• Amy Laskowski

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    Amy Laskowski is a senior writer at Boston University. She is always hunting for interesting, quirky stories around BU and helps manage and edit the work of BU Today’s interns. She did her undergrad at Syracuse University and earned a master’s in journalism at the College of Communication in 2015. Profile

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There are 24 comments on Commonwealth Approves Cycle Tracks along Comm Ave

  1. As a pedestrian, I feel that I should point out that a major part of making Commonwealth Avenue save for pedestrians would be making sure that cyclists observed things like lights. Until that happens, pedestrians will remain unsafe. It’s not clear to me that a separate lane will do anything about that.

    1. As a cyclist, I cannot count the number of times I have had to scream “bike” or make noise as I came through a green light because pedestrians with earbuds were not looking or did not care that they didn’t have a walk sign and a bike was coming. It is not a cyclist issue, it is an issue for everyone on the road to follow the rules, bikers, pedestrians and vehicles. Yes, some cyclists give us a bad name, but there are also reckless drivers and pedestrians. Furthermore, statistics show cyclists injuries are usually not the fault of the cyclist, Additionally, I’d like to see the numbers on pedestrian vs. cyclist injuries over the time span quoted in the article. This expensive redesign leads me to think that if there has been a serious issue with pedestrian safety this would have addressed it.

  2. How do they plan to handle the left turn at St. Paul St., heading west on Comm Ave.?

    Remove it? or Make only one lane heading west?

    Either option produces more traffic jams!

    Bikers rule, as pedestrians and cars lose!


    1. I am having trouble visualizing the problem at that location. Why would they have to go down to one lane? Cycle tracks like this have breaks at intersections…

      1. Because right now it’s 4 lanes wide there (with parking). One lane to turn left, two to go straight, and one for parking. It’s the same up by T Anthony’s.

  3. I don’t think it is a good idea to narrow down a busy road even more with the 3 foot buffers on each side.

    – What happens during winter when we get a big snow storm. One lane of traffic?
    These bike buffers are going to be destroyed by plows during a big snow storm.
    – Are these bike buffers going to be painted a bright color? It seems like a tripping hazard for the people who don’t pay attention to their environment. Will they be visible at night?
    – We know people are notoriously bad parallel parkers. More backups.
    – What is stopping aggressive biker’s from zooming down this cycle track like a race course and blowing lights? Is the parking outside the buffer going to create a new blind spot for zooming bikes and cars? (We know this is not going to stop the bad drivers, walkers, bikers and green line drives who like to blow by red lights).
    – What about the delivery trucks and others that like to double park? Are there going to be regular police presence to ticket and make sure traffic is moving?
    – It seems like 20.4 million and three years of aggravation being spent for no improvement.
    – Is this the best price quoted for the work? 20.4 million for a buffer lane seems like a lot. Are the competing bids posted somewhere?
    – Is there a site with more details on this project and with a breakdown in costs?

    1. Comment paid by the American Automobile Association.

      Drivers in cars can can kill or hurt bikers and pedestrians, but the opposite in never – never – true. Those are the powerful relations of the road.

  4. I hope they include dedicated crossing lights in this project. As a driver and as pedestrian it’s terrifying trying to cross Comm. Ave at Saint Paul and at Pleasant St when the light is green for cars turning on to Comm Ave. Why is it a good idea to put the walk light on at the same time? Horrible for a driver, unless you KNOW that the pedestrian light is on, you run the risk of hitting someone. Horrible for pedestrians, the walk light is on yet cars are driving straight at you. Please, fix this.

    1. Desperately needed is a crossing signal at the University Road and Comm. Ave. intersection. Pedestrians cross this narrow street continuously without looking, or caring, that there is traffic coming straight across from Carlton Street that has the green light and the right-of-way. Many people step right in front of the cars coming right at them. Very dangerous!
      There should have been pedestrian crossing signals there decades ago.

      As a pedestrian on the BU campus, I never, ever cross any street without looking to see if there is any traffic coming, whether I have a Walk light or not. I learned that as a very young child. It is amazing how many people simply do not pay any attention to their surroundings.

  5. Bike tracks aren’t without their limitations, but this is probably the right way to go. The current bike lanes categorically are not working. I sometimes feel more at danger trying to follow the bike lane than I would were I just in the flow of the traffic.

    Several issues will need to be worked out as the tracks are implemented, most notably–

    Without a doubt, the chief offenders when it comes to not observing the bike lanes are the Uber drivers that pick up students all along Comm Ave. The bike track system will better protect cyclists from Uber offenders, but with fewer lanes, double-parked Uber drivers are really going to inspire road rage. The city needs to plan for this.

    Because it’s common knowledge that the walk buttons don’t work and the stoplights aren’t sequenced logically, no one obeys the walk signals on Comm Ave. The potential for pedestrian/bike accidents is likely to increase when you have jaywalking pedestrians coming through a row of parked cars and into the bike lane. The solution (such as it is) is not first and foremost to crack down on jaywalking; it’s to make the signaling on Comm Ave. more efficient and safe.

    The city has a long history of putting in place accommodations for bicyclists that just disappear at awkward points along the route. Obviously the bike track can not continue across intersections, but there must be clear paths marked that help bicyclists and motorists understand how to navigate through these rough transitional areas. Of course, the key location to worry about in this regard is the BU Bridge.

  6. This will not work. It might have a better chance of all parking was eliminated.
    How about deliveries as uh-oh points out? 3 years and 20.4 million dollars sounds like a mini Big Dig. This is almost as bad as the 2 year, 100 million dollar Commonwealth Avenue Bridge over the Mass Pike project. Realize the Golden Gate Bridge which is 4,200 ft long and six lanes wide was built in a little over 4 years. The Mackinac Bridge which is about 20 times longer vs. the Commonwealth Bridge took only 3.5 years. And the Empire state bldg. took only 13 months. Time is money. Tax money is going down the crapper but that is why this place is called Taxachusetts. At least we don’t have to worry about the Olympics.

  7. Something should be done about that bike lane they have up by the BU Bridge, that is definitely an accident waiting to happen for the bikers, very dangerous the way it is right now. I go very slowly and look several times before getting into the lane to turn onto the bridge for fear a biker has come out of nowhere, and would not want to hurt one of them. Please figure out something better for that area.

    1. Thank you, Kevin, for pointing that out. East of the BU Bridge, things are no better than West of the bridge. Was there a reason articulated for choosing that stretch of Commonwealth Avenue? The article says that 75% of the 121 bicycle accidents to which the BU Police responded were on Commonwealth Avenue — which is no surprise — but doesn’t discuss how the placement of these incidents break down along this busy roadway.

  8. Clearly, we see again in some of the comments how hard it can be to have ones’ fossil fuel-dependent, future-endangering vehicles threatened. Most any action, including this one, that encourages and protects bike use in urban regions, is a step to a healthier, sustainable future. This is good news that Boston-Brookline is making some significant steps already seen in other eco-sustainability minded cities of the world.

  9. I have issue with bikes that think they do not have to follow any rules of the road. I can not tell you how many times I have walked across the street on a red light just to have bike riders blow whistles, ring there bell or just yell for me to get out of there way. To many people are distracted on their phones. The pedestrians, the bicyclist and the drivers. If we all paid more attention to the task at hand, things would go better.

  10. I think that a big problem with congestion and safety in the city is the street parking. I can understand it in areas where there isn’t much traffic or parking isn’t hotly contested, but it should only be in certain neighborhoods and should not be on major streets. They unnecessarily take up a lane that could be used for traffic, and they give people a false sense of security when they choose to drive in. I’m talking about the friends who are like “OK, Scholar’s at 8? It’s fine, I’ll just drive in and find street parking.” If that person was required to go to a garage and pay the $40, they might think twice about driving, and possibly use the MBTA, bike, or something else. But instead, they circle around looking for parking, holding everybody up, and probably end up doing the $40 anyway. Not to mention the car doors opening up into traffic.

    Comm Ave is another example of a street that should not have street parking. Its patrons should park in designated lots or garages. If they want to drive, they should have the cost fully communicated to them.

    1. Parking on Comm. Ave. has been *dramatically* reduced over the last 10 years or so, combined with the loss of many BU parking lots to new building construction. There used to be street parking the full length of Comm Ave, from Kenmore to Packard’s Corner, with a few gaps for bust stops and taxis.
      The city of Boston actually has had a moratorium on increasing the number of parking spaces for decades now. Obviously they allow parking for a new office building or residence building, but even those are very restricted.

      Until we are all ‘driving’ around in driver-less autonomous Google/Apple/Elon Musk cars, we have to accommodate the automobile traffic that already exists. 10-20 years from now, things will be different!

  11. Great news! Thank you to BU and the City of Boston for the ongoing conversation and now dedication to make this stretch safer for all users. As a cyclist, I’m excited about the cycle tracks, but perhaps even more I’m excited about the “new traffic signals that will give transit vehicles preference at stoplights.” Boston needs to focus it’s efforts and money on making our streets safer and prioritizing public transportation. If MBTA trains and buses receive priority at street lights, perhaps more people will take them and get more cars off the road.

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