If you’ve been biking anywhere near the BU bridge (or BU for that matter) in the past few years, you might have noticed it’s a big spattered mess of construction (like the Big Dig smack in the middle of BU’s campus).
But something was different about the BU Bridge when I biked over it a few days ago; it was freshly paved, and all the construction crews I’ve grown accustomed to seeing on it over the past few years were gone. Cones were set up on both sides leaving a temporary shoulder about the width of a bike lane…that’s right, a bike lane. On the BU Bridge.
I can’t remember a time I’ve ever felt this safe biking over the BU Bridge on the road. I was taking my sweet time without the stress of cars whizzing by. It was nighttime, and biking over this bridge felt peaceful.
It was not too long ago in 2009 when the BU bridge was a narrow four-lane bridge, a Youtube user named SamuelHammer released a series of youtube videos showing what biking over the bridge was like, like this one titled “Death Trap on the BU Bridge.”
Biking over the BU Bridge used to be anything but peaceful.
Of course, then, it seemed like nothing would ever change after construction was set to happen to put in bike lanes, and BU Today even released a video titled “Why the BU Bridge is So Messed Up”
Flash back another year to fall of 2008, and the thought of bike lanes on the BU Bridge seemed like only a pipe dream. Back when BU Bikes was being formed, students including myself rallied up to the first public DCR meeting to discuss the possibility of installing bike lanes on the BU Bridge, which was on the table for the DCR’s Bridge Rehabilitation project. With the efforts of other advocacy organizations, the bike lane plans made it into the project, and later that spring in 2009, I reported on the fourth public DCR meeting on the plan, when the final plans for the bike lane design were announced.
In case you haven’t heard, the BU Bridge will be losing a car lane and gaining two 5-foot wide bike lanes (one in each direction) as part of the BU bridge rehabilitation project, first proposed back in October. The lane reconfiguration chosen since then will turn two lanes of traffic each way into one midway on the bridge, which will look like this:
With such a long and tumultuous history, it’s very exciting to finally see change happening that many thought would never happen or very against the idea just a few years ago. Needless to say, it feels good to finally see a hint of the fruits of everyone’s bike-advocacy-labor in the past few years that’s going to inevitably lead to some ripe bike-lane fruit, and better bike-commuting over this bridge for all.
P.S. I’d be curious to see how the bike lanes change people’s decisions to bike over the bridge on the sidwalk (I saw a few of these people even as I biked between the cones.