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This is part of a multi-part reflection I've been doing following the death of my friend, Mark Baumer . There's nothing graphic i...

Why Not Bus Lanes?

Dean St. on-ramp to 6/10 like a mini-neighborhood of its own.
I love bus lanes.

I don't love the RIDOT proposal to put bus lanes on Rt. 6/10.

I applaud the effort that policymakers put forward to try to "re-imagine priorities", but I wish that people who worked so exclusively in transportation planning would know that transit is fundamentally about land use, walking, and biking. These are the major pieces left out of a 6/10 bus lane proposal.

The Embarcadero, after highway removal, as a successful boulevard with transit
and car lanes.
Director Alviti of RIDOT says "They want transit." Who does he mean by "they"?

The director must not mean the Capital Center, Valley, Smith Hill, Federal Hill, Olneyville, Silver Lake, West End, or Reservoir neighborhoods of Providence.

Bus lanes on 6/10 would primarily be about moving people quickly out of the of the city, but it's not clear how the buses would get ridership if they don't hit these neighborhoods.

The beauty of a surface boulevard, versus a raised or sunken highway, is that it can be made to work to the advantage of rapid transit while also meeting ridership needs at these points. Stops could be spaced out at half-mile intervals, with buses getting rights-of-way and signal priority, and pedestrians from the areas around the boulevard could actually. . . you know. . . get on the bus.

The limited-access highway that we currently have isn't just the highway, either. A lot of space is
Would adding bus lanes to a limited-access highway make it a success?
The Embarcadero before it was felled by an earthquake.
taken up in on- and off-ramps. That space should rightly be used to intensify development along the transit corridor, to allow for even greater ridership. Having open land that people can develop would add to the city and state's taxable assets, and make a boulevard even more sensible.

What would you call a bus line that passes through a city, but avoids all the dense neighborhoods in the city? I would call that a joke. And that's what this proposal is.


1 comment:

  1. My inner cynic says that its a ploy in order to unlock access to Federal Transit monies and make up some of the money needed for the overpriced rebuild shenanigans. Within a 5 years its not a bus-lane but a HOV lane, 2 occupant required or a toll lane. It makes zero sense to build a lane that gets a 1-2 vehicles every hour or so, given that it's probably $6million/lane mile to build, I can't see how the Feds will agree to fund this, but stranger things do get approved.