The Mission Hill stretch of Huntington Av, between Brigham Circle and South Huntington Ave., can be so congested that it’s quicker to walk than to ride the train or bus. While buses and Green Line trains represent only 3% of the traffic, they carry 70% of the people – so doesn’t it make sense to give them priority? At the same time, the antiquated streetcar setup, with trains stopping in the inside lane and all traffic expected traffic to stop so that pedestrians can cross between the sidewalk and the train, is inherently unsafe and is inaccessible to many would-be riders.
The proposed design converts the inside lanes of Huntington Ave to transit-only lanes, meant for both buses and the Green Line, leaving a single lane in each direction for general traffic. Island platforms, where pedestrians can safely stand when getting on or off a train or bus, are added, and are positioned at intersections where passengers can use crosswalks to get between the sidewalks and the islands. On-street parking is preserved, except for 20 spaces lost to create island platforms.
Comparative simulations of p.m. peak hour traffic find that transit delay over this 0.4 mile stretch is reduced by 6 minutes for trains and by 4 minutes for bus. And while the number of lanes open to cars is reduced by 50%, only 20% of through traffic would have to be diverted (disappear) for the remaining single lane per direction to flow smoothly.
This project was conducted by Charlie (Chaoqun) Guo, who later served as an intern for the City of Cambridge Traffic & Parking division.
Video Clip (.avi file) of the proposed design, p.m. peak hour, with through traffic on Huntington Ave reduced by 20% (no reduction in traffic on cross streets, or traffic turning onto or off of Huntington Ave between Parker Hill Ave and Fenwood Rd).
Full report (pdf) can be found here