Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a new "Healthy Streets" plan Thursday aimed at providing space for outdoor restaurant seating, bike lanes and new bus stops.
The proposal includes changes to numerous city streets over the next several months to assist in the reopening of the economy from the coronavirus shutdowns.
"Ensuring the safety and health of all residents is our first priority in Boston," Mayor Marty Walsh said. "These innovative streets programs focus on what residents need: safe, reliable transportation if they must travel in Boston, access to fresh air and open spaces, and building social and physical distancing into everyday life. As we continue to carefully plan for reopening in Boston, we will continue our work to create streets and transportation that work for all."
Walsh and the city's Licensing Board have already streamlined the process for restaurants to expand outdoor seating as part of the COVID-19 reopening process to make it easier for them to take advantage of outdoor space. Over 270 businesses have already begun this process. This could include allowing outdoor dining on sidewalks and even in parking lanes.
Temporary street closures with barriers and signs are being explored as part of the outdoor seating work.
"Public space and transportation will be key to a healthy reopening and an equitable recovery," said Chris Osgood, the city's chief of streets. "Right now, that includes making sure hospital staff and front line workers can get to work safely and affordably, and rethinking how Boston's streets best serve our residents. These changes to Boston's streets are in line with Boston's transportation goals of safety, access, and reliability, and the City's work to create a safe city for every resident."
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The city is also installing new dedicated bike lanes to help people get to work safely.
The first phase of quick-build lanes will be on:
• Arlington Street (Beacon to Stuart)
• Beacon Street (Charles to Berkeley)
• Boylston Street (Arlington to Washington)
• Charles Street (Boylston to Beacon)
• Columbus Ave (West Newton to Stuart)
• Court Street (Congress to Tremont)
• State Street (Atlantic to Congress)
• Tremont Street (Court to Shawmut)
Bike lanes will also be implemented on Washington Street from Stuart Street to Avenue De Lafayette, Stuart Street from Charles to Washington streets and Berkeley Street from Tremont Street to Columbus Avenue.
In addition, the mayor's plan calls for expanding MBTA bus stops at 10 locations frequently used by essential workers beginning the week of June 1.
The locations include:
• Maverick Blue Line Station on the median island in Maverick Square
• Blue Hill Avenue Bus Stops (Inbound Only) at Morton Street and Woodhaven Street
• Hynes Station (Northbound) Stop
• Broadway Station
• Haymarket Station on Congress Street
• Warren Street at Whiting Street and Moreland Street
• Route 39 Bus Stop at Fenwood Street
• Route 7 (Inbound) stop at L Street at Broadway
The city is also enhancing Silver Line reliability through Chinatown, and installing a bus lane on Washington Street north of Marginal Road and by repainting the bus lane on Essex Street.
A map of all locations is available at boston.gov/healthy-streets, and the city is asking residents to submit their feedback.