Come June 1, people who take the Wonderland bus to Haymarket or Maverick Square will have minutes sliced off their travel time.
Because that’s the day the city’s long-awaited and much-anticipated “bus lane” pilot program on Broadway (southbound) will begin, according to city transportation planner Julie DeMauro.
DeMauro gave the Revere Traffic Commission headed by Paul Argenzio an update on the program at its March 25 meeting. She further elaborated on the program in a post-meeting interview.
The bus lane will go southbound from the intersection of Revere Street and Broadway and proceed all the way through the Revere downtown business district and on to the Revere-Chelsea line across from the Cronin Rink parking lot adjacent to Chelsea Creek. The bus lane will be clearly painted on the street. The hours of operation will be from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
“The 116 and 117 buses, the 411 bus, and the 119 bus (which takes a left at Central Avenue onto Broadway) will use the lane,” said DeMauro.
Motorists will not be able to park in any spaces along the bus route on Broadway. Delivery trucks would still be able to park along the route and make deliveries during those hours.
The bus pilot program was originally scheduled to start in October, 2020 and run on a three-month trial basis through December 31, 2020. But due to weather concerns and a delay in signing the agreement with the MBTA, the program was pushed back to June 1, 2021 and extended to a six-month trial period through Dec. 31, 2021.
“It will definitely speed up a person’s trip on the bus,” said DeMauro. “School buses will also be allowed to use the lane. Also our first responders, the Fire Department and ambulances, will also be allowed to use the lane if necessary.”
In addition to the restricted bus lane, there will be a traffic signalization upgrade on Broadway, meaning the city would be able to prioritize bus service through the Broadway corridor.
“That means if there were a bus approaching the traffic lights, the lights would account for the bus coming through the intersections,” said DeMauro.
The MBTA bus ride to Boston could get even better. “The City of Chelsea is in the design process for a bus lane that would start from the border (across from the Cronin Rink) and go all the way to their City Hall (Bellingham Square),” said DeMauro. “Once this is all completed, there will be a regional approach to bus travel that extends the city lines.”
Once the bus lane pilot program ends on Dec. 31, the city will use data to assess the effectiveness of the project and its impact on bus riders as well as Revere businesses. The program will then be reviewed by the Revere Traffic Commission, who with MBTA officials, will decide whether to make the bus lane a permanent addition to the bus route on Broadway.