Mayor Walsh Boasts of ‘Healthy Streets’ Transformations

Tremont Street Before and After protected bike lanes 2020
A view of Tremont Street before and after the City of Boston implemented its popular pop-up protected bike lanes around Boston Common this summer. Courtesy of the City of Boston.

In a sure sign that taking away lanes from cars to create safer, more efficient streets is a politically winning strategy, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is expected to hold a press conference Tuesday morning to boast about the ambitious changes being made under his administration’s “Healthy Streets” initiative.

The Walsh administration is on track to deliver a locally-unprecedented number of bus lane and protected bike lane projects this year, with three new bus lane segments coming this fall, a new network of protected bike lanes around the Boston Common and Public Garden, and a new protected bike route being planned between Franklin Park and Mattapan.

Many of these projects had already been in the planning stages well before the pandemic struck, but city officials scrambled over the summer to accelerate their implementation as part of the city’s recovery strategy.

“It is critical that we continue to adapt our City streets to ensure safe, reliable transportation for all residents and workers who travel throughout Boston,” said Mayor Walsh in a press statement that was released early Tuesday morning. “These innovative programs focus on investing in bus priority and protected bike lanes. As we continue to respond to and recover from this public health crisis, creating streets that are safe, accessible, and equitable for all will continue to be one of our top priorities.”

The Mayor’s press statement also confirmed previous reports that downtown’s new bike lanes, currently delineated with construction barrels, will become a permanent fixture on Tremont, Boylston, Charles, Beacon, and Arlington Streets.

Next Phase of Boston’s ‘Healthy Streets’ Will Make Downtown Bike Lanes Permanent, Advance Projects in Outlying Neighborhoods

The timing of the mayor’s press conference coincides with the official announcement Tuesday morning of City Councilor Michelle Wu‘s intention to run for Walsh’s office next year.

Wu has been a prominent supporter of safer streets and transit improvements. With Councilor Liz Breadon, Wu also convened the initial public hearing, in April, for implementing street safety improvements as part of the city’s pandemic response.

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