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