Bike Lane Changes In Roslindale

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 26

A reader David sent in the following report about bike lanes in Roslindale/JP Area:

In the October 2009, bike lanes were added to Washington Street between Ukraine Way (just south of Forest Hills) and Roslindale Square. They added some convenience, and (some people feel) safety to the ride, and were generally perceived to be a useful development – an example of the city bringing bike facilities out into the neighborhoods.

In June 2013, the city added a handful of parking spaces on either side of Washington Street, just south of Ukraine, where previously there was no parking and just the bike lanes. They routed the southbound lane (the one in the video) around the parking spaces (you can still see the remains of the original lane). The northbound bike lane was replaced by sharrows when they added parking spaces to that side.

As you can see, to avoid the bike lane, vehicles need to make a pretty sharp swerve into a pretty thin car-and-bus-lane, and in the video taken at the time, almost none of them do. Same is true today, two months later, so there doesn’t seem to be any progress along the learning curve among the car-and-bus-enthusiasts who use the road. (Some might argue that without actual parked cars, there’s no need to respect the bike lane, but at the least, it means the paint will soon be worn off.)

The two buildings that the parking spaces were added for were built on MBTA-owned land, and (I thought) were considered transit-oriented development. Both buildings already have off-street parking, so there should be no need to put parking on the street.

This decision was made, I’m told, a while back, during the time that Boston had only an interim bike coordinator. I’m not aware of anyone in the bike community who was consulted, nor any public discussion of the change before it was implemented. Rumor has it that the decision to trash the lanes will not be changed.

I am not familiar with any of the facts surrounding the changes made to these bike lanes, or the people involved with them. But it is clear from the video that motorists have not “responded well” to the changes, aka they are driving in the bike lanes. This is a clear sign of poor planning, enforcement, or both.

If the car is truly no longer kind in this town, why do we continue to put on-street parking in? Especially considering this location is about a 3 minute walk to the T.

Anyone else have any information on these lanes, or how they got into their current configuration?

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Posted in infrastructure | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Bike Lane Changes In Roslindale”

  1. By Mark on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    I was told by Bostonbikes that the city promised on street parking to the developer. The street is almost wide enough to have parking on both sides. In general, I agree with on-street parking, it tends to have a traffic calming effect and this little stretch could use some calming. But without cars parked there most of the time, it just doesn’t work.
    These days I pretend I’m a grumpy old man with a beard and take the lane until the bike lane swings back to the curb.
    Boston Bikes has heard complaints about this, I’ve sent two myself.

  2. By mm on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    agreed, it is suboptimal. but I have found that if I am riding south in the bike lane – this is psrt of my regular commute – cars stay in their lane. so it is not a big deal.

  3. By Todd on Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    I can’t recall any other instance where a bike lane has been removed in Boston. I don’t like this as a precedent. There are plenty of meetings before bike lanes are installed; there should be plenty of meetings before bike lanes get removed.

  4. By mm on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    It was moved, not removed

  5. By David Wean on Aug 28, 2013 | Reply

    Actually the northbound lane was removed and replaced with sharrows. The southbound lane will be removed by the tires of the vehicles whose drivers ignore it most of the time (16 out of 16 in the video, though not when “mm” is riding in the bike lane)

    If the goal of the lane is to make people (other than us grumpy middle aged guys) comfortable riding between Forest Hills and Roslindale, that goal is set back by the current redesign.

    By the way, has anyone EVER seen a car parked in the new spaces on the southbound side? And if so, at what time(s) of day?

  6. By mm on Sep 4, 2013 | Reply

    you are correct, David. I was thinking only of the southbound lane. my mistake

    very annoying to have sharrows only northbound.

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