New Bike Lanes On Comm Ave

Written by Boston Biker on May 11

and new sharrows on Arlington apparently! Pics soon!

Edit here are some pics, I took some video too, but you will have to wait till I get home for me to upload that stuff.

I have to say I am impressed with these lanes, They still seem to be missing markings in the underpass area, and they need to work a bit on the transitions at the ends (I suggest Boston’s first bike box!) but the entire experience of riding down this street has changed. You feel…AWESOME! No longer are you looking for doors opening on your right, while having cars zoom by on the left. Going through the underpass is a DREAM. You get the whole left lane to yourself, with a nice big buffer zone to keep cars out. You pop up on the other side and don’t have to worry about merging with traffic.

The basic way you used to have to take that underpass was move far to the left in the right hand lane (so people could see you and not try to go around the corner too fast) and then when you got to the top you had to merge with moving traffic. No more! Now you just sort of glide through easily and really the entire feel of it is great.

They even did a lot of work on the street in front of the public garden, getting you around the right hand turn. There are now sharrows on the left most and right most lane, when I get the video’s up you can see them in action.

I think this is a banner job from the city, and hope that we see more innovative solutions like this.

EDIT: here are the videos I promised

EDIT: Sorry about the pics can’t seem to get them to rotate, just flip your head to one side for now I guess :(

Also just heard that there are more markings and bike boxes coming soon to these lanes, so those of you worried about the transitions give it a couple days and then re-evaluate. Also heard that they are going to be green!


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Posted in infrastructure | 16 Comments »


16 Responses to “New Bike Lanes On Comm Ave”

  1. By m2mayer on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    Cool! Where?

  2. By teeheehee on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    Excellent – I remember hearing discussion about putting in a bike box at the intersection so that riders can cross back over from the underpass left lane to the right lane for right-hand turns… did it look like those were being placed as well?

  3. By Boston Biker on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t think they are done yet, you can only put down so much thermo-plastic in a single night.

  4. By Marianna on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    this is pretty awesome. there’s always been plenty of room for bikes on comm once the door zone issue is taken care of. imagine bike signals and bike boxes! i wanna ride downtown right now!

  5. By Jeff L. on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    Could we get those pics rotated a little better, please? I rode up Comm Ave today and was more than pleasantly surprised by this change. Dropping the underpass to one car lane which gives bikes a buffer while going at a decent clip has given me the greatest feeling of safety I’ve had in this city in a long time!

  6. By Lucas on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    I just got up from my desk and rode the lanes out to the public garden and back. Such a strong improvement in infrastructure. The current cross over from right side to left (against the median park) at the Charlesgate intersection is tricky. My thought is maybe they will place a diagonal green lane like the approach to the BU bridge. An alternate solution would be a bike box (or both), but its not clear if its finished.
    Anyone else ridden out towards BC lately? They just finished the asphalt from the reservoir to BC (where there are no carriage lanes) and as of Sunday, they hadn’t striped the paint yet. I wrote to Nicole Freedman today to see if she had plans for that section of road. Here is hoping.

  7. By m2mayer on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    Looks great! Much more enjoyable to ride along the grass and trees instead of parked and parking vehicles.

  8. By Meghan on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    Unfortunately the transition from the right side of the lane to the left when you do not use the under pass is AWFUL. I chose not to use the lane and ride on the right side where I have typically ridden for years and felt safer. Unfortunately, this led to a very tense and dangerous interaction with a driver yelling at me for not riding in the bike lane, speeding up and slamming on his brakes in front of me, and calling me rude names when I tried to get away from him. Overall, I had a very bad experience and do not see how the transition from right to left is safe. I also think a left side bike lane is conceptually off, full of sewer grates and other hazards, and nearly nonsensical when the road begins with a right side entry and ends with a right turn.

  9. By 100psi on May 11, 2010 | Reply

    the ma. ave. underpass is very much welcomed.

    as mentioned above, crossing from right most bike lane to left most bike lane is tricky. good place for a bike only traffic light?

    the rest of comm. ave. lane is good, no sewer grates or hazards other than pedestrian stepping out to cross, but making right hand turn onto newbury or bolyston is also tricky.

    good, but could use improvements.

  10. By J on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    The initial proposal had a giant bike box to allow for entering the left lane easily (inbound). I hope its coming soon and not canceled (it would have removed 3 parking spots). Perhaps someone has a link to the detailed presentation that was given in 2008?

    I had written off the entire project, as its over a year behind schedule, so Im glad it showed up.

  11. By JonT on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    I rode in those lanes yesterday. I didn’t measure them, but they felt a bit narrow, and the condition of the pavement was not the greatest. Outbound I started to use the new bike lane, but it was so full of debris from the overhanging trees that I found it unusable, and quickly switched to the right side of the road.

  12. By BikeJam on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    I rode outbound on Comm yesterday between Berkeley and Mass Ave. There’s currently not a good transition for crossing over to access Mass Ave. I did notice that they moved some stop lines back for cars, and appear to be creating biker boxes (“GRN” for the color green possibly, was spray-painted in front of the moved auto stop line).

    I did feel a bit unsafe being on the left. Pedestrians were not expecting me, and I had to watch closely for cars turning left that may not have seen me.

    Overall, it’s a step in the right direction.

  13. By martin on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    I’m very excited about these bike lanes! I haven’t heard anything about them until you mentioned them on your blog.

    I am somewhat apprehensive though — isn’t the speed of traffic on Comm Ave a little too high for unbuffered lanes?

  14. By Fenway on May 12, 2010 | Reply

    “isn’t the speed of traffic on Comm Ave a little too high for unbuffered lanes?”

    Probably no faster than what people drive on the Harvard Bridge, only without the dangerous winds nearly blowing cyclists into traffic or the guardrail.

    I really hope Comm Ave gets some signs saying “Bike Lane” and painted cyclist figures on the payment. Many out of towners aren’t going to get that the bike lane is a bike lane and treat it as a passing shoulder.

  15. By Fenway on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Today the crews are at the Bowker Overpass and various intersections in Back Bay painting bike boxes. The bike boxes are rather large in front of the new stop lines and span the entire width of the street to assist in right hand turns and the previously dangerous right o left lane shift under the Bowker. So that takes care of a MAJOR concern expressed here. The entire stretch under the Bowker is getting the green ‘magic carpet’ lane treatment in between the lanes painted earlier.

    I wonder if the entire length of Commonwealth avenue is going to get the ‘magic carpet’ treatment?

  16. By jay on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/bostonbikes

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