Community Featured Transportation

Reader Poll: Do You Favor the Mayor’s Plan for a Dedicated Bus / Bike Lane on N. Washington Street?

Mayor Walsh has announced new transportation initiatives and investments to make Boston’s streets safer for all users, ease congestion, and provide more viable transportation options. One initiative is to create a dedicated bus / bike lane on North Washington Street, from Cross Street to the Charlestown Bridge. The North Washington Street bus / bike lane will be in effect 24/7 inbound from the Charlestown Bridge to Haymarket.

What do you think? Do you support this new transportation lane to ease congestion on N. Washington Street? Vote in our poll and add your comments in the section below.

Web polls are unscientific and reflect only those who choose to participate. polls do not have any official significance and are only intended for the interest of our readers.

50 Replies to “Reader Poll: Do You Favor the Mayor’s Plan for a Dedicated Bus / Bike Lane on N. Washington Street?

  1. Why would people oppose this? It’ll move thousands of people much more quickly on a congested corridor. The one in Roslindale is a gem, come see it.

    1. Agreed! This bus lane will do wonders for the 10,000 people who ride the 111 bus each day, but who are currently forced to sit in traffic on N. Washington Street. Instead, they will get to glide down the street like these riders on Mass Ave in Arlington:

      Faster trip times also means that the MBTA can run more buses, which will reduce crush loads and encourage still more people to ride the 111 and the other buses on this street.

    2. Why would you support this? It’s nothing but eye candy. The city put a dedicated bike lane in on Commercial Street and it’s an absolute waste. Few bikers and less room to move traffic. Boston isn’t Amsterdam. To move thousands or 10,000 bus 111 riders each day they have to have bikes and the desire to bike. This is nothing but a pipe dream and waste of resources. Walsh should be putting effort into solving the homeless issue in Boston and really make a difference.

  2. Need to wait until after the bridge construction is finished. Unfortunately, sometimes residents in the North End need to drive somewhere. Too much burden!

    1. My advice to all NE neighbors is to avoid driving through Keaney Square during construction hours for the next 4 years.

  3. It caused more traffic on Commercial St…I see no way it’s going to help the flow of automobile traffic. If they shove it upon us as they did the Commercial St project, I hope they don’t use the same engineers.

    1. Gary, you frequently claim that the bike lane–which is far different than a bus lane–caused traffic on Commercial Street. Where is your evidence?

  4. The bus lane will go in the parking lane. Driving lanes will not be removed or constricted. There are currently 2 bus stops there. The bus lane would eliminate the congestion caused by the need for them to stop and pull over fro passengers.

  5. Great idea let’s take the busiest street in town and cut down a lane!!! Brilliant!!! Where do these people come up with this stuff? Our first bike lane isn’t really working wonders let’s put another one!! Goofs!!! Maybe we should just ban cars and we will all Flynn around on magic carpets like Aladdin!!!

    1. Car owners pay more than their share of taxes ,inspections and many other fees associated with owning and operating a car in this city. Other than the cost of their bikes what do cyclists pay?

      1. Uh, lets see, how about the same taxes. Most of us also own cars, have jobs we pay state taxes out of, etc. If anything, we bicyclists should get a rebate since our bikes do no damage to the roads unlike cars and trucks, and by biking we reduce congestion and CO2 emissions.

    2. It’s awfully convenient that you’re ignoring the 12,000 daily riders of the 111 bus who must travel in the gridlock that is N. Washington Street.

      Rather than keep them in overcrowded buses stuck behind cars with only a driver and four empty seats, this proposal would allow them to move quickly down the street. That’s fair and equitable because that bus with 60+ passengers takes up a fraction of the roadway that your car does to carry one person.

      But I’m so curious about your fetish for cars and driving on N. Washington Street. Do you even live in the neighborhood anymore or are you just frustrated when stuck in traffic and visiting from the suburbs?

      1. Jared I find it convinenet that you mention the 12000 people that ride in a bus over N Washington street but leave out the tens of thousands that travel over N Washington St by car every day. A LOT MORE!

      2. I do live in the North End where I pay my fair share of taxes unlike your beloved 12000 riders of the 111 who go back to Chelsea and Everett everynight. I was unaware that you need to have some sort of fetish to want to drive without traffic… what does that even mean? Weird.

        1. Where do you think the North End restaurant workers live? This neighborhood relies on people commuting from Chelsea and Everett who cannot afford to live in the City.

          If you want to drive without traffic, then I suggest you move to the desert west. Every road in a booming city will have traffic. The question becomes how we can move the greatest number of people given limited road space. Bus lanes are a big part of the answer.

          The status quo that prioritizes wealthier suburban drivers headed downtown via the N Washington St bridge is not working today and won’t work as this region grows.

          The way you write about driving suggests that your car is a huge part of your identity. It’s a tool for getting around, nothing more. Join a club instead and give up the fetish.

          1. Jared,

            The part of the bus issue that people like you don’t understand is that nobody wants to ride a bus. Nobody wants to sit on jam packed bus loaded with strangers. Especially mothers and families. It doesn’t matter if the bus gets you there ten times quicker. That’s why the bus lane won’t aleviate traffic.

            The bike lane is a perfect example. Nobody wants to ride a bike in New England. Mothers don’t want to bike their kids to school. People have both city and suburbs. So now we have more traffic on commercial street and a sparsely used bike lane.

            And before you waste your time sending me some stupid article please just spend the afternoon counting the bikes on the bike lane and my point will be proven.

            1. That’s totally nuts – many thousands of mothers with children, elderly, people of all ages ride the buses and want there to be less delay. I – at age 65 – bike all year round and have been my entire life. I see many many more people biking year round including parents with kids loaded onto cargo bikes. One reason more people are biking is because there are designated and protected lanes. Go count the bike traffic on the Mass Ave or Longfellow bridges.

              1. A person would have to be nuts to “load their kids on a cargo bike” and bike it through this city. You can’t even cross a street in Boston safely anymore.

              2. Alan,

                For the last 4 months it’s been about 20 degrees and ice everywhere! And it was a mild winter! If you think people are going to load their kids on a bike in these conditions your nuts! Based on the amount of people I don’t see doing this I’d have to say most families agree with me

              3. Cars are on there way out? Vehicle sales in this country are close to an all time high in 2018 (close to 18 million new cars sold) I’m not sure what “projections” you are looking at but over the last ten years vehicle sales have doubled.

            2. Noah,

              I am a mother of two and live in the North End. I walk my kids to school . I used to bike to work, but now I work closer and walk to work. On the many occasions (multiple times weekly) when we have work engagements, kids’ after-school classes, or weekend family trips outside of Boston, we use public transportation. This is our preferred way to travel – it is convenient, inexpensive, and most of all, we don’t have to think about parking, traffic, etc. I sold my car when I moved to the NE about 10 years ago – the neighborhood is too congested, parking is inconvenient, and public transportation provides invaluable level of flexibility. In addition, I don’t have to pay monthly insurance, gas, parking, etc., don’t have to shovel it out in the winter, or worry about safety or property theft, not to mention the impact on environment… For the occasional long trips out of town we get a Zipcar – they are parked all around the neighborhood (in paid parking lots). We also love the bike lanes – my kids can bike and scoot safely along the waterfront without disturbing pedestrians.

              As for “nobody wants to sit on jam packed bus loaded with strangers”, please read Matt de la Pena’s “Last Stop on Market Street”. This book describes one of the most beautiful aspects of living in the city – the unexpected interactions with strangers, through which you learn about your city, neighborhood, and develop empathy and social awareness. Reading level Pre-K+ – I hope you like it!

              1. Thank you North End Mom for your testimony. As for Noah, yesterday a mother came to my house to pick up a food delivery with her two children on back of her electric cargo bike and road home. She commutes from downtown. She is one a 3 moms who come here with kids on cargo bikes. There is a growing community of cargo bike users in Cambridge, Somerville, JP, etc. Ebikes make it easy to do and bike lanes make it safe. Cars on on their way out. Like North End Mom, I got rid of my car 5 years ago and only bike or use public transit and occasionally Zipcar. This is the growing trend. Car sales are projected to crash over the next decade.

  6. Boston is a very congested city. Althiugh, I favor bicycle lanes, the fact is that they are fairly under utilized compared auto traffic lanes. Mostly, they are used by tourists. Bus lanes are always under utilzed, but have I jumped a lane to speed up my trip. The Old Town Trolleys and Duck Boats will be the biggest users. Just another grift on taxpayers.

    1. Do you solve congestion by burying your head in the sand and keep everything the same? 12,000 people ride the 111 bus each day on North Washington St. This bus lane will grant them considerable relief and will enable the MBTA to run still more buses.

  7. Let’s be clear. This bus lane is only being done for the benefit of commuters who travel in and out of the city not the residents of the North End and Bullfinch Triangle. It will surely help the 111 bus from Woodlawn but greatly inconvenience North End residents who want to travel cross town. If the city really wanted to do something useful it would ban trucks form North Washington St between 7 AM and 7 PM.
    Trucks use North Washington St as a shortcut through the city so they don’t have to drive on 93 or 128. Someone should measure the level of air pollution in Keaney Square which is right near the new Eliot School.

    1. Hazmat (i.e., gasoline, oil, etc.) trucks have been banned since 2012 from N. Washington Street (and all of downtown Boston) from 6am to 8pm for safety reasons. A MassDot study indicates it would likely be disastrous should there be an accident. See this article:
      Unfortunately, this ban is regularly violated by several oil/gas tanker companies. Report any gas tanker trucks traveling illegally downtown between 6am-8pm to

      1. Matt, you are correct about the hazmat-trucks and in June, 2012, the City made a commitment to us that they would keep N. Washington St. as smooth at glass. That hasn’t happen.
        To alleviate traffic on N. Washington, the inbound bus route should be rerouted down Beverly St.

        1. Jojo, the City of Boston and made a commitment to keep N. Washington St. “as smooth as glass”? How is that working out for you? It was announced yesterday that the Mystic River bridge will be undergoing a two year which actually means a 5 or 6 year repair project. Just in time to coincide with the opening of the disastrous plan aka the Encore Casino in Everett. Fasten your seat belt it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

    2. Without the hard work of most of the people who ride the 111, the city would struggle mightily. God forbid we make it easier for them to get to and from work. If you live in the North End and have to get across town, take the train.

    3. I’m not sure why all this concern about this 111 bus. It just sounds like a pet peeve. I’ve used it before, and if you avoid rush hours, there is no time issue. The article cited congestion as the issue and you have to figure all the other’s who are jammed, have the same issue as the riders on 111. They want to get to work or go home too. The mayor’s solution to congestion is to reduce lanes. This makes no sense. I can understand bicycle riders desire for safety, but safer bicycle lanes used by a few don’t fix the congestion issue, that is just another issue all together. A dedicated lane for a bus is great for the bus riders at rush hour, but again, doesn’t address the congestion. In the end, if the proposal passes, we are still looking at the congestion issue we have now, or maybe a worse situation. One way is to move them through faster. Fewer lights and left turns on the Surface Road. Some pedestrian overpasses to get them off the streets. Increase throughput and alieviate the congestion and then they might find that a bus lane isn’t needed. The bicycle things is another issue all together

  8. I personally feel like this discussion is immaterial, because the bus lane will not be enforced and it will be clogged with cars just as it is today. The only difference will be the paint in the lane. Just like the lowered speed limit, lights turning red, people blocking the box, etc., which we all see take place multiple times every day. All these changes end up being mostly meaningless and it’s a shame. I applaud the efforts, but there needs to be a cultural shift created by enforcement of traffic laws for any of these measures to have any effect.

  9. The bike lanes on Commercial Street for the safety of riders yet they don’t use them! They continue to ride on the street with cars. It’s been a waste of money! Bikers don’t care they will ride wherever they want. It happens all day long on Commercial Street. It’s like they can’t be bothered to use the bike lanes. What happens if there’s an accident with a bike? Whose fault will it be? The driver in their car or the person who refused to use the bike lane?

    1. To be clear, the bike path on Commercial Street is for the exclusive use by cyclists. Similarly, I-93 is for the exclusive use of vehicles. Neither cyclists nor motorists are prohibited from using the road just because the bike path and expressway exist.

      That said, I think I speak for all cyclists when I say that I will GLADLY remain off of Commercial Street and use the bike lane only if all vehicles agree to remain off of N. Washington Street and use I-93 only.

  10. Dirty little secret that you won’t hear from the bike lobby


    USA Today: Fewer Americans bike to work despite more bike lanes

    Boston listed here (down 13% from ’16 to ’17)

    Cycling is dangerous and not practical in much of New England’s weather. It’s time to move on to better transportation infrastructure solutions.

      1. “Bicycling is not dangerous and is easily done year round in Boston.”
        Have you never seen a ghost bike?

  11. Accidents involving bikes and cars and deaths resulting from bike accidents have increased throughout the country. How can you possibly say bicycling is not dangerous?

    1. Not as dangerous as driving around in a car; there are far more injuries and deaths from doing that. Death by gun homicides equal deaths by car crash. The reason injuries & deaths to pedestrians and bicyclists are up is because of speeding and distracted drivers.

  12. I would like to know how everyone feels. The Charlestown/No. End Bridge is going to be under construction & now the Tobin Bridge. Why? The Casino has so much Money behind this, it is unbelievable. Who is effected by this? Who else? Mostly the Residents on either side of these Bridges. Money the Root of all Evil. What a way to
    go. Corruption at its best.

  13. I do not oppose Casinos but I have serious reservations about the Encore Casino in Everett. That area is a traffic nightmare and the Casino isn’t even open yet. Couple that with the construction projects on both the Charlestown and now the Mystic River bridge and we’re looking at a nightmare in the making.

  14. I think every city north of Boston is going through this with the bike lanes,,I live in Malden and there is so much controversy about shutting down lames to rot 99 ,,eastern ave,,broadway and main st for bike lanes,,,, we are not in Europe were it is the norm to ride a bike every were,, gas is tripled in Europe that’s why everyone rides a bike every were or use a scooter,,if gas tripled I’m sure more bikes would be used,, I can’t understand why you can’t ride your bike on the sidewalk.. and there is no law saying you can’t,,

  15. We have huge pot holes that can take out a front end and side walks with craters that limit mobility within the neighborhood – I don’t think bus/bike lanes are top priority in the area

    1. Bicycles don’t create pot holes; cars and trucks do. Bicycle lanes encourage more people to get out of cars and bicycle so street damaged is reduced.

  16. I would argue that plows create pot holes. Bicycle lanes are to provide safety for cyclists. They are not designed to replace automobiles and they NEVER will.

  17. Very revealing that the majority of comments here opposing a dedicated BUS lane are going on and on about bicycles. The entitlement and self-projection here is rich. If you want to live downtown but think you can still drive anywhere, so be it. But don’t blame the rest of us who just want to get places more quickly without needing to drive downtown. Caveat emptor.

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