Bicycle advocates were well represented at the Sept. 18th community meeting that kicked off community discussion of plans for Beacon Street reconstruction. Most of the roughly 30 attendees came in support of installing a cycle track on the roadway, although the dedicated bike lane will require the removal of some parking.
Other topics discussed included crosswalk placement and materials as well as signal timing. But we’ve only just begun. The next Beacon St. Reconstruction Meeting is Monday, Oct. 15 (details below). All are invited to attend and offer feedback. To view the slide presentation from the first meeting, click HERE.
A “Full-Depth Reconstruction” — Using Some Really Cool TechnologyBeacon Street is slated for what is known as full-depth reconstruction, meaning crews will dig all the way down to the base layer to completely replace the roadway. The new surface will thus be far less prone to pot-holing than it is currently. The $4.5 million project funded by the federal government (at 80%) and the state (at 20%) is expected to start construction in spring 2014.
Prior to that, water and sewer pipes will be repaired — and this part actually gets very interesting. The City is contemplating a method for the repair of existing pipelines that is designed to cause less disruption from construction because very little digging is required. In this "trenchless" method, pipes are given a new “structural lining,” which involves injecting a coating into the pipes that lines the old pipe, hardens, and effectively creates a new pipe within the old pipe.
The method requires less time, money, and digging than traditional dig-and-cut pipe replacement. To get a sense of what will be involved, see this short video (the video is just an example because the process is fascinating, and it does not reflect support for the company that made the video or the exact details of the method that will be used).
What’s a Cycle Track?
A cycle track is a bike lane that is separated from the roadway and traffic by some form of physical barrier. Unlike bike lanes marked only by a stripe of paint, cycle tracks may be bordered by wider no-drive zones, flexible barriers, or a curb. To accommodate the cycle track, parking spaces would be removed on one side of the street from Oxford St. to Washington St. Based on current use levels, a parking study determined that enough parking capacity would remain in the area despite this reduction in spaces.
The City’s semi-annual Bike and Pedestrian Counts have repeatedly shown Beacon St. to be the city’s most heavily used bike corridor and one of the most heavily traveled in the Boston region. The City recommends the installation of a cycle track to promote both safety and improved traffic flow. But public feedback is still being sought and will be fully considered. To get a better idea of how cycle tracks work, see this short video.
Other Features for Discussion
Unlike the recent rehabilitation of Somerville Ave. or Magoun Square, the Beacon Street project is restricted to roadway reconstruction and roadway features. It is not a full streetscape project. However, in addition to a vastly improved road surface and the proposed cycle track, new crosswalks, signals, signal timing, and crosswalk countdown lights will be installed. All of these items are open for public feedback.
Funding for the project requires that design be complete one year from now in Sept. 2013. Public meetings regarding the design will continue through February, with each meeting progressing to a more detailed level of discussion—advancing from deliberation over which features will be built and where to a discussion of the details of chosen features.
We hope to see you there!
Beacon Street Meeting No. 2
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston and The Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD), would like to invite all interested parties to a community meeting to solicit input on the reconstruction of Beacon Street.
Beacon Street Design Planning Meeting
Monday, October 15th at 6:30 p.m.
Argenziano School cafeteria
290 Washington St.
For more information, please contact OSPCD at (617)-625-6600 x2500
Cycle Track Photo by Dan Reed.