Comments on Beacon Street Redesign

Comments on Beacon Street Redesign

June 30, 2017

Gina Fiandaca, Commissioner
Boston Transportation Department
1 City Hall Sq., Suite 721
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Beacon Street Redesign

Dear Commissioner Fiandaca,

WalkBoston strongly supports the re-­design of Beacon Street to slow vehicular traffic and improve pedestrian safety. As the neighborhood expressed at the Public Meeting on June 12, 2017, the narrowing of the street will reduce the numerous traffic crashes, including pedestrian fatalities in the past several years. Moreover, the improvements will be implemented in the near term.

WalkBoston Supports Alternative 1, Option A
WalkBoston supports Alternative 1, the Preferred Design, which the neighborhood endorsed at the Public Meeting. This design calls for the removal of a travel lane, two one-­way travel lanes, a bicycle lane and parking on both sides of the street. The buffer between the bike and parking lanes will not only increase bicyclist safety, but also make cycling more comfortable.

Alternative 1 has two options at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue/Beacon Street. Of the two options, WalkBoston strongly supports Option A, which will retain the protected bike lane to Massachusetts Avenue and also preserve parking. Option B mixes bicycles and vehicles in order to provide a right hand turn for motorists. We believe the vehicle volumes do not necessitate this vehicular right turn and will be very dangerous for cyclists.

Traffic Signals Should Be Automatic with LPIs
Traffic signals in this downtown neighborhood should be automatic (no pushbuttons) and on throughout the 24-­hour period (except when signals are in flashing mode). WalkBoston also understands that leading pedestrian intervals (LPIs) will be incorporated at all signalized locations. Finally, WalkBoston has noted that throughout the City, the concurrent green is on for a relatively short period of time. We request that the concurrent WALK remain throughout the concurrent vehicle green.

Increase Crossing Safety by Establishing No Right Turn on Red and Installing Tactical Medians
The City has installed No Right Turn on Red (NTOR) at intersections throughout the City where there are large volumes of pedestrians. We are pleased to see that the City is calling for NTOR at all intersections in this re-­‐designed section of Beacon Street.

Medians or refuge Islands provide safety at intersections for crossing pedestrians. WalkBoston requests that the City consider temporary medians through paint and flex posts at all crossings.

Re-­Assess Visitor and Resident Parking
At the Community Meeting many attendees asked that the City re­assess the assigned parking, which was established in the 1980s. The City expressed interest in working with the neighborhood to assess how curb space is currently used, and how a balance can be found to meet current resident, visitor, and delivery needs.

In summary, WalkBoston strongly supports the Alternative 1, Option A Design and looks forward to working with the City to implement and evaluate the design. Thank you for consideration of our comments.


Dorothea Hass
Sr. Project Manager

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