• Megan Woolhouse

    Megan Woolhouse

    Megan Woolhouse worked as a reporter at the Boston Globe for more than a decade, in addition to newspapers in Louisville, Ky., and Baton Rouge, La. A graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Clark University in Worcester, she lives in Boston and enjoys baking, reading, and taekwondo sparring with her seven-year-old daughter. Profile

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There are 27 comments on Protected Bike Lanes Come to Comm Ave

  1. The bike lane should include all Comme ave from harvard street to kenmore, the sooner is much better.
    It’s saving lives and protecting the environment what could be more positive than that?

  2. Maybe riding bicycles in a city with horrendous traffic is just a bad idea and should be discouraged. I am sure this will just make traffic worse and will lead to more enraged drivers. Maybe instead of wasting money on bike lanes try fixing the traffic problems and then people will drive more carefully.

    1. Creating a safe bike infrastructure helps more people feel comfortable cycling, and reduces the number of drivers/cars, therefore reducing traffic. Wish granted.

      1. Betty’s right, encouraging cycling is proven to reduce traffic, not increase it. Boston’s problem is that commuters feel like the T is too unreliable and cycling is too dangerous, so we have far too many cars driving around in a crowded city with relatively tight streets.

    2. 1) Protected bike lanes actually do remove bicyclists from traffic, so it’s as beneficial to the drivers as it is for the cyclists.

      2) Also, accidents happen no matter how careful people are, and unfortunately, a collision between a car and a bike is a scenario where the bike doesn’t stand a chance.

      3) Re: To say that people should be discouraged from biking because of this…well then why can’t I say “maybe driving in a city with horrendous traffic is just a bad idea and should be discouraged? I know it makes traffic worse and leads to enraged bicyclists.” etc. There’s no reason why the interests of car drivers should take priority over the interests of everyone else. Not everyone can afford a car, knows how to drive, need to drive, want to drive, live far enough from anything to need to drive or near enough to want to walk everywhere, and personally I get carsick in both cars and public transportation. There a plenty of problems that aren’t relevant to me personally, but I don’t go and say it’s a waste of money to fix them. Hope you’ll consider the flip perspective.

  3. I doubt this is going to make a dent in the issue. A lot of people do not obey street lights and signs. I think we will still see people/cars/riders blowing through red lights and cyclist riding in the wrong way on the bike lane.

    So when this get completed, there is no excuse for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk on this stretch of road.

  4. The parking should be completely removed on Comm. Ave in most sections. The protected bike lanes should be barrier bike lanes but should use planters or bollards instead. 6.5 feet is a good width (on lower volume streets, where there is not a lot of bicycle traffic) but does not allow convenient passing. There will be slower bike riders just as there are slower car drivers and 8-9 feet is more appropriate based on the traffic volume that will be experienced in the area around BU. The above comment disregards the space that is required for an automobile versus the space required for a bicycle to be operated. Old myth.

  5. I’ve been following this for years and I still haven’t seen how the turn lanes are going to work. Currently between the BU Bridge and Packards Corner you can turn left (outbound) at St. Paul, Pleasant, and Babcock. Are they still going to allow left turns? If so, the left lane is going to be stopped most of the time. If Uber/Lyft, taxi, and delivery trucks stop in the right lane, that lane will be blocked. At that point, no traffic will move on Commonwealth Avenue. It won’t take long for everyone to figure out to use Beacon Street instead, thus moving the problem, and accidents, to another street. This is not a solution.

  6. This is not going to solve the problems of bikers following vehicles too close, or blowing through the Red Lights,not wearing protective wear, riding on the sidewalks after a 20.7 Million dollar lane is made just for them. The cyclists have absolutely no accountability. I suggest that the State should require Bar code ID stickers on every bike in case they do zoom through a light so they can be sought.

    1. It’s not going to solve all the problems. It’s up to bikes and drivers to obey traffic laws, but new infrastructure will allow less interaction between drivers and bikers, which will be safer overall.

      For example, in the new intersection, cars often blow through the red light on the two right turn lanes near the BU Bridge. Bikers also go through the bike light on red. This behavior is counter productive to both the biker and the driver. However, there has at least been a reduction of the interaction between bikers and drivers since the lights were installed. Small wins.

      As for the amount spent on infrastructure, there is plenty spent on cars. It’s okay to invest in other forms of transportation and make them safer for people.

    2. As someone who walks, rides and drives to work I can say that the bikers aren’t the only people who are causing problems. It would appear that you are clearly a driver. Yes, some bikers do run red lights and ride unsafely. However, many are very safe and cautious – I know I am. Just like some drivers are irresponsible and drive dangerously, and many in contrast are safe.
      Increasing the number of bikers removes drivers off the already congested streets. It’s also better for overall health, and sustainability.

    3. As a cyclist, I agree with the ID license plate idea. (Does Boston have intersection traffic cameras though?) I think it would also help with bike theft. Cyclists who run red lights and other terrible things give the rest of us a bad name. In general I think there should be much more traffic enforcement in Boston for both cars and bikes. I also see cars loading and unloading all the time where they shouldn’t be.

      Re biking on sidewalks when there’s a bike lane: if only a shoulder strip labeled “bike lane” is available, depending on the traffic and time of day, I sometimes feel it’s only safe for me to bike on the sidewalk, and I always do so with extreme caution, and if it’s at all crowded I will walk my bike. That’s why the protected bike lanes are so critical, and it’s important to make the distinction between protected bike lanes and regular bike lanes. With regular bike lanes (e.g. current Comm Ave., Mass Ave bridge) , we’re basically biking on the shoulder of the road, and one small slip of the hand of an inattentive driver could have terrible consequences for us. No one’s riding on the sidewalks out of spite or for fun. They’re rather bumpy and uncomfortable, and there’s pedestrians to watch out for.

      If there were protected bike lanes everywhere, with enough room for bikes to pass each other (which doesn’t take much room), all the problems you mentioned would actually be solved, since there’d be no interaction between bikes, cars and pedestrians.

  7. The cross-section diagram claims a resulting sidewalk width of 25 feet. From the reality of completed construction, sidewalk width is actually being reduced to about 10 feet. It’s painfully apparent to all western Comm. Ave pedestrians that the added lanes are being carved out of sacrificed sidewalk space, as is evident by all the construction to relocate hydrants and street lamp posts back from the historic curb.
    Years ago, the once-wide sidewalks around 700 Comm. Ave were similarly shrunken, resulting in severe congestion for the large numbers of students trying to walk between classes on school days.
    We all understand the motivations for bicyclist safety, but it needs to be realized that it comes at an enduring cost.

  8. An ongoing issue is the high degree of tolerance for parked cars in the existing bike lanes on Comm Ave. I bike, walk, and drive to and around campus, in that order, and it is entirely normal to see multiple cars sitting in the bike lane in front of Warren Towers, the GSU, and other locations (in addition to delivery trucks and so forth). There seems to be very little enforcement of this as a lane designed to separate, in whatever modest way, car and bike traffic.

    There are “good” and “bad” bikers, drivers, and pedestrians, and too often there seems to be relatively little mutual respect even though many of us are more than one of those things at different times; while it is true that some days there seems to be a high number of bikers breaking the rules, which I find frustrating as a daily bike commuter, it’s also hard to avoid the sense that a significant minority of drivers, who are in control of more dangerous vehicles, can be quite careless with the rules and the existence of other road users.

    1. Based on the diagram, there will be a 3 foot buffer zone between the parking and the bike lane itself. That should be enough to prevent the vast majority of potential passenger side dooring incidents.

  9. The problem with boston is that NOBODY MAINTAINS ANYTHING. Even with the bike lane built on one side, I continue to see bikers traveling on the road and sidewalks and facing no consequences. And this is when the bike lane is nice and new. Once a winter or two roll through new england and the bike lanes start getting potholes and bumps and cracks, the bikers will be back in the street and the sidewalk again in full foce. Bikers needs to be strictly held accountable if the city is pouring millions into building these lanes just for them. Heavy fines should be actively issued by police for not being in the bike lanes and running red lights. Honestly, I’m not even sure doing that would solve it as most cops could seem to care less about stopping bikers. Me and my friends always jokingly say that the only way to make sure bikers stay in the bike lanes and pedestrians stop cutting off traffic to cross the street when it’s not their walk sign, is to make it legal to hit them when they’re in the street without the right of way. Keeping everyone in line and forwarding human evolution all at once.

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