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Town planning new protected bike lanes on 16 streets

The bike lane on St. Paul Street will be protected with flex posts under the town's plans. Photo by Sam MintzA man rides his bicycle in a bike lane on St. Paul Street in Brookline.
September 7, 2023
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Brookline is making plans to significantly increase the number of protected bike lanes in town over the next year, installing flex posts along stretches of 16 different streets.

Most of the streets already have painted bike lanes or shoulders, but transportation engineer Sam Downes says that the town will add flex posts along the lanes to “harden” them, protecting bicyclists and preventing cars from parking or driving in them.

“We think this will be a really good start to what we hope will become a long-term planning project,” Downes said at a meeting of the town’s Bicycle Advisory Committee.

 

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See maps of the proposed protected bike lanes here.

The list put forward this week is a “preliminary” one, according to Downes, who said he will be meeting with the town’s Fire Department and Highway Division to make sure the bike lanes would still allow for snow removal and street sweeping.

Downes says the town has funding available from the state for the project, but is still trying to figure out how to balance cost and expediency. Using an external contractor would cost more but get the project done more quickly compared to using town employees to set up the lanes. Either way, Downes said he believes it can get done in fiscal year 2024.

Members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee responded positively to the announcement.

“As someone who lives off St. Paul Street, I’m tremendously excited,” said Anthony Ishak at Wednesday’s meeting.

Research has linked protected bike lanes with safer roads. “Improving bike infrastructure with more protected/separated bike facilities is significantly associated with fewer fatalities and better road safety outcomes for all road users,” wrote the authors of a 2019 study using data from 12 U.S. cities.

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