Welcoming the BRT Bogeyman

January 19, 2010

One of the elements missing thus far from our recent relaunch is Mass Transit coverage. Frankly, this is mostly because I’m significantly under-qualified; no matter what my enthusiasm for urban mass transport, I just can’t comment about it with any expertise. I’m really just a dilettante (in the modern sense; not the “Silly, Very Cultured Club”).

But I can provide links (Take that, Crummles!) to important articles and this article on “Integrating Bus Rapid Transit Into the Streetscape” is as important as they come. If BRT is going to be a part of our urban transport network, it might as well be done right. Meaning: not at all like we’ve done in Boston where slow speeds abound even in dedicated tunnels. Silver Line buses should come with a “People Hate us on Yelp” sticker. (Oddly, the Porter Square station has a 4 star rating, with one reviewer likening its endless stairs to an ascent into Heaven. I prefer to think of the station as the depths of Hell. More likely: Porter station scores highly because everything else is so terrible.)

The Transport Politic article shows the importance of road design to BRT success. This should be the equivalent of stating the obvious, but attractive, affective design is the exception with BRT systems in this country where the norm is just to put up a bigger bus shelter and run larger buses. A well designed BRT system could actually help alleviate traffic and make a city more legible for its inhabitants–something few do.

And if you live in Mass: Go Vote!