Motorists can only travel in one direction on Ivy Street, but using a new contra-flow lane installed Thursday, cyclists can travel the street in both directions. Photo by Brock Parker.
Brookline began installing four new “contra-flow” bicycle lanes Thursday that will allow cyclists to travel in two different directions on a one-way street.
The contra-flow bicycle lanes are designed to enable cyclists to travel in two directions on streets limited to one-way traffic for motor vehicles, said Todd Kirrane, Brookline’s transportation administrator.
“For a cyclists it is about connectivity,” Kirrane said. “If you did not have these short areas in order to provide bicycles contraflow, they are going sometimes blocks out of their way to get to their destination points.”
Contractors hired by the town painted the lines for the new contra-flow lanes on Ivy, Essex and Park streets Thursday, and are waiting for the rain to stop before painting a lane on Dudley Street, Kirrane said.
Unlike the traditional bike lanes, contraflow lanes are stripped with yellow and double yellow lines, and in cases where space allows, they are marked with double yellow lines with diagonal lines between them.
Brookline did have two existing contra-flow lanes on Netherlands and Parkway roads that were installed around 2007, Kirrane said. He said he is unaware of any history of cyclists having accidents on the two streets while traveling in the opposite direction of the one-way street.
Signs will also be placed at the new contra-flow lanes indicating that the roads are one-way except for bicycles, Kirrane said. Stripping the lanes is costing the town about $116,000, and is part of some ongoing sidewalk and crosswalk improvements.