Better Streets: Blue Hill Ave and Warren Street

We will be leading bus ride focus groups to collect specific feedback about people's experiences walking to the bus, waiting for the bus, and riding the bus. If you'd like to join one of these focus groups, email kristiana@livablestreets.info

Blue Hill Avenue and Warren Street run through the heart of Mattapan and Roxbury. These streets connect thousands of people each day to work, school, shopping, worship, and more. However, the current state of the corridor discourages those same people from feeling safe and comfortable. People walking and biking have to constantly navigate in fear and frustration, and the 46,000+ daily bus riders who travel along this corridor are stuck in traffic and deal with unreliable and slow buses. This crucial corridor could work better with a little help from you!


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Why Now?
  • The City of Boston has committed to planning efforts along Blue Hill Ave & Warren St and is hiring a corridor planner to work specifically along this corridor.
  • To secure short term wins and hear the larger vision for this corridor, we are deploying Street Ambassadors this summer. Their goal will be to ensure that the planning process begins with and by the community, by mobilizing community members and collecting and sharing information about what community members want.

What We've Heard

The top improvements requested are the ability to see bus arrival times, improved bike lanes, better street lights, and the creation of additional street art.

Here are a few things we heard when we talked to people in the community:

  • "The buses don't run frequently, lot of overcrowding, don't run on time... Need to start early and end later due to people and their odd working schedules."
  • "I don't agree with the bus hike. Why should we pay more when we don't have good service, especially during the winter months, when it is cold and freezing, and not on time?"
  • "Not everyone has access to bikes and credit cards and the MBTA should be a more reasonable price."
  • "A lot of new bus transportation [is being given] for the tourist areas and Brookline Ave."
  • "They should know that the decisions they take must always be for the good of the people who use public transportation every day, and that ... their duty is to maintain super service, since in their hands are every passengers' life."

What's Happening?
  • The City of Boston is repaving Blue Hill Ave from Dudley Street to the Milton border. They're also adding street art, painting electric boxes, and planting trees. Click here to learn more about what's going on.
  • Several previous studies of this corridor have supported the same conclusion: it is simply not working effectively for those who use it.
  • Street safety is currently a challenge on these streets. These streets have the highest number of crashes, ranking within the top 7% of highest crash corridors and contain multiple high crash intersections. (see maps below)
  • With 46,000+ people riding MBTA buses along Blue Hill Ave and Warren Street every day (plus many more in school buses), this major bus corridor is an important piece of the transportation puzzle. People have continually asked for faster, more reliable, and less crowded buses. How can we ensure we are delivering effectively?
  • Warren Street is a key academic corridor: there are 14 schools within 1 mile of Warren Street.
  • 47%-67% of the vehicles on Warren Street are buses.
  • Warren Street buses have 90% minority riders and 67% low-income riders.
  • We will again be recruiting Street Ambassadors in the spring to engage community members in conversation about their street by providing information, listening to people’s needs, and gathering feedback that will inform our advocacy goals.
  • Our goal is to engage as many people as possible, both to hear directly from them about how changes have affected them and to communicate to them what's happening so that they can be part of the process.
  • The City of Boston is asking for your feedback! Share your needs with them by taking their Blue Hill Ave survey.

Background
  • With a number of plans (listed below) proposing transportation and land use changes along this corridor, this is an important time for community members to advocate for their needs.
  • Automated Fare Collection 2.0 will be making it easier and faster for people to get around by changing how people pay their T fares. When implemented, the new system will enable riders to use a CharlieCard, smartphone app, or contactless credit card to pay their fares, with payment possible at every bus door; and will also allow fare transfers between the Fairmount Line and buses/subway lines. This is an opportunity to ensure the right stores and locations are chosen for re-loading Charlie Cards, advocate for low-income or other fare types, and share your needs and concerns around fare enforcement.
  • There are many bus routes along Blue Hill Ave & Warren St: the 14, 19, 23, 28, 44, 45, 22, and 29 jointly carry 45,970 people every weekday. An average of 51% of riders on these routes are transit dependent, meaning they have limited choices about how to get around.
  • Based on MBTA data, 7 miles of streets are holding back a whopping 92,000 riders, 15% of all bus passengers. One of these key bottlenecks is Blue Hill Ave & Warren St.

Corridors with Comparatively High Rates of Weekday Bus Passenger Delay


How can you get involved?

  • Vote for what short term improvements you want to see on the street next year.
  • Do you want to advocate for improvements on your street? Sign up to be a Street Ambassador!

    Street Ambassadors are members of the community who receive training in transportation advocacy. They bring the planning process into the community, talk with community members to understand their needs, concerns, and questions, and share that information with the City and the MBTA.


Give us your feedback

Please check all of the improvements you would like to see in the Blue Hill Avenue/Warren Street area. Don't forget to click the "Submit" button when you're finished!