OP-ED: MBTA has Terrible Track Record of Providing Service to Watertown Square

An MBTA Bus drives through Watertown Yard. (Photo by Mark Pickering)

By Mark Pickering

The city is out to revitalize Watertown Square and has set out a series of meetings aimed at getting feedback from the general public. The overall effort will look at making the square more attractive to walkers, merchants and developers looking to address the housing crisis. The issue of transportation is a key part of the package. Even our urban neighbors note that car traffic has taken over Watertown Square – which could be the worst such intersection in Greater Boston.

While the State of the City Looks Good, Manager Also Address Challenges Facing Watertown

City Manager George Proakis, left, and City Council President Mark Sideris spoke during the first annual State of the City on Wednesday night. Behind them is a photo of a juggler at the Faire on the Square. (Courtesy of the City of Watertown)

The State of the City of Watertown is strong and the future is bright, City Manager George Proakis said during the first annual State of the City on Wednesday night, but there are still many challenges to deal with. The event where the City Manager and the City Council President talk about how the City of Watertown is doing is now required to be held annually, following the changes to Watertown’s City Charter adopted in 2021. At the end of his presentation, Proakis included a photo of a performer at the Faire on the Square.

Meetings Planned on Proposed Changes to MBTA’s 57 Bus Route

The following information about the MBTA’s 57 bus, which runs out of Watertown Yard and goes down Galen Street toward Newton, Brighton, Allston, and ends up in Kenmore Square, was provided by the City of Watertown:

The City of Boston Transportation Department is working with the MBTA to plan improvements to the Route 57 bus corridor and will hold public engagement events this summer to collect community feedback, before implementing changes in 2023 or 2024. The Route 57 Transit Priority Corridor project will improve the Route 57 corridor in Brighton and Allston to reduce transit delay, enhance safety, and improve accessibility for those who live, work, and travel throughout the corridor. Improvements could include new bus lanes, changes to bus stops, or changes to how traffic operates at intersections. 

In the coming weeks, the project team will conduct outreach to raise awareness of the project and share initial design concepts. We will be tabling at community events, bus stops, and other locations leading up to the following two larger events:

August 2, 2023 In-Person Open House

Wednesday, August 2 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Jackson Mann Community Center, 500 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134.  

At this open house, City of Boston and MBTA staff will be available to answer questions about the project and listen to your feedback.

T Offers Marathon Monday Pass, Info on Race Day Service

The MBTA announced service information and a special Commuter Rail fare for the day of the 2023 Boston Marathon. To find the best Marathon viewing location on the T, customers are encouraged to visit the MBTA’s Boston Marathon Guide at mbta.com/Marathon, which highlights MBTA stations closest to the Marathon route and includes helpful information on purchasing fares, parking, and more. $15 Commuter Rail Marathon Pass:

On April 17, the MBTA will offer a special $15 Marathon Pass valid for all-day, unlimited travel on all Commuter Rail lines through all zones. This special $15 Marathon Pass is available for purchase beginning April 10 through April 17 on the mTicket app and from ticket offices at North, South, and Back Bay Stations. The $15 Marathon Pass is also available aboard trains via cash or credit card on April 17 only.

MBTA Holding Meeting on Bus Network Redesign, Breakout for Watertown Area

Charlie BreitroseAn MBTA 71 bus. The following information was provided by the MBTA:

Due to overwhelming interest in the November 2 Bus Network Redesign meeting, we will be holding a subsequent meeting to accommodate those who were not able to attend. The additional public meeting will be Monday, November 14 at 6:00 PM. 

We encourage attendees to view the November 2 recordings in advance of the meeting as the breakout room presentations will be shortened to allow for more time for questions. You can view the main presentation here. Breakout room recordings are also available for the following regions:

Breakout 1: Beverly, Chelsea, Danvers, East Boston, Everett, Lynn, Lynnfield, Malden, Marblehead, Melrose, Nahant, Peabody, Reading, Revere, Salem, Saugus, Stoneham, Swampscott, Wakefield, Winthrop

Breakout 2: Arlington, Bedford, Burlington, Cambridge, Lexington, Medford, Somerville, Winchester, Woburn

Breakout 3: Boston, Brookline

Breakout 4: Belmont, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown

Breakout 5: Avon, Braintree, Brockton, Canton, Dedham, Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Milton, Norwood, Quincy, Randolph, Walpole, Westwood, Weymouth

The meeting will be held online, via Zoom.

MBTA’s Releases Revised Bus Network, Holding Public Meeting This Week

Charlie BreitroseA 71 bus run by the MBTA. The following information was provided by MassDOT:

The Bus Network Redesign project has released a Revised Bus Network map. The map can be found on the project website. In May 2022, the Bus Network Redesign project released a Draft Bus Network Map and sought public feedback. Over the spring and summer, we received over 20,000 comments on the Draft Bus Network Map.