BROOKLINE — Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Transportation Administrator Todd Kirrane announce that the Town of Brookline will temporarily re-configure certain streets to better accommodate the need for social distancing among pedestrians.
The Transportation Board voted Wednesday evening to act to change the pedestrian walkway configurations on four high-density streets to allow walkers ample space to move while remaining at least six feet apart from one another while doing so.
Over the next week, the Department of Public Works will work to implement the modifications, which include:
Beacon Street Eastbound (Webster Street to Pleasant Street)
Vehicular traffic will be allowed only in the left lane, with parking available in the right lane. The existing parking lane will be open for pedestrians, cyclists, scooters and mobility devices.
Beacon Street Westbound (Pleasant Street to Marion Street)
Vehicular traffic will be allowed only in the left lane, with the right lane serving as a parking lane and the existing parking lane remaining open for pedestrians, cyclists, scooters and mobility devices.
Brookline Avenue (Pearl Street to the town line)
Parking lanes in each direction will be removed to provide additional space for pedestrians, cyclists, scooters and mobility devices.
One parking lane will be removed along the entire length of the street to better accommodate pedestrian, bicycle and scooter traffic.
Longwood (Town line to Sewall Avenue)
The parking lane will be opened as an expansion of the adjacent sidewalk.
The re-configurations are being made in order to allow pedestrians who are traveling for essential purposes to do so in a way that prevents close contact, ensuring that they are able to safely walk while adhering to social distancing requirements.
“Even with people staying home in significant numbers, there is still a natural need for walkable space and we want to give residents as much space as possible while vehicular traffic is low and the need for physical distance among pedestrians is high,” Kirrane said. “What’s important to remember, however, is that this is not designed as an invitation for more people to go outside — rather it’s meant to enable those who have to go outside to commute to work or do essential shopping to do so in the safest way possible.”
In addition to utilizing the expanded walking and biking zones on arterial roadways, residents are urged to adhere to CDC and Department of Public Health guidelines that face coverings should be worn whenever leaving home.
The modified configurations will remain in place until further notice, and the Transportation Board is expected to evaluate additional options for maximizing residents’ ability to practice social distancing in public spaces.
More details about additional steps will be announced if and when they are finalized and adopted.