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Bikes Lanes Proposed for Major Waltham Roads

The Traffic Commossion will meet on Dec. 19 to review the proposals.

Several Waltham residents have proposed bike lanes for several major community streets, according to Traffic Commission documents. 

The Waltham Traffic Commission will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 19 to discuss three seperate proposals for bike lanes on South Street, Moody Street, Winter Street, Bacon Street, Totten Pond Road and Beaver Street, according to commision documents. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

The requests come in the wake of recent deaths of cyclists in the Boston area. 

South Street requests (source: Traffic Commission documents)

  • WHAT: Three Waltham residents are seperately requesting bike lanes be installed on South street. 
  • REQUESTER: Adam Eisler, a Brandeis University graduate student, Cody Carlson, a South Street resident and Emily Szczypek, a School Street resident. 
  • WHY: Cody, in a statement to the Traffic Commision, said cyclists are currently forced to use the sidewalk because motorists speed down that road. He believes new bikes lanes would improve safety for area residents. 
  • Eisler believes installing bike lanes would help avoid crashes involving cyclists and motorists, while Szczypek believes they would increase awareness of cyclists and reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. 

COMMISSION RECOMENDATIONS

  • The Commission has recomended that shared lane markings and similar signs be installed on South Street instead of a bike lane. 
  • South Street is not wide enough to accomodate separate bike lanes, Waltham's Traffic Engineer, J. Michael Garvin, wrote in a memo to the comission.

MOODY STREET/MAIN STREET REQUEST

  • WHAT: Installation of a bike lane on Moody Street/Main Street
  • REQUESTER: Adam Eisler
  • WHY: He believes it would help university students transport themselves around Waltham and avoid crashes with motorists.

COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS

  • The traffic engineer has recommended denying both requests for bike lanes. Moody Street is too narrow to accomodate bike lanes and Main Street's current traffic markings are too complex to allow for a separate bike lane, according to Garvin.
  • Instead, Garvin has recommended installing shared lane markings on South Street between Main Street and the railroad tracks. 

WINTER STREET/TOTTEN POND ROAD/BEAVER STREET/BACON STREET REQUESTS

  • WHAT: Request for bike lanes to be installed on Winter, Beaver and Bacon Streets as well as Totten Pond Road.
  • WHO: Emily Szczypek
  • WHY: To increase awareness of cyclists and reduce carbon emissions.

COMMISSION RECOMENDATIONS

  • Garvin has recommended approving bike lanes for Totten Pond Road and Winter Street after they are restriped in the future. Garvin recommended denying bike lanes for the three other roads, but supported shared lane markings and signs for South and Beaver Streets. Garvin, in his statement, said Beaver, Bacon and South Streets were not wide enough for bike lanes.
Richard Leeds December 17, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Bike Riders are taking too much of the road. They do not obey traffic rules and do not pay the penalty. Boston bike lanes have made life more difficult for drivers.
JohnnyMass December 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Gettin' more like Cambridge every day...
MH December 17, 2012 at 04:13 PM
The same can be said of car drivers: Car drivers are taking too much of the road. They do not obey traffic rules and do not pay the penalty. Perhaps eco-friendly alternatives to driving are not for everyone, but while America continues it's love affair with gas guzzling, over-sized cars and SUVs, is it really fair to push cyclists to the sidewalks or force them to fight with not only with car traffic but also with storm drains, curbs, broken glass, and other road debris? The responses from the city traffic engineer seem reasonable. Can't we all just get along?!
khluvr621 December 17, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Guess where the pedestrians have to walk when snow accumulates on the sidewalk? In the middle of a traffic lane. I don't agree with the statement of "bike riders do not obey traffic rules" because hey, drivers themselves don't obey traffic rules. Everything goes both ways and you can't blame one party/side just because the roads aren't big enough to share.
Richard Leeds December 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM
If cars ran red lights the way bikes do there would be 10 times the accidents. The majority of drivers do not abuse the traffic laws they way bike riders do and you bike riders don't get the tickets you richly deserve
khluvr621 December 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
"You bike riders don't get the tickets you richly deserve"? Kind of ballsy to group people as such - I haven't rode a bike in years and that was in a different state. But in a pedestrian point of view, it's pretty heinous to know how drivers perceive and treat non-drivers when it comes to attempting to get to Point A to Point B.
Kathy Keegan December 17, 2012 at 05:03 PM
I believe that if we do do that that the bikers need to obey the safety laws as a mom and a bus driver try have a tendency to even cut me off while driving my van and have almost gotten into an accident because of them
Steven Cavaretta December 17, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Theres room for bikes and cars if were polite and play by the rules.
theclefe December 17, 2012 at 06:13 PM
As both a bike rider and motorist, I've never had issues with the other on the streets. The above sound like great recommendations.
Buttercup December 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
The city should do something about the horrific traffic jams day in and day out before they allow bicyclists to take up even more of the road. Stupid,stupid idea!
Buttercup December 17, 2012 at 07:00 PM
And they so richly deserve tickets, but never get them!
theclefe December 17, 2012 at 07:04 PM
But bike riders ultimately reduce traffic. There's no doubt, if you're driving down the road and have to slow down to get around a bicyclist, it can be frustrating. In terms of intersection congestion, bicycles have absolutely no effect on that other than removing another vehicle from the tangle.
Walthamer December 17, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Boston car lanes have made life deadly for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers. We should not build any more car lanes until drivers learn to obey the rules of the road, stop speeding, and stop killing people.
theclefe December 17, 2012 at 07:29 PM
@Walthamer. A+
Gone4Now December 17, 2012 at 09:57 PM
How many bicyclists would be using those lanes taken away from automobiles over the last few days?
theclefe December 17, 2012 at 11:01 PM
@gone4now. No lanes are being taken away from motorists. According to this article they are just relining roads and adding signs. What are you talking about?
Matt Carter December 18, 2012 at 04:38 AM
And how do you think they will do that with a roadway that has no extra room. The engineers either need to take a travel lane or parking to accomodate bike lanes.
Matt Carter December 18, 2012 at 04:52 AM
So my thoughts on this... #1 Until Bikes are penalized for breaking laws the same as vehicle are we should not give lanes to them. I have bikes blow red lights, cut in and out of traffic and 3 bikes travel next to each other forcing me to go head on to go around. And I have never once seen a bike pulled over fo any of these violations. Cars might do the same thing (Blow red lights, speed etc) but at least they are ticketed and pulled over by police, not bikes. #2 That said I do belive we can have bike friendly transportation in Waltham. Here is my thoughts on each proposal.. South Street: No Bike Lanes. This is not physicly possible the road is not wide enough as a bike lane needs 5 Feet and travel lanes need to be at least 12 Feet only way to do that is widen the road or take a travel lane. I agree with the Sharrows and signs proposal. Moody Street: NO!!!! Way too narrow, either a travel lane would need to be taken or parking which is out of the question on Moody Street. The only possible option would to widen the road and narrow the sidewalks which would be stupid due to the pedestrian traffic. Winter Street: Yes but not on the Winter Street Bridge. The new traffic paterns are working fine and accomodating congestion. Taking a lane now would be foolish. Totten Pond Road: Absolutley. A 5' Bike lane can be accomdated on both sides while still maintaining 1 lane in each direction.
Matt Carter December 18, 2012 at 05:01 AM
(Continued from Above) Bacon Street: NO! Absolutley Not! There is no room for bike lanes, the traffic lanes are narrow as is. The road would need to be widened or a travel lane taken which would make it one way. Imagine all that traffic at 5PM on Bacon Street now on Lexington Street. That would cause Gridlock Beaver Street: Bike accomdating shoulders could be widened but not bike lanes not enough room along most of the stretch. That is a bus route so wide travel lanes would need to be maintained. Now I am not against Bike Infrastructure. In fact I have a proposal for the city. They should stripe 5' bike lanes on both sides of Forest Street. The road is wide enough for 4 lanes and has plenty of room for bike lanes. Also I think we need to start working with the state on the Wayside Rail Trail wich would give bikes a nice ride through the city without taking traffic lanes. Those are my thoughts on this issue.
WHSHawk December 18, 2012 at 01:18 PM
To propose a different partial solution - why not encourage bicyclists to use alternate, side streets that follow these main roads. Perhaps Charles/Felton Street and then maybe Grove street in place of main. Lowell or Adams instead of Moody. Winter Street and Totten Pond Road seem able to handle bike lanes, though I'm not sure I'd want to ride a bike through the Winter/First/Second ave area. I'm not sure why they want bike lanes on Bacon and Beaver - they connect major roads without bike lanes and don't have anything of particular interest along them. Maybe Bentley, but they can bike between classes and dorms by staying on campus and avoiding major roads. These proposals need the why part better articulated.
Richard Leeds December 18, 2012 at 09:54 PM
As an example I spent 2 hours in Boston today Two bike riders in the financial district ran red lights one in the cross walk, almost hitting a pedestrian Near the fleet center a bike rider ran trhough 2 reds on the entrance to storow drive from the Museum of Science a bike rider rode on the sidewalk in brookline a bike rider ran a red than rode on the side walk at the interesection of Harvard ST and Beacon a bike rider obeyed the law.
Mark December 22, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I'm a driver and a cyclist. I pay excise taxes every year to this city. I may use the roadways in any legal manner I choose, and I want to feel safe doing so. I obey all traffic laws when I'm riding. Until you've been out on two wheels, you really don't have a good sense of how badly people in cars behave. If you don't ride a bike, that's your decision, but I have just as much of a right to the roads as you do so stop your whining. We're here, we're not going anywhere, and we're going to be on the roads with or without our own lanes.
Martha Creedon December 24, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Well said, Mark.

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