EVERETT (CBS) — A car-free, cone-lined bus lane made its debut on Broadway this week.
The week-long pilot program comes as a suggestion from the MBTA to speed up bus service in Everett, a city that’s lacking both T and commuter rail access.
The bus-only lane extends from Glendale Square to Sweetser Circle along Route 99, taking away all southbound parking between the hours of 4 and 9 A.M.
“At this point we’ll try anything here in Everett to improve traffic and make people’s lives better,” says Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
If it works as planned, the bus-only lane will cut down the commute from Glendale Square to Sullivan Square by 10 minutes. It will also allow the buses to make more trips each morning.
Right now, Rt. 104 and Rt. 109 buses carry 50% of all the people traveling along Broadway during rush hour.
“We’ve had an increase in population, a lot of people moving into the community,” said one avid bus rider in Everett. Another rider mentioned she’d noticed the bus arriving faster than usual.
“The bus route works awesome. I just got off it it. We had 25-30 people happy this morning,” said State Representative Joe McGonagle.
Mayor DeMaria says there’s been some critics of the pilot program and he knows that no one likes to hear or see the words ‘No Parking’ in Boston, but he’s asking the skeptics to give it a chance.
“Come out and view it for yourself rather than just form opinions,” he said. “I’ve never seen Broadway move this quickly in the morning.”
The pilot program ends Friday, December 9th. The MBTA will spend the next few weeks analyzing travel times and trips.
If deemed successful, Everett will do another expanded 3-month pilot program in the spring and would eventually become the first city outside of Boston to have a bus-only lane.