Healthy Streets program will be part of re-opening process

The City of Boston will reimagine streets in Boston to better support local businesses and restaurants, provide additional space for residents using public transportation, and accelerate the installation of bike lanes

Mayor Martin J. Walsh on May 28 announced a series of changes to City streets as Boston continues its planning for a phased, careful COVID-19 reopening process in the City of Boston. Street changes will be phased in over the next several months, and in the next two weeks the Boston Transportation Department will make improvements that include street space allocated for expanded bus stops, new bike lanes, and outdoor restaurant seating.
“Ensuring the safety and health of all residents is our first priority in Boston,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “These innovative streets programs focus on what residents need: safe, reliable transportation if they must travel in Boston, access to fresh air and open spaces, and building social and physical distancing into everyday life. As we continue to carefully plan for reopening in Boston, we will continue our work to create streets and transportation that work for all.”

Improving Bus Stops
To better accommodate workers who use MBTA bus routes, which continue to see high use by essential workers, the Boston Transportation Department will expand bus stops at ten locations in partnership with the MBTA, and will begin to make these changes the week of June 1.
Downtown locations include:
•Hynes Station (Northbound) Stop
In addition, the City of Boston is enhancing Silver Line reliability through Chinatown, and installing a bus lane on Washington Street north of Marginal Road and by repainting the bus lane on Essex Street.

Accelerating Installation of Bike Lanes
To help people get to work safely, the first phase of bike lanes will focus on connecting downtown to the citywide network. They will provide high-comfort dedicated lanes that will be attractive to new bike riders, families, essential workers and commuters.
These quick-build lanes in the downtown include:
•Arlington St (Beacon to Stuart)
•Beacon St (Charles to Berkeley)
•Boylston St (Arlington to Washington)
•Charles St (Boylston to Beacon)
•Columbus Ave (W Newton to Stuart)
•Court St (Congress to Tremont)
•State St (Atlantic to Congress)
•Tremont St (Court to Shawmut)
In addition, the City will implement scheduled bike lanes on Washington Street (from Stuart Street to Avenue De Lafayette), Stuart Street (Charles Street to Washington Street), and Berkeley Street (Tremont St to Columbus Avenue).

Supporting Restaurants and Small Businesses
Last week, Mayor Walsh and the Licensing Board for the City of Boston took steps to streamline existing processes for restaurants who wish to expand outdoor seating as part of the COVID-19 reopening process. These new processes make it easier for restaurants to take advantage of outdoor space in Boston when they are allowed to open under state guidelines, including issuing a questionnaire for businesses that will be used as the starting point for both identifying opportunities for temporary extensions onto outdoor space both on public and private property. Over 270 businesses have already begun this process throughout all of Boston’s neighborhoods. The Transportation and Public Works Departments are reviewing requests from the questionnaires to accommodate outdoor dining on sidewalks and parking lanes.
Temporary street closures with barriers and signs will also be explored as part of the outdoor seating work, and to create better green links to parks and open spaces.
“Public space and transportation will be key to a healthy reopening and an equitable recovery,” said Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets. “Right now, that includes making sure hospital staff and front line workers can get to work safely and affordably, and rethinking how Boston’s streets best serve our residents. These changes to Boston’s streets are in line with Boston’s transportation goals of safety, access, and reliability, and the City’s work to create a safe city for every resident.”

Future phases will include additional bus priority measures, continued adjustments to curb management and enforcement activities, more bike lanes, and new Bluebikes stations. Work continues on existing capital projects, including the construction of several Neighborhood Slow Streets zones this summer.

1 comment for “Healthy Streets program will be part of re-opening process

  1. June 3, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Dear Local News Agency,

    I AM HOPING TO URGE GOV. BAKER TO PLEASE make a revision to the phases/guidelines for reopening of Bars (w/out food) in MA.

    I am writing to express my sincere concern with Gov. Baker’s latest Reopening Plan as laid out on 6/1/2020. I am a small business owner, I own a local pub in Salisbury Beach, MA, and after reading the updated Reopening Plan realized that bars have been moved to Phase 4. I was distressed and confused already about being in Phase 3, but to have read that it was put off even further could be the make or break of my business.

    Although I am open year-round, the majority of my business is in the warmer seasons, and because of the seasonality of the Beach, that is the time in which I am able to make my annual profit. I am not the only bar in that situation in Salisbury, and most probably not in MA either.

    Even with my PPP loan, I am barely able to survive opening on Phase 3, ergo why I petitioned the State to consider allowing me to open in Phase 2, with the same restrictions as restaurants, outdoor seating only – which I am able to offer. (see attached drawings)

    Why haven’t you, and/or other State Reps, made a case about capacity for venues such as Bars? We are being massed in the same category as large capacity venues, dance clubs, night clubs, and even saunas, hot-tubs, steam rooms at health clubs, gyms, and other facilities yet weddings/events/large gatherings in parks, reservations, and open spaces, as well as movie theaters, fitness clubs and health centers, theaters and performance venues, will be allowed to open in Phase 3 with moderate capacity – prior to a small local pub??? How does that make any sense and how is that fair?

    I have come up with a very detailed plan with tables social distanced, etc, following the CDC’s specific guidelines. Why can’t bars be allotted the chance to open sooner? Only because they have no food? That simply makes NO sense. It’s a judgement call – just as the Gov. did with the recreational marijuana facilities. People can go to the liquor store, go to a restaurant and eat and drink (even though MANY of these restaurants are NOT requiring their patrons to order food. I have personally experienced and witnessed this). Who’s controlling that and how is that fair to the MANY bar owners in MA who do not offer food? Also, restaurants will be allowed indoor seating some time during Phase 2 but a bar cannot even serve outside or anywhere until Phase 4? And, the House just passed a bill allowing restaurants to serve take out alcohol, but a bar cannot be open? That makes no sense whatsoever.

    House advances restaurant relief bill

    I am writing to inquire to inform you of this current state of affairs, and urge your organization to take action on this, write an article, interview some owners, etc.

    Hopefully together we can urge Gov. Baker reconsider the guidelines, look at capacities in the various categories and re-think where Bars fall in the overall scheme of the Reopening Plan. A small local establishment should NOT fall in the same category as large performance venues. Plain and simple.

    This ALL needs to be addressed ASAP. Can the State really afford to lose SO many small businesses that employ so many people? Or is the State prepared to continue to offer financial assistance to ALL of these small business owners until the time in which we will be allowed to open?

    I appreciate everyone’s time and assistance in this matter and should you require more info, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

    On a local level, I suggested that the Town put together a reopening committee, which I’ve offered to volunteer on as well. I believe in being proactive, helping your neighbors and doing the right thing so please help me out in any way that any of you can.

    Kind regards,
    Linda M. Somma

    Linda M. Somma
    Hideaway Pub LLC
    183 North End Blvd.
    Salisbury, MA 01952
    [email protected]

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