TAC & BAC ~ Transportation and Bicycle Advisory Committees Meet about Great Road Bicycle Lanes

On February 19, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) held a joint meeting to discuss issues common to both groups. Two items of special interest were an update from the Department of Public Works (DPW) about planning for the Great Road bicycle lanes, and the start of planning for Active Transit Month in May.

The committees also heard an update about the 25% design phase of the new Minuteman Bikeway extension

… as well as an offer from Janet Powers of Mothers Out Front Bedford about their 2020 transportation initiative

DPW Transportation Manager Jeanette Rebecchi presented the current design options for the Great Road bike lanes and asked for their choice between one of two options for particular sections of the Great Road. Rebecchi talked about bike lanes on the Great Road from North Road to Memorial Park across from Bedford Marketplace plaza. The goal is to have marked, six-foot-wide bike lanes throughout, adjusting the type based on space available and the need.

This would align with Bedford’s Great Road master plan and Complete Streets Policy. Both can be found on the Town’s web site:

The first section discussed was both sides of the Great Road between Mudge Way and Fletcher Road. Both committees voted for the option that would create an on-road, six and a half foot buffered bike lane adjacent to the motor vehicle travel lane, and include a buffer between the bike lane and the parking lane.

The parking lane would remain adjacent to the existing sidewalks. This option was favored instead of a bike lane separated from the travel lane by the parking lane, in large part due to consistency in bike lane treatment throughout the Great Road, making it easier for both cars and bicyclists to know what to expect when traveling together.

The next section of the Great Road discussed was between Fletcher Road and South Road, in the area formerly known as the Blake block. Due to space considerations, the on-road bike lane would need to be reduced to five feet wide on both sides of Great Road.

There was considerable discussion about the temporary turn lane that is available only on weekday mornings, and how to best share the road with both bicycles and cars. All agreed that clear pavement markings that are different from the regular bike lane marking would be important to delineate this part as a shared space for that specific time of day.

Rebecchi also talked about the rest of the project, from South Road to Memorial Park, which would have five-foot bike lanes on both sides of the road. This would be the end of the current project. Although some discussion about marking bike lanes took place at this meeting, Rebecchi agreed to consult further with the TAC and BAC at a future meeting before finalizing the plans.

“Active Transit Month” will be observed in May

Carla Olson of Healthy Bedford and Safe Routes to School gave a brief presentation at a joint meeting of the Transportation Advisory Committee and the Bicycle Advisory Committee about planning for Bedford’s Active Transit Month in May.

BAC is coordinating the annual Bike/Walk to School days and Bike Rodeos at Davis and Lane Schools (dates TBD), using neighborhood captains and doing more outreach to areas in town that have had lower participation rates. They also thanked BEST (Bedford Elementary Schools Together) for helping with the publicity of events in the past and plans to work with them again this year. BAC also talked about other ways to get residents actively using transportation alternatives.

Suggestions included organizing bike-to-work days, providing more information about bike shops or repair stands along biking routes, and updating the town web site about transportation alternatives. Everyone agreed that biking, walking, and using public transportation is important, not only for a healthier lifestyle but to reduce traffic congestion in town.

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