The Somerville Bicycle Committee is urging the city to repair Beacon Street, the most traveled bike route in the city, to prevent cyclists from crashing. Meanwhile, Ward 2 Alderwoman Maryann Heuston is pressing the mayor to ensure that the state’s department of transportation will start reconstructing the street in 2013, as planned.
“You can’t cross the street on Beacon Street without worrying that you’ll trip,” Heuston said. “And with the decals worn off, I don’t know how anyone can ride a bike.”
The bicycle committee has drafted a letter to Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone denouncing the “deplorable” condition of Beacon Street. Potholes pit the street, committee members said at a recent meeting, and snowplows have scraped away bike lane decals.
The committee has called for the Department of Public Works to resurface portions of Beacon Street from curb to curb or at least resurface the bike lanes, said Charlie Denison, the committee's vice chair.
Road conditions have improved since the city recently filled potholes
Jackie Rossetti, a spokeswoman for the city, said that the Department of Public Works has begun repairing potholes throughout the city and plans to repaint bike lanes later this spring.
“It’s better to put down paint on the streets when we’re out of snow season for sure because then there’s no potential for snowplows to come by and further damage the street,” she said.
Denison said that the DPW is “doing a pretty good job” of repairing the potholes.
“When winter ended, there were really big holes along the street, but they’ve filled the worst ones,” he said. “If you had hit them, you'd probably have flown off your bike.”
Still, Denison said that the several layers of patching along the street make for a bumpy ride.
“As the weather gets warmer, more people will be riding, and it’s going to be uncomfortable, stressful and potentially dangerous because cyclists’ and motorists’ attention is focused on trying to avoid that uneven pavement,” he said.
But with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation planning to start reconstructing the street in spring 2013, Denison said he doubts that the city will invest in spot repairs.
Heuston worries the state will put off the Beacon Street Reconstruction Project
In 1996, the Board of Aldermen requested that the Mass DOT repair Beacon Street between Porter and Inman squares, Heuston said. The department agreed to reconstruct Beacon Street between Oxford Street and the Cambridge city line. The plan included paving sidewalks, building curbs and installing new drainage.
But the department hasn’t finished designing the project, which makes Heuston worry that the state will put off repairs or make other street projects a priority.
“I don’t want the state to say that they can’t fund the project in 2013,” she said. “I know there are other needs in the rest of the city, but this is major.”