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MBTA's first trolley-like bus lanes open on Columbus Avenue

Opening Day of the MBTA Columbus Avenue Bus Lanes

The T officially began service today on dedicated bus lanes that run down the center of Columbus Avenue between Egleston and Jackson Squares. The goal is to speed service on the routes that use Columbus - the 22, 29 and 44. The T is now looking at extending the dedicated lanes to Ruggles.

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Comments

Drivers are going to drive and park in the bus lane. We know this based on past awful behavior by Boston drivers. But the fact that it’s in the center will at least make parking in the lane less appealing to lazy law breaking drivers. If the city does even a mediocre job of enforcing the laws for once this bus lane will be great.

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Voting closed 44

Counting on drivers to either pay attention or give a poop about a painted lane is hopeless. I'm curious to see if they can find a configuration that kinda works.

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Voting closed 11

Maybe it will be great, and everyone will be happy (except for the terminally unhappy) as buses move more freely, and nice clean new lane lines help even out of towners figure out where they need to be. Extending this out to Ruggles sounds like a great idea, a true rapid bus service connecting to a high traffic train station. Bus lanes in Allston are working great, in spite of occasional scofflaw parking, because most people are compliant, and it's easier than ever to avoid double parking obstructions. There's space to merge and turn. Bikes are easier to see, intersections are more orderly.... I have yet to see any downside. More bus lanes, please.

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Voting closed 40

I commute on several roads with bus only right lanes and though drivers regularly idle in or use the right lanes for turns bus traffic is intermittent enough it’s rare for a bus to be held up by cars crowded in the bus lane, especially compared to what taking a bus in a regular driving lane is normally like.

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Voting closed 18

Don't quote me on this, but I believe that NYC buses have license plate readers built into the fronts of buses. Park or drive in a bus lane there, and you automatically get a fat ticket. We should 100% do this.

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Voting closed 61

But San Francisco certainly does. There are bills pending in each house of the legislature that will allow limited camera enforcement in Massachusetts, though it appears from the language in the bill, bus mounted enforcement will be limited to school buses.

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Voting closed 14

When I drive at night I see many stop lights that could and should be blinking yellow. Changing these to blinking yellows would cut emissions and speed off-peak travel. But automated enforcement disincentivizes such efficiencies.

Some states and towns use these automated enforcement machines to collect revenue. Is that what we want our government to be doing? Brigandry?

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Voting closed 4

Blinking yellows are not ideal for people trying to cross the street against traffic.

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Voting closed 4

.... than my idea of installing a robotic arm with a sharp key attached.

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Voting closed 19

These lanes are center running with substantial concrete islands for the stops, their own dedicated traffic signals and they do not share the left turn lanes with drivers. It’s possible things will get worse with time but for the moment people seem to be staying out of the lanes.

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Voting closed 9

and then you've really got something going. (Cars will have plenty of room to pass bikes by using the bus lane as a passing lane.)

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Voting closed 7

One suggestion would be to install heaters in the bus shelters. Traffic enforcement will be the key to the success of this program along with snow removal and regular maintenance of the stations to keep them clean and graffiti free.

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Voting closed 22

The fine for parking or driving in these lanes should be substantial

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Voting closed 33

I expect this to work about exactly as well as the Brighton Ave bus/bike lane, better known as the Brighton Ave UberEats Double Parking Lane.

people will not give one single shit about paint on the road without enforcement

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Voting closed 11

This is exciting. I went down a huge YouTube rabbit hole of urban planning videos recently and it made me so jealous of the bike/pedestrian/public transit infrastructure they have in places like the Netherlands and Copenhagen. If you give people more viable options for how to get from A to B, it makes it better for everybody (even for people driving cars).

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Voting closed 23

but after hearing about these lanes coming in for what feels like a year now, I’m honestly disappointed by the scope. When they announced the opening this weekend, I looked up exactly where the lanes are located. And they don’t even run for a mile. Whole lotta fanfare for 0.7 miles of bus lane. Definitely should extend it to Ruggles ASAP. Next bus lines to get the BRT treatment (in Boston at least) should probably be Silver line from Nubian to Chinatown, the 28 along Warren and Blue Hills Ave, and the 32 along Hyde Park Ave. It’s not the El, and it’s not even light rail, but it’s cheaper than rail and effective. Hell, string up some overhead catenary, and it’s pretty much light rail without the rail.

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Voting closed 13

The silver lie from Nubian to downtown would have BRT treatment with a little enforcement. It already has marked lanes from Melnea Cass inward (the street is narrower between Nubian and Melnea Cass). They just aren't bollarded or anything, and people using them for whatever TF they want (driving, parking, rideshare, mail/UPS, police cruisers hanging out with no apparent emergency) isn't enforced.

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Voting closed 20

… for all the reasons you point out. One of the worst areas of abuse is the tiny stretch of Washington between Kneeland and Boylston/Essex. It can take you up to 10 minutes to get up that stretch that takes less than a minute to walk thanks to Ubers, Lyfts, delivery trucks and masshole drivers.
Part of the lie at the other end is that the Silver Lie was supposed to go as far as Egleston, but the money for that was diverted to projects in more affluent neighborhoods.

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Voting closed 8

Curious. I dont see any overhead wires in the video, which surely with the climate emergency would be a priority. I can only assume theyll be installed within the next few weeks.

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Voting closed 7

Should we assume that the cops are already parking their cruisers in these new lanes? Or churchgoers?

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Voting closed 6