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Boston making some street changes, bike lanes permanent following Orange Line shutdown

Boston making some street changes permanent following Orange Line shutdown
Boston making some street changes permanent following Orange Line shutdown 02:11

BOSTON – Several traffic changes that were put in place during the Orange Line shutdown will be made permanent.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and chief of streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge said Tuesday the infrastructure changes improved traffic flow and public safety.

"Ultimately the last 30 days has shown us what is possible when we reconfigure streets to support transit," Franklin-Hodge said.

The following street changes will remain in place:

  • Chinatown MBTA SL4 bus stop: City officials said this new bus stop provides a "vital link" for Chinatown residents to the Silver Line.
  • Copley Square area bus lanes: About 10,000 riders each weekday use the bus lanes that include Boylston Street (Ring Road to Clarendon Street); Clarendon Street (Boylston Street to Columbus Ave.); St. James Street (west of Berkeley Street to Dartmouth Street).
  • South End loading zones and drop-off zones: Parking restriction changes will become permanent for improved curbside management and reduced double parking in the unprotected bike lane.
  • Jamaica Plain pavement marking and signage: Makes permanent elements such as "Don't Block the Box" and parking restrictions at corners to improve visibility.
  • Boylston Street one-way for vehicles: The city said closing part of Boylston Street (between Amory & Lamartine) to traffic throughout the shutdown decreased collisions and near-misses along the Southwest Corridor. Transportation officials said reopening the area as a one-way street from Amory to Lamartine for vehicles will support long-term bike connectivity plans and reduce crashes.
  • Huntington Avenue bus and bike priority lane: The priority bus and bike lane that was added to Huntington Avenue from Brigham Circle to Gainsborough Street will remain, improving speed for the Route 39 bus.
  • Columbus Avenue pop-up bike lane: The bike lane will remain in place until early December and then be removed for the season. Long-term planning is underway for a potential permanent facility.
  • Bluebikes parking: The City will retain Bluebikes docks added during the shutdown, with minor modifications, after record-breaking ridership number during the shutdown. Wu said the city is also exploring possibilities for a free or low-cost bike share service.

City officials said the Boylston Street bike lane will be removed while the they work to design a recently announced permanent facility.

"The changes that were made were really helpful to a lot of people new to biking, or just also used to biking. A lot safer," Peter Cheung, a board member for the Boston Cyclists Union told WBZ-TV.

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