A dormant West Roxbury group that fought a proposal to add bike lanes to part of Centre Street in West Roxbury has sprung back to life, convinced that now that the pandemic is ending, City Hall and a sinister cabal of bicyclists will once again attempt to impose their will on the neighborhood.
The West Roxbury Safety Association has printed up 500 lawn signs opposing the proposal - and hopes to print up another 1,500 - to convince politicians running in the fall elections it's serious about keeping bike lanes off the neighborhood's main commercial strip, one of its leaders, Stephen Morris, told the West Roxbury Civic and Improvement Association tonight.
Morris said mayoral candidates Jon Santiago, John Barros and Annissa Essaibi-George have already pledged to block any bike lanes on Centre Street.
Although BTD has said nothing publicly about a proposed "road diet" to slow traffic on Centre Street following an angry community meeting at the Irish Social Club in November, 2019, Morris said new bike lanes along Cummins Highway and American Legion Highway in Mattapan and Roslindale show that "Downtown" still has its spoked eye on West Roxbury along with bicyclists eager to pedal all over, he said.
The city originally proposed reconfiguring Centre Street between Spring Street and the Holy Name Rotary to make it safer for pedestrians by reducing the number of motor-vehicle lanes from four to three, adding new turn lanes and pedestrian islands and installing bike lanes after Marilyn Wentworth of West Roxbury died at Centre and Hastings, thrown into the air by a motorist who said she never saw Wentworth due to solar glare on Feb. 5, 2019.
Morris, whose group said the bike lanes would actually make Centre Street more dangerous, called for the resumption of the war against the bike lanes now, warning that otherwise, "we're going to wake up one day and somebody is going to be on Centre Street putting up those white pylons." He pointed to growing social-media chatter by bicycle and pedestrian groups.
The meeting was held in person, in the parking lot of St. George's Church on Washington Street. Morris called on residents living along that thoroughfare to support his group, saying that they could be next in the city's bid to expand bike lanes.