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Beacon Street: From Main Artery to Parking Lot Courtesy of the Curtatone Administration

This recent storm provided an example of how just poorly the City's plan for the reconfiguration of Beacon St. would work out.

The last few days have given us a picture of what Beacon Street would look like if the Curtatone administration has its way in re-configuring Beacon St.  It’s not pretty. Indeed, it is unworkable and dangerous. Over the objections of residents and businesses, the City plans to install cycle tracks that will narrow the road and reduce parking by half. With this storm, Beacon was narrowed to approximately the width the City’s plan calls for and it looked more like a parking lot than a main artery. Every delivery truck that double parked turned Beacon into a one lane road. Every resident that parked to unload groceries did the same. If two vehicles double parked in opposite lanes, Beacon would be literally impassable. This is the future that Beacon St. faces 24/7/365 if the Curtatone plan goes through.  

The Mayor has acknowledged that under his plan, "fuel trucks will do what they have always done: single-park or double-park in front of the delivery location and obstruct traffic flow (bicycle or auto) until the delivery is complete." 

So, for a cycle track that runs for less than a half mile (yes, you read that correctly), the Mayor will degrade the livability of the Beacon St. neighborhood and turn Beacon St. into a driver's nighmare. Why? To be able, as his administration has already done, to tout the creation of “the first federally funded cycle track.” Nice line on an ambitious pol’s résumé, but a disgraceful price to be paid by his constituents who live and have businesses on Beacon St.  

The Mayor remains as tone deaf to the legitimate apprehension of the tax paying folks of Beacon St. as he does to the infeasibility of this badly thought through plan. Yet the City vigorously pushes this plan forward despite strong opposition from residents, businesses, business patrons and cycling experts. Something is not adding up here. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

cathy collins February 19, 2013 at 12:19 AM
The aldermen have abdicated their responsiblity to the citzens of somerville. The mayor has bullied them into submission, so much so that they are figureheads only. As for Tony when the mayor was against him lost, when the mayor openly supported him he won. The mayor flexed his power and now Tony is in the Curtatone fold.
AHM February 19, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Thanks, I was trying to hold onto the little bit of hope I had left for Tony. What I have seen coming from him is very disapointing as a businessman. You would think after 60 plus years here I would know better.
Chev April 04, 2013 at 04:18 PM
"....every public meeting gets flooded with cycling advocates, most of whom do not live in Somerville, many of whom do not even ride on Beacon, and then the City reports that there was widespread approval from the audience in attendance." As a cyclist, I agree this is a problem. When I first heard about a plan to construct a cycle track on Beacon street I was very excited. I signed a petition in support of the track from the BCU but when I learned the specifics of the plan I felt duped. I don't think most of the cyclists supporting the cycle track actually know the specifics of this plan b/c I have a hard time thinking they would be so supportive if they did.
Chev April 04, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Above Domenic R said ... "...And we're doing this for a cycle track that will run .4 mile. Completely insignificant distance. Then you're back on the road in painted cycle lanes for the most dangerous stretch of Beacon near Inman Square. This plan does not make sense, will get cyclists hurt (or worse), and will turn a main artery into a nightmare on a daily basis." As a cyclist, this pretty much sums up why I am opposed to this plan. The plan is completely backwards!
AHM April 04, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Maybe another way to approach this is to repave the street. Make lines doing test runs for a period of time with different configurations that may work for some specified period and see which works the best for everyone. Be a whole lot cheaper than actually building something that may or may not work. As with many streets in Somerville they no sooner get them in and they start tearing them back up again so it is not like anything is really all that permanent here. Maybe we can find a happy medium for everyone. Plus just having a repaved road will be an improvement over what is there now.

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