MBTA Bus Network Redesign

May 16, 2022

The long awaited bus network redesign from the MBTA has finally been released with a draft map coming out this afternoon. While most of the changes are good, I have a number of thoughts about specific routes and figured I'd put them here. These changes are slated to be implemented between 2023 and 2028... yeah that's a while. Here we go with the routes.

With the redesign, the T marked a number of routes as being frequent, or having service every 15 minutes or better between 5 am and 1 am. These have been highlighted on the map, and I really like this. Frequent routes go out to every corner of the system, including Roxbury, Waltham, Lynn, Quincy, Arlington, and Malden.

Route 24: The 24 will get an extension from its current terminus (which is a loop around the Fairmount area) to the Dedham Mall. The loop around the Fairmount area is eliminated, but replaced by an extended route 50.

Route 39: The 39 has changed from its current Copley to Forest Hills routing into a true crosstown. It's now Forest Hills to Porter via Heath Street, Longwood Medical Area, Fenway, Central, and Union Square. I've heard comments about traffic issues here, as this is a really long route.

Routes 53 and 54: Two new routes replace the 558 express route, this time taking local streets through Newton. The 53 also goes past Brandeis / Roberts with hourly or better service. The 54 sees a more direct routing between Riverside and Waltham with 30 minute or better service. The 54 is a powerhouse though, continuing past Waltham servicing Waverley (via the current 554), Belmont and continuing to Arlington. A wonderful crosstown.

Route 59: Possibly a frequency upgrade to every hour or better, as the route sees 80 minute headways during middays. But the current report shows hourly service already. Huh.

Route 60: Small but meaningful one here. Currently, the route ends at the Chestnut Hill Mall with 70 minute off-peak frequencies. The route is proposed to be extended to Newton Centre, providing connections to the D Branch and the 52. Also it'll see half-hourly service.

Route 61: The 61 is currently a weird local route solely within Waltham and it's proposed to be extended to serve West Newton and Newtownville Commuter Rail stations and terminate at Watertown Yard. These Newton stations never really got bus service besides express buses (well Newtonville has the 59), so it's nice to see something, and this will run hourly.

Route 90: This is another beast. Right now, the 90 is Davis to Assembly Row via Sullivan Square. It's proposed to be extended on both ends, westward to Arlington Center and eastward to Chelsea via Wellington. This actually will replace some 112 service.

Route 94: Yet another beast of a route. This takes over part of the 134 and part of the 350 (which will still exist). Will start at Davis, go through Wedgemere and Winchester Center. The route will follow the 354's route through Woburn before replacing the 350 to the Burlington Mall and Northwest Park.

Route 101: This one fills a major gap in Cambridge, connecting Kendal, Lechmere, Community College, and Sullivan Square, before continuing up to Medford Square. Community College gets bus connections it didn't have before, and there's now easier ways to get around East Cambridge.

Route 109: Gets an extension along the current 86 from Sullivan to Harvard. Will be a frequent route with 15 minute or better service (currently sees 18 minute service during middays).

Route 112: Some of the deviations are cleaned up a bit. Will run only Admirals Hill to Quigley Hospital. The new 90 and 104 will replace the rest of this deviation filled route.

Route 119: Extended to connect with the Blue Line at Suffolk Downs and Orient Heights. Suffolk Downs has no bus connections at all right now.

Route 120: Looks like the 712 and 713 are going away, as the 120 takes over the loop around Withrop, but the Port Shirley deviation is going away. It also connects with the 119 at Beachmont, giving it some weird loop around Orient Heights (which it sort of has right now, but it'll get worse).

Route 131: The 131 is no longer a Melrose local, but will now connect Melrose and Malden with Saugus and Lynn, taking over part of the 428.

Route 133: Here's yet another really cool one, which replaces the rest of the 134. Leaves from Malden Center, through Melrose Highlands along the current 131. Proceeds west through Stoneham along Franklin Street (a new corridor), replaces the 354 through eastern Woburn and the 134 through North Woburn. The route goes through Wilmington briefly before entering Woburn again to serve the Anderson / Woburn RTC.

Routes 210 and 215: Both will see major frequency upgrades to every half hour or better (especially with the 210 seeing 70 minute headways during the midday).

Route 350: The 350 is simplified after the new 94 takes over the Northwest Park branch. The 350 will now only run the Alewife to Chestnut Ave routing.

Posted: May 16, 2022 23:55