BTD officials preview changes coming to Tremont Street

Boston Transportation officials were on hand to discuss changes coming to Tremont Street during the second South End Business Forum Tuesday at the Revolution Hotel.
The street’s design will be reconfigured by eliminating one traffic lane in either direction at most un-signalized crosswalks between Massachusetts Avenue and Herald Street, although there will be more travel lanes at busier intersections. Automatic pedestrian signals will be installed, allowing those on foot a head start where possible, and raised crosswalks will be added to all un-signalized intersections parallel to Tremont Street. Other changes will include the addition of raised crosswalks at all un-signalized intersections parallel to Tremont Street; in-lane bus stops with boarding islands; parking-protected bike lanes along most of the corridor; and maximized curb space for deliveries, pick-up and drop-off, and parking. The resigned Tremont Street will be able to handle just as much traffic as today, according to the BTD.
Stefanie Seskin, the project manager and BTD’s active transportation director, said Tremont Street is in the top 3 percent of streets citywide for pedestrian crashes, and the two-year process so far to redesign the street came in response to this.
“The capital budget for the project is $2.5 million, but it will probably cost more than that because we want to enhance the neighborhood and not just use temporary materials,” Seskin said.
The BTD conducted a loading-activity study between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. over five weekends in September and October of 2019 and then interviewed 79 businesses along the Tremont Street corridor in November and December to get their input on deliveries, loading and possible curb-use changes.
Nathaniel Fink of the BTD said the city hasn’t finished its outreach for the project, and would attempt to interview the remaining businesses on the corridor.
Sheila Grove, who lives steps away from Tremont Street and owns property along the corridor where several businesses are located, expressed concern that physical barriers for bike lanes in the middle of the street could cause visibility issues and create more congestion.
“Crossing bike lanes can be very dangerous for pedestrians because bikes don’t stop,” Grove added.
In response to Grove and others in attendance who requested that the city consider installing bike lanes on Shawmut Avenue instead of Tremont Street, Seskin said, “We have talked about bike lanes on Shawmut Avenue, but it has similar problems with first-floor businesses and double-parking. The challenge with Shawmut is that it’s so much more residential.”
The BTD will hold several open houses in March to share design plans and proposed curb-use along Tremont Street before fine-tuning the concept based on the feedback it receives, Seskin said,
Visit https://www.boston.gov/departments/transportation/tremont-street-design-project to learn more about the project.

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