Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Jack Murray recently announced that the agency will conduct a comprehensive study of its parkway system to identify locations where bike lanes and improvements could be installed.
“Cycling has seen a significant expansion, both as a method of transportation and recreation,” Murray said. “As an agency that serves the Commonwealth in both of those areas, it is critically important that we work with our partners to identify roadways within our system to improve the safety for both cyclists and drivers.”
DCR will be procuring services from a team of planners, traffic engineers and landscape architects to undertake the comprehensive review of the agency’s parkways in Metropolitan Boston. The goal of the study is to improve and enhance safety and access to all users, particularly bicyclists and pedestrians along these historic landscapes and recreational corridors.
The study will include: updated traffic information; assessments of parkway conditions; and assessments and understanding of deficiencies along heavily cycled parkways. The study will engage partner organizations focused on non-motorized transportation and recreation within DCR’s Greater Boston parkway and path system. Additionally, the study will also focus on DCR’s off-road recreational multi-use trail developments including the Neponset River Greenway, Greenough Boulevard and the Watertown Rail Trail, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and local municipalities. It is expected that the comprehensive study will result in immediate recommendations for early implementation through ongoing maintenance work and capital projects.
“Despite being debilitatingly underfunded in recent years, DCR is still the state’s guardian of our fabulous Olmstedian heritage of parks and parkways, paths and greenways. It is wonderful to see DCR begin reclaiming its tradition of innovation and stewardship through this comprehensive study,” said Steven Miller of the Livable Streets Alliance. “Those of us working on multimodal transportation, environmental resilience, and public health issues all look forward to the promised partnership and resulting DCR actions.”
Boston Cyclist Union Executive Director Pete Stidman said, “With this commitment the DCR is confirming their key role in promoting healthy, active transportation in the city. By creating a map of where bike lanes and protected bike lanes are needed, and figuring out where they’re possible, they’re taking a huge step forward, but it will be up to the cycling community to ensure these facilities get built. We need to be engaged in the design processes going forward, and also we need to make sure the road work we need gets funded.”
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) Executive Director Marc Draisen said, “Lots of people bike on or near the parkways, and appropriate infrastructure is needed to protect them as well as the motoring public.”