Protected Intersection Could Bridge Critical Bike Network Gap on the Fenway

A rendering of a proposed high-rise lab building on Brookline Avenue in the Fenway shows proposed new two-way bike paths (lower right) that would provide a protected connection between the Fenway neighborhood to Longwood, via Brookline Avenue, and to the Riverway. Courtesy of the BPDA.
A rendering of a proposed new lab building on Brookline Avenue in the Fenway shows proposed new two-way bike paths (lower right) that would provide a protected connection between the Fenway neighborhood to Longwood, via Brookline Avenue, and to the Riverway. Courtesy of the BPDA.

The proposed redevelopment plans for the Star Market supermarket on Boylston Street reveal the City of Boston’s near-term plans to fill in a critical gap in the city’s bike network and improve safety at the complex intersection where the Emerald Necklace paths enter the fast-growing Fenway neighborhood.

Samuels & Associates, a real estate company that owns numerous properties in the Fenway neighborhood, including the nearby Landmark Center at 401 Park Drive, is proposing to demolish the Fenway Star Market, its parking lots, and the adjacent abandoned gas station at the corner of Park Drive and Boylston Street to build a high-rise, half-million-square-foot lab building (see rendering above).

The preliminary site plans for the project also indicate that the developers are also proposing a new streetscape along the project’s frontages on Park Drive (a Department of Conservation and Recreation roadway) and Boylston Street. The plans also reveal how those new protected bike lanes could tie into a new protected intersection that’s being planned for the junction of Boylston Street, Brookline Avenue, and Park Drive:

The draft site plan for a proposed high-rise lab building that would replace an abandoned gas station, parking lots, and the Star Market supermarket on Brookline Avenue in the Fenway, showing proposed new protected bike lanes along the project's street frontages. Dashed lines representing "future improvements by Boston Transportation Department" indicate additional protected bike lanes that would extend north along the east side of Park Drive to connect to the Riverway bike path, and another extending west along Brookline Avenue towards Longwood Medical Area.
The draft site plan for a proposed high-rise lab building that would replace an abandoned gas station, parking lots, and the Star Market supermarket on Brookline Avenue in the Fenway, showing proposed new protected bike lanes along the project’s street frontages on Boylston Street and Park Drive. A separate MassDOT and City of Boston project will build out a protected intersection with two-way cycletracks at the intersection of Park Drive, Boylston, and Brookline Avenue (dashed lines at upper left). Courtesy of the BPDA.

This is the same intersection where, in the winter of 2019, a driver killed Paula Sharaga, 69, a children’s librarian at the Coolidge Corner Library, by driving a cement truck over her.

“What they are showing is consistent with plans to have a two-way cycle track on the south side of the Muddy River crossing (Brookline Avenue between Park Drive and Fenway), as well as a two-way cycle track connecting north along Park Drive to the Fenway Path through the Landmark Center site,” wrote a Boston Transportation Department spokesperson in an email to StreetsblogMASS. “We have been working with DCR (the Department of Conservation and Recreation) on these plans as well as with MassDOT, MBTA, and the developers for the Landmark Center and Star Market.”

The spokesperson added that a design public hearing should be scheduled sometime soon for the intersection project. According to MassDOT’s project database, the project has been scheduled to go under construction next year.

The Boston Transportation Department also installed flexposts and a new striping pattern on Boylston Street through the Fenway neighborhood earlier this year to delineate a separated bike lane.

Those bike lanes are still frequently blocked, particularly at intersections and bus stops where there are no bollards to keep cars out, but development projects on adjacent parcels, like the Star Market redevelopment and this new apartment building near Ipswich Street, are expected to bulk up the quick-build bike lanes with more permanent materials.

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