Morning Peak-Hour Bus Lane Planned for Mystic Avenue This Fall

Quick-build upgrades will support safer, healthier service on Route 95 bus; Virtual information session planned for Tuesday, November 10

A new quick-build bus priority lane is scheduled to be added in late November to the eastbound section of Mystic Avenue (Route 38) between Main Street in Medford and Wheatland Street in Somerville. The project is a joint effort between the cities of Somerville and Medford and MassDOT,  designed to create shorter bus rides, better reliability, and more social distancing along the MBTA 95 bus route.

Red bus priority lane markings will be painted on the roadway’s right-side lane headed eastbound toward Sullivan Square, establishing bus-only regulations during the heavy commuter hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The lane will be open to regular vehicle traffic the other 21 hours of the day, and cars may always use the bus lane to make right-hand turns or parallel park. On-street parking along Mystic Avenue in Somerville will not change.

The City will host a virtual information session on Tuesday, November 10, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the project and answer questions. Visit bit.ly/BusBikeLanes to register to attend.

“Much of our essential workforce relies on the bus to get to their jobs, and in these times of coronavirus,  quicker service is safer service,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “It also creates a more efficient traffic pattern during rush hour where buses aren’t weaving in and out of the traffic flow at every stop. We greatly appreciate MassDOT prioritizing these projects and the City of Medford in partnering with us to create a dedicated lane for the 95 bus.”

This corridor serves approximately 41 daily weekday inbound trips and 1,400 weekday total riders per day, with roughly 7,000 weekday total riders per week. The 95 route is in the top 50th percentile of bus ridership among all MBTA routes, but on-street traffic congestion contributes to a poor on-time performance of 67%.  Ridership has been durable through the COVID-19 pandemic, illustrating the importance of Route 95 to local residents and the region’s essential workforce.

Some key aspects of the project include:

  • Improved travel time and reliability for MBTA Route 95 bus service
  • Shorter wait times for the bus at several intersections, including Mystic Avenue (Route 38) at Harvard Street, Mystic Avenue at Shore Drive, Mystic Avenue at Temple Street, and Mystic Avenue at McGrath Highway (Route 28)
  • More efficient and reliable transit service for environmental justice communities that face the consequences of poor air quality in East Somerville and Winter Hill due to proximity to I-93
  • Improved transit connectivity between Arlington Center, Medford Square, and Sullivan Square

Since the start of the pandemic, the City has designed other quick-build bus and bike improvements on the western section of Washington Street, on the eastern section of Washington Street, in Davis Square, and on Wellington Bridge. For more information, visit bit.ly/BusBikeLanes.

 


Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication (i.e., CART, ASL), written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings should contact Nency Salamoun in advance at 617-625-6600 x2323 or [email protected].

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