Getting Allston On Board

a line of people on bicycles travel away from a bus stop on a red bus-bike only lane. Two men stand on or next to the sidewal and take pictures of the people on bicycles.

In 2018, 40 Street Ambassador volunteers spent more than 50 hours engaging with bus riders along Brighton Avenue in Allston. We collected 230 stories about late buses, full buses, slow buses, and last minute ride-share. We spoke with business owners and customers along the corridor too, to learn how they use curb space so it can be managed effectively in tandem with bus-only lanes.

We were very excited to see the city of Boston & MBTA enact a new bus/bike lane on the eastbound side of Brighton ave. We celebrated with our community partners, Allston Brighton Health Collaborative and Allston Village Main Streets, on July 24 with a ribbon-cutting & bike parade to unveil the new lane. Thanks for all your stories & advocacy!

A graphic showing what a bus bulb is: a portion of the sidewalk that is bumped out into the parking lane. The bumped out section has a bus shelter on it.

In Spring 2021, some high ridership bus stops got a little extra space through the addition of bus bulbs.

What's HappenedA line of people stretch a large orange ribbon in front of them; in the middle is LivableStreets' executive director Stacy Thompson, who in the process of cutting the ribbon with a large pair of scissors.

  • In July, we conducted a survey of bus and bike riders to learn how they feel about the new bus/bike lane. Here is some of what we learned:
    • 90% of bus riders and 98% of bike riders want to see a dedicated lane in the outbound direction.
    • 94% of bus riders ranged between neutral and very satisfied with the lane, while 93% of bike riders were at least somewhat satisfied with the lane.
    • 93% of bike riders feeling safer in the shared bus-bike lane compared to before.
    • The survey responses also highlighted the importance of keeping cars out of the lane in order for it to work as intended.
  • We're excited to share that Mayor Walsh has officially announced a new bus lane on Brighton Ave in Allston. The bus lane has been painted. Thanks to those of you who joined us at the ribbon cutting, and special big thanks to Allston Brighton Health Collaborative, Allston Village Main Streets, and the many community members who advocated for the bus/bike lane! 
  • Over the last year we've been partnering with Allston Village Main Streets and Allston Brighton Health Collaborative and speaking with business owners and customers along Brighton Avenue to learn how they use curb space so it can be managed effectively in tandem with bus-only lanes.
  • During the last year our Street Ambassador collected more than 200 stories deployments at bus stops along Brighton Avenue. Here's some of what we heard:

“Service needs to be more efficient. We feel better paying the monthly rate if we are getting good service.” (Connie, 02446)

“I am a healthcare professional traveling from Allston/Brighton area into Longwood Medical area. Reliable buses are important for me to ensure every child is well.” (Zaire, 02135)

“To save time on my commute, to save money + reduce traffic. I rely on the MBTA solely - I do not own a car. It's vital to me that public transportation is reliable. Boston is a very commutable city. we don't need so many drivers if we have reliable transportation.” (Katie, 02134)

“The 57 is notorious for NEVER being on time. I constantly factor in the schedule being incredibly inaccurate. Any way to eliminate back-ups would be lovely!” (Theresa, 02135)

Download our Getting Allston On Board handout for more info.

Benefits of Better Buses in Allstona passenger boards a 57 bus; in the background are a school bus and two other MBTA buses.

  • We conducted bus rider surveys along the Brighton Ave corridor last spring and found that:
    • 95% of riders take the bus frequently, and bus speed and reliability significantly affects their ability to get to work, school, and appointments on time.
    • Unreliable service and overcrowding were the top two issues that most negatively impacted people’s bus rides.
    • Nearly one third of riders reported using more expensive ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft when bus service is unreliable.
  • Data collected during the bus-only lane pilot in Roslindale showed reduced travel times for bus riders along the corridor up to 25% during the morning commute. Testing out similar bus priority measures on Brighton Ave could also improve time-savings for the 20,000 riders relying on the 57 and 66 buses routes.
  • Bus priority improvements benefit everyone. Bus priority will benefit riders traveling from adjacent communities including Newton, Brighton, Brookline, Cambridge, and Roxbury while also improving connections between these communities and other transit modes. In Roslindale, 94% of people biking surveyed said that they were satisfied with the bus-bike priority lane on Washington Street.

A group of Street Ambassadors, about half a dozen people, smile at the camera. They are wearing orange shirts, two hold blue and orange signs, and they are standing in an empty parking lane next to a red bus-bike only lane.

What You Can Do

  • Volunteer with LivableStreets as a Street Ambassador. Sign up here or contact [email protected] to learn more about this unique opportunity to influence how people move around Metro Boston!
  • Reach out to your local elected officials and ask them to prioritize bus priority in Boston: