The Orange Line Is Back, But Several of Boston’s ‘Temporary’ Bus and Bike Lanes Will Remain

People on bikes and scooters wait at the intersection of Boylston Street and Arlington Street near the Public Garden in a pop-up bike lane that was installed during the Orange Line shutdown. In the background is the Public Garden, where an existing separated bike lane connects to the downtown bike network.
People on bikes and scooters wait at the intersection of Boylston Street and Arlington Street near the Public Garden in a pop-up bike lane that was installed during the Orange Line shutdown. In the background is the Public Garden, where an existing separated bike lane connects to the downtown bike network.

Even though the Orange Line service has returned after a month-long closure, several of the temporary bike and bus lanes the City of Boston installed during the shutdown will remain in place to help people on buses, bikes, and scooters get around the city.

“We’re keeping in place some of the changes that have helped with traffic flow and transit access, so that commuters will see lasting benefit above ground even as the subway comes back online,” said Mayor Michelle Wu in an announcement released early Tuesday morning. 

In this morning’s press release, the City announced the following changes will remain in place:

  • The Columbus Avenue pop-up bike lane will remain in place through early December, and then be removed for the season. Long-term planning is underway for a potential permanent facility.
  • Jamaica Plain pavement marking and signage: This includes traffic safety elements such as “Don’t Block the Box” and parking restrictions at corners to improve visibility. 
  • The Boylston Street pop-up bike lane will remain through next Monday, September 26. The permanent Boylston Street bike lane is part of a recent set of projects announced by the City to fill key connections and will be prioritized for installation this upcoming spring, according to city officials.

Yesterday afternoon, people were still biking and scooting on the Boylston Street pop-up bike lane in Back Bay near Copley, which eventually connects to the portion of Boylston Street that has an existing separated bike lane along the southern length of the Public Garden and Boston Common.   

Pedestrian walks next to the pop-up bike lane along Columbus Avenue in Back Bay yesterday afternoon.
A pedestrian walks next to the pop-up bike lane on Columbus Avenue in Back Bay Monday afternoon.

 

white car drives down street next to Boston Public Library
Cars drive down Dartmouth Street between the Boston Public Central Library and Copley Square on Monday afternoon. This block had been closed to cars during the Orange Line shutdown, as well as earlier this summer during Copley Connect, a 10-day pilot that opened up the space for pedestrians.

In addition to keeping some of the bike projects in place, the following bus lanes and stops will also be remain in place: 

  • Chinatown MBTA SL4 bus stop
  • Copley Square area bus lanes on Boylston Street (from Ring Road to Clarendon), Clarendon Street (from Boylston to Columbus) and St. James Street (from Berkeley to Dartmouth). “These bus lanes support the 39, 9, and 10 bus routes, which together serve more than 10,000 riders per weekday,” according to city officials.
  • Huntington Avenue bus & bike priority lane from Brigham Circle to Gainsborough Street, serving the 39 bus route and connecting Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Longwood Medical Area and Back Bay. 

White striping and some signs reading “Right Lane, Bus Bikes Only,” have been added along Huntington Avenue, but the majority of the dedicated lane is still without red paint and some cars, including a police vehicle ignore the small section that has been painted red near the Opera Place intersection:

According to the press release, additional protected bike lanes, pedestrian zones, bus lanes and safety improvements “will undergo evaluation and engagement and be publicly announced before any implementation.”

An earlier version of this article listed, “Chinatown MBTA SL5 bus stop,” but this has been updated to “SL4.”
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