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Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty was once a staunch opponent of the idea that narrowing a road can improve safety and traffic flow. But he’s changed his mind, Universal Hub reports.

Incumbent Councilor Michael Flaherty said he once would have stood shoulder to shoulder with West Roxbury residents opposed to narrowing Centre Street and that, in fact, he vigorously fought both state and city transportation agencies that wanted to do something similar on L Street and Day Boulevard in South Boston in response to the 2018 death of a young child, killed when a car involved in a crash jumped a curb.

Flaherty said he was particularly concerned about the potential loss of parking spaces in a neighborhood where, he allowed, “folks would rather give up their car than their parking spot.”

But, he told a forum at the fall meeting of the Bellevue Hill Improvement Association, the “road diet” has actually worked out well and meant “major, significant safety improvements” along L Street and Day Boulevard, and he now sees the benefits of such proposals.

Newton, of course, has been having the same discussion about putting Washington Street on a road diet. Is there a lesson to be learned from Boston and Flaherty?

A video illustrating how a road diet might work on Washington Street is no longer available but here’s a different video from Jeff Speck explaining the concept.

Jeff Speck: Four Road Diets from Cupola Media on Vimeo.







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