Click here for information about the newly formed Transit Advisory Committee
Click here for a November 29, 2012 letter by City Manager Healy commenting on MassDOT’s “Your Vision, Our Future: A Transportation Conversation” series of public information sessions. The following is an excerpt
We are now at a crossroads and facing a future where inadequate resources are available for transportation. Though the Commonwealth is neither able to maintain our existing infrastructure nor provide additional transit capacity to meet goals for future economic growth, improved livability, and Greenhouse Gas Reduction.
Over 73% of the Massachusetts population lives within the MBTA service district, with over 1.3 million trips taken each day. Regional projections for mobility needs by the year 2035 indicate that there will be a 7% increase in demand for our roadways and a 30% increase in demand for transit service — levels of demand that will require increased transit capacity in the future. Additional actions are needed to create a long-term sustainable transportation system. While it is difficult at this time to think about increasing the capacity of our system, it is critical that we continue forward with the planning process for changes which take years to bring to fruition.
27% of those who live in or come to work in Cambridge rely on transit . Many more use transit as a secondary means to get to work and use it regularly for non-commuting purposes.
The MBTA Red Line carries 250,000 riders per typical weekday. The continued increase in transit ridership is certainly desired, but it is putting increased strain on the existing system. Decades of chronic underfunding of the MBTA has impacted ongoing maintenance necessary to keep our existing system working reliably and safely. All of the Red Line and Orange Line trains have exceeded their useful lifespan and are being cobbled together on a daily basis, sometimes unable to provide full capacity of cars available each morning for the peak hour commute. Delays are caused by vehicle breakdowns and failing track switching systems.
There are 33 bus routes that are in or pass through Cambridge carrying almost 100,000 riders per typical weekday. Of the 10 bus routes with highest ridership in the entire MBTA system, four of them are in Cambridge (#66, #1, #77, and #70). Four of the bus routes operating in Cambridge (#1, #47, #66, and #71) fail the MBTA’s “vehicle load standard ,” meaning there is excessive crowding during peak times.
While public focus is currently on funding our existing transit system, it is critical to recognize that the future of Cambridge relies on new and expanded transit options. Economic development in our region is being constrained by traffic congestion and inadequate transit access. The Green Line Extension project has been delayed, while $2 billion in development investment is currently planned for Northpoint. Planning for the Urban Ring Phase 2 project is not proceeding, but it is critical to add transit capacity to serve the corridor between Sullivan, Lechmere, Kendall, and Longwood Medical Area.
Given the current fiscal reality, MassDOT and municipalities must consider low-cost transit improvements that increase capacity in the short term. Extending existing bus routes, such as from Central Square to Kendall Square, can relieve congestion on the Red Line at relatively low cost. Prioritization of buses can be achieved by strategically adding queue-jump priority lanes, such as at the approaches to the Anderson Bridge. Providing “enhanced bus service” by strategically reallocating roadway space for buses, or implementing new Bus Rapid Transit lines on existing infrastructure, is a low-cost solution that will yield positive mode-shift results.
For more information
For more information contact Jeff Rosenblum at email@example.com or 617/349-4615.