New bike lanes on Comm Ave! But they're not finished just yet…

Green paint

Green paint was still being added to the Commonwealth and Castlegate intersections on Thursday.

Cyclists rolling down Commonwealth Ave between the Common and Kenmore Square have been getting a pleasant surprise this week: new bike lanes!

The city’s design is quite innovative, and puts riders in a new position on the left side of traffic, instead of the right. It takes some getting used to, but it takes you out of the door zone and the cars seem to get it. And before you make a judgment, give it a chance, the painting isn’t even finished yet!

Green is still being painted down at Charlesgate and Comm Ave. (pictured above) and will also fill a number of other bike boxes on the street. The bike boxes at Charlesgate will help cyclists make the transition from the right hand side of the road to the left hand side of the road when the light is red (and vice versa on the Westbound side). Other bike boxes will show up at Hereford, Fairfield and Dartmouth on the westbound side and Arlington on the eastbound side.

Signage is also on the way. Permanent signs announcing where cars and bikes should stop on red and where bikes are merging will all be installed by Monday, as will temporary signs with a diagram on how to use the transitional bike boxes at Charlesgate.

Though riding on the left side means having to watch out for left hand turns, the cyclist is on the driver side, which means that extra little rear-view mirror on the side of the car is looking at them. The driver’s blind spot is much smaller in this position. And, there’s no door zone to worry about.

But by far the most exiting part of this bike lane is the now calm and pleasant ride through the underpass of Mass Ave in both directions. It’s a buffered bike lane where a car travel lane used to be! This is a Boston first! Check it out on this video. (It was taken one handed so it’s a bit shaky-but a testament to how safe new bike lane feels!)

We invite riders on this new bikeway to imagine a day when all of Boston’s major arterials have enjoyable accommodations for cyclists, Downtown and in every neighborhood. That’s where we’re headed if the BCU has anything to say about it, and it feels good.

Mayor Thomas Menino will lead a ride to the new bike lane from City Hall Plaza starting at 11:45 on Monday, May 17 to cut a ribbon and kick off bike week. Be there, get a handshake in, and say: “Thanks Tommy!”


  1. Melina on June 24, 2010 at 10:25 am


    Last week I saw the new bike lanes on Comm. Ave, and I was quite happy to see it. I do have a concern that may (or may not) have already been addressed: The Mass. Ave. underpass gets pretty flooded during heavy rains- Especially in the middle section where the new bike lanes are located. (I’ve seen a car stuck there once or twice.) Has the drainage of this underpass been examined, or improved?

    -Concerned for the safety of Boston’s cyclists

    p.s. I am also voicing this concern to Mayor Menino.

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