Mass Ave Protected Bike Lanes Update

Mass Ave in the Back Bay to get protected bike lanes thanks to your help!

A rendering of the parking-protected bike lane now installed on Mass Ave.

This November the Boston Transportation Department began implementing parking-protected bike lanes on Mass Ave from the Harvard Bridge to Symphony. While the project is still in progress, it is a significant improvement over the previous conditions. Flex posts still need to be installed in some areas, and paint is still being applied at intersections and on the stretch adjacent to the Christian Science Apartments (pictured below.)

Improving Mass Ave for people biking has been an ongoing process, dating back to at least 2010 when Mayor Menino first expressed support for bike lanes on the Harvard Bridge. In 2011 over 150 people attended a public meeting about implementing bike lanes on the Back Bay section of Mass Ave, and at the end of the year parking was removed from the northbound side of the street and bike lanes were painted. Four years later, in June of 2016, over 250 people attended a public meeting to support parking-protected bike lanes on Mass Ave. Now, four years after being striped with basic bike lanes, Mass Ave is taking another leap forward in safety.

We’d like to thank all our of members, volunteers, friends and allies who have stayed involved throughout the process to win protected bike lanes on Mass Ave. These improvements are only possible thanks to the consistent and sustained pressure from the bike community on the City to make changes to our streets to improve safety for people biking.

For more information about the current status of the project (as of the time of this article being published) continue reading below.

On November 17th, we asked you sign a petition asking the City to install flex posts on Mass Ave as quickly as possible, since cars were encroaching on the protected bike lane, leading to unsafe conditions. You, along with over 500 other people, signed, and many of you shared your photos of cars parked in the bike lane or straddling the buffer. bxniz2yisg-mass-ave-should-look-like-this-not-this

We shared those photos and our petition list with the City’s Transportation Department. Now, thanks to your support the City is installing flex posts on Mass Ave this season, rather than waiting until next spring as they had originally planned.

Many were installed as soon as a day and a half after we launched the petition. Unfortunately the City did not have enough flex posts immediately available to install everywhere, so in the mean time they have installed tall, orange traffic cones in the remaining locations where flex posts will be installed.

While the protected bike lane on Mass Ave still isn’t perfect, it’s getting significantly better as the project nears completion.

Here’s what is still happening with the project:

  • The remaining flex posts will be installed on Mass Ave to prevent illegal parking or encroachment on the bike lane by motor vehicles
  • Green paint will be applied to the area of the sidewalk by the Christian Science Apartments, where the bike lane ramps up onto the sidewalk for that section (pictured below)
The plan for Mass Ave southbound at the Christian Science Center
We will continue to keep a close eye on the project in both the short term while it is under construction, and in the long term after it’s complete, and we will bring any issues to the attention of the City.

Thank you for your support in making the Mass Ave protected bike lane better!

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