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State Street could get a permanent bike lane, wider sidewalks by end of 2021

State Street Project Virtual Public Presentation #2 - Design Concepts

City officials are hoping to make the current temporary bike lane on Street Street between Congress Street and Surface Road permanent by the end of next year - and to widen sidewalks and take steps to make intersections safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The entire stretch would be reduced to one vehicle travel lane, except where it widens at Congress, where the current four lanes would be reduced to three, as part of a "people first" approach to prioritize walkers and pedalers over people in motor vehicles, Public Works Project Manager Ashley Biggens said in a recent presentation.

Biggens said city planners are also looking at eliminating curbs and putting sidewalks and the roadway at the same level to make it easier to reconfigure the road for special events, similar to the way Union Street nearby is now configured. If this is done, the city would look to using easily moved plantings, bollards and street furniture to separate pedestrians from cars and trucks when the road is in regular use, she said.

Also part of the planning: Moving loading zones to Chatham and Broad streets and the cab stand just before Congress Street around the corner to Congress. In total, the project could mean reducing the number of parking spaces along the road from 71 to about 62. Sitll under consideration: What to do about State where it meets Surface Road, where planners are looking at possibly creating a "floating" parking space for tour buses to pick up and discharge passengers.

Biggens said a key part of the project is a permanent bike lane on the north side of the road - the side with Al's on it - headed from the Greenway towards the Old State House, which would connect with the city's bike-lane networks and which would be separated from the vehicle lane by a buffer with permanent barriers to protect bicyclists.

For pedestrians, in addition to wider sidewalks, the city would re-stripe and possibly reconfigure intersections to make them safer. Planers are also looking at traffic signals that would give pedestrians several seconds of time to cross before motorists would get a signal to turn, she said.

Biggens said the planning is based on the assumption that pedestrian, vehicle and bicycle traffic along the road will eventually come back to pre-pandemic levels. She said that since the current state of emergency went into effect in March, pedestrian travel along State Street has decreased by 80%, from 29,000 people a day to 5,900, vehicle traffic by 60% and bicycle traffic by 30%.

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Comments

This. Is. Awe. Some. M. A. G. O. O.

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These plans are very good, but I have one gripe: I think the bike lane should be bi-directional. The Connect Historic Boston plan showed Court St and State St as being two-way for bikes.

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Also, great idea to stop for people in the crosswalk by Merchants Row when we are crossing the street in the crosswalks to get lunch / coffee on the opposite side of the street.

The percentage of cars that stop far far outweighs the bikes that stop believe it or not.

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IMAGE(https://media.tenor.com/images/b1eeb43a4fd417899c61102debdd7b64/tenor.gif)

The relative percentages of pedestrians killed in crosswalks by motor vehicles and cyclists is not possible to comparatively calculate most years as cyclists rarely kill anyone (and are extremely highly motivated to not hit anyone).

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I don't want to get hit, let alone killed. See.

SwirlFail yet again.

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1) From a systemic perspective, is anything in place to prevent right-hooks? This road design seems to put the bike into the car driver's blind-spot in a risky way. (I think it's worse when the bike lane is protected by parked cars, like on Beacon St). Of course drivers should check, but this road design just seems to invite that risk more than when bikes are mixed into the traffic lane.

2) Is there anywhere for taxi/uber or other drop-offs? Or a police officer to pull over, or anything to happen without blocking the only car lane or blocking the bike lane? I saw some mentions of bus drop-off spots in the video, but I'm not familiar enough with the area. A lot of the new road designs seem to ignore the reality that once in a while, a car or truck needs to stop for some reason and we'd rather not block 'everyone' else while doing so. Even dedicated walkers/cyclists/T-Riders occasionally get a ride to work or get picked up (by friend/spouse/taxi/uber) after work, not to mention people visiting on business, etc..

Sincere questions from someone who wants our roads to work for everyone. Hoping for actual answers from someone who knows road design, rather than snark or guess-work.

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When designing parking protected bike lanes, at intersections designers do a thing called "daylighting." That means that cars cannot park all the way up to the intersection. If you look at the intersections on Beacon that you mention, you'll see that there's about a car length of space from the intersection back.

Does this solve the right hook problem? Not completely, but it does provide a line of sight for drivers when they are turning right across the bike lane.

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Yep, thank you. I didn't know the term. As a pedestrian, I think they're great. I have my doubts that they'll help much with cars/bikes, but hopefully I'm mistaken.

"daylighting." That means that cars cannot park all the way up to the intersection. If you look at the intersections on Beacon that you mention, you'll see that there's about a car length of space from the intersection back.

Re (2) you'll see in the design that the City is proposing a whole bunch of new pick-up/drop-off zones on the side streets intersecting State St. I'm sure people will still try to stop on State St itself, but at least now there will be official places to do it.

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and we'll see how it goes. Thank you.

pick-up/drop-off zones on the side streets intersecting State St

Right. I'm sure Ubers will go out of their way to drop people on a different street. Because right now they absolutely never double park RIGHT IN FRONT of an AVAILABLE LEGAL CURBSIDE PARKING SPACE.

The first time I used the Beacon Street protected bike lane was the last. Every building had a poorly patched trench where they replaced the water pipe. The bumps were uncomfortable and exhausting, sometimes even dangerous.

A floating parking space for tour buses sounds awful. I can't think of a better way to create a blind tunnel for cyclists, obstructed by pedestrians standing around.

Biking infrastructure combined with COVID is going to change the way people see bikes I think.

I never contemplated buying a bike as a city resident working downtown in construction. I always tried to take the T. WIth covid and everything else I ended up buying a brompton. Allows me to fit it in my midsize sedan easily drive to a free parking area and bike the rest of the way in.

I have only been doing it for a couple months but expect to keep this going for the rest of my career. For the money if nothing else.

Now if only Blue Hill Ave and Dot ave had infrastructure I could skip the drive in all together.

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Love to hear stories like this one about someone discovering the hidden secret that biking is actually the best way to get around, especially with more protected bike lanes.

Email & call the city councilors & mayor about Dot Ave! The city marked it as a high crash street for bikes in Jan 2019 & needs to put out a plan for protected bike lanes on Dot Ave ASAP, it'd be a game changer for a lot of people.