Eyes On the Street: Downtown Boston’s New Cambridge Street Protected Bike Lane
Over the last few days, Boston Transportation Department crews have been striping new lane lines and installing new flexible-post bollards on the northern edge of Cambridge Street in the West End to complete a protected bike route from City Hall Plaza to Cambridge via the Longfellow Bridge.
As of Friday morning, it’s still a work in progress – crews were installing new bollards near Blossom Street and working their way west towards the Charles River, and some pavement markings remain to be painted.
Even without any dedicated bike lanes, between 14 and 17 percent of all vehicles counted on Cambridge Street were bikes in the morning and evening rush hours, according to the City of Boston’s official bike counts.
So it’s no surprise that, even before the new lane has been fully installed this week, dozens of bicycle users were already using the new facility on Thursday afternoon.
For various technical and political reasons, the City of Boston has no immediate plans to install a protected bike lane on the other side of Cambridge Street, from the Longfellow Bridge to City Hall Plaza.
Bike safety advocates are hopeful that the city could fill that eastbound gap in the downtown bike network with a new protected bike lane on Charles Street, which isn’t a parallel route, but could provide an attractive route from the Longfellow Bridge to downtown Boston via the new bikeways around the Boston Common and Public Garden.
However, proposals to add safe bike facilities on Charles Street through Beacon Hill, where nearly one out of every three vehicles on Charles Street is a bicycle, according to official city traffic counts, have languished thanks to objections from a small group of wealthy Beacon Hill home and business owners, as we reported last year.