Infrastructure & Mobility

Studies and Reports

Chelsea Broadway Bus Pilot Project Analysis

The City of Chelsea implemented a Bus/Bike Lane pilot project on Washington Avenue between Chestnut Street and 5th Street and on Broadway between 5th Street and 3rd Street in November 2020. With this pilot, one of the existing travel lanes on Washington Avenue and Broadway was converted into a dedicated bus/bike lane. In addition, curb extensions were added on Broadway at the intersections with 3rd Street and 4th Street. The goal of the pilot is to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating bus priority on this critical corridor that serves high volumes of transit riders.

When the City Council approved the project for the Downtown Corridor in January of 2020, the City agreed to study the impacts of the pilot to ensure that there were no significant negative effects.  The City commissioned the traffic engineering firm of HNTB to conduct that study.  Unfortunately, because of COVID, traffic was significantly reduced in the Downtown for a long period, delaying any accurate measurement of impact.  However, with traffic returning close to normal, HNTB completed the analysis this Spring.    

The Bus/Bike Lane has not had a detrimental impact on traffic in the Downtown Corridor, has somewhat improved vehicular and pedestrian safety and has not generated significant public opposition. The success of the bus pilot can be measured by any one of or combination of the following:

  • Reduction in crashes, especially for vulnerable users
  • Reduction in travel times for MBTA buses
  • Minimal increase to delay on Washington and Broadway
  • Increase in MBTA bus ridership
  • Increase in number of cyclists

While there has been an increase in bicycle-related crashes, the number of crashes involving pedestrians decreased significantly as well as the total number of crashes along the corridor. Vehicle speeds and travel times remained consistent, MBTA travel times remained similar, and MBTA ridership decreased slightly. Overall, it can be concluded that the Bus Pilot had no detrimental impacts on the Washington and Broadway corridors. With the decrease in crashes and the increase in the number of cyclists on the corridor, the bus pilot can be considered a success. It is anticipated that the formalization of the dedicated bus/bike lane will further improve safety along the corridor and increase comfort and safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Downtown Broadway Bus/Bike Lane Pilot - Survey Findings
Chelsea_Bus Pilot Analysis - June 2022

Chelsea Walk Audit Report - Everett Ave/Chestnut St/Third St Intersection

The City of Chelsea’s Department of Housing and Community Development conducted a walk audit along with WalkBoston and a team of members from the Chelsea community to assess the Everett Avenue, Chestnut Street and Third Street Intersection. The evaluation team studied the intersection, focusing on usage and future safety improvements to the area.

A redesign process commissioned by the City of Chelsea was funded by WalkBoston’s efforts through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Mass. in Motion Program. The City of Chelsea, in partnership with GreenRoots, has started using resident input about how the intersection is used and improvements that residents hope to see. In addition to the intersection itself, this audit included walking along Fifth Street, down Walnut Street in front of the Williams School and back up Broadway to provide context of traffic patterns in the area and visible problems at the intersection.

This audit and redesign effort was born out of the challenges posed by the current structure of the intersection. Traffic feeds from Everett Avenue into Broadway, the main street in Chelsea’s downtown, and connects to Revere Beach Parkway (Route 16), a heavily frequented corridor connecting Chelsea with the surrounding communities. The MBTA 111 bus also runs directly through this intersection. All of these elements create a high-traffic area. Advocacy for this effort also came from a pedestrian fatality in 2019 at the crosswalk near the Tobin Bridge on-ramp.

The audit identified four key recommendations for the redesign through the audit:

  • Improve pedestrian safety and comfort in and around the Chestnut Avenue, Everett Avenue and Route 1 intersection with various traffic calming measures. This includes the areas around the Williams School, on-ramp area and bus stop area that all contribute to the busyness of the intersection
  • Redesign the intersection, especially with consideration to Chestnut Street traffic patterns as traffic flows to Everett Avenue and Third Street
  • Increase shade throughout the intersection and surrounding areas
  • Increase pedestrian light levels along the route, especially at the underpass

The official audit report also includes both short-term and long-term solutions to meet these recommendations. The full report identifies all the audit participants, outlines funding opportunities for the redesign and much more.

Chelsea Walk Audit Report Everett Ave/Chestnut Street/Third Street Intersection 

Informe de Auditoría del Paseo de Chelsea Avenida Everett (Everett Ave)/ Calle Chestnut (Chestnut Street)/ Calle Tercera (Third Street) intersección