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Op-ed: West Roxbury parents call for changes to make Centre Street in West Roxbury safer

Ed. note: This is an op-ed piece by the West Roxbury parents whose names are at the bottom. Anybody on the opposing side of this issue can contact us to post a rebuttal. Background: The proposal and the fatal crash and meeting that led to it.

As fall begins its arrival and families return to the Parkway for back to school, it is time to refocus our attention on efforts to make our streets safer for our neighbors and our children. In the wake of far too many pedestrian accidents on the main thoroughfare in downtown West Roxbury, the City of Boston has recently proposed an evidence-based plan to redesign traffic patterns on Centre Street.

We are long-term Parkway-area parents that support the efforts of the Boston Transportation Department to make our streets safer for all. One of us suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2015 when struck by a car while crossing Centre Street in a crosswalk. Each of us walks to shops and restaurants along Centre Street. Many of us take a morning run or ride our bikes to work or for exercise. We visit the YMCA or the Roche Community Center with our families. We walk our kids to school at one of the many schools in our neighborhood.

In fact, there are four schools that border Centre Street - the Lyndon K-8, St. Theresa's, Holy Name and Roxbury Latin - and many more students walk or bike to nearby schools like Catholic Memorial and the Kilmer K-8, or to the many preschools along the corridor. Older students cross Centre Street to take the bus or commuter rail for high school every day. As one example, a 2017 survey of Lyndon students found that one-quarter of the 600 students enrolled walked or biked to school each day. If you've ever found yourself at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Centre Streets around 9:15 a.m. on a school day, you know the scores of families with children - as young as age 4 - crossing a four-lane road. Scenes such as this one repeat themselves throughout the day along the one-mile stretch between Spring Street and the Holy Name Rotary.

Parents have also spoken out at recent community meetings in fear of allowing tweens to bike alone along Centre Street to a friend's house or cross the road for an after-school activity without an adult present. We want our kids to travel to these places by bike or on their own two feet, because the research is clear: active transportation (on foot, by bike or by scooter) gives kids the physical activity they need to be healthy, helps them learn better in school, and enhances their sense of independence and social and emotional well-being. Additionally, each time our kids go someplace themselves, it saves time and represents one less parents' car on the road.

The City's plan to reduce four travel lanes along Centre Street to three is a sound proposal targeted to promote safety for drivers, pedestrians and bikers alike. Combined with traffic calming effects, enhanced safety features at crosswalks and protected bike lanes, the net effects will reduce speeds, decrease accidents, and provide a safer environment for our children and all residents.

Some residents fear that reduced travel lanes along Centre Street will divert traffic to side streets, where children play. We live on these streets, too, and want our children to be safe to walk, play, and ride anywhere. A 2017 Northeastern University report is reassuring. This research, along with the data BTD has gathered, indicates that the current traffic volume does not justify a four lane roadway. The data shows that a one-lane reduction would have minimal impact on the travel time between Spring Street and the Holy Name Rotary, with results ranging from a possible 28 second reduction in travel time to a maximum 2:00 minute increase at peak hours. In the absence of a substantial negative impact to drivers, additional side street traffic is not expected. The City's implementation plan includes an initial and temporary lane reduction, which will allow any negative impacts to be discovered and addressed.

West Roxbury has always been a community forged in strong civic participation and a sense of connection and belonging among its residents. We all agree - a safer Centre Street is needed not just for our kids, but for everyone. You can help. No matter where you stand on this proposal, we ask that you give it careful consideration. Visit the BTD Project Page to share your feedback and find out about upcoming community meetings. These meetings are an opportunity for every resident to share our questions and concerns about this project while plans are still being made. Join West Roxbury Walks to help advocate for safe streets throughout West Roxbury, including Centre Street. If you favor the City's “road diet” proposal like we do, you can sign the West Roxbury Walks Petition. Thank you for supporting this effort to make Centre Street safer for our children and neighbors.

  • Jay Berry, St. Theresa's and Boston Latin School parent and physician.
  • Debra Brendemuehl and Brian Nolan, Lyndon School and BLS parents. Debbie has been involved in the Safe Routes to School program for 5 years.
  • Michael Burke, Holy Name parent and bicycle commuter.
  • Michael and Christina Colanti, Lyndon School parents. Mike was struck by a vehicle while in a crosswalk in 2015.
  • Emily and Jeremy Cusimano, Lyndon School parents who commute to school by bicycle. Emily coordinates the semi-annual Lyndon Walk to School Day.
  • Colleen and Jim Evans, Parents at St. Theresa's and the Lyndon.
  • Mathew Gruber, St. Theresa's School parent and former Board President, West Roxbury Main Streets.
  • Kate and Chris Heaton, Roxbury Latin and Bates school parents.
  • Sarah M. Henderson, LICSW, Lyndon School Parent and Centre Street business owner.
  • Elizabeth Hoenscheid, Parent at Holy Name and Catholic Memorial and a Centre Street business owner.
  • Danny Karnes, Holy Name parent.
  • Sharon Koh and Jonathan Murray, Lyndon School parents.
  • Michael and Suzanne Loconto, Beethoven-Ohrenberger parents. Mike is the Boston School Committee Chairperson and a former Board President, West Roxbury Main Streets.
  • Fran and Julie Ma, Lyndon School parents. Julie is immediate Past President of the Lyndon PTA.
  • Bridget and Joel Marquis, Holy Name Parish School parents who walk and bike their kids to school.
  • Patrick McVay, Kilmer School parent who commutes to work by bicycle.
  • Caitlin and Jeremy Unger, Lyndon School parents. Caitlin is former Vice President of the Lyndon PTA.
  • Adrienne Vaughan and Brian Trabish, West Roxbury parents. Adrienne is a Centre Street business owner.
  • Cathy and Dave Ware, Beethoven-Ohrenberger parents. Cathy is a Centre Street business owner.
  • Howard and Analiza Traub, West Roxbury parents.
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Comments

What would a rebuttal even say? "I'm an asshole driver who feels entitled to speed, ignore crosswalks and run over children"?

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Voting closed 62

I have been amazed by just how vehement people are against this.
in a nutshell inconvenient, people should not jay walk, people don't need to bike and the side street traffic.
Sorry but none of those a good and valid reasons to oppose the plan.

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Voting closed 31

I have to admit, I already cut through the side streets to avoid Centre St. I am certainly not speeding or running anyone over, but there are more & more people doing the same thing already.

I don't know if the new design will make it easier or more difficult to drive down Centre St. The left-turn lanes should make it easier, but I'm not convinced that people won't double-park. One double-parked car, or even one person trying to back into a parking space, or a bus that is stopped partly in the right lane, will most likely cause others to drive around them by pulling into the left-turn only lane, basically what happens now.

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Voting closed 11

This is extremely well-written advocacy.

I hope BTD is open to design and implementation. It would be great if automobile traffic lights were synced with each other and other modes of transportation.

Look at the infrastructure and design keeping traffic moving in Den Bosch, with consideration for pedestrians, bicycle tracks (for rider safety), crossings, motor vehicles, turning lanes and bus priority in a effort to conserve everyone's time:

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Voting closed 14

I mean you can't compare, never heard of Den Bosch but I did look it up population about 150,000 and a city of 32 sq miles of land with urban population 170,000.

Boston has 620,000 population over 48 sq miles of land and an urban population of 4 MILLION.
Look at the road in the picture, I think Centre Street isn't quite as wide.LOL.

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Voting closed 8

They have a population of 2.1 million over 40 mile and a metro pop of 12.5 mil. They are rolling out all kinds of protected bike infra and safer streets, drastically reducing congestion, car travel lanes and parking spots. Oh and its an much older city with very narrow streets in some cases.

Oh but they don't have really bad winters right. How about fellow North American cities like Minneapolis or Seattle or Montreal? They've installed amazing infrastructure inspired by European rollouts.

But we can't compare.

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Voting closed 12

One of the main problems I have with Bikes, 9 out of 10 Bikers ride right thru Red Lights, half of them don't wear helmets. I thought they were suppose to stop at redlights??? Same rules of the road as autos. The streets of Boston are not conducive to bike lanes . I see Bikes during morning rush hour riding along Centre Street going down the hill by the Faulkner Hospital, cars are swerving onto lanes. No room, ride in the Arbs or Jamaica Pond. What is the actual % of people who ride bikes 3% or 4% to work. They want protective Bike Lanes with Banks on each side how do you plow those lanes. This problem was brought up when they wanted Bike Lanes on the Zakim Bridge???

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Voting closed 6

Quick lightning round responses, if you're interested in further reading I've provided some links:

Cyclists and motorists break the law at roughly the same rate, theres a great volume of cars on the road so thats pretty dangerous.
https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/01/03/study-cyclists-dont-break-traffic...

Its not a legal requirement for adults to wear helmets when cycling, Also for having the highest rate of helmet use worldwide, the USA leads in fatalities for every 621 miles cycled.
https://twitter.com/ODouglasPrice/status/1174001931565424640
https://www.outsideonline.com/2401809/stop-trying-force-cyclists-wear-he...

Car run red lights too, often with graver consequences.

It is not same rules of the road as autos, for instance cyclists can pass on the right, children can operate them and they limited from certain roads, for obvious reasons.
https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-bikes/bike-laws-boston

The streets of Boston are not conducive to motor vehicle traffic.

I see cars parked on sidewalks, driving over the yellow line, speeding, weaving in and out of lanes. Oh also they keep crashing into people and stationary objects, killing, injuring and inflicting tons of property damage on society.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2019/04/17/traffic-fatalities-down-...

Riding the Arborway is nice for a leisure activity but not helpful when people need to commute, do errands, etc.

At the locations listed in the link below, bikes were more than 10% of vehicles during peak hours. Biking in Boston increased 80% from 2007 to 2016. If you build it, they will come.
https://www.wbur.org/news/2019/05/30/cycling-tips-boston
https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-bikes/bike-data/2017-boston-bi...

Plowing bike lanes is fairly easy with the right equipment, smaller plows that can also aid in the city better clearing snow from sidewalks too.
https://twitter.com/bostonpwd/status/949003015981281282?lang=en

People wanted bike lanes on the Zakim? Honestly hadn't heard that.

Anyway, enjoy!

EDIT: Also you didn't answer my question about Paris, Montreal, Minneapolis and Seattle. Those are similar, if not larger, cities that implemented bike networks well and in some cases, deal with harsher winters then us, have older, narrower streets then us.

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Voting closed 17

Research points out that 9 out of 10 incidents of cars colliding with bicyclists are the fault of the motor vehicle driver.

10 out of 10 cars slow roll through stop signs.

Helmets don't protect you in the street. It it a prop to promote the idea that cyclists don't belong in the street.

The streets of Boston were designed for pedestrians, horses and bicycles. Bicycles came to boston about 50 years before cars.

If the state and city cared about the safety or pedestrians and cyclists, more people would be riding.

In the 50's, boston had 800,000 people living and traveling through the city everyday. Cars are the problem. Our lives are shorter because of pollution and lack of exercise.

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Voting closed 12

i dont slow roll through stop signs.
I have actually been hit by a bike while in a crosswalk, glancing blow yes but scary.
also had a bike hit my car while stopped on beacon st, where cyclist ignore red lights stop signs and don't yield for pedestrians. Yes cars are a problem but so are ignorant cyclists.
Sharing the road needs teaching and understanding for both sides..

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Voting closed 4

The fact that a cyclist hit your car and hit you in a crosswalk, doesn't mean that cyclists disobey more traffic laws than motorists. As for the stop signs, sorry not buying that. I never seen a car stop for a stop sign unless i was already in the cross walk and they had to wait for me.

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Voting closed 8

Sit on a corner downtown and watch what the cyclists do. I've done this it's frightening. If cars did the same we'd all be dead.

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Voting closed 4

Just crossed Arlington where all the cars stopped at the red light and literally four bikes tore between the cars and ran the red light buzzing me and other pedestrians. I'll take the cars over bikes all day long.

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Voting closed 2

Did the cars stop on the line? What about the cars that did run the red light? I ride through Arlington every morning and saw some myself today! Any observations at other intersections? Gosh its just so weird that you didn't see any motorists breaking the law.

But again, they are just personal anecdotes, the data clearly shows overwhelming how much more dangerous cars are to society.

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Voting closed 8

this wasn't a light that was changing. This was a completely red (for like 30 seconds) light - in fact after the bikes went charging through, THEN the light turned green right after I crossed. I get it within a second or two of the light changing - that happens all the time. You don't see too many cars or motorcycles go racing through a light that's been read for 20 seconds - happens - but rare.

As for cars being "more" dangerous - do number much. They outnumber bikes like 100:1. Then there's this thing called physics.

Like I said - I'll take the cars over the bikes any day. I can count on my fingers the number of times I've been almost hit by a car as a pedestrian. Bike brushes are a daily hazard if you live downtown.

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Voting closed 4

Or any of the other handful of intersections you went through, you didn't see any law breaking from motorists?

Cool, so we agree that cars are more dangerous. Weird that you still prefer bikes over cars, whatever that means.

The 20 second metric is cute, so like what about a few seconds after the light changes, does that change your anecdotal data or you still got the blinders on?

Speaking of data: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/01/03/study-cyclists-dont-break-traffic...

Also I can count on both my hands the number of times I've actually been hit by a car, one crash even sent me to the hospital. Getting buzzed by cars is a daily hazard if you bike downtown.

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Voting closed 6

Don't ride downtown unless you have a death wish. As another poster said - the cars aren't going away and if you want to swim with the sharks every day - you'll eventually get bitten.

and it's cars over bikes I prefer - because in almost all cases I can predict the behavior of cars. I expect a couple to go through the light as it changes, but I usually can't even get in the road that fast. The bikes are a menace.

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Voting closed 2

I mean you've said many times already that you think cyclists are more dangerous, so don't walk downtown unless you have a death wish. The bike saren't going anywhere and if you want to swim with the sharks everyday, you'll eventually get bitten.

Or we could just build safer streets, just a spit ballin here.

because in almost all cases I can predict the behavior of cars.

https://www.universalhub.com/2019/crash-sends-car-storefront-northampton...

Lol ok chief.

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Voting closed 7

a - you need some work on your reading comprehension - this is the second time you've said something that is literally the exact opposite of what I wrote.

b - "almost all cases" - no I can't predict when a car is going to careen off the road and hit a house/storefront. But in that same vain, I've never actually even seen that happen in person - and probably never will, but that's just me.

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Voting closed 1

You tried telling me the "solution" to almost getting hit by cars was to just not ride downtown, in the same vein you should do the same if you're worried about almost getting hit by cyclists. Did you miss the sarcastic absurdity there?

I've never actually even seen that happen in person

Oh you're teetering on the cusp of being a self-aware wolf, oh just almost getting the point about confirmation bias vs. data. We almost had a break through!

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Voting closed 6

And like the vast, vast majority - no need to. In fact, I literally walk my bike from to the Esplanade when I do ride because I'm not crazy/stupid enough to pit my 20 lb vehicle against the behemoths on the road. And like most - we get by fine without bikes (which I have not problem with if they obey the rules of the road - but the entitled cyclistas in this town seem to feel that terrorizing people on the street - and occasionally injuring them - is not your problem.

As for self-aware - self aware enough to know that you are using an absurd argument about a car hitting a building to somehow indicate it's the norm or even common. What a ludicrous argument.

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Voting closed 3

Be upset that the data shows motorists and cyclists break that law at pretty much the same rate. Then stop, breath and think for a minute about which mode of transit make up the majority of road users.

We get by fine without cars, which I have no problem with if they obey the rules of the road - but the entitled motoristas in this town seem to feel that terrorizing people on the street - and injuring or occasionally killing them - is not your problem.

And it is discouraging that you don't feel safe biking on the road, it shouldn't be that way and we can address that with safer streets and better bike infra, which this whole thread was about but you just couldn't resist yelling about the cyclists you saw run a red.

https://www.ameriprise.com/auto-home-insurance/aah/learning-center/auto/...

Car Crashes into Building. In the U.S., it’s becoming an all-too-common occurrence, with an average of 60 such accidents each day. Every year, more than 500 people are killed when cars crash into retail outlets, restaurants and office buildings in the U.S.

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Voting closed 4

How about you do a survey, stevil? oh wait, you are allergic to facts. How is it that you have access to a computer but can't look up and link anything?

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Voting closed 5

Observed 30 bikes - 28 of them were doing something illegal or unsafe. Running lights, riding on sidewalks in commercial districts or parks where restricted, riding the wrong way on one way streets etc. Plus no helmets, lights after dusk etc. (no helmets more a danger to them and not illegal - but still stupid pretenders to the Darwin awards).

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Voting closed 3

Your absolutely correct, bikes never stop at the lights or stop sign never mind these foolish surveys they come up with. Go up to Centre Street and see it live. This foolish study isn't going anywhere anyway. Paris!! who gives a crap what happens there!! Basically you are dealing with Liberals even when it comes down to bikes. There is other things to worry about. What paents have to do is get their kids off of cell phones when they are crossing the street. Wait until the school at 361 Belgrade gets going. How much traffic that will bring into the neighborhood. I just watch the video of that girl that got hit at the rotary on the JWAY why was she on that road!!! The car should have stopped but come on.

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Voting closed 0

Here you go, I am shure you will find something wrong

https://bikeleague.org/content/ranking

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Voting closed 3

Hell naw, this just confirms that we need to expand the already successful bike and safer street infrastructure, like this very project in West Roxbury!

Self-owns are so rare but so delicious.

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Voting closed 5

No anecdotal data there uh?

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Voting closed 4

Perhaps a driving a bit too fast or taking minor liberties with the yellow lights - but beyond that nothing like the cyclists.

Certainly:

Nobody driving the wrong way down the street
Nobody driving on the sidewalk
Nobody going around stopped cars to blast through a clearly red light

etc.

This is the problem - the cyclists are defensive and entitled. Instead of modifying dangerous behavior the attitude is - I usually don't hit people and if I do, usually there's not much damage because my vehicle weighs 10 lbs, not 3,000 pounds - so it's OK

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Voting closed 3

Since your knowledge seems so limited, I assume you would have to describe them by color of the frame. Where were you standing? Did you take video? Or are you just lying?

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Voting closed 6

Perhaps a driving a bit too fast or taking minor liberties with the yellow lights - but beyond that nothing like the cyclists.

Certainly:

Nobody driving the wrong way down the street
Nobody driving on the sidewalk
Nobody going around stopped cars to blast through a clearly red light

etc.

This is the problem - the cyclists are defensive and entitled. Instead of modifying dangerous behavior the attitude is - I usually don't hit people and if I do, usually there's not much damage because my vehicle weighs 10 lbs, not 3,000 pounds - so it's OK

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Voting closed 2

All of those things I've seen in recent weeks. Lets hand wave away speeding and red light running motorists as a rarely occurring event but also if it is happening, its only motorists "perhaps a bit too fast" or "taking minor liberties", no biggie right?

Thats of course made after I assume you've seen the data showing cyclists con’t break traffic laws any more than drivers do, so the whole "mostly law abiding" thing really just blows up there.

Maybe you didn't read it though, again facts do have a liberal bias but here it is: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/01/03/study-cyclists-dont-break-traffic...

But then you go ahead and try to trash cyclists for basically doing the same thing, taking minor liberties with the laws of the road.

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Voting closed 5

The results most likely won't convince you to toss aside your personal bias but hey, anecdotes over data amirite?

https://usa.streetsblog.org/2018/01/03/study-cyclists-dont-break-traffic...

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Voting closed 8

I just read a survey since you are big on them THe safest states in USA for Bikes

1. Washington
2. Minnesota
3. California
4 Guess Who Mass

Also in 2017 782 Cyclist deaths of that 289 involved alcohol

195 (25%) Cyclist impaired
55 ( 7%) Driver impaired

So lay off the booze when riding thru those red lights.

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Voting closed 2

I'd love to see a link to that survey and research methodology it took into account, gotta cite your sources.

As for 2017, there were 10,874 driving fatalities involving alcohol impairment. That accounted for 29 percent of overall fatalities, which is the lowest since 1982 so yay I guess?

Maybe you can do some math that factors in the volume of bike to cars in terms of alcohol related deaths.

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812603

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Voting closed 4

Nice.....
BTW cars are not going away, some compromise is needed on both sides.

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Voting closed 6

You think that because you touched your brakes, your car is stopping. In your hurried brain you think you have ceased movement but you haven't.

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Voting closed 5

.
Thanks unlike yours maybe....

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Voting closed 4

No need to keep this going, at least not like this, thanks.

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Voting closed 4

I honestly believe that motorists, hit their brakes at a stop sign and move on. I am not exaggerating when I say that unless there is something in front of them, they never come to a full stop.

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Voting closed 7

We were just there and basically concluded bikers had to be suicidal. There was no infrastructure, just maniacs in the traffic playing chicken with the cars.

The Paris cyclists were more respectful of pedestrians than Boston cyclists, so there's that.

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Voting closed 4

I was also just there. And 2 years ago. And 10 years ago. The biking infra has dramatically grown and changed how safely cyclists can get around there, there are entire networks of protected bike lanes stretching all over the city and its still expanding.

Hey generalizations are fun but there might be something about the Parisian/Euro cyclists being a little more respectful, in general, because things are safer there so you get calmer riders.

But hey, personal bias or whatever, you're still wrong.

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Voting closed 8

The critical factor of that system implemented in Den Bosch and other cities in Netherlands is not the population of the city nor the square miles but how it optimizes traffic flow for the benefit of all modes of transportation. Watch it again, it is brilliant design.

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Voting closed 2

The arguments against this require you to suspend reality and presume facts, research, and expertise don’t matter.
As the op-Ed and all the research say, there is no reason to expect more side street traffic. That has been repeated objection number one, despite all the evidence it won’t happen.
Jaywalking is a symptom of bad design. Same as most of the dangerous driving. It’s currently not safe to cross in the crosswalks so what incentive do folks have to walk extra steps to use them? I do and wish others would but what drivers don’t stop it’s clear why they don’t.
The city’s proposal for a safe design makes walking and driving better.

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Voting closed 32

Well done.

As a parent of St. Theresa students and a frequent patron of many establishments on Centre Street (though not a West Rox. resident), I am in full support of this initiative.

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Voting closed 24

"I'm an asshole driver who feels entitled to speed, ignore crosswalks and run over children"? - But aren't they problem?

The plan should start with some serious traffic enforcement –Wouldn't it make sense to allocate money for BPD? They can go after drivers who: Run red lights, speed through yellow lights, blow through stop signs, stop in cross walks, don’t yield to pedestrians, change lanes erratically, double park and ‘block the block’ – not one of those things can be ‘fixed’ by a Road Diet.

Then, BTD could see if some LED cross walks, Advance Stop or Yield Lines, or ‘on-demand’ signal lights work – before on entire reconstruction of Centre Street.

I live in West Roxbury with my two children who are under the age of 12. I agree that action need to be taken on Centre Street – but feel the ‘Road Diet’ is a bit extreme.

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Voting closed 5

It is more cost effective and safer to use infrastructure to slow traffic down.

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Voting closed 9

if you have kids in public elementary & middle schools (or even high schools with 6,7th,8th grades) then I encourage all parents to find out if their kids schools are formal partners with the Mass. state Safe Routes to School Program. The program offers a variety of resources that promote safe pedestrian and biking habits, while also offering infrastructure grants of up to $1,000,000 for infrastructure improvement projects that make walking and biking to school safer. Crosswalks, sidewalks, traffic controls are all eligible. Schools have to apply for the grants with a municipal co-applicant.

City of Boston has an SRTS program but its not being as effective or proactive as it needs to be, hence my comment. By all means check it out.

https://www.mass.gov/safe-routes-to-school

https://blog.mass.gov/transportation/bike-pedestrian/massdot-selects-14-...

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Voting closed 9

Also wanted to pass along this resource announced last week:
https://blog.mass.gov/transportation/bike-pedestrian/massdot-launches-ne...
Funds up to $6,000 for Signs n lines traffic/infrastructure projects

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Voting closed 0

Double parking is another safety issue that needs to be addressed on Centre St..

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Voting closed 26

One of the best aspects of the plan is it eliminates double parking. When there is one travel lane in each direction nobody double parks. If they did they would block travel in that direction completely and face a growing line of irate drivers. Traffic experts call that “back pressure”. People do it now because they can get away with it.

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Voting closed 25

Have you ever been on Broadway in South Boston? It's one lane each way and people double park all the time.

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Voting closed 5

Centre street is nothing like that.

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Voting closed 4

that Marty Keogh (candidate for City Council at large) opposes this new redesign proposal and is quoted as such here: https://www.universalhub.com/2019/city-proposes-reducing-centre-street-w...

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Voting closed 23

Knowing Marty Keough opposes this should be good enough for anyone catching wind of this now to support it wholeheartedly!
Saying he opposes isn’t much of the story. Marty has been spreading lies since before BTD even announced the plan. It’s painfully obvious his intention is to create a phony crisis then campaign for city council on “saving” people from it.
Having witnessed his behavior a few times I can’t imagine anyone taking him seriously as a candidate.

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Voting closed 36

Thank you for publishing this, Adam. I really hope substantive changes can be made to Centre St.--right now it's terrifying for drivers and pedestrians.

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Voting closed 17

I am a West Roxbury resident and I think that lane reductions would just be a complete mess.
The businesses would suffer with double parking and deliveries, traffic would be at a standstill.
From Temple Street to the West Restaurant there are 9 sets of traffic lights!!!! With new housing being added everywhere will mean more cars. Willow street across from Starbucks, what happens when the housing complex goes up next to Blanchards? In the Op Ed listing of some who are listed as business owners, one owns a business on Spring St., one is an Attorney, and 2 are Therapists. I don't really think reduction of lanes would effect their businesses. But lets ask Roche Brothers, CVS, Walgreens, Real Deal, Westbury, Macy's etc.businesses that have deliveries, customers that have to carry bags etc. I think that children's safety is very important. But realistically how many kids walk anywhere today? They get rides to School, Y, Little League, Roche center etc. Roslindale Square for instance is a mess with lines everywhere, you can't park anywhere, Bike Lanes, Bus Lanes, Poles Stickin out of the ground total mess.

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Voting closed 13

Not really sure how this would impact double parkers. It’s not like the people there obey the double parking laws to begin with. When I lived there, the right lane of Centre was unusable because of all the cars parked to run in “for just a minute.” That road is messed up and I’ve had several close calls myself. Luckily I’m younger and have good mobility, otherwise I’d be another staristic.

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Voting closed 12

You mean other than the two lots on either side of the train tracks, the lot behind Citizens bank, the BoA lot, all along Washington St, at the parking lot for Target/Dunks, etc...? Or do you mean you don't want to walk 100' to get from your car to a store? Be honest pal.

If we had protected bike lanes, then our kids would be safe riding to school, the Y, etc...

As always, double parking needs to have a huge ticket associated with it and problem solved. Do people constantly park in front of fire hydrants? No, because they get whacked with fines.

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Voting closed 32

All up and down Washington Street??? What are you talking about there are no spaces.
Either side of the tracks are T Lots. Citizens and BOA, I thought they were for customers.
Yeah protected Bike lanes. Go back to JP and eat your Veggies. A lot of Parking at Dunks, you can't even park in the Taft Hill lot. Got get those protected bike lanes. I love the rack of Bikes they put outside Brannelleys they will get great use. Let me see I have to go to Forest Hills I have my suit on and it's 95 out yeah I'll jump on a bike and peddle to work.

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Voting closed 3

The only time I've ever had a problem parking there was when I had a doctor's appointment on a Saturday morning and all the spaces in the municipal lot were full, I'm assuming with people going to the farmer's market, so I had to park in the T lot, which you can do for free on Saturdays and which is roughly a block away from the municipal lot.

Other than that, I've never had a problem finding parking in the square.

Yeah, sometimes Corinth Street can be a pain to get through, but at least Roslindale Square is actually a walkable place, unlike Centre Street/Spring Street in West Roxbury.

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But then I'll have to drive back to my home in the Square?

I'm in the square everyday usually both on foot and car because I live here. Where do you live? The fact that you don't know there's a municipal lot behind Citizens tells me that you don't live in Roslindale, that's for sure. It's also hilarious that you think only BoA customers park in that lot (a lot which is kind of a disaster TBH). Final bit of info - the T lot are pay lots. So pay to park there if you need to.

And eat your Veggies to you too, pal. They're good for you!

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Boston has room for 800,000 people. That was population in the 50's. But back then half of all adults didn't own a car. And yet somehow people got to work in suits. Of course that was before big auto lobbied to get rid of all the street cars.

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All of the businesses you mentioned except real deal and Westbury have huge parking lots that are used for deliveries and by their customers. Plus I don’t know about the private schools, but BPS students that are in high school take the T with few exceptions and I think they expanded it to middle school as well. I take the commuter rail and walk in the morning and in the afternoon and see plenty of kids getting off the train or the bus and going towards CM and Roxbury Latin. In the afternoon I see BLS students getting off the commuter rail as well. There are plenty of students walking around trying to get to and from school via the T which means they’re spending some time on Centre St.

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I am talking about GETTING TO these businesses. Saturday afternoon one land on Centre street a real mess. Then the one lane after a snow storm when we have massive snow banks and one lane.

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If you can't walk that far, you should make an appointment with your doctor.

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You think that but you would be wrong.

Proven effects of road diets:
- decreased crashes
- net cost benefit (believe it or not traffic crashes and deaths are very expensive and an "invisible" cost of car culture)
- increased throughput of passengers when coupled with increased mass transit options
- increased business foot traffic for local businesses (especially true when good biking infrastructure is included including protected bike lanes and bike parking racks/corrals)
- increased livability, including decreased air and noise pollution

And new housing doesn't have to mean new cars. It only means new cars if you zone it as such and require parking.

https://gizmodo.com/what-the-heck-is-a-road-diet-1727066519

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children's safety is very important. But...

That says it all about this post....

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that would need to be addressed.
Will the bike lanes be separated from the travel lane by more than just a white line? I still wouldn't feel safe biking or allow my children to bike on Centre if there just a painted line separating the bike lane from the cars.
How many people will really be biking during the winter or when it's raining or snowing? Is it worth making all these changes if the reality is that the bike lanes will be used by few people only during certain times of the year? I can't see too many kids biking to school when it's cold, raining or snowing.
Can't the yellow flashing crosswalk lights and signs be installed at crosswalks so that if someone wants to cross the street, they can just push the button and it will alert drivers? The main safety issue with crossing is that drivers are not able to see people crossing.
If the road diet does take place:
What will be done with the snow to allow parking on the street? Right now, Centre is already reduced to 1.5 lanes each way because people have to park partly in the right travel lane because of the mounds of plowed snow.
Will the amount of traffic lights be reduced to keep traffic moving?
When traffic does stop, is there any way to enforce that drivers don't block cross streets so those drivers can actually get out of the side streets? The "don't block the box" thing does not keep anyone from blocking any box.
With one lane and more more steady traffic on Centre, will those on the side streets even be able to get onto Centre?
I can understand both sides of this issue. Traffic on Centre is a mess and when I drive on it, I'm constantly dodging cars turning, parking, double parking, pulling out of parking spots, all the while trying to keep my eye out for anyone who might be trying to cross. But if this road diet goes through, it will take only one double parker or one really slow driver to make Centre a mess.

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Hi,

The original post included hyperlinks to a number of reports that answer in detail the questions you raise above. These include:

(scroll to the bottom to review the June 20 meeting presentation)

The 2017 Northeastern Report

This page also contains a wealth of background on the proposal and similar projects around the country.

Finally, visit West Roxbury Walks, an advocacy group for additional information or to get involved.

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Voting closed 6

Moving parked cars out into the street to form a protected bike lane does make streets safer for cyclists. Not sure why cyclists are claiming they want their protected bike lane so little kids walking to school will be safer...you want it for yourselves, just be honest about it. If you were primarily concerned about school kids, you'd be advocating for traffic calming measures like speed bumps, crossing guards and more traffic enforcement. How is a protected bike lane going to stop a car from blowing through a red light and hitting a little kid walking across the street on his way to school?

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Other than pointing out that some children may benefit from biking to school, the original letter isn't advocating for change just to have a bike lane. Opponents to the Centre street redesign keep pushing a conspiracy theory that this is a battle against cars in favor of bicycles. Reduced travel lanes, safer crossing areas, and a dedicated turn lane so drivers behind stopped cars aren't weaving between lanes are the traffic calming measures, not the bike lane. But if room is freed up in the road as a result, then adding a protected bike lane is the best way to make use of that space.

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Voting closed 9

Building safe, protected bike infra can and does make safer streets for pedestrians too.

I mean you are right about a protected bike lane won't stop a car from blowing through a red light, so what about keeping a travel lane prevents that?

Narrower lanes bordered with parked cars can cause slower speeds because well, no one wants to scratch up their toy car or get their mirrors clipped off right?

http://guide.saferoutesinfo.org/engineering/narrow_lanes.cfm
https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2015/07/10-foot-traffic-lanes-are-safe...
https://www.transportation.gov/mission/health/Traffic-Calming-to-Slow-Ve...

If you were primarily concerned about school kids, you'd be advocating for infrastructure like this. But don't want a travel lane reduction because you want it for yourself, just be honest about it.

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I was made with 2 street car lanes and 2 travel lanes. Multilane streets are unsafe in an urban setting.

If Centre Street had a Bus and bike lane, public transportation would move so fast that less people would drive.

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I don’t ride a bike and I fully support this because it’s the only way to calm traffic. You can’t put speed bumps on Centre St because it’s a corridor for emergency vehicles (per BTD).
More traffic enforcement would be great. But those are highly valuable human resources the city would need to pay for forever. When you can eliminate most dangerous driving with good design you don’t need as much expensive enforcement. Three lane design takes away many opportunities to do dangerous things. West Roxbury is a safe neighborhood so it makes little sense to have officers sitting on Centre St baby sitting a roadway that could be made safe on its own.

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This is great and welcome antidote to the virulent scare tactics and NIMBYism running wild in certain segments of West Roxbury about a very needed and reasonable road safety plan. Thank you to every signatory here for putting this out there.

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1. The Northeastern Study by Prof Furth (big bike advocate) assumes traffic will divert to VFW Parkaway with the loss of the lane on Centre St.

2. There is no way to predict if the loss of the lane with cause GPS to divert drivers to local roads for commute.

3. The analysis also shows traffic queues not being accommodated in blocks between Centre/Spring and Centre/Lagrange which includes the Centre/Lorette/St Theresa Ave. This could result in blocking the box as you cross the street (enforcement? yeah right!). Both Centre Street (from Grove St) and Spring Street dump a lot of traffic onto Centre St heading north. Four lanes are really needed to be kept between Spring and LaGrange.

4. The proposal proposes to remove exclusive pedestrian movements (all walk, no cars move) to concurrent pedestrian movements (cars and peds use intersection in the same direction and there can be turning vehicle conflicts) at all traffic signals. Exclusive crossing is the safest as it has no turning vehicles. Do you want kids crossing the street with turning vehicles? But you also wait longer to get a walk signal with an exclusive which can cause jaywalking for impatient pedestrians.

5. The proposal proposes to remove two traffic lights where you cross with Walk lights - you will now rely on vehicles to yield as you enter the crosswalk versus stopping at a red light. The signals technically do not meet traffic signal warrants, but would you rather cross at a traffic light with walk lights or at an unsignalized crosswalk?

6. 2 minutes of delay per vehicle is actually pretty significant for a relatively short stretch of roadway. This will either be full-on congestion on Centre Street or cars will divert somewhere to avoid it.

7. The three lane option does seem ok and workable north of Lagrange and south of Belgrade.

Don't shoot the messenger. Just stating the facts.

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can and should be reduced now. That is a dangerous pedestrian crossing.
There is no reason to keep two lanes between spring and Lagrange. The traffic would flow just fine. there are already turn lanes at lagrange and ta Centre now

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