Monday, June 9, 2008

Beacon Street Trial

It's always encouraging to see evidence that the city is willing to try things that will improve things for bikers and pedestrians. On that basis, count this morning as very encouraging.

When Beacon Street was striped with 11-foot travel lanes — and, therefore, very wide shoulders — the NS&S response was something approaching glee. Our giddiness, however, was tempered by the subsequent realization that motorists were using the wide shoulders as second travel lanes, making life even worse for bicyclists. Our preferred solution to this unintended consequence would have been a substantial reconfiguration to create dedicated bike lanes in at least one direction. The Newton Bicycle/Pedestrian Task Force (yours truly included) recommended a second, less elaborate solution: groups of diagaonal stripes every so often to indicate that the shoulder was not for car travel. (DPW had suggested single stripes at regular intervals.) We suggested, the city painted.

We're going to throttle back the giddy this time around. It may turn out that the diagonal stripes don't have any effect. It may be that the DPW's recommendation would have been better. It may be that the clusters make sense, but need to be spaced differently.

But, those are all things that can be worked out with a department that shares the same goals — bicycle convenience and safety — and listens. And, based on those stripes above, there's some evidence that's what we've got.

1 comment:

margaretalexander said...

i rode along this section for the first time today. it was a little weird. in some parts of beacon street i had a bigger section of road then the cars! i didn't have any trouble with cars on the section i was riding on but i was riding at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. it might be different peak travel times.