Boston’s plan for Commonwealth Avenue is an example of how 20th-century auto-centric thinking continues among transportation planners (“Bicyclists see missed opportunity in Commonwealth Ave. overhaul”). Despite the rhetoric of former mayor Thomas Menino, years of planning produced more turn lanes and less access for pedestrians and bicycles. Meanwhile, for every new bike lane and shared lane, or sharrow, installed in Boston, there have been missed opportunities with each street that gets repaved and repainted without any additional accommodation for cyclists.
Mayor Walsh has yet to lead on emphasizing transportation alternatives instead of making it easier for cars to jam our streets. The response of the Transportation Department is a cop-out, and so far the mayor has tacitly supported its position by his inaction.
Improved infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians has positive economic, health, and safety benefits. Given the mayor’s emphasis on helping neighborhoods overcome their economic and social challenges, here’s hoping he orders his planners to work harder to accommodate every form of transportation.