The City of Malden’s New Lane Changes Causes Concern Among Citizens

Temporary improvements along Centre St, Main St, and Eastern Ave have only been in place for a year and have become one of the most controversial changes the City of Malden has made thus far. The recent changes from a four-lane all-car road to a two-lane car road, across the main parts of Malden Center, and having the rest of the two lanes split between bikes and buses have received an abundance of backlash, along with a great number of supportive comments. 

Nicholas Duggan and Arnibish Ray, both students at Malden High School and members of the Malden Youth Civics Council (MYCC), have presented their feelings toward these new changes in a way that reflects the perspective of their fellow students and regular Malden commuters. 

“When it comes to the makeup of the city, around 40% of the population doesn’t have a personal automobile they can use, thus forcing them to use either a bicycle or public transport. If this referendum had passed, it could’ve hurt the 40% of people with no automobiles in Malden due to their form of transportation being limited.”

Centre St. with new lane changes in place. Photos by cityofmalden.

The overall makeup of the city, showcasing a lack of an alternative mode of transportation that some Malden residents have isn’t the only reason they have chosen to support these new changes, the safety aspect of it too, has contributed greatly to its successes, “… These car lanes being reduced from 2 to 1 lane (in many places) has slowed down traffic and reduced car accidents.” Furthermore, the MYCC voices their opinions on how the location of Centre St., being minutes away from the high school, the mixture of fewer cars on the road, along with increase in bus lanes can help ease transportation, along with more kids coming to school on time. 

Stephen Winslow, the Ward 6 Councilor for Malden, has also addressed his positive and hopeful beliefs for the outcome of this project. He stated that the main reason that these improvements were put in place was to, “Move people better.” Winslow also added on by explaining that a study conducted by the MBTA considered 10 bus routes in Malden to be extremely busy, and to combat its hecticness, the usage of the added bus lanes can help the 40% of Malden residents without an automobile to reach their destination as fast as possible. 

Main St. with new lane changes in place. Photos by cityofmalden.

He further explained that these lanes were “intended to be more of a temporary project” as the roads are only outlined in paint and are certainly reversible. With more data coming in over time, the City of Malden will be able to decide if it is worth turning into a permanent project or, bringing back the 4-lane roads.

“Keep Malden Moving – Put The Brakes On Bus And Bike Lanes”, a popular petition created by “Malden Motorist”, William Spadafora has showcased the negative effects of these improvements and has called for the immediate removal of these bike/bus lanes over the issues of traffic congestion, inadequate usage, and financial burden. With the petition having 290 signatures thus far, the concern over its usefulness, efficiency, and inclusivity to all commuters has been seen throughout the Malden community, with supporters of the petition claiming that “The increased congestion on Route 60 contributes more air pollution and driver frustration… the bus having to cut across the lanes to make a turn creates more issues than not.” These matters have brought up further issues on whether the prioritization of Malden residents is even taken into account when creating transportation or infrastructure projects within the city.

No matter what your stance is on these new improvements, only time will tell the true positive, or negative effects this project has on our city’s commuters. 

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