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City revives plan for major traffic changes along Centre Street in West Roxbury; some residents already gearing up for another fight

Mayor Wu and her transportation chief today announced new measures to make Boston streets safer - including a revival of plans to turn Centre Street between the Holy Name Rotary and Lagrange Street in West Roxbury into a three-lane road with dedicated turn lanes, pedestrian islands and signal changes aimed at slowing down drivers and giving pedestrians better odds of being able to get from one side of the street to the other.

The city plans to detail its plans for the Centre Street project - for which officials hope to break ground later this year - at a meeting at the Ohrenberger School at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31. It is also planning a series of smaller drop-in meetings with specific groups, for example, small business owners.

Organizers of the successful effort to kill the Walsh administration's plans to reconfigure the road, which they claimed was really a plot by sinister bicycle and outsider interests out to destroy the neighborhood, have their own meeting set to organize to fight the new plan. Only West Roxbury residents and business owners will be let into the session, which starts at 6:30 p.m. on June 14 at the Elks - organizers emphasize they will be checking IDs at the door.

Boston's Chief of Streets, Jascha Franklin-Hodge, said today that Centre Street simply remains far too unsafe for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, in part because it remains a speedway where too many drivers continue to get up to 40 m.p.h. and where pedestrians remain at risk from crashes where one driver stops for them at a crosswalk and then another driver just barrels through to hit them.

Franklin-Hodge pointed to an incident in December, when a driver ran over the foot of a kindergartener in front of the library near the Lyndon School as just the latest in a string of crashes involving pedestrians.

He acknowledged some residents never stopped fighting the first plan, but said he hopes he and other officials can give them "clear eyed" explanations of how the changes would benefit everybody by making the road safer.

Franklin-Hodge said the work will, in broad terms, be similar to a 2019 proposal, initially supported by City Hall following the death of Marilyn Wentworth, hit and thrown in the air as she walked in a crosswalk by a driver who said she was blinded by solar glare.

In addition to reducing the number of through lanes on each side from two to one, the road would get a new "flex lane" in the middle, for use both for dedicated left turn lanes and by emergency vehicles.

However, he said the plan has been revised to take into account changes long the road since 2019.

For example, he said, the city is looking at limiting parking to 15 minutes along the Centre Street stretch across from the Roche Center and the under-construction Chase Bank because of all the residents and delivery drivers who now double park to make pickups at all the small restaurants now clustered there.

He added that another change would be to have the signals run in a sequence that not only would mean automatic pedestrian crossing lights but which would give them several seconds of a head start over motorists when lights change to green for those drivers. The city is also looking at how to minimize the overall loss of parking spaces from the reconfiguration, he said.

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Hell yes! I nearly got run over crossing that street as recently as yesterday afternoon. A bus stopped to let me cross and a pickup truck blew by it in the other lane. I honestly hate it when cars stop to let me cross on that street, because that happens almost every time. We need the road diet ASAP.

Voting closed 135

everywhere they do this stuff in the city its made the situation worse for everyone. Except the overlords. They Solving one problem by creating 2 or 3 or 4.

Voting closed 55

you're just littered with examples of places where narrowing the roads and improving the experience for pedestrians has made it worse for everyone (including said pedestrians), right?

Voting closed 84

Have you ever considered that maybe parking and convenience is more important than safety?

Voting closed 59

The bike lanes will become double parking lanes, right?

That there will be a lane in each direction without either turning or double parked cars makes me, who sometimes drives on the road, a supporter.

Voting closed 19

Parking protected bike lane would be better, removes the double parking issue. It's really cut down on those instances along Comm. Ave at BU.

And actually now that I think about it, it's a shame there isn't a police station nearby to tackle dangerous situations like that or reckless driving. Oh well.

Voting closed 53

The 2019 proposal involved bike lanes between the parking lane and sidewalk. You can't double park in such lanes. We don't know if the new proposal takes the same form, but in general, the city is going with parking and curb protected lanes wherever space allows for it. Such lanes would work on a road diet version of Centre Street, and I suspect that's what the details will show.

Voting closed 23

The pamphlet I received in the mail from the city yesterday does specifically mention parking protected bike lanes.

Voting closed 17

There are so many situations where I have to duck out of the protected bike lane and into regular traffic because someone (usually delivery drivers) pulled into the bike lane on the other side of parked cars or even those flex cone things. Then they have no recourse but to drive to the other end of the bike lane or run over the cones again to exit.
Convenience is far too important for many of the drivers in the city.

Voting closed 13

As the police refuse to enforce traffic laws, we should deputize citizens to do so.

If you find someone double parked in a bike lane, you are entitled to smash in a side window with a rock. Just make sure you film the entire thing, including the parking violation, so you have your affirmative defense.

Next problem.

Voting closed 24

Then the parked cars provide the protection.

Voting closed 12

Centre Street Design Meetings; City Hall Plan

  • May 31 : City of Boston Centre St Redesign Plan meeting at the Ohrenberger School, 6 p.m. Wed.
  • June 12 : Additional drop-in session from 5-7:30pm at the West Roxbury Library.
  • June 16 : Additional drop-in session from 9am-11am at the West Roxbury Library.

Centre Street Design Meeting; Opponents' Plan

  • June 14 : Opponents: Our Plan to Stop the Road Diet, Elks Lodge, 1 Morrell St. West Roxbury. Required: ID and 02132 residence. 6:30 p.m.
Voting closed 10

We dedicate 6 lanes to cars on Centre St, 4 lanes traffic, and 2 for parking. IMAGE(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ELH59FeXsAA7Q8O?format=png&name=small) ,

The original redesign plan retained 205 of 221 on-street parking spots. Centre Street business owners said that was still a problem for them.

Red lines demark public and private parking lots adjacent to Centre St. I.E. CVS, Bank of America, Roche Bros, etc.

Voting closed 14

It was not designed for 6 lanes.

Voting closed 11

Do you care what happens in WRox? Most of the cars racing down the street are not residents.

Voting closed 22

I got hit from behind on my bike in stopped traffic on Centre Street going up the hill across from Walgreens. I was still standing on the pedals so the bike was thrown out from under me and into the car in front of me. A second later and I'd have had my feet down and the nose of the saddle would have been driven into my lower back. It's pure luck that I'm not in a wheelchair now.

I've been chased out of the crosswalk at Maple Street. I was carrying two bags of groceries and had walked halfway across in front of a car stopped in the left lane. The driver stopped behind him got mad, floored it, swerved into the right lane I was then crossing and I had to run for the sidewalk.

I also had a near miss halfway across the Hastings Street crosswalk when a speeding driver on Centre Street turned left into me but swerved around at the last second. The left turners can easily catch pedestrians by surprise when they only focus on beating the oncoming traffic and aren't looking at the sidewalk or crosswalk they are turning into.

These are just a sample of what I deal with daily. The road diet is long overdue and there is no downside to it unless you want to double park or drag race between the traffic lights. We couldn't get any traffic enforcement even after Mrs. Wentworth was killed. The only way to fix Centre Street is with modern infrastructure that will bring the traffic under control and make it safer for everyone.

Voting closed 100

Additional drop-in sessions June 12th from 5-7:30pm and June 16th from 9am-11am at the West Roxbury Library. Ride your bikes there!

Voting closed 48


Let's not have a few businesses tell us how we want our Main Street to be.

I was on Centre today by 3 businesses with "SAVE CENTRE STREET" signs...all spaces were empty in front of their establishments.

Wisen up; why do you think we have 11 banks in less than a mile and not much else? No one wants to open a foot traffic business in a Main Street area where there are 6 lanes for cars and zero enforcement for pedestrians / bikers.

Voting closed 101

If you look at other places around the country (and the world) where road diets have been implemented, it's always the same story. Businesses are initially opposed to the plan over the fear of losing business. But then when the road diet goes in, business generally actually goes up (not down) due to the increase in foot and bicycle traffic. People are just afraid of change.

Voting closed 78

Business rises at some stores, drops at others, and changes are often less than both sides predict. (Positive and negative.)

It's understandable why some businesses realistically think they will lose revenue. But the value of these road changes overweight the negative loss to specific shops and thus should be approved regardless.

Voting closed 19

I largely agree with your point, that benefits will not spread evenly to all businesses. And I understand the anxiety that business owners will have with what they see as a change to their established business environment. Will their business plan still work with a different parking mix? If it works now, then they will naturally be conservative toward change. But these are the wrong elements to consider. Is Centre St. a safe environment? The answer is no. And until it becomes one, concerns about private commerce are secondary.

Voting closed 30

If you are one of the nut jobs against the road diet that means you are for pedestrians being injured and killed. It’s as simple as that.

Denying entry to non residents of the neighborhood is messed up.

Voting closed 130

A lot of the anti-road diet crowd in West Roxbury overnight replaced their Bill MacGregor for State Representative signs with Save Centre Street! signs on their lawns. Very obvious if you travel around West Roxbury at all and pay attention.

Voting closed 78

I appreciate small public safety touches like turning their sirens on when speeding down South St in the Arboretum in their black SUV.

Voting closed 22

This is long overdue and much needed. I honestly do not understand why some people are fighting so hard against this. It's going to make the street safer, FOR THEM and their families. Why would anyone not want that?!

Voting closed 29

"I don't walk on that street. I only every drive through it. And I need to get through there quickly and around other cars. So you can't reduce the lanes or the speed limit. Also, even if I do walk there from time to time, I'm not a moron and I can cross 4 lanes without getting hit. I do it all the time. So YOU should be able to as well. If you can't, I shouldn't have to go slower and get stuck in traffic just because you're a moron."

That's why they wouldn't want it.

Voting closed 26

This is long overdue. I have had way too many close calls crossing Center by the 7-11.

Voting closed 26

The checking ID’s is so they exclude the non “West Roxbury bike people.”
All you need to do is watch the speed indicator sign front of the Gormley funeral home to see people driving 40, 45+ all the time.
Ironic that one of the staunches opponents to the plan has his office within sight of the sign.
Its not if some one else dies, it’s when
Since BPD refuses to do any enforcement, this is necessary

Voting closed 27

several people have died.

Voting closed 21