In the Fall of 2016, after much study and discussion, the Town of Brookline removed a travel lane to pilot a buffered bike lane between Marion Street and Westbourne Terrace on the outbound side of Beacon Street. The lane reduction and buffered bike lane greatly improved safety for people biking on this section of Beacon Street without requiring a large capital expenditure or loss of parking.
This section of Beacon Street was selected for this treatment due to a high crash rate, high bicycle volumes and a strong desire line for people biking, and minimal impact to motor vehicle traffic after intensive study by the town. After initial hearings back in the fall and winter of 2015 and spring of 2016, a groundswell of support and advocacy from town residents had pushed the town towards making it parking protected instead of simply buffered by paint. This also was slated to be a permanent change. However, due to concerns about emergency vehicle access, the town decided to implemented the lane as paint-buffered, and to also implement the project as a one year trial. During that time data and feedback would be collected, and then the Town would decide whether or not to make this a permanent change.
After a year, the bike lane trial is ending, and the Town of Brookline is looking for feedback from road users that will be used in conjunction with data collection to determine if the bike lane should be removed, simply remain, or remain and be improved upon.
We need to act now! Please join us in sending an email to the Brookline Transportation Administrator, Todd Kirrane, and let him know that you want Brookline to not only keep, but improve the trial buffered bike lane! They need to hear from you that Brookline will not fulfill its commitment to Complete Streets unless bike facilities like this to remain in place, are improved upon, and implemented town-wide.
Your email does not need to be long, but it should draw from your personal experiences on this corridor. Here are some potential talking points (please edit, elaborate or personalize where you can!):
- The buffered bike lane on Beacon Street helps me feel safe, and increases my desire to ride my bike
- A parking protected bike lane would be even more desirable, as it would prevent cars from stopping in it and keep me farther away from moving motor vehicles
- Connecting the bike lane to the existing bike facility west of Washington Street would help to provide a safer route all the way to Cleveland circle, improving on Beacon Street’s progress towards completeness
- Thank you for implementing this bike lane trial! Improving our streets makes Brookline a more desirable place to live
- [Other things to mention: If you are a Brookline resident, please say so! If you also drive on Beacon Street, be sure to mention it, and how you feel about the trade-off of losing a travel lane.]
- [Optional: Insert a narrative about your biking habits and how you use the corridor]
Send your email to Todd Kirrane at firstname.lastname@example.org, and copy email@example.com.
*In a fun trip down memory lane, you can read here about the historical first bike lanes being added to Beacon St in Brookline back in 2007! This demonstrates that one change paves the way for the next — it’s time for an upgrade!