Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Traffic Council clears way for Beacon Street bike lanes

Yesterday, Traffic Council approved changes to the parking regulations along Beacon Street east of Hammond Street, which changes will provide sufficient room to install bicycle lanes in both directions. Obviously, this represents an important moment for biking proponents. Soon we will have the first striped bike lanes in the city. And, parking is going to be re-arranged to make it so.

But, what struck me was the nature of the debate. The objections to the proposal were, surprisingly, not about preserving parking proposed to be eliminated, but about whether new parking proposed as an offset made sense. Alderman Lisle Baker argued against adding parking spots west of the bus shelter. (I said that I thought that there might be enough room for parking, bike lane, and travel, but on reflection his point about the buses coming out around parked cars and then pulling back to turn right at College Road is compelling and justifies the decision not to add those spaces.) Traffic Council member Sergeant Jim Norcross argued that preserving some spaces along the south side and extending the hours created an unnecessary hazard.

Not what I would have expected.

Again, kudos to Jim Danila and Clint Schuckel for their thorough analysis of the situation and creative solution to the parking problem, to the Ward 7 aldermen Schnipper, Baker, and Fuller for their effort to work with DPW staff to come up with a solution that ensured bike lanes, and to BC, which as an abutter and a consumer of parking could have been a real obstacle, but was instead an enthusiastic supporter.


Michael Pahre said...

To what extent do you describe BC as a supporter of the Newton bike lanes?

Did they voice no objection to the proposal, or did they publicly voice/write support for it?

Anonymous said...

The 2 BC representatives voiced strong support for the bike lanes on that stretch of Beacon St.

lois levin

Coleman Rogers said...

The use of "Share the Road" signs in Newton seems backwards to me. For instance on Walnut Street near City Hall, we have a hilarious and confusing one-block long bike lane. On the North side of Comm Ave and the South side of Homer, the Walnut Street breakdown lane comes and goes in favor of the center turn lane. The "Share the Road" signs are posted at points where the breakdown lane widens, not when it goes away. Shouldn't we warn drivers to share the road when there is no room for cyclists?