stops, but you can't do that if you're stuck behind the bus.

And while I'm glad you trust bus drivers around bikes, I've personally found them to be the absolute worst drivers when interacting with bikes (even worse than most taxis). In my experience, the majority of bus drivers don't seem to realize how long their vehicle actually is. If they move over to pass a cyclist, they tend to move back over before the full bus has passed. They also have a really annoying habit of passing cyclists then immediately pulling into a bus stop, blocking the bike lane. They may be professionally trained, but most of them don't seem to care.

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A city with no on-street

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A city with no on-street parking and lots of underground garages sounds like a horrible place I want nothing to do with.

https://goo.gl/maps/YoKz9L6uPX52 Plenty of capacity to move people. But not a lot of people.

Washington Street doesn't need more travel lanes. It needs less traffic light stupidity at the major intersections.

I didn't say a city with no

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I didn't say a city with no on-street parking. I said a street with no on-street parking.

I'm not proposing turning Boston into Miami with 6-lane boulevards everywhere. Just that maybe a very busy but space-constrained road can be more useful safely moving people in cars and on buses and bikes, rather than acting as free car storage.