Interim Commissioner of the Public Works Department’s Michael Dennehy is a promising promotion within the Martin Walsh Administration in many regards, but the new commish did not see fit to help community members agree on one solution for Seaver Street.
In response to a letter signed by 48 community members and the Bike Union’s Organizing Group asking to keep bicycles away from moving traffic and out of the door zone with a cycle track on both sides of the street, he responded that, “The project is going to go forward as is… there are safety concerns on that stretch of Seaver Street for people exiting cars into such a narrow travel lane.”
Despite the setback, efforts were not all for naught. On Seaver Street, working with the Roxbury Bicycle Brigade, members of Bikes Not Bombs and others, the Bike Union did win a cycletrack on the other Eastbound side of the street, and the critical area around the cliffs in Franklin Park where speeds are high and visibility is low.
In the meantime, the bodies of cyclists riding in the Public Work Department’s (PWD) bike lane on the Westbound side of the street may end up serving as a buffer to protect the “people exiting cars” that Mr. Dennehy describes.
Seaver Street is another in what has been a pattern of community outreach from the Public Works Department that tends to divide communities rather than bring them together. The other example we’re aware of was on Mass Ave from the Boston Medical Center to Symphony Hall. The neighborhood’s goals there were similar, calmer traffic, safer for pedestrians and bikes, but because the department didn’t work with the LivableStreets Alliance to bring their ambitious plan in accord with residents—and instead played the two off of each other, we ended up with narrow, door-zone bike lanes. Anything was better than nothing it was said at the time, and we can say that again now.