As of November 15th, after several weeks of calibration, City of Cambridge staff and the Mount Auburn Street Bus Priority project partners consider the implementation of the Mt Auburn Street Bus Priority Pilot to be complete. Traffic and congestion look to be relatively typical for this time of year.
We are now entering the first evaluation phase of the project where we look at available, short-term MBTA and travel time data and solicit your input. Starting today, we want your feedback on how Mount Auburn Street has been working for everyone since the implementation was complete on Nov. 15. “Everyone” includes people driving, biking, walking, riding buses or shuttles, being dropped off, and making deliveries. To tell us your thoughts, please go to the survey at the following link:
We expect to leave this survey open for the month of December. We will also be flyering the surrounding neighborhood and using social media to attempt to reach those not on this email list.We will analyze survey results and available data for an initial report back to stakeholders later in the winter. In the spring, we will carry out a more thorough data collection effort to complete the post-implementation project evaluation and report back on longer-term plans for the roadway.
Throughout the evaluation stage, the City of Cambridge and project partners will continue to monitor how Mount Auburn Street operates for everyone – people driving, biking, walking, taking transit – and make minor adjustments as needed.
City of Cambridge and DCR staff together made extensive observations and fixed the signal timing and coordination issues that we faced Monday November 5 to Tuesday November 13. We believe that as of Thursday November 15, signal timing and coordination on Mt. Auburn at Coolidge Ave and Fresh Pond Parkway has been corrected and is functioning as intended. We hope this is mitigating the frustrations that we have heard from many of you the last few weeks. If you are still experiencing problems due to the current signal timing, we appreciate your comments and feedback. We will continue to monitor the conditions to ensure that the signal timing works and the street functions as intended.
To provide feedback on this pilot project, please click here to go to our feedback tool.
The next step after the holiday week will be to evaluate the Mt. Auburn Bus Priority Pilot project. As has been shared with the public, we expect two phases of evaluation. In the first month or so in the evaluation period, we will observe, survey, and take preliminary measures of private vehicle and bus travel times. In the spring, we will be carrying out a more thorough data collection effort and complete our evaluation.
Project partners have implemented lane painting, line striping, signage, signal installation, and signal timings by Friday 10/26. Cambridge, Watertown, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, MBTA, MassDOT, and the Barr Foundation participated in the launch event on Friday 10/26.
Check out this new document with questions and answers on the design of the new bus and bike-only lanes, transit signal priority, and queue jump features.
Mt. Auburn Bus Priority Pilot implementation began the week of October 15th. Most of the painting, line striping, and signage installation has been completed as of Friday, 10/19. Additional work includes DCR signal installation and timing changes at Coolidge Avenue, which are critical to managing the queues on Mt. Auburn Street. This work occurred over the weekend of 10/20-21 and was completed the week of 10/22. Additional monitoring and calibration continued through the week.
The City created a two-page flyer with the latest information on the upcoming installation of the dedicated bus lane and how-to information for people driving, walking, and biking along the corridor.
Watch these brief videos, providing more information about the pilot and its impacts:
Design plans for the bus/bike-only lane installation can be found by clicking this link and in the project's "Description" tab.
The City of Cambridge restriped Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge west of Fresh Pond Parkway in preparation for the Mt. Auburn Bus Priority Pilot. The new line striping reconfigured traffic lanes slightly, added clearer lane markings, added bicycle lanes, and reconfigured where Brattle Street merges with Mt. Auburn Street westbound. The bus priority elements will still be implemented in October.
The City of Cambridge and the Town of Watertown are continuing to build momentum for the Cambridge-Watertown Mount Auburn Street Bus Priority project by implementing early action elements of the whole project, still scheduled for launch in October 2018.
- In mid-August, the Town of Watertown debuted two “queue jump” lanes at School Street and Walnut Street. Queue jump lanes allow buses to move more quickly through intersections by “jumping” to the front of the line of cars stopped at a light. See attached press release.
- Pending weather, Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge west of Fresh Pond Parkway will be restriped the week of August 27th in preparation for the Mt. Auburn Bus Priority Pilot. The work will happen overnight for about two nights. The new line striping will reconfigure traffic lanes slightly, add clearer lane markings, add bicycle lanes, and reconfigure where Brattle Street merges with Mt. Auburn Street westbound. The bus priority will still be implemented in October.
The Watertown queue jump lanes at Walnut Street and School Street are going live at the end of July! The queue jump lane is a right-turn only lane, permitting straight-through movements for buses only. The idea behind a queue-jump lane is to allow buses to by-pass waiting traffic by a few seconds to keep their routes on schedule and to avoid delays in service. View updated plans here.
High school students working with the Cambridge's Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program will be on the Mount Auburn St. corridor in July. The MSYEP participants will be doing outreach work at bus stops, on the bus, and to businesses in advance of the bus priority pilot project installation work in the fall. Be on the lookout for the MSYEP participants in mid-to-late July.
The timeline for the Mt. Auburn St. Bus Priority Pilot has shifted to the fall to remain aligned with the needed DCR intersection work. In the meantime, local momentum continues around the pilot: Watertown expects to implement on-street bus improvements at School Street and Walnut Street on Mt. Auburn Street this summer, including a bus queue jump / right-turn-on-red lane, allowing buses to get through the intersection faster. In Cambridge, city planners are finalizing the pilot design and continuing to conduct community outreach and education about the pilot.
Staff from Cambridge and Watertown hosted a joint community meeting on May 1, 2018, 6:00 - 7:30 PM at the Tufts Health Plan Morton A. Madoff Center, 705 Mt. Auburn Street, in Watertown to present the Bus Priority project, and took questions and feedback from the public. Other partners, like BostonBRT, ITDP, the MBTA, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, also attended.
Meeting Presentation (PDF)
Draft Plans of the Mount Auburn St Bus Priority Pilot Project (PDF) in 3 files:
Factsheet about the Bus Priority Pilot Project
A Strawberry Hill Neighborhood Meeting was held on Tuesday, March 27 to discuss the next steps for projects on Mt. Auburn and Belmont Streets. View the meeting presentation. The City has also released a Mt. Auburn Street Bus Priority Pilot Q&A for Strawberry Hill residents.
Cambridge, in partnership with Watertown, was awarded a community grant from the Barr Foundation to work with the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) to pilot bus priority improvements for routes 71 and 73 along Mt. Auburn St., between Belmont St. and Fresh Pond Parkway. Read the press release announcement.