Eyes on the Street: Downtown Crossing’s New Bus and Bike Lanes

A new bike lane and dedicated bus lane for Silver Line buses have been painted on Washington Street in downtown Boston, as seen in this July 7, 2020 photo. The city plans to install bollards soon to prevent double-parking in the bike lane.
A new bike lane and dedicated bus lane for Silver Line buses have been painted on Washington Street in downtown Boston, as seen in this July 7, 2020 photo. The city plans to install bollards soon to prevent double-parking in the bike lane.

Your StreetsblogMASS editor checked in at his empty downtown office Tuesday afternoon, mostly as an excuse to check out the new Silver Line bus lanes and bike lanes that have been installed on Washington Street and Stuart Street.

In a project that was originally announced last fall, the City of Boston has reconfigured Washington Street in Chinatown and Downtown Crossing from a three-lane traffic jam into this:

An SL5 bus stops in a new dedicated bus lane on Washington Street near the Chinatown T station. Courtesy of the MTBA.
An SL5 bus stops in a new dedicated bus lane on Washington Street near the Chinatown T station. Courtesy of the MTBA.

A bus lane hugs the curb on the right side of the street, while on the left side, a new bike lane gives cyclists a protected route into Downtown Crossing. There were a handful of illegally parked vehicles in the bike lane on Tuesday afternoon, but the city plans to install protective flex posts “soon,” according to an MBTA press release.

Nearby, as part of a repaving project, the city has also created a short but crucial protected bike lane connection along Stuart Street, between Arlington and Washington:

New parking-protected bike lanes have been installed on a short section of Stuart Street in downtown Boston between Charles Street and Washington Street, as seen in this July 7, 2020 photo.
New parking-protected bike lanes have been installed on a short section of Stuart Street in downtown Boston between Charles Street and Washington Street, as seen in this July 7, 2020 photo.

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