Responding to Fatal Crash, MassDOT Will Carve Up a Car Lane to Make Space for Bikes on Craigie Bridge

MassDOT expects to roll out the improvements in June.

The current state of bike infrastructure on Craigie Bridge (also known as Charles River Dam Road) encourages bikes to take one of the bridge's 6 crowded motor vehicle lanes.
The current state of bike infrastructure on Craigie Bridge (also known as Charles River Dam Road) encourages bikes to take one of the bridge's 6 crowded motor vehicle lanes.

In response to numerous crashes on the Craigie Bridge, including the February killing of Boston University graduate student Meng Jin, MassDOT is moving forward with plans to reduce the number of motor vehicle lanes and make room for flexpost-buffered bike lanes between Edwin H. Land Boulevard in Cambridge and Leverett Circle in Boston, a roadway also known as Charles River Dam Road.

The design, which MassDOT hopes to implement this June in a repaving project, adds continuous bike lanes separated along most of their length with 1.5-foot buffer and flexible post bollards, plus dedicated bike signals at intersections on either end of the bridge.

Museum Way, which connects Craigie Bridge to Charlestown via the North Bank Bridge, would also lose a center left-turn lane at its intersection with the bridge and gain buffered bike lanes in its place.

Draft plans from a MassDOT presentation on May 1 at the Boston Museum of Science show new bike signals at intersections plus buffered bike lanes on Museum Way and on the Craigie Bridge in front of the museum. MassDOT plans to implement these improvements during the month of June.
Draft plans from a MassDOT presentation on May 1 at the Boston Museum of Science show new bike signals at intersections plus buffered bike lanes on Museum Way and on the Craigie Bridge in front of the museum. MassDOT plans to implement these improvements during the month of June.

In November 2018, a dump truck on Museum Way struck and killed Meng Jin, a Boston University graduate student of economics from Shanghai, China, at the intersection with Charles River Dam Road. The crash galvanized a response from activists and policymakers; at an initial public hearing in December, MassDOT resurfaced an older plan for unprotected bike lanes, but public comments from advocates and elected officials strongly favored a more protected facility.

MassDOT presented the updated safety improvement plans to an audience of several dozen concerned citizens at a May 1 hearing at the Boston Museum of Science. While many activists in the audience expressed a desire for more durable improvements, like curb-protected bike lanes and raised intersections, the project’s presenter, Andy Paul of MassDOT, stressed that the project was taking a light-and-quick approach in order to address safety concerns as quickly as possible.

“These are targeted safety improvements we can implement in the near term,” said Paul. “They’ve been designed in such a way that they won’t preclude other improvements from happening in the future.”

MassDOT data reveals that the western intersections of Craigie Bridge at Museum Way and Land Boulevard are high-crash clusters, with a combined 76 crashes causing at least 25 injuries at the interval from 2013 to 2015.

 

 

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