A Major Opportunity to Improve Boston’s Bike Network

The Southwest Corridor Extension Project Needs Your Input!

Do you want to see a connected, low-stress bike network all the way from JP to the Longfellow Bridge? Then participate in Boston’s Southwest Corridor Extension Project!

As you can see in the study area on the map below, the City is considering building out this bike network — while also improving pedestrian safety and access — on a range of streets that cross the South End, Bay Village, Back Bay, Beacon Hill and Downtown Boston. (Not every street with a blue bubble will be included in the final plan, but all will be considered.) The goal is to develop a concept design by summer 2020, and then implement changes over several years. 

This is one of the most critical projects related to biking in Boston because of the large area it covers, the many cyclists it impacts, and its potential to complete commuter routes and invite thousands of more cyclists to switch to commuting via bicycle. 

At our monthly Activist Group meeting on October 15, Stefanie Seskin, the Director of Active Transportation for the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), joined us to discuss details about this project and how we and our members can work with the BTD to shape the final plan.

Here’s what you can do to make sure that we get the safest and most accessible bicycle facilities possible: 

  • Share your story with us about biking in this area. All feedback — whether you live, work or just bike here — is valuable. Director Seskin asked us to share these stories with BTD so they can better understand the experiences and needs of cyclists. 
  • Attend a community walk to share feedback directly with BTD. The first of these meetings takes place this Saturday at 10 a.m., followed by weekday walks at 7:30 a.m. on November 7 and 13, and December 3. Visit the project website for meet up locations

At the October Activist meeting, Director Seskin also shared the following updates on upcoming on-the-ground changes and prioritization:

  • BTD is currently repaving Stuart St. and will stripe it this fall with a combination of painted and protected bike lanes between Arlington and Washington St. Work will be completed in phases. BTD is taking advantage of the repaving to add some bike facilities now, and will later add more separated facilities along with the completion of several development projects and after conducting a more careful study of the challenging Charles St. / Stuart St. intersection. 
  • Washington St. will get a bus/bike lane from Oak St. to Stuart St., and then a separated bike lane on the left side of the road from Stuart St. to Avenue de Lafayette. These changes will be implemented this fall or early next spring. (Striping for the bike lane has already begun, as you can see in the recent photo above.) 
  • Columbus Ave. and Charles St. are two priority streets for BTD’s planning over the coming months, so stay tuned for meetings and walks in those areas. If you are visiting businesses or organizations along those roads, let them know you biked there and want better access, even if it just means bringing your helmet in with you to be visible as a cyclist.