Route 39 work may start in spring

Harvest bus stop may stay

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MBTA senior planner Greg Strangeways told the Gazette last night that planned changes to the MBTA’s bus Route 39—three years in the making—may not happen until next spring.

The project includes the elimination of some stops and “bump-out” sidewalk extensions and improved amenities like new shelters and benches at others.

At a meeting last March, officials said the work would begin this summer. The MBTA website says the work will begin in the fall.

But, in an email, MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo today confirmed that the work would begin in spring 2012.

A meeting to review final changes to the plans will be held “late this year or early next year,” Strangeways told the Gazette.

Strangeways also told the Gazette that MBTA officials had settled one remaining controversy. One of the stop eliminations proposed in the plan is on South Street at Carolina Avenue and Custer Street. The Harvest Co-op Market there opposes the move and was never consulted about it, the T acknowledged.

Strangeways told the Gazette that the MBTA has spoken with Harvest and plans to retain that stop. But Harvest Co-op General Manager Mike St. Claire told the Gazette via email June 24 that he still has not heard from the MBTA.

Pesaturo told the Gazette that, “The MBTA has not yet released the latest changes to the Route 39 proposal, but staff did receive a lot of feedback about the Harvest Co-op bus stop, and it is likely that this bus stop will remain.”

The Gazette spoke to Strangeways at a meeting in Mission Hill about proposed improvements to Route 66.

One of those proposed changes—moving the current inbound and outbound Route 66 stops at Huntington Avenue and the Riverway to the corner of Huntington and S. Huntington—is intended in part to improve accessibility for passengers transferring between route 66 and 39.

Alison Pultinas, the lone Mission Hill resident at the meeting, objected to moving the Jamaicaway and Huntington Avenue stops to the S. Huntington/Huntington corner.

While that would shorten the distance passengers would have to walk to transfer to the Route 39 bus, it would eliminate a shelter offered by the Riverway overpass at the original location, she said.

She also noted that the sidewalks and intersection at Huntington and S. Huntington are already congested. The wait at a stop on the outbound side of the street—heading toward Brookline—would be particularly uncomfortable, she said, because of the narrow sidewalk there and an apartment building that comes right out to the sidewalk.

Strangeways said the MBTA would consider not moving those stops.

While the Route 39 improvement process began years ago, it has been included in a more recent federally funded MBTA improvement project aimed at the 15 most-used bus routes in the system, including Route 66.

More information about the proposed Route 66 changes can be found here.

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