The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority wants to eliminate a few bus stops along its Bedford routes because they don’t meet safety standards or ridership standards.
The Select Board is pushing back on one of the targeted corners.
Representatives of the MBTA outlined the consolidation to the board, appearing virtually at its meeting on Monday. They explained that the ongoing bus stop accessibility and safety improvement project is designed to improve accessibility and enhance operations.
Three of the bus stops on the deletion list are on Springs Road: at Hancock Street, where there has been little demand; Nickerson Road, because of safety concerns and right-of-way issues; and Pine Hill Road, where there are visibility and safety issues and low use by riders.
But Select Board member Margot Fleischman pointed out that one of the marketing points at the nearby Pine Hill Crossing cottage-style housing was proximity to the bus at Springs and Pine Hill roads.
Indeed, she said, that point was stressed in a 2017 Transportation Advisory Committee memorandum and map to the MBTA.
“In the case of Pine Hill Road, there was a specific request that the MBTA work with the town to do improvements at that intersection,” said Fleischman. “I would love to see us be able to improve our accessibility at that location.”
Sandra Clarey of McMahon Associates, project manager for the MBTA’s bus route improvements, said she hadn’t seen the letter and was not familiar with Pine Hill Crossing. Work on the 29-unit development began in the spring of 2017.
The board on Monday approved a motion calling for the MBTA to work with the town Department of Public Works to develop solutions that would retain the bus stop at Springs and Pine Hill.
“Legally, the Select Board cannot demand that a bus stop stays. That is the authority of the MBTA,” noted Town Manager Sarah Stanton. “The framework of the conversation is trying to find areas for compromise. I hope the MBTA can partner with the DPW and give this some serious consideration.”
“We’re willing to work with Bedford if we can find a safe and accessible solution,” said Rob Guptill, the MBTA’s director of service planning.
Clarey said the MBTA plans to invest approximately $120,000 in Bedford bus stop design and construction. But most of that will be adding sidewalks and adjusting bus stops and crosswalks on the campus of the Veterans Administration Hospital, which is the terminus of bus route 62. “We have coordinated extensively with the staff of the hospital,” Clarey said. Construction is planned for 2023.
One other bus stop along that route is marked for elimination, at The Great Road and Masardis Street, not far from the Lexington line. Also, a stop at Oak Park Drive will be removed along bus route 351.