Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bike Lanes at Kenmore Square and Cleveland Circle

While Commonwealth Avenue between Kenmore Square and the BU Bridge lies outside of Allston-Brighton, improvements to it will impact transportation for Allston-Brighton residents.

In his State of the City speech Tuesday, Mayor Thomas Menino proposed to put bike lanes along that stretch of roadway alongside Boston University. The Mayor himself took up cycling last year. Harry Mattison has the story about the State of the City speech, and some of the things that are in it, over at the Allston-Brighton Community Blog.

Bicycle lanes on streets within A-B have been discussed seriously during the last year in a number of different venues. Harvard University's expansion proposals into North Allston have included bicycle access in various ways. The Allston-Brighton Neighborhood Planning Initiative sponsored by the Boston Redevelopment Authority included discussion of improvements for access to and from the Charles River, as well as possible lanes on several A-B streets like Cambridge Street, Washington Street, and Beacon Street.

And as recently as last Wednesday night's meeting of the BC Task Force (on traffic, transportation, and parking in BC's institutional master plan), several people raised the issue of striping bike lanes on Beacon Street west of Cleveland Circle in order to create connectivity between the new bike lanes on Beacon Street east of the intersection and bike lanes being planned further west in Newton proper. Putting bicycle lanes along that stretch of roadway is likely to be a relatively easy project: the road is wide, which means that it would probably require little more than striping itself.

Several members of MassBike made the pitch, while also noting that bike lines need to be designed carefully and intelligently so that they do not actually make the streets more dangerous for cyclists.

It is unclear how such proposals for bike lanes would become an element of BC's IMP. Some possibilities are that they would be: part of mitigation for traffic and transportation demands from the increase in 454 workers (100 faculty, 12 staff, 342 graduate students) at BC in the 10-year IMP; part of an improved Transportation Demand Management program in order to reduce the use of cars for commuting to and from the campus; or part of the community benefits package as spelled out in the zoning code's Article 80 process. Alternatively, it could just be something that the city does on its own.

The Mayor likes to talk about private-public partnerships. Beacon Street bike lanes could be one.

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