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Standard, buffered bike lanes coming to stretch of Western Ave.

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  November 3, 2010 10:49 AM

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(Courtesy City of Boston)

Bike lanes, including a unique buffered lane in one direction, will be installed along a half-mile stretch of Western Avenue this month in a collaborative project between the city and Harvard.

The lanes will run in both directions on Western Avenue from Travis Street past the Genzyme plant to Soldiers Field Road, the city announcement.

Eastbound bike lanes will run in between the sidewalk’s curb and a “floating” parking lane for vehicles. The specially-designed bike lanes, called Cycle Tracks, will be 10-feet wide, including a striped buffer zone to separate the lane from the parking area, the announcement said. A standard 5-foot bike lane will run westbound.

Because Harvard is scheduled to resurface the western section of the roadway next spring, temporary markings will be used in that area, while permanent markings will be used on the project’s eastern end between Hague Street and the Genzyme driveway, said city officials. Feedback collected by the city over the winter will determine if the Cycle Track will be extended in the spring with permanent markings on the project’s western end.

“Western Avenue is a primary route for cyclists getting between Allston/Brighton, the Charles River and Cambridge,” the city said in its announcement. “Our number one goal is always safety. This plan will improve safety dramatically.”

Using a pedestrian push-button signal at the eastbound bike lane’s end, cyclists will be able to cross Soldiers Field Road and travel along a sidewalk bike path that connects to other Charles River paths, officials said.

The added bike lanes will not increase traffic, the city said. However, on-street parking on Western Avenue near Genzyme will be moved westward to create the “floating” parking lane.

Additionally, parking lanes along the curb in front of Charlesview apartments will be restored this fall and plans then call for those spaces to be moved across the street into a “floating” parking lane after the road’s springtime resurfacing, the announcement said.

MBTA buses will continue to stop at the current designated curbside locations on Western Avenue.

“The plan provides clear sight lines for cyclists and MBTA bus drivers to see each other before the stops,” the announcement said, adding that input on bus stop locations will be collected by the city prior to installing permanent markings on the project’s western section in the spring.

The road will remain open while paint, thermoplastic lane markings and accompanying signage are installed, which is typically done after 7 p.m., according to officials. Some work will occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., and parked vehicles may need to be moved.

As part of a Boston-wide bike lane initiative, the city also announced bike lane additions to a mile-long section of Cambridge Street last month.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.

westernaveblanes2.jpg

(Courtesy: City of Boston)

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