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MBTA, Boston Officials Test 4-Week Bus Lane Program in Roslindale

After a two-day operational test in December, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and Boston transportation officials will further test a bus lane in Roslindale to see if traffic can be alleviated in the area.

Starting Monday, the inbound, curbside lane of Washington Street from Roslindale Village to Forest Hills Station will only be allowed to be used by MBTA and school buses from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m weekdays. Bicyclists will also be allowed to use the lane.

Transportation officials say the pilot program is to help buses shave time off of the morning commute.

"We will be keeping a close eye on Washington Street over the next month to measure the effects of the designated bus lane on overall travel along the corridor," said Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina Fiandaca in a statement. "We encourage Roslindale residents, local business representatives, bus riders, cyclists, motorists and pedestrians who regularly travel this route in the early morning hours to provide feedback on their experiences."

Many riders said the December 2-day test helped cut their morning commute by as much as 30 minutes.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement that the program is part of the Go Boston 2030 transportation plan and that he is looking forward to the completion of testing.

"I am hopeful that the designated bus lane proves to be an initiative that makes a positive contribution to the community while simultaneously reducing the commute time for MBTA riders from Roslindale and the surrounding area," said Walsh.

City officials said they chose Roslindale based on the high volume of commuters who use that particular bus lane.

"We have the worst on-time performance due to congestion during rush hour so this will hopefully make a big impact I think," said MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez on Monday.

Cones will be blocking the designated lanes during the testing times.

Some people say they welcome the idea.

"From a bicyclist’s perspective, I don’t need to worry about being squeezed in between parked cars and traveling cars," said Alan Wright of Roslindale.

But not everyone is on board, like Robert Khouzami of Bob's Pita Market.

"I don’t know who came up with this idea. Very bad idea," Khouzami said. "It’s going to affect the parking for the customer, going to affect my delivery because most deliver before 9 o’clock.

The pilot program will be tested for four weeks. After the program comes to a close, city officials will decide whether to make it permanent or not.

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