Boston University and Mayor Menino launch Bike-Safety initiative

Signage, markings and reflector pilot program for BU’s Comm. Ave. campus stretch

(Boston) — In a continuing five-year effort to improve safety and calm traffic along its 1.5 mile-long main campus straddling Commonwealth Avenue, Boston University today announced with the City of Boston a series of measures to further protect cyclists and pedestrians, encourage bike use, and promote awareness of cyclists and pedestrians among motor-vehicle drivers.  They will include new signage, enhanced bike-lane markings, and highway reflectors in the pavement.

“I am hopeful that these changes will help protect bicyclists and pedestrians traveling along this very busy stretch of Commonwealth Avenue,” said Boston University President Dr. Robert A. Brown.  “I also am extremely grateful for the city’s continued support of bike-safety initiatives that safeguard all people who use the city streets that pass through our campus.”

The new measures stem from recommendations by a BU and City of Boston working group convened at the urging of President Brown and Mayor Menino after a series of bicycle collisions, including the death of a BU student in December. Working in coordination with the city’s Transportation Commissioner, Thomas J. Tinlin and Director of Bicycle Programs, Nicole Freedman, BU helped propose safety measures that the City will implement as a pilot on the stretch of Commonwealth Avenue between Kenmore Square and Packard’s Corner (Boston’s first location for bike lanes), with the potential to expand to other areas of the city with high bicycle traffic and lanes.  They include:

  • Posting of advisory/cautionary signs – new signs designating the stretch as a “high bicycle and pedestrian activity zone”; 25 mph speed limit signs; “yield to bicycles when turning right” signs; and “share the road” signs.
  • Installation of enhanced bike-lane pavement markings – each bike-lane intersection crossing to be painted using non-skid, high-visibility green paint and the width of bike-lane edge markings will increase from four to six inches. White Bike Sharrow pavement markings within the green paint area will be added at busy intersections. In areas that have long crossings multiple Sharrows will be installed.
  • Installation of highway reflectors –highway reflectors on the pavement along the outside edge of bike lanes between intersections, and more closely spaced in advance of each intersection crossing.

Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said, “The City of Boston has worked hard to ensure that cycling is a viable option for traveling on our local streets.  In 2008, we installed the first four and a half miles of bicycle lanes, and today we offer more than 58 miles of on-street accommodations for cyclists.  Wayfinding signs that guide cyclists to our more popular destinations have been posted, and in 2011 we launched Hubway that has provided 600,000 trips for those who rent the more than 600 curbside bicycles available through this program.”

He continued, “As a result of these efforts, bicycle commuting ridership increased 82% in Boston from 2007 to 2011, and ensuring safety for all of these cyclists is a top priority in the City.  For this reason, I am very pleased to be partnering with Boston University on this Commonwealth Avenue safety initiative.  I expect that this program will result in keeping BU’s cycling community safe on this busy roadway.”

The university also will host an event when students return from spring break to showcase the new measures.  That will continue the ongoing bike-safety education and awareness efforts under way since 2008 which have included skills classes, commuter workshops, bike and pedestrian safety days, on-campus posters, widespread distribution of safety tips, and giveaways of some 15,000 bike-safety related items including helmets, flashlights, bicycle lights, and reflectors.

“Cycling is a terrific transportation option for students in Boston,” said Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin.  “Like the MBTA, it is inexpensive and convenient, can get you anywhere that you need to go in the City, and doesn’t require an on-street parking space.  BTD consistently encourages students to leave their cars at home when they are heading to Boston for the academic year, and this new bicycle safety initiative is yet another incentive for students to follow this advice.”

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research.  With more than 33,000 students, it is the fourth-largest independent university in the United States.  BU consists of 16 schools and colleges, along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes integral to the University’s research and teaching mission.  In 2012, BU joined the Association of American Universities (AAU), a consortium of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada.

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