Your support needed to make it to 100%One of the most challenging campaigns Boston’s bike advocate community has ever taken on is now benefitting from a very positive turn. Boston’s transportation department has been working on a cycletrack option for Comm Ave since December, and thanks to a highly collaborative effort between the Boston Cyclists Union, Livable Streets Alliance, BU Bikes and you, it may well become the most effective protected bike lane in the country.
“We’re heading toward bike tracks on Comm Ave but there’s some related issues there we’re trying to finish up,” said Boston’s Deputy Transportation Commissioner Jim Gillooly. “We’re intent on having the public meeting that we’ve been talking about for the past three months… in the last week of February.”A unique aspect of the Commonwealth cycletrack plan is the city’s close attention to intersection design. The design concept delivered to the city by the Bike Union has helped spark internal discussion about the pros and cons of the protected intersection design versus the signal-protected intersection design often used in New York City. Either design is said to reduce the “right hook” type of collision so common on Comm. Ave, according to Boston Police bike crash data analyzed by the Bike Union.
“We still need to iron out a few things about how the intersections would work, we need to do some further dialogue with our public works folks [about maintenance], we also need to do some work briefing abutters on the street,” said Gillooly. “And the other ingredient we need to sort through is implications of where curbs would go to, and continue the discussion with the utility companies. These snow days aren’t really helping us at all, but it is a reality out here we have to deal with.”
All in all, Gillooly is making a massive effort to alter the city’s plans for Comm. Ave to meet a September deadline for full construction documents, and a lot of his haste is in response to the full-throated cry he heard from you—-the active members of Boston’s bike community. A key turning point for the city seemed to occur around two big events, the Mayor’s Bike Ride with Marty Walsh on Nov. 22 and the Dec. 9 public meeting organized by BU Bikes with help from the Bike Union and presentations from Boston’s “Big 4” advocacy groups (the Bike Union, Livable Streets Alliance, WalkBoston, and MassBike). At the first, the Mayor experienced first hand Comm Ave’s dooring risk to people who bike, and at the second, over 130 of you braved rain and floods to let the city know how important this route is to you.
Just one month later on Dec. 23, leadership of the Big 4 were called in to City Hall to see an early draft of the plans that included a cycletrack idea to see if there was hope for a consensus based on the new direction—a requirement for state funding of the project. There was. Now, everyone is awaiting the results of this work at a public meeting Gillooly hopes will happen in the last week of February. It is essential that you show up once again, perhaps this time in 10 feet of snow, to express your continued support of the cycletrack on Comm Ave.
The Walsh Administration is working hard to make sure the bike community is protected from harm, and cyclists would do well support this plan in the public forum to ensure that bikeways are indeed built for everybody in Boston.