By Dan Murphy
The Boston Transportation Department unveiled planned safety improvements for Beacon Street on Monday during a public meeting at the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library.
Stefanie Seskin, BTD active transportation director, said the project aims to manage vehicle speeds, reduce the number and severity of crashes and make conditions more comfortable for pedestrians crossing the street on Beacon Street between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue.
Seskin said the preferred, proposed alternative includes narrowing two travel lanes to 10½ feet-wide each and installing a 3-foot buffer next to the bike lane. Two outlying parking lanes on either side of the roadway would each reach a width of 9 feet. This alternative would also use additional measures to promote safety including synchronizing signal times to give pedestrians an approximately 6-seond “head start” while crossing the street and “daylighting,” which entails removing parking spaces adjacent to curbs around an intersection to improve visibility for pedestrians.
Seskin said this alternative would result in the loss of seven parking spaces on Beacon Street and three additional spaces on side streets, but would be quick and inexpensive to implement.
BTD also considered, but ultimately rejected three other alternatives, including one option Seskin called “crazy” that involved consolidating all the traffic to one side of the street and adopting “angled” parking. This would have resulted in the loss of 130 parking spaces, she said.
BTD anticipates unveiling the final design for the project during a public meeting in September and implementing the changes in the fall, Seskin said.