The bus lanes have improved travel times, but who should cover the costs isn't entirely clear.
Adam Vaccaro reports that a bus-only lane started last year is significantly speeding up buses traveling on Washington Street. Both the city and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority agree that the lane is a success and an improvement that can be widely used in the region.
"But it has also raised a tough question: Who is responsible for managing these additions to the roads — the state-run transit agency that owns the buses or the city that owns the streets?" says Vaccaro.
The city is suggesting that the MBTA should help support the next phase of the project by covering expenses such as signage and paint for the lanes. While costs normally are the responsibility of a city or town, Boston pays more to the MBTA through assessments than any other municipality.
"Activists see this as the kind of typical Boston-area jurisdictional dispute that threatens to slow adoption of a transportation improvement at a critical time," reports Vaccaro. Still, bus lanes are faring well, and both state and local officials are heralding them as a cost-effective solution for tackling regional traffic problems.
While the issue of financial contributions remains up in the air, more lanes are are on the horizon, reports Vaccaro:
The [Marty] Walsh administration plans to hire the city’s first-ever transit director to work directly with the T on planning and implementing bus lanes, as well as other staffers to monitor them on a daily basis. City officials said that they expect to discuss the issue with new MBTA general manager Steve Poftak — whose appointment was praised by Walsh — who started the job this week.
MBTA officials say they are working with the city to resolve the issue, and advocates say they would like to see a signed agreement between the agency and the city.
Redesigning Streets for Livability: A Global View
An excerpt from the introduction of the recent book, “Streets For All: 50 Strategies for Shaping Resilient Cities,” edited by Vinayak Bharne and Shyam Khandekar.
The Right to Mobility
As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.
Bend Eliminates Parking Minimums
The city is complying with an Oregon state mandate that some cities have challenged in court.
How To Prevent ‘Green Gentrification:’ Lessons from the BeltLine
For one author, the key is focusing on affordable housing from the start.
Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability
The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.
El Paso Freeway Cap Linked to Road Expansion
A deck reconnecting neighborhoods divided by the interstate is part of a controversial freeway expansion proposal.
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Harvard GSD Executive Education
Harvard GSD Executive Education
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.