Hey, there! Log in / Register

Proposal would narrow road space on Charles Street to allow for more space for bicyclists, restaurants

The Beacon Hill Times reports on a proposal for Beacon Hill's main commercial street in the time of Covid-19.



Do you like how UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!


This street is a PRIME candidate for a two-way bike lane between the common and the bridge. Seems like a good time to just do it.

With the amount of traffic that actually goes down Charles you could probably get away with just one lane. And those sidewalks are very narrow.


While we're at it how about switching out those over-sized double-decker tourist busses for the regular trolley type tourist vehicles.

The headline seems incorrect - the article doesn't mention anything about additional space for bicycles.

The current proposal only benefits restaurants - which is great - but a more substantial change is necessary for better accessibility, safe distancing on sidewalks, and/or bicycle lanes.

I agree with the previous poster - reduce to one lane. Or, we should eliminate parking on one side.

One lane - great idea! You just need to add a regulation forbidding any building in the area from catching fire.

As if the rest of the streets in the neighborhood aren't already narrow enough...


Come on, no one's proposing we litter the street with anti-tank hedgehogs or something like that. It's going to be paint and maybe a few bollards that leave room for emergency vehicles to enter if necessary. If anything, reducing car traffic on the street will make it easier for emergency vehicles to get through.

When we're able to travel again, you might want to consider visiting Montreal, or any number of European countries that have much narrower streets than here and are still able to respond speedily to fires or other emergencies.


The vast majority of streets in Montreal that carry any traffic are two or more lanes. https://goo.gl/maps/rzoPEEP7HHHu52P48 https://goo.gl/maps/ey5JN5aEfAAS9gAs5

We have plenty of tiny streets in Boston. Like, you know, the residential streets on Beacon Hill. But they don't carry significant traffic -- they're just for local access.

If you were really concerned about emergency access, you would have written "good idea, we'll just have to ensure adequate access and clearance for emergency vehicles."

The fact that you won't openly advocate for your car-centric preference tells me that you know it's unpopular and unpersuasive. And, well, that's a good start.


Have you ever been on Charles Street? It's like 80 feet wide. We can spare 20 feet for people not inside stupid metal boxes, and still have space for fire trucks.


Deliver avocados, artisanal cruelty free organic bread and all sorts of juicy IPAs for you to enjoy, as well as all the people who make and serve all those things.

Sounds to me like you have never been there. Sheesh.

There are two official lanes of parking and three lanes of travel. On a typical day there are two lanes of parking, one lane of double parking, one lane of cyclists, and a lane remaining for the twenty cars an hour that travel the street.

This street should be narrowed, and after the crisis passes the city should put a two-way bike lane on it.


Every time your lazy, fat ass gets in a car you are getting in the way of emergency services. Make a street pedestrian only and an emergency vehicle can get down it much faster since no selfish drivers like you will be slowing it down.


Take a deep breath. It'll be okay. People drive cars and trucks all over the world. You'll be okay.

I'm glad you're not driving the ambulance coming to save me, driving through the pedestrians on Winter Street and over the footbridge in the Public Garden because you think it saves time compared to streets with cars on them.

Reading comprehension, people - seriously.
When your teacher gave you the SRA boxes in grade school, you used them to build a fort instead of opening them and reading the cards, didn't you?
If you need me to spell it out...
I was replying to the notion of reducing Charles Street to one lane.
I am quite aware that Charles Street is wide. I am sure that a travel lane and a parking lane or two could be converted to provide more pedestrian or sidewalk dining or dedicated bike lane space without critical impact. There would still be two lanes in which motor vehicles could travel.
To have only one motor vehicle travel lane, however - separated from the other spaces with all of the barriers & dividers that would be expected, on the main artery down the middle of a neighborhood, where many nearby streets are already so narrow they put up signs at corners to mark the space needed for fire trucks to make the turns, where (oh yeah) they're right beside the State House so routes needed in and out, leaving no space for other vehicles to get out of the way - that won't work.

To have only one motor vehicle travel lane ... won't work.

Yeah, I heard you the first time. You're wrong.

1 travel lane, minus 1 lane for double-parkers, equals zero travel lanes.

Thus, it will never work.

that lanes marked off for pedestrians or bikes couldn't be used by emergency vehicles if needed? That's not how they work anywhere else in the city, or anywhere else in the world where this kind of thing is regularly done.

What do you think would happen if there was a fire at Fanueil Hall - the fire trucks just sit at Congress St and say "well, that's it, no way we can possibly get any closer since there's no lanes for motor vehicles to travel through here"?

Bike lanes yes, if it's a traditional bike lane without any obstructions.

Pedestrian areas? Nope. Except for the last few feet to get to the actual fire, a fire truck isn't going to squeeze down the sidewalk to get around a traffic jam, taking out signposts and cafe tables, and startling any pedestrians stepping out of a building.

With one lane, what happens when a truck (or van or Smart car for the crowd that says trucks shouldn't deliver to cities) needs to make a delivery and there's no curbside spaces? Today they can double park and it's just fine. Would they have to keep circling around the State House and past MGH until a spot opens up? Or should they stop and block up the whole neighborhood?

The article says there would be less space for bicycles. They're widening the sidewalks with water-filled Jersey barriers, keeping parking on both sides, and reducing the general lanes from 3 to 2, which will be shared by cars and bicycles.

There's a separate project for protected bike lanes around the Public Garden, but that doesn't affect the commercial stretch of Charles Street.