Neighbors Get Word Out About Petition for Safer Charles Street

On Thursday, Oct. 21, many Beacon Hill residents and people who regularly spend time in the area gathered to knock on doors to get more signatures for a petition to make Charles Street less dangerous for everyone.

More than 80 Beacon Hill residents, and over 1,000 people in the Boston area, have already signed the petition asking the City of Boston to put a two-way parking protected bike lane on Charles Street. Many businesses on Charles Street have signed on in support as well, including Beacon Hill Chocolates. There are many studies showing that adding bike lanes to streets increases revenue for local businesses, even when space for cars is removed (studies linked at bostoncyclistsunion.org/charles). On Thursda,y the group reached the doors of 102 people in and around Beacon Hill.

There is strong support for this bike lane among senior residents of Beacon Hill, because they know that adding a bike lane will increase road safety for pedestrians, especially seniors and people with disabilities who are scared of being hit by bikes.

Michael Silberberg, a 65-year-old resident of Beacon Hill, said, “Last week I was hit by a bike. Adding a bike lane would mean that pedestrians know where to expect bikes and reduce the chance that a bike hits a pedestrian. In addition, it will take the bike out of the stream of cars, trucks, buses, and construction vehicles that travel on Charles Street reducing bike related accidents.”

Joan Doucette, an 82-year-old resident of Beacon Hill who has lived here for 50 years, said, “With double-parking on both sides of Charles Street and workmen tearing up the road we need a safe way to bike on Charles Street. A bike lane might encourage motorists to use a bike for their local errands. I bike all over Boston and Cambridge, mostly on bike lanes, Charles Street is one of the most dangerous roads for cyclists.”

Alex Shames, a Community Organizer for the Boston Cyclists Union, said, “While we appreciate the city’s effort to finish the Connect Downtown network by installing a bike lane on Cambridge Street, that process will take years, and they could easily put up a pilot lane on Charles Street in the meantime right now. There’s already been a fatal bike crash on Charles St and we can’t wait years for safe infrastructure. The next fatality on Charles could be one of our children, or a grandparent, or me.”

Beacon Hill residents can join their neighbors in calling for a safe Charles St by signing the petition at bostoncyclistsunion.org/charles.

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