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Bicycle accomodations on Newton streets

Striped shoulders and accompanying signage create safer zones for riding on streets, while calming vehicular traffic by limiting lane width. We continue to work with the Cities of Newton and Boston to prioritize projects for school and work commuting, recently including bicycle accommodations on Beacon, Walnut, and Parker Streets. As road renovation projects progress, we provide design input for improving accommodations.

Striped and bicycle-signed shoulder lanes along streets would provide the best bicycle accommodations.  However, some roadways are not always wide enough to accommodate automobile travel lanes plus sufficiently wide striped shoulders that would officially qualify as bike lanes.  In addition, eliminating on-street parking often requires an involved and lengthy proce ss of hearings and negotiations.
In order to advance safer bicycling in Newton as quickly as possible, the BPTF as adopted striped "bike shoulders" as a near-term approach to deliver immediate results.  They offer as much bicycle lane width as available, and are effective on routes that normally have minimal parking anyway.  We have worked with the city engineers to design and install bike shoulders on major east-west and north-south routhes through the city, including Beacon Street, Commonwealth Ave, and Walnut Street.
Longer term, we will continue to collaborate with Newton Aldermen, the Traffic Council, and the neighborhoods to implement official bicycle lanes wherever feasible.

Commonwealth Ave. re-striping to improve bicycle safety

posted Sep 11, 2014, 1:43 PM by Jim Lerner

Next week, contractors for the city will be re-striping Commonwealth Avenue between the western end at Washington St. and Lowell Ave.  The new layout will include a 5 foot dedicated bike lane on the westbound side, 1 foot narrower travel lanes, which will help to calm traffic, and slightly wider edge lines on both sides.  The eastbound side will continue to have a 7 foot wide shared parking/biking lane.  No parking is being removed.

Washington St. corridor improvements

posted Feb 28, 2014, 9:21 AM by Jim Lerner

The Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), in conjunction with Newton's planners, held a project kickoff and community listening session on February 26, 2014.  The MPO representatives introduced the project, which is to study transportation issues and recommend improvements to the 2 mile stretch of Washington St. between Jewett St. (Newton Corner) and Chestnut St. (West Newton).  Approximately 30 people turned out to share their thoughts with the MPO and city officials.  The presentation and listening notes are attached below.

The study is expected to run until the early fall.  There is no design at the end of it, but a set of recommendations for the design.

map of study area

Walnut St. parking ban permanently in effect

posted Jun 6, 2012, 6:31 AM by Jim Lerner

Last week Traffic Council voted overwhelmingly to support increased safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists on Walnut Street.  Results of the restricted parking trial over the past few months have demonstrated many fewer traffic accidents, plus enabled bicycle trips five times greater in number than before.  Utilization of Walnut Street has also improved, with the number of cyclists safely riding now far exceeding the number of cars previously parked all day just to access the T station.  Local residents have also testified to the improved safety from clear sightlines when crossing the street.  

We applaud this Traffic Council decision and successful policy, and urge Public Safety & Transportation to continue to support the rollout of bicycle lanes for key thoroughfares in Newton.

New crowd-sourced bike route map of Newton

posted Jun 2, 2012, 10:43 AM by Jim Lerner   [ updated Jun 6, 2012, 6:54 AM ]

We're working on creating a map of bike routes around Newton and environs that avoid the high-traffic corridors.  While some bikers are happy to use the major arteries and bike lanes around town, others prefer the quiet and relative safety of the back road routes, which don't require any special biking accommodations.  In support of those riders, this map will indicate routes that go to, near, or between village centers, schools, transportation centers, shopping, and other points of interest.

Please feel free to contribute to the map either by directly editing it on Google Maps or by submitting a detailed suggested route description by email to us.  And thanks in advance for your help in making Newton a better, safer place to get around without a car!

Routes in blue indicate paved roads.  Routes in red are trails, aqueducts, or rough paved sections which are suitable for hybrid bikes and accommodating riders.  Some red segments are simple, short portages to get across a path to another paved road.


Low traffic bike routes through Newton

Newton Bike Plan (from Bicycle Advisory Committee)

posted Apr 24, 2012, 7:51 PM by Jim Lerner

The latest draft of the Newton Bike Plan is attached.  Please send comments to Sean for collation and forwarding to the BAC group.

Envisioning Needham Street

posted Mar 15, 2012, 12:35 PM by Jim Lerner   [ updated Mar 28, 2012, 9:51 AM ]

Graduate transportation planning students from MIT gave a presentation at Newton City Hall on Oct. 28, 2010 entitled "Envisioning Needham Street".  Read their final report is here.  The December 2, 2010 meeting final presentation is here.

Recommendations of the Transportation Advisory Committee

posted Oct 29, 2010, 9:34 AM by Jim Lerner   [ updated Mar 28, 2012, 10:08 AM ]

A draft version of the Newton Transportation Advisory Committee's report to Mayor Warren, outlining specific new policies, infrastructure improvements, educational and outreach programs, and enforcement, is available for viewing at

Washington St. rehabilitation

posted Apr 28, 2010, 8:40 PM by Jim Lerner

Newton DPW is getting ready to rehabilitate the section of Washington St. running from Rte. 30 east to approximately the Mass. Pike entrance.  A one page PowerPoint slide of this is here.

Newton's first bike lane -- Beacon St. at BC

posted Apr 28, 2010, 8:33 PM by Jim Lerner

On 4/27/2010, the Newton Traffic Council unanimously approved the proposed bike lane and striping along Beacon St. from the Boston city line past Boston College.  The changes involve removing some parking spaces to make room for a continuous bike lane on both sides of the road.  This is actually the first real bike lane in Newton!  Sean Roche writes more about it in his blog.

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