On June 20, the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) presented plans at a packed public meeting to improve safety on Centre St by reducing driving lanes (creating a “road diet”) and adding protected bike lanes, among other features. Road diets are a proven safety measure that reduce conflicts between pedestrians and cars, slow down driving speeds, and improve visibility for everyone. Given the challenges of crossing the street as it is currently designed — challenges tragically emphasized by Marilyn Wentworth’s death in February — this is the safest design for pedestrians. Taking away driving lanes also opens up space on the road for protected bike lanes, thus improving the road for two vulnerable road users at the same time!
West Roxbury residents of all ages and abilities should be able to get to downtown businesses and amenities on a bike, and we are thrilled to see that Boston is taking its Vision Zero policy seroiusly in the proposed redesign for Centre St.
At that June public meeting, 34 people commented on the proposed designs; 23 commenters were in support of it, and another 6 who had questions were undecided. We are encouraged that there continues to be a lot of support from residents, and powerful organizing from West Roxbury Bicycle Committee and West Rox Walks. Your testimony that night, and your emails to the City, provided the support needed to get the project this far, but it is critical that we continue to show local support for BTD’s plans to make sure they move forward to final design.
Here are two things you can do to support these designs and make Centre St safer for everyone:
1. Sign the petition created by the West Roxbury Bicycle Commitee and West Rox Walks, and share it with your friends , family and neighbors.
2. Attend drop-in office hours with BTD to support the designs in person, and share your personal experience on Centre St. and how it can be improved. The next one office hours are August 21, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the BCYF Roche Family Community Center, 1716 Centre Street. Check the project page on the BTD website for future dates.
If the proposed design gets implemented, this will be a victory for all Boston-area cyclists and set important precedent for other 4-lane roads and business districts in Boston. Thank you for your advocacy!