Below is a copy of the letter I wrote to the transportation board in support of bus lanes on Washington Street. The featured image for this post comes from this YouTube video.
Dear members of the Transportation Board,
I am writing to express my support for the Gateway East bus lane. I am not writing as a neutral party. I would directly benefit from the improved flow of the 66 bus created by the addition of bus lanes on Gateway East as I commute regularly on the 66 bus and also regularly take the 66 bus for other needs. My neighbors who I regularly see waiting for the bus would also benefit, as would those members of our community I see exiting the bus when I board.
That said, I think the bus lane would move Brookline closer to many of its stated objectives—most obviously Town Meeting’s unanimous affirmation of complete streets in 2019—but also in other ways. A bus lane is a concrete, albeit small, step towards racial and economic equity. While people of all backgrounds take the bus (it may be the most integrated space I regularly inhabit), people who ride the bus are disproportionately Black, Latino, and low-income. Some members of our community—such as those who are very young or who cannot get a driver’s license because they are undocumented, those who have visual impairments, narcolepsy, epilepsy, or certain other disabilities, and those who cannot afford a car—rely on the bus because they cannot drive.
All difficult policy choices create tradeoffs. Those who benefit the most from bus lanes are those arriving from Nubian Square without a car, while those who benefit the least are those commuting to Boston by car from more affluent western suburbs. I hope you consider adopting a policy which gives more to those who have less.