This is a guest blog post submitted by Newton resident Richard Rasala, a retired Professor and Associate Dean in the Khoury College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern.
The MBTA Better Bus Project will begin by shrinking service to Newton with no additions to compensate. The shrinkage consists of elimination of route variants on Routes 52 and 59. This change may make the routes more efficient overall but some people will be left with no service at all.
There is a chicken and egg problem with MBTA service in Newton. There are only 2 north south cross routes in Newton (52 and 59) and no local east west routes. Only a small fraction of the city is within walking distance of the 2 existing local routes. This lack of easy access contributes to the low ridership figures that the MBTA reports.
In my view, the fundamental problem is the lack of a network of bus routes in Newton with sufficient geographic density to make at least one route with walking distance of most people.
I will provide links to three proposed bus routes that in addition to the 52 and 59 should provide enough network density to make MBTA ridership viable for most people.
Each proposal will come with a Google map with stop locations, a list of the stop locations, and extensive comments and explanations.
Proposal 1: A Bus Route Along The Periphery
This route restores service to the sections of routes 52 and 59 that will be eliminated in the MBTA proposal. By following the periphery of Newton, this route will also provide service to many areas of Newton that have been left out of MBTA planning in the past. The periphery route is the key to the connectivity of all spoke routes.
Proposal 2: A Bus Route Along Washington St
This route provides service for the full length of Washington St in Newton starting at Newton Corner. Since the route begins at Watertown Yard, there will be connectivity to Watertown, Waltham, and Cambridge.
Proposal 3: A Bus Route Along Beacon St
This route provides service for the full length of Beacon St in Newton. By starting at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, this route provides connectivity with the Green Line B [Boston College], the Green Line C [Cleveland Circle], and the Green Line D [Reservoir].
I will be interested to see what citizens of Newton think of these ideas.
PS: For those who want further information about the MBTA in Newton or about the MBTA Better Bus Project, see my data site: