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Boston's adding a bike lane to Boylston Street and some aren't happy about it

Boston drivers say Boylston Street bike lane will create more problems than it solves
Boston drivers say Boylston Street bike lane will create more problems than it solves 02:26

BOSTON - Construction of a new bike lane in Boston will close off a lane of car traffic on Boylston Street. Neighbors are worried it will only create more problems.

Boylston Street bike lane

The project will put a dedicated bike lane on the southbound side of Boylston Street from Massachusetts Avenue to Hereford Street. Then, the bike lane switches to the northbound side from Hereford Street all the way to Arlington Street. Starting at Ring Road, Boylston Street will also have a dedicated bus lane, limiting car traffic to only one lane between Ring Road and Dartmouth Street during rush hour.

"I think the issue is really going to be that you're going from three lanes to two in many areas, and you're going to have a lot of people double parking," said one driver on Boylston Street Tuesday.

"It's great for me. You know, I don't have to dodge cars. I don't have to worry about getting run over," a biker told WBZ-TV.

Who benefits and who doesn't

Meg Mainzer-Cohen, the president and executive director of the Back Bay Association, said the plan helps bus riders and bikers at the expense of walkers and drivers.

"My concern is that they're not giving enough of a study to the impacts that this is going to have," she told WBZ. "Here's what we know: We know there are 30,000 pedestrians who go through this intersection. There are about 13,000 vehicles. There are about 625 bicycles and about 320 buses."

Less time to cross

Mainzer-Cohen noted that the plan also shortens crossing times for pedestrians at certain intersections. WBZ measured the crossing time at the intersection of Berkley and Boylston streets and found that it was 17 seconds.  

"I see seniors. I see persons with disabilities. We should not be reducing the time it takes for them to cross the street," said Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn.

Flynn said Back Bay residents and businesses did not get enough input on the plan which gets rid of roughly 90 parking spaces. He also noted concerns that some businesses in West Roxbury have following a bike lane project there.

"Longtime business have stated that with the significant changes on Centre Street, it's negatively impacted their businesses as well," Flynn told WBZ.

Mayor Wu's response

In statement, a spokesperson for Mayor Michelle Wu said the Boylston Street plan will prevent cars from turning across active sidewalks and protect pedestrians.

"The city has worked with local residents and business owners to gather feedback on the plan, which will improve pedestrian safety, update curb regulations, and reduce conflicts," the statement read.

Construction is expected to last three weeks. 

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