An interactive version of this image showing the MBTA bus stops under consideration is embedded below – Image (c) Eliza Rosenberry, 2017 all rights reserved

By Eliza Rosenberry

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) is proposing the elimination of six Bedford bus stops, according to documents provided by the Town Manager’s office. Bedford officials have pushed back on the plan, saying that some of those stops meet important accessibility and economic needs for town residents and businesses.

According to a February letter, the MBTA is seeking to eliminate three bus stops along Springs Road, two on Crosby Drive, and one on the Great Road. Low demand for these stops — sometimes fewer than one rider per day, according to the letter — as well as proximity to other stops or “complex intersection traffic operations” are listed as potential reasons for stop closures.

Proposed stops to be eliminated:

  • Springs Road at Nickerson Road – 0.5 daily on/offs
  • Springs Road at Pine Hill Road – 2 daily on/offs
  • Springs Road opposite Building 70 – 0.7 daily on/offs
  • Great Road opposite Masardis Street – 0.4 daily on/offs
  • 22 Crosby Drive – 4.6 daily on/offs
  • 23 Crosby Drive – 4 daily on/offs

Soraya Stevens, chair of the Bedford Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), responded last week to the MBTA’s proposal after conducting a bus stop audit. In her letter, she asked the MBTA to consider retaining the Springs Road stops at Nickerson and Pine Hill, emphasizing that Bedford’s Department of Public Works is willing to remove guardrails and adjust curbs to make the bus stops more accessible.

Stevens explained the two stops are close to housing developments, including affordable housing at Bedford Village and the soon-to-be-redeveloped Coast Guard housing, where residents value access to public transportation.

“We anticipate that accessibility improvements would encourage residents of these two developments [to] make use of the #62 bus,” Stevens wrote.

Stevens agreed with the MBTA’s plans to remove two stops: Springs Road opposite Building 70 on the Veterans Hospital property, which she said is close to another stop, and Great Road opposite Masardis Street, which Stevens wrote, “is located in a relatively undeveloped area without sidewalks, crosswalks, or shelters.” The stop is directly outside of Immanuel Baptist Church.

Both Stevens and economic development director Alyssa Sandoval requested to retain the bus stops along Crosby Drive. Employees and representatives from more than a half-dozen Crosby Drive companies including Ocular Therapeutix, National Development, ICE Data Services, Minuteman Senior Services, Marley Properties, and Kofax wrote letters in support of keeping those stops as well.

Sandoval said public transit accessibility is especially important for Minuteman Senior Services, a non-profit organization offering programs to seniors in the region. She also noted that many of the innovative companies along Crosby Drive draw from a younger, urban-based workforce, many of whom rely on public transportation.

“We strongly urge that the MBTA reconsiders the elimination of these stops,” Sandoval wrote in a memo to the Selectmen earlier this month. “Elimination will impact our economic development objectives to increase redevelopment of these areas while encouraging public transit use to reduce traffic.”

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