Redesigning Babcock: Option 1

Yesterday, the Transportation Division of Brookline’s Department of Public Works posted revised versions of the Babcock Street redesign options to the town website. There are currently five proposals for improvements of the street, each with advantages and disadvantages for their various users. This post examines redesign option one, which can be viewed in its entirety here.


Option 1) Two-Way Motor Vehicle Traffic with Pedestrian Refuge Islands and Parking

Bicycling & Driving

The Harvard-Babcock intersection

Bicycles turning onto Babcock from Harvard Street and heading north will initially ride with car traffic and benefit from painted sharrow markings. These sharrows will quickly morph into a separated bike lane for roughly a 500 foot stretch before turning back into sharrows just past the fire station. Bike infrastructure for the rest of the northbound ride will exclusively feature sharrows.

02_Bike Lane-Sharrow
At the fire station, northbound bike infrastructure changes from a bike lane to sharrows. Conversely this is the point at which southbound sharrows turn into a bike lane.

Bicycles turning onto Babcock Street from Commonwealth Avenue and heading south will see sharrows for the entire length of their ride until arriving at the fire station. Their sharrows will then turn into a bike lane which stretches to the intersection at Harvard Street. A 120 foot crossover area will allow car traffic to move to the right of bicycles and more easily turn right onto Harvard Street.


Chicane created by parked cars between Freeman Street and Commonwealth Avenue

Cars will have 10-foot lanes down the entire length of Babcock Street, and access to travel in both directions. The parked cars create a slight chicane, which is most evident between Freeman Street and Commonwealth Avenue. The combination of road narrowing and chicanes will work in tandem to calm car traffic traversing Babcock.



There is currently only one pedestrian crosswalk across the length of Babcock street     (rendering from Google Maps)

Pedestrians on Babcock street trying to move from one side to another currently have only three painted crosswalks at their disposal– one at the intersection of Harvard Street, one at the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue, and one bisecting the streets between 71 and 74 Babcock. In addition there are only three crosswalks allowing pedestrians to safely cross at Babcock street intersections– one at John Street, one at Devotion Street, and one at the first Dwight Street crossing.

05_Pedestrian Islands
Three pedestrian refuge islands and two pedestrian beacons are proposed under option one

The plan for option one markedly expands on these crossings, with 12 crossings from one side of Babcock to the other, and 10 intersection crossings. Three pedestrian refuge islands are featured in this plan, one at each intersection with Dwight Street and one at the southernmost intersection with Freeman Street. Curb extensions are also added at John Street, Freeman Street, Manchester Road, Abbotsford Road and Osborne Road to shorten the length of time pedestrians need to cross the street. Two pedestrian beacons have also been proposed at the corner of Dwight Street.



In addition to the parking spaces outlined below, there will be a designated loading zone in front of 240 Babcock Street.

12 spaces between Harvard Street and John Street (east side).

4 spaces on the south side of John Street.

Proposed parking on the north side of John Street will provide an additional 18 spaces of metered parking.

11 spaces between John Street and the first branch of Dwight Street (east side).

10 spaces between the second branch of Dwight Street and the first branch of Freeman street (west side).

11 spaces along the perimeter of Private Albert Edward Scott Memorial Square.

35 spaces between the second branch of Freeman Street and the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue (both sides).

Total proposed parking spaces: 97*

*It is unclear from the renderings how many parking spaces are available around the perimeter of Dwight Square or on the south side of John Street



Babcock Street is on the Transportation Board agenda for Monday, January 22, at 7:15 PM.   This may be the meeting at which the Board makes its final decision regarding redesign options.

What do you think of redesign option one? Leave a comment below, and stay tuned for overviews of the other redesign options.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s