Dorchester Avenue, sometimes referred to as “Dot Ave,” is a street in Boston that runs from Lower Mills to South Boston, tying together diverse residential areas and business centers. It provides access to and between Dorchester, South Boston and Downtown and offers numerous MBTA Red Line connections via subway and bus.
Originally constructed as a toll-bridge and turnpike, it was opened as a free public road in the mid-1800s.
It’s now one of the most important thoroughfares in the city. Often, it’s congested with traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians trying to make their way safely through.
The Boston bicycle accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com know the most traffic accidents on Dorchester Avenue actually occur between the morning and afternoon peak hours, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. That’s according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
It’s of little surprise that Dorchester Avenue was also identified in the Cyclist Safety Report an especially problematic for bicyclists, racking up enough bicycle crashes to be named in the top five in the city. As a major arterial street, the morning peak hour traffic volumes on Dorchester Avenue are known to exceed 2,300 just between Freeport and Hancock Streets.
The population of this corridor, from Lower Mills to Columbia Road, is around 50,000, according to the most recent U.S. Census. The population skews younger, with nearly 70 percent under the age of 34.
Because it is such a popular route for bicyclists, when the Boston Redevelopment Authority set to implement a streetscape and transportation action plan for the road, it specifically requested input from a bicycle safety specialist to analyze some of the key issues, including:
- The specific types of bicycle accommodations that may be appropriate to the varying conditions along the corridor;
- Intersection designs that would incorporate cyclist needs;
- Systematic plans for bicycle signing and lane markings;
- Locations for bicycle parking and storage.
A part of this involved Dorchester Avenue getting its first Hubway bike-sharing station in October 2015.Hubway on Dorchester Avenue
Hubway’s bike-sharing system began as a way to encourage more people to use bicycles to get around Boston. As of 2015, there were 108 stations holding 1,100 bikes.
The Dorchester location is a 15-bike facility next to the Robert E. Ryan playground in the Savin Hill neighborhood.
Because the whole system is reliant on there being a reasonable distance between hubs, new stations are being rolled out incrementally, and probably will continue to be installed over the next several decades.Better Bicycling in Dorchester
The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (aka – MassBike) recently focused on Dorchester Avenue and the Dorchester neighborhood as one of those that has a growing bicycle culture and reason to commit to greater bike safety.
Dorchester is home to UMass Boston, numerous beaches, Pope John Paul II Park and Franklin Park – all of which are destinations for cyclists. It’s also a neighborhood that is well-situated for commuting to downtown Boston via Dorchester Avenue, which is a main north-south corridor.
The current speed limit on the road is 30 mph, and there are a number of extremely dangerous intersections on the route, including crosses with:
- Columbia Road
- East Street
- Freeport Street
- Hoyt Street
- Hancock Street
These intersections are problematic and in some cases have more than two roads intersecting.
Further, the road conditions weren’t great. Some of the problems observed included:
- Rough pavement
There were also an insufficient number of bike racks, bike lanes, bicycle-related pavement markings, bicycle signage and traffic signal bicycle detectors.Complete Streets on Dorchester
In addition to MassBike’s efforts, Dorchester Avenue has been earmarked for a number of improvements via the city’s ongoing Complete Streets initiative, which aims to make roadways more accessible and safe for all road users – including bicyclists and pedestrians.
The project along Dorchester Avenue focuses on one of its principle crossroads, Peabody Square. This is an area that has emerged as a thriving region with new and refurbished housing, restaurants and other attractions.
The design focuses on realigning Talbot Avenue in order to create a destination plaza for outdoor cafes that will also emphasize the historic clock tower at the center of the intersection. The design will also expand the greenspace and improve pedestrian safety and bicycle lane connections along the road.
Additionally, rain gardens and watered sidewalks are being installed.
Officials hope the entire redesign will help improve the follow of traffic significantly in the area.
Contact the Boston Bicycle Accident Lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman and BikeAttorney.com at (888) 789-BIKE.