Seaver Street becomes focal point

Looking into oncoming traffic at blind spot on Seaver Street.

Roxbury residents spoke up for traffic-calming measures last month at a public meeting to discuss the full reconstruction of Seaver Street by the Public Works Department, and a handful of Boston Cyclists Union members described their own problems with the street, including a notorious blind curve heading toward Blue Hill Avenue amidst high-speed traffic.

The Union recommendation included a parking protected bike lane on the north side of the street, and a grade-separated cycletrack similar to the kind commonly found in Copenhagen, Denmark, or a shared sidewalk on the park side of the street. Given the high speeds on the street and the neighborhood’s desire for traffic calming, narrower traffic lanes paired with these physically separated facilities would improve bike safety as well as slow down cars, explained director Pete Stidman. Drivers then wouldn’t have the benefit of the bike lane to creep into for high-speed turns and would be forced to slow down for their own safety.

A number of community members expressed interest in the idea during and after the meeting.

Chief Engineer for Public Works William Egan had presented the plan as a fait accompli at first, and the meeting as the last before construction even though it was only the second on the topic overall. Though Seaver is a particularly short street, full reconstruction projects generally involve a great deal of community input. But after a pointed request from City Councilor Tito Jackson to let the community review the plan after recommended changes are incorporated (also including several improvements to intersections for easier pedestrian crossings), Egan conceded another meeting could be held.

After reviewing the roll plan for the project, which is a detailed map that includes cross section measurements and other details, the Union confirmed the possibility of adding physically separated bike facilities and is awaiting a meeting with Egan and colleagues, as well as Councilor Jackson, to weigh options for a better Seaver Street design for cyclists.

If you have specific requests for Seaver Street improvements, please email them to


  1. William Furr on March 8, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Good luck!

    I’ve never biked on Seaver St. I consider myself pretty traffic-tolerant, but those roads are pretty crazy. I’ve only ever gone through via the paths and roads in Franklin Park.

    It would be awfully nice to have separated cycling facilities connecting the SW corridor to Egleston Square and from there to Blue Hill Ave. Come to think of it, I have no idea how I would get from the SW corridor at Jackson Square to points east in Dorchester.

    This is where that sixth E, Equity, really starts to come into play.

  2. Andrew Kessel on March 8, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    That curve really scares me and I agree that it would be amazing to have a bike lane there. Things like this can be the difference for someone like me who has a car but would rather bike

  3. GA on March 10, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Getting from the SW Corridor at Jackson Square to Dorchester is not at all straightforward. I live in Savin Hill and have often biked to the Longwood Medical Area and various points in JP. When I’ve taken my two-year-old son with me I stay off the busy roads and that involves winding through the back streets of Roxbury, sometimes going on the sidewalk to go the wrong way down a one-way street, and so on. The streets are designed to discourage through-traffic from automobiles, and as a result there is no straightforward bike route, either. I know the area well enough to find my way, even if I invent a new route each time, but it’s not at all straightforward.

    Bike facilities on the main roads are of course a good idea, particularly if they are protected. But I think they should complement facilities on the quieter streets. Some of those streets are quiet and don’t need bike lanes, much less cycle tracks…better wayfinding with a “bicycle boulevard” approach might be sufficient.

  4. Noah on March 27, 2012 at 1:12 am


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