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MassDOT, MBTA, and City of Malden Collaborate to Implement New Bus Lanes, Bus Network, and Roadway Safety Improvements through Shared Streets & Spaces Program

Posted on December 10, 2020

First-ever bus lane in the City will help thousands of essential workers commute to and from Malden Center.

The collaborative effort aims to improve bus speed and reliability for Bus Routes 99, 104, and 105, benefiting over 3,100 bus riders daily.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), and the City of Malden are announcing the completion of a series of quick-build multimodal roadway treatments along Florence Street in Malden, including shared bus-bicycle lanes, bicycle lanes, and improved pedestrian crossings to enhance access to the MBTA Orange Line’s Malden Center Station and the surrounding downtown area. These changes are a part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Streets & Spaces Program to facilitate quick-build projects that support safe, sustainable transportation modes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bus facilities are in effect immediately. 

“These street improvements are a wonderful example of how public space can be shared to benefit all travelers,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We thank City of Malden officials for their leadership to make this project possible, which will provide a vital last-mile link for bus customers and people walking and bicycling between Malden Center, the Orange Line station, and other important destinations, including the Northern Strand Community Trail.”

“The City of Malden is doing everything we can to ensure our residents are safe and supported throughout the pandemic,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “Transportation is a key component of our city’s response; from improving bus service reliability, to upgrading bike safety, and creating more open space to supporting small businesses, Malden is meeting the challenges faced by COVID-19.”

“During the pandemic, bus routes like the 104 are experiencing higher rates of ridership than many other routes in the system,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Bus lane projects are key to making service more reliable, which can reduce crowding and improve service for our riders. I thank MassDOT and the City of Malden, particularly Mayor Christenson, for their leadership and support in helping to make the Florence Street dedicated bus lane a reality.”

Components for the Florence Street project include a shared bus-bike lane heading inbound toward Malden Center Station and a buffered bike lane heading outbound toward Washington Street.


Route 104 bus using the new Florence Street bus lane approaching Malden Center Station.
Route 104 bus using the new Florence Street bus lane approaching Malden Center Station.

In addition to partnering with the City of Malden on the Florence Street project, the MBTA has worked to improve reliability for Bus Route 104 and other bus services through quick-build bus lanes like those on Sweetser Circle in Everett as a part of the MBTA’s Rapid Response Bus Lane Program. The Program is an unprecedented effort to construct up to 14 miles of bus lanes across several municipalities in less than 1 year. 


Road crews installing the Florence Street bus lane on November 9, 2020. 
Road crews installing the Florence Street bus lane on November 9, 2020. 

The City of Malden completed the project with the support of a $211,715 grant awarded by MassDOT through the Baker-Polito’s Shared Streets & Spaces program, an initiative to support quick-build projects that bring meaningful benefits to cities and towns. Through the end of October 2020, Shared Streets & Spaces had provided a total of $10 million to 103 communities for 124 projects. The program is modeled after the Administration’s Complete Streets Funding Program, created in February 2016, which, as of January 2020, had awarded a total of $46 million to cities and towns for municipal projects improving safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transportation customers. The Administration included $20 million for the Complete Streets Program as part of the $18 billion Transportation Bond Bill, which was filed in July 2019.

MassDOT is now extending the Shared Streets & Spaces Program to help municipalities address the particular challenges of cold weather during the pandemic. Shared Winter Streets & Spaces has a total of $10 million in funding available and will provide cities and towns with grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $500,000 to improve plazas, sidewalks, curbs, bus priority, streets, parking areas, and other public spaces in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.

The MBTA Transit Priority Group was created in 2019 with support from the Barr Foundation to further bus priority projects around the region. Since its creation in 2019, the group has partnered with municipalities to implement over 10 miles of dedicated bus lanes, alongside transit signal priority and other speed and reliability improvements.

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