MBTA plans the first major overhaul of its bus network since the 1960s.
In May, the agency bragged Project to overhaul the bus network to provide high-frequency service to more than 275,000 peoplebasically every 15 minutes or sooner, every day of the week after five.
As stated in the original proposal, bus service will expand to 30 of the current 15 corridors, with new all-day service to Everett, Lynn, Medford, South Boston, West Roxbury and Somerville.
But as the process progressed, Boston officials asked the MBTA to reconsider some things.
In a letter to MBTA Chief Executive Steve Poftak on Wednesday, Mayor Michelle Wu highlighted the city’s opposition to plans to overhaul bus routes 11 and 55 and cut the current bus route 39, which connects Jamaica Plains to Back Bay.
“We know that some existing community routes are essential for our passengers, including the elderly and disabled,” Wu wrote. “These routes should be supplemented, not cancelled.”
In official comments to the MBTA, the city wrote that officials had expressed “serious” concerns about the cancellation of Route 39 service on the existing stretch from Brigham Circle to Copley Square. The route currently passes through Back Bay, Fenway, Mission Hill and Brookline to Jamaica Plain.
“Despite MBTA’s claims and later Big Dig-era promises, this single-seater ride was essential for Jamaica Plains residents who lost E Line streetcar service in the 1980s and moved from This connection didn’t not been restored.” “This connection must be maintained as a high frequency service.”
If implemented, MBTA’s current proposal would rename the Route 39 bus to T39 and extend service from the Brigham Loop to Central Plaza, Union Square and Porter Square across the Charles River.
However, to do this, the MBTA will also cut some of the existing 39 routes between Brigham Circle and Copley Square.
Drivers wishing to continue to Copley Square should take the green line from the T39.
“While the city supports a better (Longwood Medical District) connection to Cambridge/Somerville, this route should not come at the expense of direct service from Jamaica Plain to Back Bay,” the officials wrote. “New York City is highly anticipated. Expect continued service on the current Route 39, as well as new service using the proposed T39 route.”
For the Route 55 bus connecting Fenway and Kenmore to Back Bay, the city supports the MBTA’s vision to maintain Fenway’s connection to Kenmore Square. But the city wants to see the agency “provide easy access to the Green Line and meet local needs to connect the city center and other major destinations”.
In the letter, Wu noted that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the 55 bus served downtown — another change the city wanted to see.
Officials added that they were also “disappointed that the MBTA has canceled all bus services on Heath Street”.
“This is an important connection for the residents of Mission Hill, Roxbury and Jamaica Plains,” the document said. “We strongly believe that Heath Street should be served by buses. Given the significant concerns over the re-routing of the T39 and 55 to Cambridge, we believe an alternative connection could be a route from Jackson Square via Heath Street and (Longwood Medical District) to Porter Square. This would provide a connection to Cambridge while allowing the current route to be maintained.
The city is also concerned about plans for a Route 11 bus that runs through South Boston to Broadway Station. Officials wrote that the route is “a vital neighborhood connection for South Boston residents to Tufts Medical Center and serves the growing A Street corridor.”
“This service must be preserved and improved to continue to perform this important function,” the officials wrote.
The city is not entirely opposed to the redesign effort, however.
Officials backed many of the key principles of the overhaul, according to Wu. She called high-frequency routes and plans to improve intercity services “critical to the future of the transportation network.”
Yet, in addition to the city’s problem seeing the route of surrounding neighborhoods, Wu would like to see more details from the MBTA, “particularly around operational and financial planning to ensure consistent, frequent and reliable service.”
“The MBTA must describe the support resource commitments
This will make this vision a reality,” the mayor wrote.
Wu also urged transit agencies to prioritize passenger experience and accessibility.
“The people of Boston and my administration are very grateful to the MBTA for recognizing that the bus is central to the future of public transportation,” Wu wrote in the letter. “We appreciate our strong partnership with the MBTA and look forward to working together to ensure the overhaul of the bus network.
Our buses are more suitable for everyone. “
In a statement Thursday afternoon, T told Boston.com that the agency is reviewing the city’s comments.
“With the common goal of designing a transit system that reflects changing demographics, emerging employment sectors and changing mobility patterns, the MBTA continues to have a productive dialogue with the City of New York “, reads the press release. “The Network Redesign Team is reviewing New York City’s feedback, as well as approximately 20,000 additional comments received on the draft web map. As part of the ongoing review process, the Redesign Team is assessing potential changes to the map in response to public feedback.”
The MBTA expects to recommend changes to the proposed network by the end of October.
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