Regional planners have proposed 23 miles of bike lanes throughout Quincy, offering low-cost options to transform a city that a year ago had no bike lanes at all.
The study was compiled by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council at the request of city planners, and is meant to provide connections to Boston and to each of the city’s train stops.
“[Quincy officials] have one bike lane they just put in a couple months ago. They are starting from zero, but are completely pro-bike,” said David Loutzenheiser of the MAPC's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. “…It seems like they have the momentum to get back up to speed with everyone else.”
Though Quincy has sidewalks on 79 percent of main roads and 82 percent of local roads, a variety of bike racks from a 2008 and 2009 program, and a recently established Bicycle Commission, the city has fallen behind similar communities such as Cambridge and Somerville when it comes to accommodations for bike travel.
“That was the point of this report,” said Kristina Johnson, Quincy's director of transportation planning. “Identify opportunities that are low cost and could be rolled out when the city completes its street resurfacing once a year”
Quincy won’t be as aggressive in creating bike infrastructure as the front-running communities, Johnson said, and changes will occur over time.
Yet Quincy residents will likely see bike accommodations added where roadway widths can accommodate them. Shared travel lanes for bikes and cars will be marked to indicate bike routes and make drivers aware.
Though the vehicle lanes might become narrower, no roadways will be widened, Johnson promised, and no parking spaces would be removed.
The length of time over which the changes might occur is also unknown.
“[This is] just the initial first step to help the city institutionalize bike infrastructure planning,” Johnson said.
Within the report, planners recommend short- and long-term fixes. In addition to extending the existing bike lane on Adams Street, engineers recommended lanes on Hancock and Washington Streets and in the corridor connecting Quincy to Braintree.
“The cost is almost negligible,” said Tanya Paglia, a regional planner with MAPC. “They are repaving the street anyway and will be restriping it, but just in a new way.”
Quincy’s Planning Department adopted the draft at their Jan. 15 meeting.
According to Loutzenheiser, cities that have implemented these types of measures have doubled the number of commuters taking bikes. Fueled by generational shifts, he said, Quincy’s biking community is poised to grow exponentially.
“It’s just like building roads or any other transportation network. Once you build it and connect it, it gets used,” he said.
To read the entire report, click here.
To read more about the city’s bike planning efforts, click here.