BTD Planner Discusses Beacon Street Bike Lanes

By Dan Murphy

A Boston Transportation Department planner was on hand during the Audubon Circle Neighborhood Association board meeting at the Harvard Vanguard building on Tuesday to provide information about the parking-protected bike lanes installed on Beacon Street about two weeks ago.

At this time, Charlotte Fleetwood discussed the city’s decision to implement 5-foot-wide bike lanes with a 3-foot buffer on Beacon Street between Arundel and St. Mary’s streets.  It is part of Vision Zero – an initiative spearheaded by Mayor Martin J. Walsh that aims to eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries citywide, she said.

Besides narrowing vehicular traffic lanes  to slow vehicular traffic down in an effort to improve safety conditions for pedestrians and bicyclists, Fleetwood said the city would install protected left turns and signal-timing improvements. BTD also plans to install FlexPost to better define the parameters of parking spaces.

The present configuration results in the loss of 16 parking spaces – four more than projected in than earlier design, and while bicyclists are permitted to use all travel lanes, Fleetwood said the city is predicting the new configuration would compel them to use the protected bike lanes.

Some in attendance voiced concern that the new configuration would situate parked cars too close to moving traffic, and that bicyclists would likely be struck by vehicle doors as occupants exit.

Regarding a request for signage, Fleetwood said BTD would implement it at “strategic places” imminently, adding that the city would also further study the new configuration’s parking and traffic impacts.

Vineet Gupta, BTD’s director of planning, also said the city would consider installing a “rapid-flashing beacon” at the Miner Street intersection.

Meanwhile, many in attendance expressed their frustration that the bike lanes had been implemented without an extensive public process.

“Now that this plan has dropped from the sky with no warning, I’m wondering what we can do to rectify it,” said long-standing board member Kathy Greenough

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