Charlie BreitroseAn MBTA bus in Watertown. The MBTA has proposed some major changes to its bus service, including more frequent runs for the 70 Bus and the addition of two routes: one serving Newton and Waltham, and another that goes from Riverside Station in Newton to Arlington and includes Belmont. The changes are part of the Better Bus Program, the MBTA’s proposal to revamp parts of the bus system to meet the changing needs of the Greater Boston area due to shifting demographics, new employment centers, increased traffic congestion and changing travel patterns, according to the MBTA’s website. Recently, the MBTA released a proposed map of the new bus routes (click here to see an interactive map). The changes impacting Watertown include increasing the frequency of the 70 Bus from the current service, every 30 minutes or less during midday and on weekdays, to every 15 minutes or less seven days a week under the proposed plan.
Watertown TMAThe Watertown Connector started running the week of Labor Day. The shuttle goes down Pleasant Street to Watertown Square and then heads to Harvard Square. It is open to the general public. The City of Watertown wants to go green by seeking funds for two electric vehicles for the recently launched shuttle running from the Westside to Harvard Square. The Council recently signed a letter requesting a three-year grant through the Community Connections program run by MassDOT to lease two battery-powered vehicles to replace the one gas-powered shuttle currently being operated.
The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is encouraging members of the public to plan ahead for the holiday travel period in the coming weeks. Traffic volumes and public transportation are anticipated to be higher than normal.
Drivers and public transportation ridership customers should use available real-time tools and resources for current travel conditions on major roadways such as dialing 511, visiting www.mass511.com or using the GoTime mobile app, and check MBTA schedule information available at mbta.com/holidays and the weather forecast before leaving home. “During this holiday season, we are reminding drivers to expect more people traveling by car, public transportation, and in airports and to plan for any trips by checking conditions ahead of time and building in extra time,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “Make sure to drive sober and hands free, follow speed limits, and be patient as more people return to traveling this season.”
The Highway Division is taking several steps to ensure safe and efficient travel on state-owned roadways. There will be no construction work on major arterial roadways from 5:00 a.m. on Friday, December 24, 2021, through the normal start of business at 5:00 a.m. on Monday, December 27, 2021, and from 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 30, 2021, through 5:00 a.m. on Monday, January 3, 2022. In addition, the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane located on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will extend its afternoon hours by opening from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 23, 2021, and on Thursday, December 30, 2021.
Charlie BreitroseAn MBTA bus in Watertown. The MBTA announced changes to services beginning on Dec. 19, 2021, including decreased frequency and schedule changes for some bus lines serving Watertown. The 70 bus line from Waltham to the Central Square area in Cambridge will have decreased frequency during weekday mornings and afternoons, Saturday afternoons, and Sunday afternoons. The 504 express bus from Watertown Yard to Copley Square will have decrease frequency in the morning and afternoon.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is reminding members of the public to plan ahead for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday week, use available technology tools and resources to make informed decisions, and pack essential items such as face coverings that maybe required for certain travel.
During this holiday season, individuals should be aware that there may be a higher number of travelers on Commonwealth roadways and on public transportation as post-pandemic travel increases. “The Thanksgiving holiday period will be a very busy travel time so members of the public should plan ahead, travel off-peak hours, and consider taking public transportation,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “We want everyone to reach their destinations safely and that means travel at or below the speed limit, drive sober, limit distractions, and be patient knowing that when roadways and public transportation are crowded, trips will simply take longer.”
“We’re excited to welcome passengers back to Logan this holiday season,” said Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “Travel has changed and we are urging passengers to have some patience and download FlyLogan app. As always, we recommend passengers use HOV modes to get to and from the airport, such as MBTA and Logan Express.”
The High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane on I-93 between Boston and Quincy will extend its hours to be open from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, November 23, and from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., on Wednesday, November 24. The HOV lane will be closed on Thursday, November 25, and Friday, November 26, and will resume normal operations on Monday, November 29. The Sumner Tunnel swing lane will not be deployed on Thursday, November 25, or on Friday, November 26, and will resume normal operations on Monday, November 29.
Latest Details for Mt. Auburn St. Redesign Include “Road Diet,” Moving Bus Stops; Public Input Wanted
MassDOTCross sections of Mt. Auburn Street with the “road diet” that removes one lane of traffic each way and ads turn lanes and bike lanes. The redesign of one of Watertown’s major roadways will include some significant changes to the look of the road, as well as improvements that state officials said would improve the road for motorists, transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians. The repaving and improvement of Mt. Auburn Street has been discussed for many years and officially got started by Watertown officials in 2009.
WorldTech EngineeringA hearing will be held to discuss the redesign of Mt. Auburn Street. Pictured is a conceptual drawing of what the new bus stop on Mt. Auburn Street near Parker Street when plans were discussed in 2018. The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:
A Live Virtual Design Public Hearing will be hosted on the MassDOT website below to present the design for the proposed Rehabilitation of Mt.
Charlie BreitroseBuses like this one on the 71 bus will get priority heading toward Harvard Square on Mt. Auburn Street in the new Cambridge-Watertown Bus Priority Pilot program. The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:
The MBTA and MassDOT will host a virtual public meeting on Zoom on Wednesday, October 27, at 6 p.m. to discuss the Bus Network Redesign Project. An initiative of the Better Bus Project, the MBTA and MassDOT’s Bus Network Redesign Project is taking a look at the bus system as a whole in order to recommend a new network that better serves the needs of the region. The project’s second public meeting will present the approach and principles used by MassDOT and the MBTA to propose a transformed bus network through the Bus Network Redesign process.
Charlie BreitroseThe Watertown Connector’s Pleasant Street shuttle pulls into Watertown Mews, the first stop during morning runs to Harvard Square. Watertown’s newest public transportation option made a special run on Wednesday to show Town officials and residents what it is like to ride the Watertown Connector Pleasant Street Shuttle. The Watertown Connector began running on Pleasant Street the day after Labor Day, and has given more than 150 rides on the route that goes down the westside corridor, to Watertown Square and on to Harvard Square. The shuttle makes four runs in the morning and four in the afternoon and evening. Rides are free for residents of apartment complexes and employees of businesses that contribute to the Watertown Transportation Management Association (TMA).