More bike lanes in Quincy urged

Posted by on Jan 16, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Patriot Ledger
Thursday, January 16, 2014
By Patrick Ronan
QUINCY — A regional planning agency has suggested adding 23 miles of bike lanes in Quincy, a city that before last year had no bike lanes whatsoever.  “It’s a perfect place for bicycling,” said Tanya Paglia, regional planner for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.  The council Wednesday proposed a set of recommendations to the city’s planning board geared at making Quincy more appealing for bicyclists, including a plan to paint bike lanes on several major roadways by the end of 2014. The recommendations were endorsed by city planners.  Although the council identified 23 miles of Quincy roadways for bike lanes, the council said there are several “high priority” streets that should get lanes this year. These areas include the east side of Adams Street, three sections of Hancock Street and two sections of Washington Street.  David Loutzenheiser, transportation planner for the council, said adding bike lanes to the “high-priority” streets would encourage more sustainable commuting while not altering existing travel lanes for motorists. Also, he said the changes would have very little impact on the city’s public works budget.  “We’re recommending that that be done in the next year. It’s simple striping and paint,” Loutzenheiser said.
Kristina Johnson, Quincy’s director of transportation planning, said the council’s recommendations will be forwarded to Public Works Commissioner Daniel Raymondi, who manages roadway spending. She said the costs for bike lanes vary by street, but she said it isn’t “heavy lifting” financially.  The Metropolitan Area Planning Council, using federal grant funding, studied roadways in 13 Boston-area communities, with Quincy being the largest, and recommended new bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. The council said adding bike lanes in Quincy could connect the city’s neighborhoods, accentuate landmarks and provide better access to the MBTA stations.The city got its first-ever bike lanes last fall as part of a $1.5 million reconstruction of Adams Street. The new lanes are on the west side of the road from Furnace Brook Parkway to the Milton line.  The city’s planning department has said that designating more areas for people to bike and walk is a top priority and coincides with the $1.6 billion downtown redevelopment project, which includes plans for a new public park called Adams Green.  Last year, Mayor Thomas Koch created a commission specifically meant to address bike-related issues. The city is also trying to shake its reputation as an unsafe place to walk and bike, as data in recent years showed that Quincy had one of the state’s highest incidence rates for pedestrian and bicyclist accidents. 

Loutzenheiser said adding bike lanes improves safety because it alerts motorists about where bicyclists will ride. Also, he said having bike lanes takes cyclists off of busy sidewalks.  The council also suggested creating a new citywide “greenway” that would connect Quincy’s transit stations, historic sites and scenic locations. A “greenway” is a path marked by signage or road markings, similar to how Boston’s Freedom Trail is marked by brick.  Johnson said the city will someday consider joining Hubway, which is the bike-sharing system used in Boston. But she said establishing bike lanes must come first.

“We’re going to focus on the infrastructure first, but (Hubway) is certainly in the back of our mind,” Johnson said. “Especially as we move forward with the downtown redevelopment and we have Adams Green coming online. It’s going to be a natural extension, for sure.”

Read more: 23 more miles of bike lanes in Quincy urged – Quincy, MA – The Patriot Ledger

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