The Department of Conservation and Recreation, DCR, the managing state agency for the Southwest Corridor, will “implement moving closures along the Southwest Corridor Park bike path in the City of Boston to accommodate repair work" during the first weekend of the Orange Line shutdown.
These closures could further compound the transportation woes for residents who live along the corridor as they would overlap with the upcoming Orange Line shutdown set to begin on the evening of Friday, August 19.
The Southwest Corridor runs parallel to the Orange Line and provides pedestrians and bicyclists a shaded path separated from car traffic from Forest Hills to Ruggles station near Northeastern University.
The path sees 1,500 to 1,700 bike riders on a typical fall weekday, according to the City of Boston’s bike counts.
Becca Wolfson, executive director of the Boston Cyclists Union, told StreetsblogMASS in a phone call on Wednesday afternoon that her organization has been pushing DCR to repave the trail for months, and nudged them again on the importance of fixing the trail ahead of the Orange Line shutdown (editor’s note: Wolfson also serves on the StreetsblogMASS board of directors).
The Southwest Corridor bike path currently has numerous bumps from tree roots and potholes. Earlier this year, many of those hazards were marked with spray paint to prepare the pathways for repairs.
“This is going to be a really important path (during the subway closure), and with new riders not expecting these really disruptive and hazardous tree roots, it’s imperative to fix it,” said Wolfson. “Some of it will just be spot fixes, it won't be the total repavement or reconstruction, but the intention is to actually make rides much better. It’s also our understanding that they are working to get this done as quickly as possible."
Wolfson is optimistic this work will ultimately benefit trail users. ”Riders and the general public should be celebrating that DCR is doing this because it will lead to much more smoother commutes,” she said.
The DCR had initially announced early on Wednesday afternoon that the Southwest Corridor would be under construction for two weeks, until September 2, in spite of the crucial role the bike path plays in the City of Boston's and the MBTA's plans for alternative travel options.
That announcement drew a barrage of scorn and disbelief on social media. Later in the afternoon, Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Streets for the City of Boston, tweeted the City is in communication with DCR about the closure:
Last week Mayor Wu and Peter Cheung, a local bike advocate, rode the corridor as they led a group ride from the Roslindale neighborhood to downtown Boston.
StreetsblogMASS has reached out to DCR for further details and is awaiting a response.