News & Updates

BPDA approves Allston-Brighton Mobility Plan

May 13, 2021

Plan provides roadmap to improve mobility and quality of life for neighborhood residents

Following two and a half years of public engagement, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board has adopted the Allston-Brighton Mobility Plan. The plan builds on the goals identified in Go Boston 2030 and Imagine Boston 2030, presenting over 60 specific recommendations that will equitably expand the transit and bike networks, increase walkability, enhance the Main Street and neighborhood street experience, and simplify intersections for all users.  

“The residents, workers, and visitors of the Allston and Brighton neighborhoods deserve access to safe, efficient, and sustainable transportation options,” said BPDA Director Brian Golden. “For the past two and a half years, we’ve collaborated closely with community members, elected officials, and many stakeholders on how the Allston-Brighton transportation network should continue to evolve and respond to the substantial growth of these neighborhoods. This plan lays out comprehensive, wide-ranging recommendations that will accommodate and support this growth for many years to come.”

The plan responds to the increased pressure on the Allston and Brighton transportation networks resulting from the rapid growth of the neighborhoods.  Currently, there are several million square feet of new development under review or under construction within the study area, approximately 70 percent of which is proposed to be residential.

The BPDA worked closely with the community and other stakeholders to craft the final plan.  During the course of the planning process, over 300 individuals attended nearly two dozen community meetings in person and online.  Through a combination of in-person and online engagement, over 1,600 comments were submitted by members of the public.

Based on community feedback, the BPDA established nine goals in support of the planning study’s vision: 
  • Increase safety for all modes of transportation
  • Allocate space in streets to accommodate a diversity of users
  • Increase the sustainability of the transportation system
  • Improve equity in transportation
  • Provide priority accommodations for buses
  • Create a more attractive and comfortable biking and walking environment 
  • Enhance parking and permit regulations
  • Accommodate local and regional growth
  • Identify opportunities for new development to mitigate transportation impacts. 
A keystone of the plan involves peak hour bus priority lanes extending from Parsons Street near Oak Square to Union Square, connecting to the recently installed bus priority lanes on Brighton Avenue. The bus priority lanes would improve transit service in an area of Allston-Brighton that is currently underserved by transit. It is estimated that the priority bus lanes would reduce eastbound travel times by up to 11 minutes and westbound travel times by up to six minutes.  Over the longer term, the plan envisions priority bus lanes continuing from Union Square along Cambridge Street to the Charles River and to a future West Station in Beacon Yards.  

The plan will add 4 additional miles of separated bike lanes, or bike lanes physically separated from vehicular travel lanes which, as research data shows, will increase the number of people willing to use bicycles.

The final approval follows the release of the draft plan in November 2020.  The subsequent comment period for the draft plan solicited over 400 comments and resulted in a number of  adjustments and changes.  Among those, the final draft now calls for potential priority bus improvements along Faneuil St, Market St, Chestnut Hill Ave, and Washington St. for Bus routes #86, #65 and #64, while emphasizing that bicycle improvements remain the top priority along those streets.

The planning process is the result of a cross departmental effort alongside partners from the Boston Transportation Department, the Mayor’s Disabilities Commission, the Public Works Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and external partners including the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the MBTA, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). 

"The Allston/ Brighton Mobility Plan helps the City of Boston reach its Go Boston 2030 goals of improving infrastructure for residents taking public transportation, biking, driving and walking." said Transportation Commissioner Greg Rooney "We are excited to see the addition of new separated bike lanes, improvements for bus service, walkability, and roadway safety." 

The Plan prioritizes several actionable recommendations targeting enhanced mobility, access, and safety for people traveling in Allston and Brighton by all modes for implementation beginning in 2021. These include:
  • Harvard Avenue: Design and install tactical bus stop relocation, curb extensions, and short term curbside use plan.  
  • Brighton Avenue: Plan, design, and install flexible curb zones.
  • Franklin Street Pedestrian Bridge Develop, design, and install lighting and public art improvements. 
  • Oak Square: Evaluate, design, and install 2 crosswalks and 2 short term parking zones.
  • Washington Street: Design and construct two enhanced crosswalks.  
  • Cleveland Circle: Design and construct tactical plazas. 
  • Leo Birmingham Parkway: Design and construct tactical/temporary repurposing of north carriageway for two-way bike path. 
  • Soldiers Field Road: Construct an at-grade crossing at Everett Street/Soldiers Field Road.
“For over two years, the Transportation Committee of the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative (ABHC) has partnered closely with the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study team to improve equity, access, and safety of all mobility modes in Allston-Brighton,” said Anna Leslie, Director of the ABHC. “We applaud the team at BPDA and Kittelson and Associates for their extensive work and effort on this plan. They have consistently been receptive to feedback and adaptation to meet the neighborhood's priorities. As the neighborhood moves forward into the implementation phase, the committee is eager to continue our partnership and ensure that this vital plan is actualized. Allston-Brighton has an invaluable amount to contribute to the growth and success of the City of Boston. This plan helps ensure that this growth happens equitably and to the benefit of all its residents.”

Under the Plan, new development in the neighborhood will be expected to either contribute financially, or design and build many of the improvements recommended by the plan. The Action Plan identifies nearly two dozen projects to be carried out during the next four years, many of which will use developer contributions.  

The BPDA is currently developing a plan for the Western Avenue Corridor area, anticipated for completion by mid 2021. The Western Avenue Corridor and Rezoning Study will inform recommendations for new zoning for the study area while also recommending public realm and transportation improvements.

The BPDA is leading an unprecedented number of planning studies alongside Boston’s communities, each guided by Imagine Boston 2030, the first city-wide master plan in 50 years aimed at guiding growth. In addition to the Allston-Brighton Mobility Study and Western Avenue Corridor Study,  there are neighborhood planning studies moving forward in CharlestownDowntownDorchester’s Glover’s CornerMattapanNewmarket and East Boston, and since 2014, planning guidelines have been passed for PLAN: JP/RoxPLAN: South Boston Dorchester Avenue, and PLAN: Nubian Square. The South Boston Seaport Strategic Transit Plan is also identifying specific mobility recommendations to improve the operations and capacity of the transit network serving Boston’s Seaport District.

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