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Boston residents concerned about impact of new bike lanes

West Roxbury residents concerned about impact of new bike lanes
West Roxbury residents concerned about impact of new bike lanes 02:11

WEST ROXBURY -  West Roxbury is home to brand new bike lanes and a new traffic pattern after fatal accidents drew attention to the dangerous driving area.

The bustling neighborhood is lined with businesses, bars, and most recently bike lanes, a project years in the making.

"I keep yelling, Marilyn, Marilyn, Marilyn, I love you," said Al Wentworth. In 2019, Wentworth's wife Marilyn was killed crossing Centre Street for coffee. "Life was just sucked out of me," said Wentworth.

After countless community meetings, the city has reconstructed the busy street, removing traffic lanes and adding bike lanes with safety top of mind. But local businesses are questioning the construction. Will less parking be bad for business?

"They did push the parking a little bit out, which took out one of the lanes," said business owner Scott Spindler.

The city of Boston said despite reducing car travel lanes from four to three, West Roxbury has still been able to retain 95% of its street parking. The city is calling the Centre Street redesign "A safety project designed to disrupt chronic speeding and the pattern of fatalities and serious injury crashes on this street."

"Everybody wants safety on Centre Street," said West Roxbury Safety Association member Jim Hennigan. He added the project's approval was a split decision, as the community is concerned the new bike lanes won't be used and traffic will overflow, causing additional collisions and confusion.

"You don't see that many bikes. There's a lot of traffic on the side streets. How are we going to prevent them from going off in the neighborhoods and because they may be in a hurry, traveling too fast," said Henningan.

West Roxbury native Mary Neil agrees.

"It really has caused a lot of confusion in terms of how people ride down the street, get in the right lanes and then you have trucks over here that are parked, you have to go around them," said Neil.

Despite the uncertainty the project is nearly complete. The city told WBZ TV the area will be closely monitored as the community gets used to the new configuration and traffic signals are updated. 

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