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City begins traffic-safety effort

Signs going up on Comm. Ave.

Following a series of accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians, Boston ­announced Monday that it is adding prominent pavement markings and traffic signs along a busy 1.7-mile stretch of Commonwealth Avenue that runs through Boston University.

The new signs include ones suggesting that motorists drive below the speed limit along the avenue, which is a treacherous confluence of foot, bicycle, vehicular, and MBTA traffic.

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Aspects of the pilot initiative that show success in improving safety may be replicated along other busy streets, city officials said.

The measures are funded jointly by Boston University and the city, which began to study how to make the road safer after the alarming accidents, including one in which a BU graduate student was killed in December after his ­bicycle collided with a tractor-trailer.

“What we’re telling drivers is this area of the city is different,” said Thomas J. Tinlin, the city’s transportation commissioner. “It’s the one spot in the city that truly has all modes of transportation.”

Tinlin said that it’s important for “people — not just ­motorists, but pedestrians and cyclists, as well — take extra caution, pay attention, put the phone down, and be aware of your surroundings.”

The new signs, between Packard’s Corner in Allston and Kenmore Square in the Fenway, were expected to ­debut Tuesday.

New pavement markings along the stretch are expected to be installed within the next few weeks, once the weather warms.

The signs will designate the stretch as a “high bicycle and pedestrian activity zone.”

Other signs will tell drivers to “yield to bicycles when turning right” and “share the road.”

Lines marking the edge of bike lanes will be widened by 2 inches and highway reflectors will be installed along the edge of the lanes.

Bike lanes will continue through intersections, marked with nonskid, high visibility green paint.

While the speed limit is 30 miles per hour, signs will be posted asking motorists to drive no more than 25 miles per hour.

Tinlin said Mayor Thomas M. Menino is continuing to push legislation asking the state to lower the city’s standard speed limit to 25.

City officials say that the new measures go hand in hand with educational campaigns aimed at making drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians more aware of one another.

Boston University plans to host events on its campus this week to showcase the new measures as students return from spring break.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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