SUBJECT: DISCUSSION TO UNDERSTAND NEIGHBORHOOD INTEREST IN BIKE LANES ON ATLANTIC AVE & COMMERCIAL STREET
What are bike lanes? Bike lanes are sections of road designated for exclusive use by cyclists. Paint or thermoplastic lane markings plus accompanying signage mark the bike lanes. Green paint is occasionally added for emphasis on select segments.
Why install bike lanes? Cycling can be a fantastic alternative to drive. Currently few people bicycle because of fear of cars. Bike lanes dramatically improve safety and allow new people to bike.
The bike lanes to be discussed would provide North Enders and visitors a link to four key areas: 1) Charlestown, 2) the Charles River path 3) future Greenway bike lanes, and 4) Harborwalk.
What about safety? Bike lanes are proven to make the roads safer for all users. All proposed plans would improve safety in the following ways.
- Designate a safe riding zone for cyclists;
- Provide guidance for vehicles wishing to pass cyclists;
- Encourage cars to drive at slower, safer speeds;
- Encourage cyclists to bicycle more respectfully and predictably; and,
- Make pedestrians and drivers more aware of cyclists.
Multiple on-street concepts exist: 1) standard 5’ bike lanes, 2) side-path, 3) cycle-tracks, and 4) hybrid
- The standard 5’ bike lane carves out an exclusive area for the cyclist using paint and thermoplastic. It does not provide physical separation from moving vehicles and is less attractive to novices and families.
- The cycle-track and side-path physically separate the cyclist from the moving vehicles using parked cars as a buffer. These options welcome novice cyclists, and families to bicycle safely.
- The hybrid option has a cycle-track on the harbor side and an opposing bike lane.
- All the concepts require removal of one travel lane. Traffic analysis shows little impact from the travel lane removal.
- The bike lane concept removes no parking spaces. The side-path, cycle tracks, and hybrid concepts will require the removal of some residential/metered parking spaces.
What are the project limits and scope? The bike facilities being discussed would extend from the Greenway to Hull Street.
What does the City do for education and enforcement? The City supports facilities through education and enforcement of the rules of the road for cyclists and drivers. Boston Police are key partners.
Boston Bikes is part of Mayor Menino’s vision for a vibrant and healthy city that benefits all its citizens. It seeks to make Boston a world-class bicycling city by creating safe and inviting conditions for all residents and visitors. For more information please call Nicole Freedman, Boston Bikes, 617-918-4456.