City of Everett, community partners 'Reimagine Broadway' for greater mobility

Oct. 28, 2020
Centered around elements of BRT, new quick-build and permanent street improvements support the goal of developing more housing along key route.

The city of Everett, in collaboration with Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the EverettBRT, a subset of the overall Greater BostonBRT initiative of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), and local community partners launched “Reimagine Broadway,” a multi-part effort to improve Everett’s main thoroughfare, retail district and connection to Boston and local neighborhoods with bus rapid transit (BRT) as a centerpiece.

The city of Everett is receiving $170,000 from the Baker-Polito Administration’s Shared Streets & Spaces Emergency Funding Program created in June to provide money to cities and towns for quick-build/quick-launch improvements to streets and sidewalks in support of public health, safe mobility and renewed commerce and dining. Everett will put the money toward new infrastructure and has a longer-term goal of reducing demand for parking along Broadway, thereby reducing cost barriers associated with building more affordable housing in the hub of the city.

“The city of Everett has been a role model in rethinking how best to use street space to serve the needs of the community,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Everett has been very successful in using funding from the Baker-Polito Administration Shared Streets & Spaces Emergency Funding Program to help businesses recover from the pandemic and previously in taking steps to improve public transportation by piloting level-boarding bus platforms and dedicated bus lanes.”

"The Rapid Response Bus Lane Program was launched with our state and local partners to improve service reliability and mitigate crowding conditions as quickly as possible. Dedicated bus lanes are one of the best ways to accomplish that,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “The MBTA thanks the city of Everett for its partnership and MassDOT for their support of infrastructure projects that prioritize bus service throughout the cities and towns we serve.”

Reimagine Broadway is comprised of new infrastructure, design and programming, all implemented in October. Key to the initiative are new dedicated bus lanes on Sweetser Circle, Broadway and Main Street to create faster, less crowded commutes for essential workers and expand Everett’s implementation of bus-only lanes. The bus lanes were developed in collaboration with MassDOT and the MBTA through the Rapid Response Bus Lane Program.

Throughout the pandemic, Broadway buses have remained some of the busiest in the MBTA system, serving Everett residents commuting throughout the region. Separating buses from car traffic allows for more frequent and reliable service and prevents crowding onboard and at the station.

Other elements of Reimagine Broadway include:

  • Mobility Hubs featuring additional bike parking, BlueBikes stations, street amenities, multilingual pedestrian wayfinding, maps, business signage, and real-time transit information. These hubs will give riders more choices to access jobs, child care, grocery stores and other key services.
  • Shared Streets that limit and slow down car traffic to allow kids and families to play and move outside while creating safe walking and biking connections to Broadway, as well as new “streateries” to allow more space for outdoor restaurant dining.
  • Parklets to transform underutilized parking and asphalt space into mini urban oases – with benches and shade – for anyone to sit, socialize safely and get fresh air.
  • “Distance of care” measures with artistically designed educational markers to visually indicate where people can stand, sit, or walk to maintain safe distances at bus stops and on the sidewalk.
  • Ride safely care packages for bus riders including masks, hand sanitizer and transit safety tips.

“Everett has become a model for transportation innovation since 2016 when cones were dropped on Broadway to make way for the region’s first peak hour dedicated bus lane,” said Julia Wallerce, Boston Program Manager for ITDP. “From that day forward, momentum for bus priority and people-centered streets has spread through the state. The Mayor’s bold leadership and vision combined with exceptional staff expertise has put this city well on its way to achieving true BRT.”

Reimagine Broadway is being coordinated through EverettBRT, a subset of the overall Greater BostonBRT initiative of ITDP through the support of the Barr Foundation, in partnership with the city of Everett and TransitMatters, Neighborways, the Everett Haitian Community Center, Everett Community Growers, and La Comunidad. The elements were designed by Ad Hoc Industries.