You CAN Get There From Here (With Your Bike) On The Blue Line!

Next Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at 3:30pm, state, city, local officials, and community organizations will join Transportation officials at Maverick Station to officially announce the Bikes on the Blue Line Pilot Program. The MBTA, in collaboration with the Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG) and MassBike initiated a six-month pilot project on the Blue Line beginning March 19, 2011 expanding bicycle access during rush hours. Bicycles will be allowed on the Blue Line at all times except from 7-9AM towards Bowdoin and 4-6PM towards Wonderland weekdays. The changes provides an additional two hours of bike access during peak periods (inbound in the morning and outbound in the afternoon), and an additional six hours of bike access in the reverse-peak.

Bring your bike to the event, then you can take it on the Blue Line to downtown Boston DURING EVENING RUSH HOUR!

The MBTA recognizes that Boston Harbor poses a barrier to cyclists to and from East Boston and welcomes the opportunity to use existing Blue Line capacity to improve customer mobility. This pilot project allows residents of Blue Line communities to travel a few stops by public transportation and then complete their trip by bike, opening up more economic and educational opportunities that are not easily reached directly by T. The project also promotes more bikeable communities, which leads to more livable, healthier communities and reduced pollution.

This pilot project is exciting for the communities on the Blue Line because of the collaboration between the MBTA, organizations such as MassBike and the Chelsea Creek Action Group, and community residents. CCAG is a grassroots organization formed by East Boston and Chelsea residents, the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee, and the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH). Youth from CCAG’s Environmental Chelsea Creek Crew (E3C) have been the lead advocates for the Blue Line pilot, working together with MassBike and the MBTA. Ultimately, this pilot project serves as a model for agencies and government entities to work with community groups and other stakeholders to achieve excellent public transportation and improve the city.

This pilot project will be in effect on the Blue Line ONLY; unfortunately, bicycles remain restricted on the Orange and Red Lines between 7-10AM and 4-7PM weekdays. We recognize that challenges remain to expanding rush hour bicycle access on the other lines due to higher ridership and crowding, but we hope that the lessons we learn on the Blue Line will help us find solutions. This is the latest chapter in MassBike’s ongoing efforts to help bicyclists take full advantage of our public transportation system.

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12 Responses to You CAN Get There From Here (With Your Bike) On The Blue Line!

  1. Brian Gannon May 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    I have been asking this for years, as a former resident from somerville, I used to commute by bike every day. Now I need to walk to work bacause of the Harbor. I am concerned though that the MBTA will run into some space issues if this is not rolled out with a designated car for bikes and or strollers, preferable without seats. If this is not implemented carefully the MBTA is going to use the “it did not work” when they remove it. Similar to how it was done with the Night Owl bus whose low ridership they determined signified a lack of interst in late night transportation. Now it is harder to get them to consider extending T hours. Night Owl program did not work due to poor implementation (it was a bus not a train). Please dont let this happen to the Bikes on the Blue line we really need this.

  2. wogga May 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

    Having different times for bikes to be used on one subway system is not a good idea. It breeds confusion and I can see the already difficult conversations between bicyclists/T staff/riders getting worse.

    Obviously I’m an avid/rabid bike rider or I wouldn’t frequent Massbike and be a member. I’m also a somewhat avid Red Line rider – and a regular one at that.

    As T rider, bikes are like strollers or maybe even a bit worse space wise (dirty wheels, less stable, longer) and don’t fit well on the trains when they are empty. When it’s rush hour they are an absolute pain. I say this, even visualizing myself holding my wonderful bike in my arms as I ride the T.

  3. Melissa Tyler May 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Bringing your bike on the T is a great way to connect the city. But if you use your bike to get to work in Back Bay and live in Winthrop you still can not use the T to bring your bike. Not the best of plans for a commuter. This needs a rethink.

    1 car should be designated to bikes and they should be allowed on all the time in this car.

    This is just half of a GREAT plan and I am looking forward to taking my bike on the T.

  4. Katie May 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    This is fantastic!!! It’s great that the city is finally recognizing the the bike commuters of East Boston and realizing the unique and major limitations we have faced with the blue line.

  5. Ben August 30, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

    Is this program still in effect or did it fail? I’m coming to Boston this weekend so it would be helpful to know. Thanks!

  6. David August 31, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    The pilot is still going on, and as far as we know there have been no problems. We’re helping the T to evaluate the pilot for a week in September and we need volunteers to help!

  7. Dave Rensberger September 6, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    Does anyone know if the proposal to make each train have one seatless car for bikers has ever been formally discussed with the MBTA? I always thought that would be the ideal solution, so I’m glad that a number of people here have come to the same conclusion. Since the Blue Line was recently upgraded from 4 to 6 car trains, there would still be more capacity than there was 3 or 4 years ago.

  8. Dave Rensberger September 6, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Another change along the Blue Line that should have a positive effect for bike commuters is the construction of the parking garage at Wonderland (which will contain a secure bike cage) and the accompanying pedestrian bridge (which will mean that those wanting to access the beach will no longer have to cross 4 lanes of traffic on Ocean Ave).

  9. David September 6, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    We’re going to be helping the T evaluate capacity on the Blue Line next week, but preliminary observations before the pilot program make me think it is very unlikely there is sufficient excess capacity during peak periods to designate a car for bicycles. We’ve talked with the T about different approaches to accommodating bikes throughout the subway system, including dedicated cars, designated areas, in-car racks, etc. We will continue to have these discussions and work with the T. Over the past few years, the T has demonstrated willingness to try innovative ways to better integrate bicycles with the transit system.

  10. Steve September 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

    I totally support the idea of allowing bikes on the T…

    I would be “voting with my feet” by riding the blue line with my bike every day, but the fact that it is still prohibited inbound from 7-9 and outbound 4-6 makes it impossible for me to do so.

    What about retaining existing capacity while adding bike racks?

    Suggestion is as follows:

    The MBTA is already experimenting with taking out the seats on one car per train (the “big red” on the red line). That program is unrelated to bikes, and is all about capacity. For the blue line, it seems like they could remove the seats on one car and add a couple bike racks in the style of the racks in Portland Oregon. It should result in roughly the same capacity while improving accommodations.


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