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Brookline to test Beacon Street bike lane

A “bike box” in Brookline gives cyclists more room at traffic lights.
A “bike box” in Brookline gives cyclists more room at traffic lights. Dina Rudick/Globe Staff/File

Brookline Town Meeting has approved funding for a trial bike lane along a key stretch of Beacon Street between Coolidge Corner and Washington Square.

The six-month trial will eliminate one of two traffic lanes along the busy westbound stretch of Beacon Street between Marion Street and Westbourne Terrace, which cyclists say will create a clear lane in which to ride from Kenmore Square to Newton Centre.

The measure received overwhelming support at Town Meeting on Tuesday night.

At a meeting earlier this month, however, the Board of Selectmen said the lane will not become permanent at the expense of drivers.


The board stressed that the new lane is being established only as a trial, and unanimously voted to include a condition in the plan that it can be cut short at any time before the end of the six months if giving bikes more room, and cars less, creates a significant traffic back-up.

The total $36,000 expenditure will pay for the temporary buffered bike lane to be drawn this summer, and for the purchase of bike racks and a bike corral to be put in place during the trial.

A traffic study found that there could be significant impacts at the intersection of Beacon Street and Lancaster Terrace where traffic stopped at the light could grow from about eight cars now to approximately 33.

Modifications to the traffic lights are proposed to help offset the backup, but even proponents of the plan have said it will be scrapped if the lane creates a traffic logjam.

Ellen Ishkanian can be reached at eishkanian@gmail.com.