Blackstone Boulevard Meeting Comments



Blackstone Boulevard Meeting Comments

The meeting went quite well, I thought. The upshot is that the lanes will not be removed. A few complainers were there to vent, but the overwhelming opinion was that the new scheme is a change for the better. Present from the city were Cliff Wood, Lt. Schiavulli, Lt. Ryan, John Nickelson (DPW), and Linda Painter (Planning).

Only complaint raised more than once: afraid of pulling out of my driveway, I might hit a bicyclist. Response: the cyclists have always been there, you should have been looking out for them all along, this changes nothing except possibly the number of cyclists.

Nearly all attendees agreed that motor vehicle speeds are down, and that there are fewer drivers operating in the bike and parking lanes today than in the first few weeks. To respond to that, Lt. Schiavulli said that he would assign patrolmen to the Blvd during commuter hours more often. John Nickelson’s response was that DPW is still considering other ways to make it clear that the parking lane is for parking. Currently there are no markings stating that (though there are new signs up now, explaining the uses of the 3 lanes). He is looking into painting diagonal lines across the parking lane at fire hydrants and bus stops, as a way to make it a little clearer. Between heightened enforcement and DPW efforts, combined with locals simply getting adjusted, we should see even greater reduction in these situations.


  • Oct 16, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Glad to hear that went well! I've noticed far less confusion with regard to lane usage. (The triple car pass using the bike lane on Tuesday night notwithstanding..). Hard core ticketing would still be a huge help on that road IMHO. I know if I paid those taxes I'd be all over my local PD to enforce the speed limit.

  • Oct 17, 2008 at 4:50 am

    All you have to do is watch Judge Caprio's traffic court to know they ARE enforcing laws there. One night, seven or eight in a row were prosecuted for violations. Enforcement doesn't matter, since the penalties are so small. Automotive is given preference, nobody loses their license, and they do nothing to ameliorate the root cause…

    there is no good way to get from I-195 and Fox Point to Pawtucket. Some motorists have sense enough to divert miles out of their way and take I-95 or Pawtucket Avenue. But given the general gridlock at certain hours, a wide boulevard, even one guarded by traffic controls, does entice. The Henderson practically guarantees a continuous flow onto Blackstone. So, it's roadnet design that causes these problems for the privileged few who can afford such an exclusive address. Meanwhile, people in Olneyville have to think twice about driving at all… What's being done elsewhere in the city that comes close to the bliss of the Boulevard? That's the REAL issue.

  • Barry
    Oct 17, 2008 at 7:23 am

    I want to congratulate the bicycle, neighborhood, and political community for making the pro-bike improvements on Blackstone Blvd. I couldn't make the recent hearing, but I was at the community hearing years ago when I was dismayed at the anti-bicycling, and anti-bicylists sentiments widely expressed then. Its great that some persisted in the face of that kind of opposition as well as opposition from the motorists who just want to speed on the Blvd, and even some bicyclists who seem to be ideologically opposed to making bike-friendly improvements for the benefit of less experienced bikers. It shows that persistence and advocacy does make a difference.

  • Nov 4, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I was at the meeting, and agree it went well. I would just like to point out that Nickerson has been saying the same thing for months. I sent him a concrete list of concerns and issues, and followed-up every month thereafter. Nothing has actually changed (other than, recently, those small signs). Nickerson acted at the meeting as if the idea of striping the parking lanes was a good, new idea, but we'd already talked about it in July.

    My guess: they had a limited budget, and now it's all spent. So all he can do is appease, not actually act.

    That said, they may have actually done the smart thing here. If they had waited until the entire budget was in place, it may never have happened. By capitalizing on acclimation followed by inertia, they knew that once they put the lane in, it wouldn't go away. As the meeting proved.