Ever wanted to have a seat at the MBTA table? Here’s your chance!

Well, the time may in fact have come. The recently-passed and now signed Massachusetts Fiscal Year 2024 budget expands the board of the MBTA by two seats, including, most importantly for purposes of this post, one for an appointee of the Mayor of Boston. You can read the full announcement on the City’s website, and we’ve pulled the text here:

Mayor Michelle Wu is seeking ideas and recommendations from residents to inform the City of Boston’s representation on the MBTA Board. Earlier this month, the State Legislature and Governor passed a state budget that created a City of Boston seat on the Board of Directors of the MBTA, giving the City a direct role in the governance of the region’s public transit system. Mayor Wu wants community to be a partner in building this new relationship with the MBTA to best reflect the needs of commuters and riders.

Boston’s economic strength, community well-being, and cultural vibrancy depend on public transportation and the City is ready to partner on the urgent endeavor of building the quality transit that our entire region deserves. In the coming weeks, Mayor Wu will be considering candidates to serve on the Board of Directors, which meets monthly and holds monthly subcommittee meetings. Click here to learn more about leadership at the MBTA. 

Those interested in serving should be: 

  • A resident of Boston
  • A public transit rider
  • Connected to communities of transit riders, including employees, customers, and students
  • Committed to high quality, reliable, and affordable public transportation as a core strategy of economic growth, cultural vibrancy, and quality of life.

We are also asking residents and community members to help inform Boston’s involvement on the MBTA Board. Please submit your ideas and/or interest through this form by Monday, September 5th at 5 p.m. For more information, visit boston.gov/mbta-board

 

Arborway Bus Maintenance Meeting – In Person – TOMORROW – 22 June 2023 – 6 pm at English High School

We’re boosting the signal on this one kind of late, but better late than never. If you’re able, please do attend and show your support for our beleaguered transit agency and their attempts to move forward with electrification of their bus fleet by, among other things, replacing the Arborway bus garage with a fully modern facility while making significant land available for development of sorely needed new housing for our city. Thanks!

The MBTA is pleased to announce a public meeting to discuss replacement of the Arborway Bus Maintenance Facility.  The in-person meeting is scheduled for:

Thursday, June 22, 2023

6 PM – 8 PM

The English High School – Auditorium

144 McBride Street

Boston

At this meeting, MBTA project staff will provide an overview of the 15% design plans for the new bus maintenance facility and electrification project. The MBTA is designing the facility to support a 100% battery electric bus (BEB) fleet. BEBs will reduce emissions and improve the air quality around the facility and routes served. The new facility will be located next to the existing facility, on the site of 500 Arborway, and will open up 6.5 acres for housing and other development. The new facility will expand the fleet size to serve additional routes in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan. This will provide capacity for 60-foot buses that carry greater numbers of riders on busy routes.

The MBTA encourages public participation and invites all to join this meeting. The MBTA will facilitate a Q&A period to respond to inquiries and gather public feedback about this project. 

This meeting will be held in person. Please click here to register so that we can account for attendance and accommodate accessibility needs.

For questions and comments, you can email us at arborwaybus@nullmbta.com.

Accommodations

Haitian Creole and Spanish interpreters, translated materials, and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services will be provided for this meeting. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters will be provided via Zoom.

Accessibility accommodations and language services will be provided free of charge, upon request, as available. Such services include documents in alternate formats, translated documents, closed captioning, and interpreters.

For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation and/or language services, please email publicengagement@nullmbta.com or call tel:  857-327-3282. Requests should be made at least 10 days before a meeting.

Para más información o para pedir arreglos razonables y/o servicios lingüísticos, por favor envíe un e-mail publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

如需进一步了解或要求合理的便利设备和/或语言服务,请电邮 publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

Para mais informações, ou para solicitar serviços de acesso e/ou linguísticos em termos razoáveis, contactar por email publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

Pou plis enfòmasyon oswa pou mande yon aranjman rezonab ak/oswa sèvis lang, tanpri voye yon imèl bay publicengagement@nullmbta.com.

RED ALERT: It’s now official – MBTA to close down Orange Line for 30 day “accelerated” repair effort on tracks and signals

UPDATE: 17 August 2022

The MBTA Commuter Rail “Surge” Schedule for Forest Hills (plus Hyde Park and Ruggles) to Back Bay and South Station (and back) is now available. It can be found here.

Here’s a selected station pair – Forest Hills and South Station only – total travel time is about 13 to 15 minutes:

INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS – WEEKDAYS

5:31am, 6:34am, 6:42am, 7:16am, 7:34am, 7:42am [BIG GAP], 8:34am, 8:42am, 9:14am, 9:31am, 9:42am, 10:16am, 10:31am, 10:42am [BIG GAP], 11:31am, 11:47am, 12:17pm, 12:31pm [BIG GAP], 1:31pm, 1:47pm [BIG GAP], 2:36pm, 3:18pm, 3:36pm [BIG GAP], 4:36pm [BIG GAP], 5:36pm [BIG GAP], 6:36pm [BIG GAP], 7:36pm [BIG GAP], 9:16pm [NO MORE INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS AFTER 9:16PM]

OUTBOUND FROM SOUTH STATION – WEEKDAYS (Applicable line noted in parentheses)

6:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 7:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 8:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 9:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 10:50am (Needham) [BIG GAP], 11:50am [BIG GAP] (Needham), 12:50pm (Needham), 1:05pm (Stoughton) [BIG GAP], 1:55pm (Needham), 2:05pm (Stoughton), 2:25pm (Wickford), 2:55pm (Needham), 3:25pm (Providence), 3:55pm (Needham), 4:25pm (Providence), 4:55pm (Needham), 5:00pm (Stoughton) [BIG GAP], 5:55pm (Needham), 6:00pm (Stoughton) [BIG GAP], 6:55pm (Needham), 7:00pm (Stoughton), 7:25pm (Wickford), 7:55pm (Needham), 8:00pm (Stoughton), 8:25pm (Providence), 9:00pm (Stoughton), 9:20pm (Needham) [BIG GAP], 11:00pm (Needham) [NO MORE OUTBOUND TO FOREST HILLS AFTER 11:00PM]

INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS – WEEKENDS [BIG GAPS THROUGHOUT]

6:31am, 6:36am, 8:36am, 8:51am, 10:36am, 10:51am, 12:36pm, 12:51pm, 2:36pm, 2:48pm, 4:36pm, 6:36pm, 8:36pm [NO MORE INBOUND FROM FOREST HILLS AFTER 8:36pm]

OUTBOUND FROM SOUTH STATION – WEEKENDS [BIG GAPS THROUGHOUT]

7:15am, 9:15am, 11:15am, 12:20pm, 1:15pm, 2:20pm, 3:15pm, 4:20pm, 5:15pm, 6:00pm, 7:15pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm [NO MORE OUTBOUND FROM SOUTH STATION AFTER 10:15PM]

UPDATE: 15 August 2022 – NEW MBTA FLYERS NOW AVAILABLE:

Orange Line Shutdown – ENGLISH

Orange Line Shutdown – SPANISH

Orange Line Shutdown – HAITIAN CREOLE

 

 

NOTE: For travel between Roslindale and Downtown, the best bet is almost certainly going to be the Commuter Rail from either Roslindale Village, Forest Hills, or Bellevue. Without coming completely out and saying it, the T is essentially going to allow for free boarding of the system based on flashing a Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket. They are now clear that they won’t be checking the value on these passes, so basically anything will work here.

PRIOR POST FOLLOWS

Among the many issues unfortunately plaguing our region’s transit system, the state of the Orange Line’s tracks and signals has been an ongoing concern for several years as slow zones have multiplied all along the line, increasing travel times significantly and contributing to the sense of an agency on a downward trajectory at exactly the wrong time. We simply can’t afford a transit system that doesn’t work.

Today, the MBTA admitted reality, made it official, and announced a 30-day shutdown of the entire Orange Line, from Forest Hills to Oak Grove, starting at 9 pm on Friday, 19 August 2022, and ending on Monday, 19 September 2022. The MBTA’s announcement can be found here. We’ve pulled the whole thing into this post to highlight key items in planning for Roslindale residents during this period and we encourage everyone to sign up for “Orange Line Transformation Updates” with the button in the post from the T:

  • Commuter Rail Access/Fair Fares: Service is being added on other lines so that they will stop more frequently at both Forest Hills and Ruggles, but beyond that, the T providing that riders can also take the Commuter Rail from Roslindale Village or Bellevue for the same price as riding the subway/bus. Just show your Charlie Card or Charlie Ticket when boarding.
  • Substitute Bus Service: There will be free substitute bus service in 2 parts – Forest Hills to Back Bay and North Station to Oak Grove. How well the City of Boston and the T coordinate bus transit priority for these shuttles will be a key part of what happens here and how much pain riders have to endure. We will watch closely for announcements here.
  • Other Travel Alternatives: We’re also keenly interested in how well the T coordinates increasing service on key regular bus routes that could provide replacement service, such as the 39 from Forest Hills, and what the City does on bulking up Blue Bikes and safe cycling generally along the Southwest Corridor and on Washington Street from the square to Forest Hills.

 

FULL MBTA ANNOUNCEMENT:

 

As part of the Orange Line Transformation Program, we’re accelerating important reliability upgrades during a 30-day shutdown of the entire line starting at 9 PM on August 19. Regular Orange Line service will resume on Monday, September 19.

During this acceleration, crews will complete multiple projects more than five years faster than originally planned.

Why We’re Doing This Work

Upgrades to Orange Line tracks and signals will improve safety, increase reliability, and provide smoother trips for riders.

During this 30-day shutdown, a number of service alternatives will be available.

Crews will begin work at 9 PM on Friday, August 19. Regular service will resume on Monday, September 19.

Commuter Rail

The Commuter Rail may be the best option for many Orange Line riders. During this shutdown, riders can simply show their CharlieCard or CharlieTicket to conductors to ride the Commuter Rail in Zones 1A, 1 and 2. All Commuter Rail stops along the Orange Line are accessible.

Providence Line trains will make additional stops at Forest Hills:

  • On weekdays, 24 Providence Line trains will stop at Forest Hills
  • On weekends, 10 Providence Line trains will stop at Forest Hills

Haverhill Line trains will make additional stops at Oak Grove. Check back here for more information about this schedule coming soon.

For service on the south side of the Orange Line and to Downtown, riders can take the Needham Line, which stops at:

For service on the north side of the Orange Line, riders can take the Haverhill Line, which stops at:

 Shuttle Buses

Orange Line train service will be replaced with free, accessible shuttle buses:

Check back here for additional shuttle bus service information.

 Green Line

Riders are encouraged to use Green Line service in the downtown Boston area at Government CenterPark StreetBoylstonArlington, and Copley stations.

Neighborhood Impacts

The loudest work will occur when crews cut rails with a saw and tamp the track to the proper elevation.

Contact Us

For questions or comments related to this project, please email the Orange Line Transformation team at OLT@nullmbta.com.

To report construction issues or noise complaints, please call the OLT project hotline at 617-222-3393.

Sign Up for Orange Line Transformation Updates

To get project news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

More on Roslindale Bus Improvements

Many of you no doubt have noticed the extensive road/sidewalk construction in progress on Poplar Street by Adams Park. This project is one of several changes underway to improve bus service through Roslindale Square. If you’re interested in better understanding what’s going on, check out these two MBTA flyers:

The change with the most immediate impact is that the Route 30 outbound bus no longer needs to go all the way around Roslindale Square but instead will just go down Poplar Street before turning onto Washington Street briefly and then on to Cummins Highway. Prior to being moved up, the bus stop on Poplar Street was closer to Corinth Street (past the fork), making it impossible to turn left onto Washington Street. The new design will allow the bus to turn left at the fork and thus avoid an unnecessary trip around the entire square.

Roslindale Bus Improvements

We’re a bit late to acknowledge these recent improvements for bus service in Roslindale:

  • Washington Street Bus Lane: Building on the incredible success of the inbound morning bus lane on Washington Street, BTD expanded earlier this year to an afternoon outbound bus lane. Starting in late April, BTD added red paint to the southbound bus lane between Arboretum Road and Firth Road/South Street. This paint makes the bus lane more visible and prominent. The bus lane is operational between 2PM and 7PM on weekdays and enables buses to have a more reliable trip and save travel time. We’ve included some photos of the first night of striping below.
  • Roslindale Village Bus Stops: Work began in May on bus stop bump-outs on Poplar Street and Corinth Street. Once completed, these bus stops will be fully ADA accessible and provide better passenger amenities such as benches, shelters, and real time arrival information. They are also better located to permit smoother flow of buses through the square, and should shave off a few minutes of travel time for some bus lines that will no longer have to go all the way around Roslindale Square in order to head south on Cummins Highway.

We’re also happy to see the old Needham Line bridge over Robert Street has finally been replaced.

Thanks to all the folks at the MBTA and BTD (especially the transit team) for their hard work in seeing these projects through!

 

WUR’s Preview of Issues on the 43 Lochdale Road Proposal

The rescheduled BPDA-hosted community meeting for this 36-unit residential development is coming up on Tuesday evening, May 28, at 6:30 pm at the Menino Community Center, 125 Brookway Road.

We encourage attendance at this meeting. This will be a consequential development, located under half a mile from the end of the Orange Line, and as of now we at WalkUP Roslindale have the following concerns that we intend to raise on Tuesday evening:

1.     Parking

  • As proposed, this project is overparked. The parking ratio should be reduced from 1:1.28 to 1:1 (or less). Zero parking projects have recently been allowed in Roslindale Square, and this location is under a half mile (<10 minute walk) from Forest Hills Station (Orange Line) and steps from bus stops serviced by a dozen bus routes. Excessive parking will induce car ownership and car use, moving our neighborhood and our city away from the mode shift and greenhouse gas reduction goals to which we have committed. Reducing the amount of parking also has direct implications for the next issue.

2.     Affordability

  • The space saved from the above parking recommendations should be used to increase overall unit count and the number of affordable units.
  • Parking should be unbundled from the residential units to increase affordability.
  • We are aware that RISE’s Housing Justice group will be particularly focused on pushing the developer to increase both the percentage of affordable units and the level of affordability offered. We support RISE Housing Justice on these related issues and will make our views known at the meeting.

3.     Environment

  • Environmental cleanup/remediation appears to be needed on the proposed project site. While we recognize that environmental cleanup is not specifically a zoning issue, we do want to hear what the developer has to say both about what they have found and how they intend to deal with it.
  • Although the project has dropped below the Large Project Review threshold and is technically required to meet only building code-based green building requirements, we would support a call for this project to exceed those standards and approach Net Zero/Zero Plus/LEED standards.

4.     Surrounding Neighborhood

  • The developer should assist financially with ongoing efforts around the Roslindale Gateway Path/Arboretum Road Entrance as this will be a significant amenity for residents of the development and the broader surrounding neighborhood.
  • The developer should provide support for the overall improvement of Lochdale Rd, Arboretum Rd and Kitson Rd (the private way running along the site, parallel to Washington St). The developer’s application mentions a “9-foot walkway/bike path to be created as part of the project” on Kitson Rd. We would like to hear more about what is contemplated here.

Robert Street Bridge Meeting TOMORROW (Monday, 29 April 2019)

We encourage everyone to attend the Robert Street Bridge replacement project’s public meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, 29 April 2019, at 6:30 pm at the Roslindale Community Center (6 Cummins Highway). There should be an opportunity to influence the final design of the project as well as learn more about what the MBTA has planned for the construction period and how it will affect both access to Robert Street and Roslindale Square as well as service on the Needham Line. [NOTE: Photo courtesy Universal Hub.]

More of this please: District 6 Councilor Matt O’Malley to hold MBTA office hours – 19 Feb 2019

This is a welcome new way to communicate with constituents that we hope catches on for all of our councilors (also recognizing that Councilor Wu has been directly communicating through social media about her personal MBTA experiences for some time now). According to Go Boston 2030, the transit mode share for Roslindale residents’ work trips exceeds 25%, so this appears to be a great investment of the councilor’s time and a way to meet and take the pulse of this substantial slice of the neighborhood (a portion of which Councilor O’Malley does represent). We encourage everyone to attend, and tell us how it went in the comments!

Recap on WalkUP Roslindale Key Bus Stop Clearance Collaborative – Version 1.2

Overall, and no surprise to anyone, but there was a lot of snow out there this morning. The vehicular portions of streets were generally in good shape thanks to the city’s long-standing practice, so thanks go to the city’s own crews and their team of contractors responsible for plowing those areas. The sidewalks and the bus stops on them were another matter. The stops themselves on Hyde Park Avenue were in decent shape, though plowed in. At the other stops we cleared, the conditions at the start ranged from bad to horrendous. Clearly, more advocacy and work are needed to bring more attention and resources to clearing the walking and transit-related portions of streets — the sidewalks and bus stops — that are the city’s responsibility and enforcing the obligations of private property owners on the balance of our sidewalks. Plenty of folks we saw out this morning either walking or waiting for the bus were doing so in the cleared vehicular parts of the streets because the sidewalks and bus stop areas were unusable. This is hardly news if you’ve walked around Roslindale after a major snowfall. But it’s now 2018, combating the manifest impacts of climate change on this coastal city should be a top priority, and we need to move faster to encourage the shift to more walking and transit use that GoBoston 2030 is meant to promote. More needs to be done a lot faster.

So, my crew (Greg Tobin and yours truly) started the morning at Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway. The first bus stop we hit was on Hyde Park Avenue going northbound:

 

Sidewalk was clear on the other side of this. Pretty good start.

Next, we confirmed Greg’s good shoveling out on Cummins going westbound before Hyde Park Avenue and on Hyde Park Avenue going southbound after Cummins:

Then things started to significantly deteriorate. We walked up Cummins from Hyde Park Av., over the bridge over the MBTA/Amtrak tracks (the sidewalks on the bridge were shoveled and treated – right to the presumed property line),  and dug out the 2 bus stops (east and west on Cummins) — neither of which or the sidewalks leading to them had been touched. Plowed in and completely unpassable, so the best we could do was create landing pads for the 2 stops:

 

We then made our way over to Roslindale Square to join Steve Gag and Rob Orthman and finish up their work at the major bus stop at Washington Street, heading northbound, at Cummins, in front of the Roslindale Community Center. When I passed by in the morning, the sidewalk had been partially shoveled but the shelter hadn’t been cleared and there was no way to access buses when they stopped – plowed in. Here we can see Steve and Greg working on clearing the corner and several shots of the cleared bus shelter and paths to board buses, and then below that, the cleared stop in front of the florist on South Street:

Finally, on the way home, I first walked up South Street and encountered a massive, sidewalk-blocking snow mound on South Street abutting the Village Market parking lot. Hopefully this has been cleared by now.

And then, to finish off the WURSC Collaborative 1.2, I dug out a landing pad for the stop where multiple buses come in at Robert/Belgrade/Corinth, on the same side as the commuter rail station. As can be seen from the photos, the sidewalk on Belgrade was completely plowed in and I can report that no clearing had occurred this evening. It is to be hoped that this sidewalk and bus stop will be cleared as soon as possible.

WalkUP Roslindale Key Bus Stop Snow Clearance Collaborative – Version 1.0

Will you join us?

WalkUP Roslindale is looking to organize a collaborative group of neighbors who will help us clear snow from a handful of our neighborhood’s key bus stops whenever we have more than 4″ of snow this winter.

As we all know, snow clearance is often an issue at bus stops throughout the region. That doesn’t mean we should ignore it and hope that our seniors, young people, and everyone in between miraculously manage to safely board their buses at stops rendered unsafe by snow and ice.

The key bus stops we’re proposing to focus on this winter are:

  1. Cummins Hwy @ Hyde Park Av/30 & 14 toward Mattapan/Hyde Park
  2. Cummins Hwy @ Hyde Park Av/30 toward Roslindale
  3. Hyde Park Av @ Cummins Hwy/34 toward Hyde Park
  4. Hyde Park Av @ Cummins Hwy/34 toward Forest Hills
  5. Belgrade Av @ Robert/Multiple outbound buses
  6. Washington St @ Cummins Hwy/Multiple inbound buses

That breaks down geographically into 2 collaborative teams – one in Roslindale Square and one at the intersection of Hyde Park Avenue and Cummins Highway. Rob Guptill (email: rguptill2000@nullyahoo.com) has volunteered to be the team coordinator for the Roslindale Square group and Matt Lawlor (your correspondent, email: matthew.j.lawlor@nullgmail.com) has volunteered to be the team coordinator for HP/Cummins. The plan is to blast a call to snowshoveling arms over our email list and social media accounts whenever we make the call for the collaborative teams to shovel the following morning. That said, both Rob and I would love to hear directly at the email addresses above from anyone who is interested in helping us provide this important service to our neighbors so we can be sure of a core group of ready and willing collaborators. We would love your support for this effort!!