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Priority Bus Lane Is Now Operational

Please observe No Parking signs on bus lane Mon-Fri, 6AM-9AM.

Post Date:10/24/2019 4:30 PM

The new permanent priority bus lane on the eastbound section of Mass. Ave. between Varnum Street and Alewife Brook Parkway is now operational. The new “red” lane will be used by buses and bikes Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Please observe No Parking signs during these times. To ensure the bus lane is free from vehicle obstructions, starting October 21st, Arlington Police will dedicate one traffic officer to the area for the first 30 days of operation to enforce the parking and driving restriction in the lane. Work crews will continue to put the finishing touches on the bus lane in the coming days.

About the Priority Bus Lane

The bus lane will be installed in the parking lane on the eastbound section of the road between Varnum Street and Alewife Brook Parkway and will serve MBTA routes 77, 79, and 350. It will operate Monday through Friday, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.. It will be designated by pavement markings (red lane) and signage. No stopping, standing, or parking will be allowed in the parking lane (red lane) while the bus lane is in operation. 

“Last year’s pilot was very well received by the community. Analysis showed that the new bus priority lane reduced morning commute times of MBTA buses and improved reliability,” said Diane Mahon, Arlington Select Board Chair. “The Board was happy to approve making the bus lane permanent and would like to thank the MBTA and Barr Foundation for their financial support and the Department of Planning and Community Development for shepherding the project along.”

The 2018 pilot was funded by a $100,000 grant from the Barr Foundation. The permanent installation of the bus lane, primarily the cost of paint, initial police details, and signage, will be funded by the MBTA and TNC funds for an approximate total of $95,000.

What to Expect

As part of making the bus priority lane permanent, regulatory signage has been installed along the dedicated bus lane to establish its location and that it will be enforced. Pavement markings will added along the dedicated bus lane to establish its location and clearly communicate to drivers that parking is not allowed during weekday mornings. The bus lane will be painted red with the words “BUS ONLY 6-9 AM.” The bus lane is shared with bicyclists, who will also be able to travel in the lane without restriction during its hours of operation. Bus drivers have been instructed to not pass bicyclists in the bus priority lane to ensure safe operations for all users.

Enforcement

To ensure the bus lane is free from vehicle obstructions, the Arlington Police Department will dedicate one traffic officer to the area for the first 30 calendar days of implementation to enforce the parking restriction in the bus lane during its operation. After this 30 day period, a Sector Officer will be assigned to the area who can periodically monitor the bus lane for illegally parked vehicles and take enforcement action as necessary.

Winter Operations

During winter, the parking lane will be cleared of snow and ice as normal, so that parked vehicles and buses can use the lane after the snow event has finished. However, if there is so much snow that the parking lane cannot be fully cleared, buses can continue to use the regular travel lane during the morning commute, as they do currently.

For More Information

Permanent Installation Pavement Marking Plan
Information on the 2018 pilot, pilot results, and other documents shared with the community can be found at arlingtonma.gov/projects.

For questions about the bus lane installation, please contact Daniel Amstutz, Senior Transportation Planner, at 781-316-3093 or damstutz@town.arlington.ma.us.  
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