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Some Orange Line street changes to be made permanent, says Mayor Wu

Many of the pop-up bike lanes and parking restrictions are here to stay.

Several of the street changes that were established to mitigate impacts from the 30-day Orange Line shutdown that ended Monday will be made permanent, Mayor Michelle Wu and Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge announced Tuesday. 

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Along the Orange Line route, priority bus lanes and pop-up bike lanes were installed, and parking restrictions were changed. Some of those infrastructure changes will remain in place.

“We’re keeping in place some of the changes that have helped with traffic flow and transit access, so that commuters will see lasting benefits above ground even as the subway comes back online,” Wu said.

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Many of the changes are around buses and bikes: a new Chinatown MBTA SL4 bus stop, a pop-up bike lane on Columbus Avenue that will remain open until December (and possibly then become permanent), a priority bus and bike lane on Huntington Avenue from Brigham Circle to Gainsborough Street, Copley Square area bus lanes, and additional Bluebikes docks. The stretch of Boylston Street between Amory and Lamartine streets will remain a one-way street to avoid collisions and near-misses, South End parking changes will stay in place for improved curbside management, and Jamaica Plain pavement marking and signage have been improved for better traffic safety and management. 

Though these changes were put in place to alleviate the stress of a closed Orange Line, their success points to the fact that they will likely improve safety and efficiency in the long term. However, as NBC10 Boston’s Alysha Palumbo pointed out, they could also cause greater traffic issues.

Wu and Franklin-Hodge remain optimistic about the changes, though.

“We look forward to working with the community to take the lessons learned and apply them to future infrastructure projects that will enhance public space and improve mobility for pedestrians, people on bikes, and transit riders,” Franklin-Hodge said.

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