Boston to Break Ground On Mass. Ave. South Bikeway Later This Year

A rendering illustrates the City of Boston's proposal to add a two-way protected bikeway on Massachusetts Avenue between Melnea Cass Boulevard and Columbia Road in Dorchester. Courtesy of the City of Boston.
A rendering illustrates the City of Boston's proposal to add a two-way protected bikeway on Massachusetts Avenue between Melnea Cass Boulevard and Columbia Road in Dorchester. Courtesy of the City of Boston.

A mile-long, two-way protected bike path along the western edge of Massachusetts Avenue between Melnea Cass Boulevard and Columbia Road in Dorchester will go under construction later this year, according to the Boston Transportation Department.

In an email to stakeholders this morning, city officials invited stakeholders to review the final design plans for the project, which was identified as a priority “Better Bike Corridor” in the city’s Go Boston 2030 transportation plan.

According to that email, the city has already secured “a contractor ready to begin construction later this year, 2021.”

The project will repurpose the westernmost lane of Mass. Ave. from Melnea Cass Blvd. to Columbia Rd. into a two-way cycletrack – essentially a protected bicycle path, separated from traffic with low concrete barriers – along the western curb of the street.

A detail from the city's final design plans for the Mass. Ave. South protected bikeway in the vicinity of Allstate Road and the South Bay Center shopping mall. Courtesy of the City of Boston.
A detail from the city’s final design plans for the Mass. Ave. South protected bikeway, in the vicinity of Allstate Road and the South Bay Center shopping mall. Courtesy of the City of Boston.

By consolidating bike traffic along the street’s western curb, where there are fewer driveways, project designers say that the new cycletrack will minimize the “severe safety issues” associated with turning cars and large trucks.

Modular concrete curbs will separate the bike lane from parking or general travel lanes along most of the new bikeway’s length, with gaps at crosswalks and driveways.

At the northern end of the project, the two-way cycletrack will continue across Melnea Cass to connect with existing flexpost-protected bike lanes through the Boston Medical Center campus, giving bike riders a safer route through one of Boston’s most deadly intersections.

The project would also add median barriers to restrict unsafe motor vehicle turning movements at some intersections, rebuild accessible curb ramps at crosswalks, and build five new “floating” bus stop islands between the new cycletrack and the rest of the street.

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