Things will be shifting soon for drivers and cyclists traveling on a small section of Beacon Street.
Officials from the Vision Zero Task Force, which is headed by the Boston Transportation Department and includes several other city agencies, announced Wednesday in a newsletter that they would restripe a block of the busy Back Bay road, between Massachusetts Avenue and Charlesgate East, to create a permanent parking-protected bike lane.
“We are excited to bring a parking-protected bike lane to this stretch of Beacon Street, which is an important connection to Kenmore Square and beyond,” said Stefanie Seskin, active transportation director for the department, in a statement. “Parking-protected bike lanes provide a comfortable, safe place for people biking on our streets.”
The restriping will likely take place Thursday evening, she said, and require the temporary removal of the Hubway station there.
The task force said that the reconfiguration would maintain the two existing parking lanes on each side of the one-way street, as well as two travel lanes.
A parking-protected lane puts a path for cyclists between parked cars to the left and the curb on the right, separating them from moving vehicles. A buffer zone, marked by cones, also exists between the lane and the parked cars to prevent “dooring,” a term used to describe when a person exits a vehicle and opens a door into a cyclist’s right-of-way.
Becca Wolfson, executive director of the Boston Cyclists Union, a nonprofit advocacy group, was excited by the news.
“We see it as a great demonstration and a perfect next step” to creating a better bike network throughout Boston, she said.
Wolfson added, “Hopefully, everyone will realize — both cyclists and drivers — that it will make everyone’s lives that much better.”
The announcement came a day after the Vision Zero Task Force, whose aim is to eliminate fatal and serious bike and pedestrian crashes by 2030, tested a temporary parking-protected lane on Beacon Street.
The sample lane was 70 feet long and was set up for only three hours. But city officials said it was well received by passersby.
“Many Boston residents request this type of facility,” Seskin said. “The experience of other cities shows that providing a network of protected bike lanes not only improves safety but also tends to attract more people to riding bikes for their everyday trips.”
Cyclists who tested out the popup lane this week also gave it the seal of approval.
“It was a stress-free and safe environment,” Doug Johnson, community organizer for the Boston Cyclists Union, told the Globe.