Community Sports Transportation

Bike Lane on Atlantic Ave. and Commercial St. in North End – Public Meeting April 28, 2011

bostonia city of boston seal color logoBikeLogoBostonBike Lane Meeting
Atlantic Ave/ Commercial Street

April 28, 2011

6 PM – 8 PM
Nazarro Center, 30 North Bennett St, Boston


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.

Design Concepts 

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.

4 Replies to “Bike Lane on Atlantic Ave. and Commercial St. in North End – Public Meeting April 28, 2011

  1. Great idea IF the cyclists obey the rules of the road and the city enforces the regulations. It is difficult enough to cross this street and with bicylce lanes I think it has the potential to be a pedestrian nightmare.
    I have yet to see a Boston cyclist slow down let alone stop for a red light or stop sign, yield to a pedestrian in a cross walk or pay attention to one way street signs and just travel the opposite direction making it a dangerous pedestrian environment.

  2. I agree. Bikers deliberately and constantly blow through red lights and race around on sidewalks. They want to have the rights of vehicles AND of pedestrians without assuming the responsibilities of either. I was exiting the Back Bay station today and a speeding biker almost knocked a kid down on the sidewalk. Bike lanes won't change bikers' indifferent attitudes to other people. Most bikers are irresponsible and when they break the law, there is nothing the police can do, they usually didn't see it and even if they did, they can't catch the biker speeding away. The amount of gas saved by Boston bikers is negligible: many can't afford a car anyway and without a bike would be taking public transportation. We should focus on fixing the MBTA and have fewer bikes in Boston, not more.

  3. I agree with the two posted comments. More than once, I have been nearly hit by bikers in business clothes who did not stop for for a red light, nor did they acknowledge the fact that I was in a crosswalk. The bike advocates say that bikers adhere to traffic rules, but that is not the case in my experience with bikers who use a bike to commute to and from their jobs or even most of the recreational bikers. Even if a bike has a registration plate (which most don't), it's impossible to read them so that they can be reported for not obeying traffic rules. Having bike lanes is fine in a controlled area but not along city streets.

  4. Neither do pedestrians obey the walk signals or even look before crossing. These aren't arguments against a bike lane. There are jerks on foot, in cars, and on bikes, and it's easy to make generalizations about any of them.

    Did anyone attend last night, what was the general sentiment? Whatever the lane type, I would hope it would have an effect on traffic speed on Commercial st., which can get ridiculous. And I would think it will make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists because it will give novice bikers a more comfortable place to ride off the sidewalk. More bikes = a bigger blip on BPD's radar for enforcement.

    The next time you get your blood up about some cyclist breaking the law, however, think about when the last time it was that you actually stood there are waited for the signal to cross. We all do it, and there's no reason to let it stand in the way of making the road safer for those who choose not to break the law.

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