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Council Unanimously Approves Lower Speed Limit, Now Goes To Mayor For Approval

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 27

The city council Unanimously approved the 20 mph speed limit, it now goes to the mayor, and then (strangely) to the state…stay tuned.


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Report From The Lowering The Speed Limit Public Hearing

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 25

Lynn gave this great report on how the hearing to lower the speed limit to 20 mph in Boston went (the report was from 4 days ago, I am just now getting around to reading it).  Looks like things are going well for the effort:


Hi folks,
A few take aways from yesterday’s hearing at City Hall:
– City Council was unanimously in support of Baker’s 20 mph proposal. The Council will officially vote on the proposal next week. Assuming it passes in City Council, it would then need to be approved by the Mayor, and next would go to the statehouse.  It’s filed as a Home Rule Petition, meaning while the state would need to approve it, it provides allowance for the City of Boston only.
-While the City Council has put forth similar proposals before, they have failed to pass at the state level. The question of who/why/how the measure was previously blocked was brought up at the hearing, but no one had any definitive answer.
– BTD’s Chris Osgood, Gina Fiandaca and Vineet Gupta all highlighted that the lowering of the speed limit intersects with the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan and the work currently underway (Neighborhood slow zone pilot:Talbot-Norfolk Triangle, Priority Corridor for re-design: Mass Ave)
– The City recently installed “speed boards” and “rapid flash beacons” on cut-through streets and others noted for speeding/high crash areas. BPD noted that the speed boards capture data in real time, allowing them to know when and where they need to provide better enforcement.
– BTD said that after the intial Neighborhood Slow Zone Pilots, the plan is to create an open application process for neighborhood groups to request specific traffic calming measures in a focused area.
Read Globe coverage of the hearing here.

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Rozzie Bikes Repair Day May 14th

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 25

Got this in the email, looks like it could be a lot of fun.


Are you good with kids?

Can you pump up a tire or oil a chain?

If so, please support Rozzie Bikes by coming to one (or both) of our spring repair days.

Rozzie Bikes is not a bike shop; we are simply a group of people who want to make biking better in Roslindale.

Rozzie Bikes began Repair Days to fill a gap left by Boston Bikes Roll-it-Forward campaign that gives refurbished bikes to those in need.  Roll-it-Forward gives away many bikes to seven and eight year-olds at housing developments throughout the City of Boston.  However, there isn’t a City program to keep these bikes in good repair – the City’s short-lived Keep-it-Rolling program was not funded this year .  Many of these bikes end up not being rideable simply because the tires go flat, the chains become rusty, or something becomes loose.  Most of these problems can easily be fixed by someone with tools, parts and some knowledge of bike repair.  But many people don’t have the tools, knowledge, or spare parts to do the work themselves.  Even more don’t have the money to pay a bike shop to make the repair.

Rozzie Bikes goes to these low-income developments and fixes bikes for free.  Any bike that comes along, gets fixed.  That is as long as we have people to do the work and the spare parts.  Our local Roslindale bike shop, Busted Knuckle Bike Shop, (152 Belgrade Ave) has provided us the spare parts that we need for the past two years.  That’s where you come in.

We need people to help organize the kids, keep track of the number of bike we repair, do ABC Quick checks, pump up tires and oil chains.  If you can do more mechanical work, great – we also need people to help repair other bike parts, especially adjusting brakes and replacing brake cables.  We repair 20-30 bikes in the three hours that we are there.  It makes a huge difference to these kids to have a bike that they can ride.

We also give away helmets, donated by the Boston Cyclist’s Union, for free to help keep kids safe at these two events.

Our repair day is:

May 14 at Archdale Development from 10:30-1:30, we set up opposite the Archdale Community Center at 120 Brookway Rd.

Google Maps: https:[email protected],-71.1200613,66m/data=!3m1!1e3

I hope to see you there, we really need your help this year, please let us know if you can come by emailing me at [email protected]


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April Ghouls Day Ride April 30th!

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 25

Unbeknownst to me there is another holiday at the end of April called April Ghouls day…or at least that is what the good folks at Dot Bike would have us believe.

From the email:


You heard it here first! — April Ghoul’s Day, that overlooked holiday on the other side of the month  😉  And we’re celebrating with a bike ride!
Join us on Saturday, April 30th for a scenic tour of some of Dorchester’s most famous burying grounds. Ride will be led by David Duncan, departing from home.stead café at 10am sharp. Event is rain or shine. For more details see flyer attached.April Ghoul's Day Edits-1

 


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America’s Absurd Fascination With Cars

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 14

I was having a discussion with someone this morning and we realized that at every stage in the development of automobile infrastructure in America, other, consistently better, choices for infrastructure were available, but we continued to choose the car every time.

trafficatl

We could have built high speed rail, but we built highways.  We could have built rapid transit bus lines, but we built a snarl of traffic filled streets.  We could have built a bike and pedestrian path networks, instead we cut up neighborhoods with massive highway projects.  At every stage we took a look at all the options, and choose the worst one.

Which has lead to our current situation, where transportation spending is dominated by the needs of the automobile, and not the humans using that automobile.

Seems I am not the only one who has come to this conclusion, there is an excellent article in The Atlantic that really goes step by step in showing just how destructive American’s fascination with cars has become.

It starts off laying down some real talk:

Simply this: In almost every way imaginable, the car, as it is deployed and used today, is insane.

Then the author Edward Humes goes on to lay our in depressing and methodical detail just how horrible the car has been for America.

On efficiency:

What are the failings of cars? First and foremost, they are profligate wasters of money and fuel: More than 80 cents of every dollar spent on gasoline is squandered by the inherent inefficiencies of the modern internal combustion engine. No part of daily life wastes more energy and, by extension, more money than the modern automobile.

Would you burn 8 our of every 10 dollars you made for the freedom to get in a box and get stuck in traffic?  Because you are literally burning 80% of the money you put into that car.

boston-drag-racing-crash

 

On health:

While burning through all that fuel, cars and trucks spew toxins and particulate waste into the atmosphere that induce cancer, lung disease, and asthma. These emissions measurably decrease longevity—not by a matter of days, but years. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology calculates that 53,000 Americans die prematurely every year from vehicle pollution, losing 10 years of life on average compared to their lifespans in the absence of tailpipe emissions.

TEN YEARS!  Are we really so addicted to the “freedom” the car provides us that we would sacrifice ten years of our lives for them?!  Let alone the 50,000+ people who straight up die early every year.

06/12/15-Boston,MA. A car is seen flipped on its roof shortly after sunrise Friday on Causeway St. in the North End. The car hit a parked car and flipped. Unconfirmed media reports state 2 are dead.. Staff photo by Mark Garfinkel

On economy and global security:

There are also the indirect environmental, health, and economic costs of extracting, transporting, and refining oil for vehicle fuels, and the immense national-security costs and risks of being dependent on oil imports for significant amounts of that fuel. As an investment, the car is a massive waste of opportunity—“the world’s most underutilized asset,” the investment firm Morgan Stanley calls it. That’s because the average car sits idle 92 percent of the time. Accounting for all costs, from fuel to insurance to depreciation, the average car owner in the U.S. pays $12,544 a year for a car that puts in a mere 14-hour workweek. Drive an SUV? Tack on another $1,908.14

Sheesh…another way to look at it, is that if you ride a bicycle instead of driving you will be saving at least that much money.  Also if your bike sits around unused for 92 % of the time you will not be wasting nearly as much money, as your bike probably cost you a couple hundred dollars and doesn’t constantly need new oil filters and gasoline.  Not to mention you don’t need bicycle insurance.

beaconsmash2

 

On the Environment:

Then there is the matter of climate. Transportation is a principal cause of the global climate crisis, exacerbated by a stubborn attachment to archaic, wasteful, and inefficient transportation modes and machines. But are cars the true culprit? Airplanes, for instance, are often singled out as the most carbon-intensive form of travel in terms of emissions per passenger-mile (or per ton of cargo), but that’s not the whole story: Total passenger miles by air are miniscule compared to cars. In any given year, 60 percent of American adults never set foot on an airplane, and the vast majority who do fly take only one round trip a year. Unfortunately, air travel is not the primary problem, contributing only 8 percent of U.S. transportation-related greenhouse gases. Cars and trucks, by contrast, pump out a combined 83 percent of transportation carbon.

There is simply no doubt, our addiction to driving our cars is going to destroy the environment we need to live.  There is little point in having the “freedom to travel” if the territory you are traveling over resembles a nightmare hell-scape.  Mad Max is not an instruction manual, its a cautionary tale.

 

beaconsmash2

The unacceptable cost in lives:

Annual U.S. highway fatalities outnumber the yearly war dead during each Vietnam, Iraq, the War of 1812, and the American Revolution.

And that’s not even counting cars’ most dramatic cost: They waste lives. They are one of America’s leading causes of avoidable injury and death, especially among the young.

Jim McNamara, a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol, where officers spend 80 percent of their time responding to car wrecks, believes such public inattention and apathy arise whenever a problem is “massive but diffuse.” Whether it’s climate change or car crashes, he says, if the problem doesn’t show itself all at once—as when an airliner goes down with dozens or hundreds of people on board—it’s hard to get anyone’s attention. Very few people see what he and his colleagues witness daily and up close: what hurtling tons of metal slamming into concrete and brick and trees and one another does to the human body strapped (or, all too often, not strapped) within.

Every time you see war casualties, or terrorist attacks on the news, realize that what the news is not talking about is the thousands of deaths that month from car crashes.

If we were in a war with cars, it would be the longest and deadliest war we have ever been in. Roughly 40-50 THOUSAND people a year. Or to put it another way this is more deaths than a 9-11 scale terror attacks every month year in and year out for the last 50 years. One wonders why this isn’t the number one news story every day.

Boghosian_crash5_MET-8368

 

The article itself makes the same conclusion I have:

This disparity in attention between plane crashes and car crashes cannot be justified by their relative death tolls. Quite the contrary: In the 14 years following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, there were eight crashes on American soil of passenger planes operated by regional, national, or international carriers. The death toll in those crashes totaled 442. That averages out to fewer than three fatalities a month.

The death toll on America’s streets and highways during that same period since 9/11 was more than 400,000 men, women, and children. The traffic death toll in 2015 exceeded 3,000 a month. When it comes to the number of people who die in car wrecks, America experiences the equivalent of four airliner crashes every week.

A normal day on the road, then, is a “quiet catastrophe,” as Ken Kolosh, the statistics chief for the National Safety Council, calls it.

 

eisen_crash9_061215

Car crashes take our young people from us:

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 1 and 39. They rank in the top five killers for Americans 65 and under (behind cancer, heart disease, accidental poisoning, and suicide).

And when cars don’t outright kill us they cost us a lot of money and suffering, even if you don’t drive:

And the direct economic costs alone—the medical bills and emergency-response costs reflected in taxes and insurance payments—represent a tax of $784 on every man, woman, and child living in the U.S.

And yet we have people who will fight long and hard to keep on-street parking, and keep speed limits high, and lobby for more highways, and complain that bike lanes will make it harder to drive.

WHY?!

What has lead Americans to fight so hard for something that is so bad for them?

 

160309-cody-ferari-accident-scene-jpo-625a_9d9ee4518911da2477caa4f072d0a2f5.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

Is it the non-stop barrage of car commercials showing rich white people cruising empty streets while encased in luxury leather and listening to the latest hit song?

Could it be the massive amounts of money spent by auto industry lobbyists to promote cars over public transit?  Could it be the large oil companies spending millions to lower emission standards?

Could it be the joy that is the daily commute? Or the joy of traffic filled highways? The asthma, the obesity, the oil wars, the oil spills, the global warming, the road rage, the plowing under of nature for highways and roads, the constant bills, repairs, tickets, tolls, and insurance?

I simply don’t understand why the vast majority of city dwelling Americans own and operate their own car, especially when you consider there are a host of better, cheaper, healthier options available to them.


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Boston City Council Hearing On Lower Speed Limits In Boston

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 08

Got this in the email.  Very interesting proposal!  If we really could make speeding enforcement and lowering speeds a priority we would be much better off.

 

————————–

On April 20th there will be a hearing on Councilor Frank Baker’s proposal regarding lowering the speed limit in Boston from 30 to 20 mph. I am myself slightly confused whether the measure sets a new speed limit, or allows the speed limit to be lowered. There is a bunch of press on this you can find, one example is here.

The hearing will be held at 11AM in the Iannella Chamber on the 5th floor of the City Hall. Public notice ishere.

I asked Amy Frigulietti (Councilor Barker’s Chief of Staff) about what can be done to help get this passed, and here is what she wrote:
Spreading the word and sending testimony will be very useful in helping this effort.   Also, please feel free to encourage others to submit testimony and/or  attend the hearing, if their schedules permit. Others should also let their district city councilors, all four at-large city councilors, and the mayor know of their support.  This Home Rule Petition needs to pass the City Council and the Mayor needs to sign it.  Then it needs to pass the State Legislature.  So, the more elected offices in support, the better.
Mayor Walsh has not come out in support of this proposal, from what I read in the media, though it looks like he supported an earlier, failed, proposal to lower the speed limits.
You can email your (or an at-large) councilor to have your comments become part of the record. The public notice lists the following email addresses which the public notice recommends using for the correspondence regarding this matter:

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Noah Hicks, Bicycle Mayor Of Dorchester!

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 01

This guy is making things happen in Dorchester, seems like an awesome guy!  I used to live in the very very (very) southern point of Dorchester, and while its gotten better for cycling down there, its not nearly as good as it needs to be.

 

More great info on Noah and his message here.  He is really talking about the real issues behind cycling, as a transit option, and as a life changing technology for low income folks. I hope the city will pivot to focusing on the neighborhoods that most need these kinds of infrastructure improvements and where they will do the most good economically.

Bravo sir!


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Historic Middlesex Canal Tour 2016

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 01

from email looks like a fun time:

The Middlesex Canal Association Presents:

Spring Bicycle Tour of Historic Middlesex Canal

On Sunday, April 3, 2016, the Middlesex Canal Association will present its spring bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal.  The Canal was the “big dig” of the end of the 18thcentury.  Completed in 1803 after 10 years of construction, the Canal connected the Merrimac River in what is now Lowell with the Charles River at Sullivan Square in Charlestown.  In many ways it served as a model for later canals including the Erie Canal. The Canal remained in operation for 50 years, providing both passenger and freight service, but could not compete successfully with the Boston and Lowell Railroad which began operation in the 1830’s.

The ride will depart from the Lowell Train Stationshortly before 11AM. You can take your bicycle on the 10 AM train from North Station which arrives in Lowell at 10:43. (Riders can also board at West Medford at 10:11 or just meet at Lowell Station). This year an early group will take the8:00AM train from North Station to allow more time in Lowell and breakfast at the historic Owl Diner (<http://www.owldiner.com/>, aka the Four Sisters).  Route visits the Pawtucket and otherLowell canals, river walk, Francis Gate, and then Middlesex Canal remnants in Chelmsford. Quick visit to Canal Museum, then on to Boston.

Lunch at Route 3A mini-mall in Billerica.  Long day, but sunset is late. Riders needing to leave early can get the train to Boston at 1:07 at North Billerica or at 3:14 at Wilmington. Participants are responsible for one-way train fare [$9.25 from Boston to Lowell]. Complete Lowell line schedules can be downloaded <http://www.mbta.com/schedules_and_maps/rail/lines/?route=LOWELL> if anyone wishes to plan a rail travel itinerary specific to their needs.

The route is pretty flat and level and we will average 5 miles per hour, so the ride will be an easy one for most cyclists.  Along the way we will stop at a number of remnants and restored sections of the Canal, as well as the Mansion of Loammi Baldwin, the chief engineer of the Canal (who discovered the Baldwin apple while building the Canal), the two remaining aqueducts  (which carried the Canal over rivers and brooks), and the northern end of the floating towpath that carried horses over the Millpond.

The ride will be led by Bill Kuttner (617-241-9383, [email protected]) and Dick Bauer(857-540-6293, [email protected]) of  the Middlesex Canal Commission . Helmets required.  Steady rain cancels.
For more information about the Middlesex Canal go to:http://www.middlesexcanal.org


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Council Unanimously Approves Lower Speed Limit, Now Goes To Mayor For Approval April 27, 2016
      TweetThe city council Unanimously approved the 20 mph speed limit, it now goes to the mayor, and then (strangely) to the state…stay tuned.
      Boston Biker
    • Report From The Lowering The Speed Limit Public Hearing April 25, 2016
      TweetLynn gave this great report on how the hearing to lower the speed limit to 20 mph in Boston went (the report was from 4 days ago, I am just now getting around to reading it).  Looks like things are … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Rozzie Bikes Repair Day May 14th April 25, 2016
      TweetGot this in the email, looks like it could be a lot of fun. Are you good with kids? Can you pump up a tire or oil a chain? If so, please support Rozzie Bikes by coming to one (or … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • April Ghouls Day Ride April 30th! April 25, 2016
      TweetUnbeknownst to me there is another holiday at the end of April called April Ghouls day…or at least that is what the good folks at Dot Bike would have us believe. From the email: You heard it here first! — … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • America’s Absurd Fascination With Cars April 14, 2016
      TweetI was having a discussion with someone this morning and we realized that at every stage in the development of automobile infrastructure in America, other, consistently better, choices for infrastructure were available, but we continued to choose the car every … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Boston City Council Hearing On Lower Speed Limits In Boston April 8, 2016
      TweetGot this in the email.  Very interesting proposal!  If we really could make speeding enforcement and lowering speeds a priority we would be much better off.   ————————– On April 20th there will be a hearing on Councilor Frank Baker’s … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Shop Soap! April 5, 2016
      I have been making my own soap for a couple of years now, mostly as gifts for friends and family.  We have made all sorts of nice smelling, very good soaps, but something was missing.  I wanted a soap that was strong enough to blast off the various shop related gunk from my hands, but […]
      Boston Biker
    • After School at Open Shop! April 3, 2016
      Recently at a Wednesday Open Shop, a boy came up to me and introduced himself as Philip, a fifth grader from up the street. He said his gym teacher told him about CommonWheels and that he could learn about bikes and he was just wondering if he could fi... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • After School at Open Shop! April 3, 2016
      Recently at a Wednesday Open Shop, a boy came up to me and introduced himself as Philip, a fifth grader from up the street. He said his gym teacher told him about CommonWheels and that he could learn about bikes and he was just wondering if he could fi... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • Making Some Crow Feather Earrings April 2, 2016
      Here are some process shots from the latest group of earrings I made. First I print out the design, and then cut and rubber cement it to the copper plate. the design is cut out using a jewelers saw, then you file and polish the burs off. The feathers ready and prepped for soldering.  Silver […]
      Boston Biker