If Councillor Arthur Guinasso has his way, the new bicycle lane on Revere Street would pedal off into the sunset.
The Ward 3 councillor remains a strong opponent of the siting of the dedicated lane running westbound on Revere Street – saying he’s not against bicycle lanes or bicyclists, but doesn’t believe the location is safe.
“If we’re doing this to simply tell people and give the appearance that we have a bike lane, then so be it, but I’m not going to be a part of it,” he said last week in an interview. “It’s just not safe there. I would not want my family or friends to believe they are safe riding a bicycle on Revere Street. What purpose have you achieved? What you’ve done is sent a message to good-hearted people who ride their bikes and they think it’s safe to ride there and it’s certainly not. Bikes are great. I’m all for them, but not on Revere Street.”
Guinasso said it is particularly dangerous coming around the curve at St. Anthony’s and then also coming around the curve at the Soccorso Club that empties out into Fiore’s Market.
He said a bicyclist using the lane was hit earlier this summer at the intersection of American Legion Highway and Revere Street.
The bike lane on Revere Street is the first of its kind in Revere, having been approved earlier this year by the Revere Traffic Commission and marked out early in the summer. It runs from Broadway to Revere Beach.
City Planner Frank Stringi said the lanes were the brainchild of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) that has studied the region and suggested areas for bike lanes in Revere, Lynn, Malden, Everett and Saugus.
In Revere, most of the roadways are too narrow for a dedicated path such as on the westbound side of Revere Street. On the eastbound side of the street, simple bicycle markings have been implied to indicate a “shared path” to motorists.
He said shared paths are likely to pop up on Broadway, Shirley Avenue and Beach Street in the future.
“It all brings attention to the fact that the roads need to be shared,” said Stringi. “We see it as a public safety measure to let motorists know that bicyclists are using the roadway and that the road can be shared and motorists shouldn’t get frustrated.”
Bicycle lanes are very popular in Boston and other parts of the region, though there has been pushback all over from motorists who find the lanes difficult to maneuver in some areas. For bicyclists, the lanes are not exactly a safe haven, but they are reportedly a much better bargain than trying to
Guinasso said he opposed the idea for Revere Street at the Traffic Commission, but his warnings weren’t heeded.
“It was pretty well decided no matter what I said,” he said. “I think it was a waste of money and I don’t think they had public safety in mind. I think they thought it would be good PR; that it would be good to say, ‘Oh look, Revere has a bike lane too.’ I like the concept, but it doesn’t take much research to figure out that’s not a great place for bicycles.”