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Bus-Only Lanes Coming to Charles River Dam Road

To facilitate bus shuttles during a year-long closure of the Green Line between Lechmere and North Station, MassDOT is proposing to convert two lanes of Charles River Dam Road near the Boston Museum of Science to bus-only lanes. Image courtesy of MassDOT.

Less than a year after MassDOT carved up a car lane to add flexpost-buffered bike lanes there, agency officials announced yesterday that two more car lanes would be converted into bus-only lanes on the Craigie Bridge between Edwin H. Land Boulevard in Cambridge and Leverett Circle in Boston (a roadway also known as Charles River Dam Road).

The bus lanes are a key part of the MBTA's plans to manage traffic during a planned year-long closure at the north end of the Green Line, from Lechmere to North Station.

That segment of the Green Line is being closed at the end of May so that workers can realign and rehabilitate the Lechmere viaduct, which carries the Green Line alongside the Charles River Dam Road.

John Dalton, a program manager for the MBTA's Green Line Extension project, announced the bus lane plan during a joint meeting of the MassDOT and MBTA governing boards on Monday afternoon.

Dalton reported that, from pre-pandemic Green Line ridership levels, about 14,000 Green Line riders are expected to ride the temporary shuttle buses between the Lechmere bus loop and North Station.

The bus lanes, which will extend beyond the bridge into Boston and Cambridge, are projected to save up to 15 minutes a day for every rider travelling during peak traffic hours.

MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack and MBTA general manager Steve Poftak both praised MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver for his work on the bus lane concept.

"We have a high degree of confidence that we can maintain the separated bike lanes that were recently installed and convert two of of the general-purpose lanes - one in each direction - to bus-only lanes, and maintain traffic at an acceptable level," said Pollack.

A year ago, Charles River Dam Road consisted of 5 to 6 lanes of general-purpose traffic lanes, with no dedicated space for buses or bikes.

When these new bus lanes open at the end of May, more than half of the roadway's space will have been set aside for sustainable modes of transportation.

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