Temporary Bus Lane Makes Permanent Impact on Commuting

A recent article on Streetsblog celebrates a simple yet powerful transformation of a regular Boston street into a brilliant commuting solution:

With little more than orange cones, Boston set up a bus lane on one of its most important but congested bus corridors — and it worked wonders[...]

Previously, the curb lane was reserved for parked cars during rush hours and buses operated at a snail’s pace in general traffic, weaving in and out of rush-hour congestion at every stop.

Beginning in early May, the city converted a parking lane during the morning rush hour to a buses-and-bikes-only lane using orange cones. Bus riders and cyclists got a taste for how much better their commute could be. [...]

According to survey data from the City of Boston, 94 percent of bike and bus riders said they wanted the pilot made permanent.

And so it was. The mayor of Boston recently announced that the cones will remain in use during morning rush hour and that permanent signage and lane delineations will be installed soon.

It's such a basic yet impactful move — the sort of incremental step that every town should be thinking about.

Once you get an idea like this one, test it using cheap, temporary items like cones and chalk. Then observe the results, survey users and make it permanent if there's support for the change. You can make these sorts of changes on a shoestring budget for everything from developing crosswalks to encourage people to use an abandoned space to improving the morning commute. 

Head to our Resource Page for more tips and ideas for implementing a project like this in your town.