Boston Transportation Department officials were on hand for the Tuesday, Jan. 17, virtual meeting of the Fenway Neighborhood Improvement Committee to discuss the city’s planned traffic-calming measures for the East Fenway, including the installation of a contraflow bike lane on a swath of Hemenway Street.
The bike lane would sit next to the parking lane and only extend the section of Hemenway Street between Westland Avenue and Boylston Street, where northbound traffic is situated next to the parking lane, said Hannah Fong, a BTD planner.
Striping would be used to delineate the bike lane from the adjacent travel lane, said Fong, while “speed humps” could be installed approximately 150 to 200 feet apart to encourage drivers to adhere to the 20 mph posted speed limit.
(Raised crosswalks typically measure about 6 inches high, said John Monacelli, BTD senior engineer, while speed bumps, which he described as “pillows of asphalt” that can be installed quickly and easily, usually stand around 3 inches high.)
Accessible curb ramps could be added to improve visibility by pushing parking back a space so drivers can see pedestrians stepping into the crosswalk, said Fong.
Neighbors will be notified of the planned project via postcards and fliers, she said, while community events are also planned to solicit feedback from the public on the best locations for speed bumps as part of an “ongoing conversation.”
Charlotte Fleetwood, a senior planner with the BTD, added that they would return to the community with new locations for the sidewalk and ramp upgrades proposed for the project area.
The city’s goal is to start construction on the project later this year, according to Fong.
Rich Giordano, director of policy and planning for the Fenway CDC (Community Development Corporation) and a member of the Fenway NIC steering committee, as well as a bicyclist, asked if the placement of bike lane and the parking lane could be switched, so that the bike lane would directly abut the curb.
Monacelli responded that this isn’t an option, given the physical restraints of the roadway and the need to provide adequate space for fire vehicles, as well as to provide enough room at the curb for Public Works’ trash sweepers and snowplows to navigate.
Fleetwood added that another option that hadn’t been presented is to remove parking on one side of the street.
For more information on the city’s plans for traffic calming in the East Fenway, visit boston.gov/departments/transportation/east-fenway-traffic-calming.
The Fenway NIC is an all-volunteer group of neighborhood residents, organizations, and businesses, which is facilitated by Berklee College of Music in an effort to encourage shared stewardship of the Fenway neighborhood. The group meets on an approximately quarterly basis.