Councillors Ask for Change in MBTA Bus Route

The City Council is asking for a meeting with the MBTA regarding improving bus service to Crescent Avenue and Clinton Street.

Council President Roy Avellaneda said the area is currently underserved by public transportation, and that the MBTA could make some changes with its current routes to help improve that service.

“One of the matters that has come up with the discussion of the Forbes project was the possibility … that the project developer was going to have some kind of shuttle bus,” said Avellaneda.

But with the Forbes project in limbo, any hope of an associated shuttle bus in the near future has also been scuttled.

“What the discussion led to, to me, was the awareness that that whole corner of Chelsea does not have any sort of public transportation or bus stops,” said Avellaneda. “The 117 and the 116 (buses), as far as Chelsea goes, are duplicate routes. They enter from Meridian Street and run down to Park to Hawthorn to Bellingham Square, and then it is a straight shot down Broadway, and only in Revere do the 116 and the 117 then have two different routes.”

Avellaneda said many Chelsea residents would benefit if there was a change in routes for one of the buses, and asked City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to contact the MBTA to see if they could change the route of the 117 bus. He suggested the route could travel down Crescent Avenue all the way past Eastern Avenue before going down Clinton Street and turning onto Broadway going into Revere.

“I would argue, looking at this, that if you are at the end of Crescent and Clinton, and you have a carriage or you are elderly, that to make someone walk half a mile or more to the nearest bus stop makes no sense whatsoever,” said Avellaneda.

Avellaneda noted that there is no other part of the city that lacks easy access to bus service.

“Admiral Hill has bus service, yes, we complain about it’s frequency, but at least they have a bus,” he said. “Prattville has a bus, Central Ave. has a bus,” he said. “I just think that it would help that corner of the city if we can make one little adjustment to that bus route and see if we can get a couple of stops there.”

District 5 Councillor Judith Garcia said she supported the initiative, and added that GreenRoots has also recently undertaken a public discussion of public transit and bus routes in Chelsea.

“I look forward to seeing what happens,” she said. “It doesn’t sound like the councillor is asking to reinvent the wheel. This is a bus route that has existed for years, and what we are talking about and the underlying issue I am hearing about is accessibility. Let’s make our transportation accessible in our community, that’s not too much to ask for.”

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