On July 22, the Malden legislative delegation including Representatives Steven Ultrino, Paul Donato, and Kate Lipper-Garabedian, and Senator Jason Lewis, submitted a letter expressing serious concerns over the proposed changes to the bus network operating throughout Malden as part of the MBTA's Bus Network Redesign.
28% of percent of Malden residents use public transportation to commute to work, the third highest percentage in the state, behind only Boston and Somerville. We understand that our residents do not just want to use public transportation, but it is essential to their daily lives. Our residents need a stable, consistent, and safe public bus network to travel to work, school, the grocery store, and many other essential destinations.
We voiced support for the City of Malden and Mayor Christenson's earlier letter, submitted on July 18th. The Mayor and the City provided the following feedback on the MBTA-proposed map and included with each item an alternative proposal which would address the relevant concerns:
Terminating the proposed Route 108
The proposed change disconnects East and West Malden
It is a key connection between Downtown Malden and Linden Square and allows Linden Square residents to access Malden Center T station, the downtown area, as well as the various essential services and 5 public and private schools located along Salem Street.
Malden also recently conducted a survey in support of the City's upcoming Transit Action Plan, which found that a majority of the 1,016 respondents utilize route 108. Respondents also cited "more frequent bus service" as one of their main concerns.
Reducing Route 105's coverage
This is a concerning change as it will negatively impact the most low-income, racially diverse part of Malden.
The MBTA's proposed reduction in coverage will cut off access to public transit to low-income, affordable housing residents, such as those of the Newland Street Development, who heavily rely on this bus route to reach essential services and economic opportunities in Malden and the Greater Boston area.
Eliminating Route 97
Transit-dependent residents rely on Route 97 to access the Social Security Administration, Cambridge Health Alliance's services, Super 88 Market, ABCD Head Start Preschool & Kindergarten, South Cove Community Health Center, the DTA, Bridge Recovery Center, and many other essential services.
These services along the Commercial Street corridor is the reason why bus service was requested for this road in 2018. Cutting off access to Commercial Street is harmful to transit-dependent residents, will increase food insecurity, prevent residents from accessing critical government services.
Reducing Frequency of Route 99
The MBTA also proposed reducing the frequency of Route 99 and the new 99 will replace the existing Route 108.
The changes will further displace and disconnect the Edgeworth neighborhood from the City and the rest of Malden.
The new route also does not extend onto Salem Street which means Malden High School students will no longer have a direct connection to the school from Edgeworth.
Both the Delegation's letter of support and the Mayor/City's feedback letter can be found attached.
The deadline for the public to provide feedback to the MBTA regarding the Bus Network Redesign is Sunday July 31, 2022. You can reach the MBTA through the following:
Online submission: http://mbta.com/bnrdfeedback