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Cambridge Fast Tracks Inman Square Redesign

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 30

The city of Cambridge has decided to fast track the redesign of Inman square after the recent death there.

Sigh…seems the best way to get shitty infrastructure fixed is to have someone die in it.

We saw the same thing happen to Mass. Ave. at the base of the bridge in Boston after a death there.

And just like the dangerous intersection at the base of the Boston side of the Mass. Ave. bridge, city government has known for years that Inman square was a dangerous intersection.   It appears as if it took a fatality to get construction prioritized though.

We have data on where the dangerous intersections are, they should be first in line for redesign.  We can not wait until someone is killed to fix them.

Unlike the Boston improvements, Cambridge does seem committed to a comprehensive re-do of the entire intersection, rather than just putting down some paint and bollards.

 

From the city of Cambridge:
That the City Manager is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, Department of Public Works, Community Development Department, Fire Department, Police Department and Budget Department and other relevant City departments to fast-track plans to completely redesign and reconstruct Inman Square’s dangerous 5-street intersection, prioritizing the safety of people who bike and walk.

Information

Department: City Clerk’s Office, JD Sponsors: Councillor Jan Devereux, Councillor Dennis J. Carlone, Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen
Category: Policy Order

Attachments

  1. Printout
  2. ORIGINAL ORDER

Body

WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge has committed to Vision Zero and Complete Streets policies to improve safety for all modes, especially vulnerable users like people who walk and bike; and
WHEREAS: The City’s Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department held a community meeting on June 22nd to present preliminary concept designs for reconfiguring the 5-street intersection at Inman Square, whose crash rate exceeds the MassDOT average and whose long and awkward crossings are known to be particularly dangerous to people who bike and walk; and
WHEREAS: The City of Somerville is reconstructing Beacon Street with protected bike lanes; Beacon Street becomes Hampshire Street in Inman Square and the two streets carry a very high volume of people commuting on bicycles to and from Kendall Square and Boston; and
WHEREAS: On June 23, 2016, a young Cambridge resident, Amanda Phillips, was tragically killed on Cambridge Street near Inman Square; preliminary reports indicate that she was riding past a line of parked cars when a car door was opened on the driver’s side, knocking Amanda off her bike and into the path of a large truck; and
WHEREAS: “Dooring” is well known to be one of the leading causes of crashes involving people who bike, and protected bike paths are widely preferred by people who bike because the potential for being accidentally doored is greatly reduced and because the potential for cars and delivery trucks blocking on-street bike lanes is also greatly reduced; and
WHEREAS: The City’s Bicycle Network Plan shows protected bike lanes on both Hampshire and Cambridge Streets; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department, Department of Public Works, Community Development Department, Fire Department, Police Department and Budget Department and other relevant City departments to fast-track plans to completely redesign and reconstruct Inman Square’s dangerous 5-street intersection, prioritizing the safety of people who bike and walk; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with all appropriate departments to establish a firm and accelerated timetable and budget for the installation of protected bike lanes on Hampshire and Cambridge Streets; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with Public Safety officials, the Public Information Office and other staff to launch a high-profile public education campaign on the dangers of “dooring” to people who bike; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to require all city contractors operating trucks in Cambridge to install safety side guards as soon as possible; and be it further
ORDERED: That a future public plaza be created as part of the redesign of Inman Square and said public plaza be dedicated to and in the names of Amanda Phillips, Marcia Deihl and other bicyclists that have lost their lives.

 


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Jeff Jacoby Is A Dirty Sleaze Bag Who Tries To Get Attention When Cyclists Die

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 29

It seems Jeff Jacoby, resident murderous goon at the Globe, likes to make stupid public statements after cyclists are killed to try and squeeze just a little more attention for himself and his horrific view points.  I wrote way back in 2015 how stupid he was for doing this, and at the time he got a huge amount of push-back.

Seems he has learned only bad lessons from this behaviour, as he is once again trying to capitalize on the recent death of Amanda Philips.  

It would appear from the twitter responses though that the internet is no longer taking any of his shit.

here is his masterful insight on display…

The universal reaction to him was pretty much “what the fuck are you talking about Jeff?”

Below is a sample, see here for the whole thing (there are dozens of them).


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Drunk Driver Gets 12 Years For Killing Cyclist In Dorchester

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 29

In a rare turn of events a motorist was actually sentenced to jail time for killing a cyclists. All it took was him being drunk and driving without a license.  Nothing will bring back young Fritz Philogene, but at least justice has been served in some small way.  My heart goes out to the family.

 

from uhub:

 

A Dorchester man who admitted he was drunk when he took the life of a teenager waiting to cross the street with his bicycle was sentenced today to 12 years in state prison, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office reports.

Gregory McCoy, 27, pleaded guilty to manslaughter while operating under the influence, leaving the scene of a collision causing death, and leaving the scene of a collision causing injury for the death of Fritz Philogene, 18.

According to the DA’s office:

Had the case proceeded to trial, Assistant District Attorney Gregory Henning would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove that McCoy was driving a friend’s 2012 Cadillac CTS at a high rate of speed in a residential area as he approached the intersection of Norwell Street and Talbot Avenue on the night of May 19, 2015. The Cadillac slammed into the rear of a BMW stopped at a red light, sending both vehicles careening through the intersection just before 10:10 pm.

Philogene, who was at the corner with his bicycle and apparently waiting to cross the street, was struck and died at the scene. Henning would have proven that Philogene’s fatal injuries came as a result of McCoy’s actions.

The crash also injured the 33-year-old driver of the BMW and McCoy’s passenger, a 26-year-old Quincy man who owned the Cadillac.

The evidence would also have shown that McCoy extricated himself from the badly-damaged Cadillac and fled the scene on foot, leaving a blood trail from the vehicle’s final resting point to his neighborhood.


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You Can’t Fix Shitty Design With Signs And Spray Paint

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 28

Want proof?  Ride over the Longfellow bridge “bike path.”

Every day I ride over the Longfellow, and ever day the farce that is the “bike path” gets more and more hilarious (and now that its warm, more and more dangerous.)

I started off skeptical of the paths design, noticing that the it was far too narrow, had odd turns, choke points, blind traffic interactions, lots of hazards, strange elevation changes, and most troubling thing was that the “sidewalk” was now the “bike lane.”  I thought it was horrible then, now I think its even worse.

Before I document the latest hilarious attempt to rescue this failed attempt at a bike path let me just recount some of the things I have personally seen on this path over the last couple months:

  • Crashes involving two cyclists on the Boston side of the bridge, where the path narrows dramatically while people are rolling down hill meeting folks struggling up hill
  • Crashes involving a cyclist and pedestrian on the Cambridge side of the bridge, as cyclists were heading down the hill and pedestrians were entering the “bike path” from the blind side on the left
  • Pedestrians tripping and falling from all the unmarked, and hard to see curbs and metal posts sticking out
  • Joggers with headphones not notice they are about to run into an oncoming bike until it was nearly too late
  • People with jogging strollers running into metal posts on the ground nearly throwing their child to the ground
  • Fucking Segway tours clogging up the path while they take pictures
  • Cyclists arguing with pedestrians constantly about who should or should not be on the path
  • Overheard this exchange “You can’t be on this bridge, I have a torn rotator cuff because a jogger ran out in front of me on this very path and caused me to crash, you need to go over there to the sidewalk” to which the three people responded “Too bad we are tourists!” and continued to walk over the bridge
  • I personally had to ask the construction people to remove the green dust control fencing from one half of the “path” because it blocked the view of people entering the path from seeing if people were coming down the bridge

And now it seems that someone besides me must have noticed because the already ridiculous situation on the bridge has become ludicrous.

Here is the view as you approach the Cambridge side:

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1 sign telling pedestrians not to walk on the bridge, 2 signs telling them where they should walk instead, and 2 signs clearly stating that this path is for cyclists only.  Someone has also taken a can of pink spray paint and highlighted all the things you are likely to run into, you can see one such example above, none of which will do any good in the dark.

Seems pretty heavy handed, but you ain’t seen nothing yet.

From the Boston side:

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(See that board on the ground above, it was another sign that had blown over in the wind…I flipped it back up.)

20160628_171045

(notice you can’t see who is coming down the path from this location, this happens a lot on this side)

Lets run this down… At the entrance to the path there are two giant “no pedestrian” signs using universal symbols, a giant “sidewalk closed” sign using words, two giant “bikes here” signs using symbols, stripped barriers, multiple bike markings on the ground, sharrows, a sign further down that says “bikes only” ANOTHER no pedestrians sign after that, AND a sign telling pedestrians where to walk.  Someone has also added cones to most of the metal poll sticking out into the ground (the rest got the same ineffective pink paint treatment as the Cambridge side), oh yea and the sign I flipped back up saying this path is for cyclists…

That is a lot of signs…at this point you might be asking yourself “did it do any good” and the answer would be “fuck no it didn’t do shit.”

You can see in the photograph above, the final person in a line of Segway riders blasting down the path at high speed, he was followed by a flood of pedestrians, joggers, strollers, roller carts, and all manner of non-cyclist traffic…in short you can’t fix shitty design with signs.  Short of posting armed guards on both ends of the bridge this is going to continue.

The reason why so many people are walking on a path that is clearly not for them is because…it makes total sense that they should want to!  It’s the most convenient path for them to take.  This has been a pedestrian path for years, the other side isn’t that pleasant to walk down.  This side of the bridge has a better view of the city, it is easier for more foot traffic to reach, and there is a spooky underpass detour on the Cambridge side if you go the “right” way.  They are following their desire lines.  Its no wonder the “bike path” is anything but.

All the things that make this a great pedestrian path, also make it a horrible bike path.  Its too narrow, has strange approaches, is hard to ride into and out of safely, it makes you take strange traffic diversions, puts you in conflict with traffic (cars, pedestrians, AND other cyclists), and is bumpy too boot!

What a mess…

I still think the best option would have been to close the bridge to automobile traffic, turn the portion of road that is open into a two way bike path, and allow emergency vehicles to go over the bridge both ways.

There are so few cars able to make it over the bridge as it is currently configured, that it would matter little to overall traffic flow.  With the increase in walking, cycling, and public transit the traffic would quickly take up the slack as people adapted.

Instead we have this horrible design that puts cyclists and pedestrians (the main users of the bridge at this point), in dangerous conflict with each other, restricts emergency vehicle use of the bridge, makes everyone unhappy, just so we can allow a couple of cars to putt slowly over it each day.

Are we designing for people, or are we designing for cars?  It’s time to decide, because this shitty design is going to get someone killed.


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Amanda Phillips Dies After Being Hit By A Truck

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 24

As we mentioned yesterday there was a horrible crash in Inman Square.

 

Sadly Amanda Phillips has succumbed to her injuries and has died.

 

A 27-year-old woman was killed Thursday after she was hit by a truck while riding her bicycle in Inman Square, a four-way intersection often jammed with cars, pedestrians, MBTA buses, and bikers, authorities said.

Amanda Phillips of Cambridge was struck by a landscaping truck at 12:17 p.m. at the intersection of Hampshire and Cambridge streets, said Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan and Cambridge Police Commissioner Christopher Burke in a statement Thursday night. Phillips was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was later pronounced dead, they said.

“She was really one of the sweetest, smartest clients that I have,” Pinho said. “She was a really gentle girl.”

Phillips worked full time as a barista at Diesel Cafe in Somerville, had graduated from Harvard University, and planned on pursuing a career in health care, Pinho said.

The Diesel Cafe owners lamented Phillips’s death in a statement.

“We are all heartbroken,” Jennifer Park and Tucker Lewis said. “She was an amazing friend, employee, co-worker and human being. We are sure that the world is a little less without her.

Phillips was a student at the MGH Institute of Health Professions, a graduate school in Charlestown founded by Mass. General, according to her Facebook page.

“She really loved to exercise. That was her big thing,” Pinho said, adding that Phillips also doted on her two pets, a dog and cat.

My heart goes out to her friends and family, we must not rest until our roads are safe for all users.

EDIT: I am getting reports that Amanda was doored and then flew into the path of a large truck, these are unconfirmed, but if true mirror what happened last year when a cyclists was doored and then hit by a bus.

The solution for this must be better designed bike lanes that have a barrier between the parked cars, the cyclists, and another one between the cyclists and the moving traffic. If there is not enough space for this infrastructure remove the on-street parking.

Our goal should be less car use, not more. All the research shows its better in so many ways. We can not continue to allow people to be killed by lazy people failing to look behind them before opening their god damn car door.


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Serious Accident In Inman Square, Cyclist Currently In Surgery

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 23

Yet another potentially deadly interaction between a large truck and a cyclist.  I hope she recovers.

More info when I get it.

From The Globe:

Cambridge police are asking the public to stay clear of a portion of the Inman Square area as they investigate a crash between a cyclist and motor vehicle.

According to a tweet from the department’s account, the incident happened at the intersection of Hampshire and Cambridge Streets, in the heart of the square.
Jeremy Warnick, a spokesman for the department, said the crash occurred just after noon Thursday. He said the victim, a 27-year-old Cambridge woman, was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries.

“From my understanding she is undergoing surgeries at this stage,” he said.

The circumstances of the crash remain under investigation, but Warnick said the vehicle involved in the incident — a landscaping truck — remained on scene.


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Summer Bike Adventure For MassBike!

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 22

This looks like an awesome way to go on a great ride and help MassBike at the same time.


If your summer needs a little more fun and adventure, you’re in luck – there’s still time to sign up for Cycle Massachusetts!  Whether you’re a hardcore cyclist or just getting started, we’re known as the Friendliest Ride in the East and we’d be delighted to welcome you.

There’s just a few weeks left to sign up for this tour – the ride is between July 30th and August 5th (join us from 2 to 7 days – it’s your choice!) and the registration deadline is July 15th.

Each year, we pick a different part of Massachusetts to explore.  This year, we start and finish in at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts.  We’ll also visit three additional states and ride in the famous Berkshire Mountains!

We have a NEW family-friendly weekend and a great group discount – and all the proceeds from the ride support the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, so Sign up today

***

Tweet:  Bring your friends to Cycle Mass, the Friendliest Ride in the East – groups of 6 or more get a club discount: www.cyclema.com

***

Facebook post:  There’s still time to join Cycle Massachusetts, the Friendliest Ride in the East. Explore four states and the Berkshires too.  Bring your friends (there’s a group discount!) and ride for a week; bring your kids to our special family-friendly weekend.  Conveniently located just an hour from Boston! All proceeds benefit Massbike – make 2016 your year to explore the Bay State by bike. www.cyclema.com


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Dedicated Bike Lanes, Other Improvements On Comm. Ave.

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 22

From U-Hub


State transportation officials signed off today on a $20.4-million reconstruction project along a bicycle-unfriendly stretch of Commonwealth Avenue that will include dedicated bicycle lanes on both sides of the road and wider sidewalks on both sides.

Although only 0.63 miles long, the avenue between Alcorn Street and the BU Bridge is used by an estimated 30,000 pedestrians, 3,000 bicyclists, 27,000 Green Line riders who get off and on at the four stops along the way and 35,000 motorists.

State Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin – who formerly served in a similar role for the city of Boston – sad in a statement:

This project is an opportunity to make major multi-modal improvements to one of the main arteries into Boston. The reconstruction will make traveling to and from work every day safer and easier for all types of commuters.


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Cambridge Fast Tracks Inman Square Redesign June 30, 2016
      TweetThe city of Cambridge has decided to fast track the redesign of Inman square after the recent death there. Sigh…seems the best way to get shitty infrastructure fixed is to have someone die in it. We saw the same thing … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Jeff Jacoby Is A Dirty Sleaze Bag Who Tries To Get Attention When Cyclists Die June 29, 2016
      TweetIt seems Jeff Jacoby, resident murderous goon at the Globe, likes to make stupid public statements after cyclists are killed to try and squeeze just a little more attention for himself and his horrific view points.  I wrote way back in … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Drunk Driver Gets 12 Years For Killing Cyclist In Dorchester June 29, 2016
      TweetIn a rare turn of events a motorist was actually sentenced to jail time for killing a cyclists. All it took was him being drunk and driving without a license.  Nothing will bring back young Fritz Philogene, but at least justice … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • You Can’t Fix Shitty Design With Signs And Spray Paint June 28, 2016
      TweetWant proof?  Ride over the Longfellow bridge “bike path.” Every day I ride over the Longfellow, and ever day the farce that is the “bike path” gets more and more hilarious (and now that its warm, more and more dangerous.) I … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • You Can’t Fix Shitty Design With Signs And Spray Paint June 28, 2016
      TweetWant proof?  Ride over the Longfellow bridge “bike path.” Every day I ride over the Longfellow, and ever day the farce that is the “bike path” gets more and more hilarious (and now that its warm, more and more dangerous.) I … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • You Can’t Fix Shitty Design With Signs And Spray Paint June 28, 2016
      TweetWant proof?  Ride over the Longfellow bridge “bike path.” Every day I ride over the Longfellow, and ever day the farce that is the “bike path” gets more and more hilarious (and now that its warm, more and more dangerous.) I … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Amanda Phillips Dies After Being Hit By A Truck June 24, 2016
      TweetAs we mentioned yesterday there was a horrible crash in Inman Square.   Sadly Amanda Phillips has succumbed to her injuries and has died.   A 27-year-old woman was killed Thursday after she was hit by a truck while riding … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Amanda Phillips Dies After Being Hit By A Truck June 24, 2016
      TweetAs we mentioned yesterday there was a horrible crash in Inman Square.   Sadly Amanda Phillips has succumbed to her injuries and has died.   A 27-year-old woman was killed Thursday after she was hit by a truck while riding … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Amanda Phillips Dies After Being Hit By A Truck June 24, 2016
      TweetAs we mentioned yesterday there was a horrible crash in Inman Square.   Sadly Amanda Phillips has succumbed to her injuries and has died.   A 27-year-old woman was killed Thursday after she was hit by a truck while riding … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Serious Accident In Inman Square, Cyclist Currently In Surgery June 23, 2016
      TweetYet another potentially deadly interaction between a large truck and a cyclist.  I hope she recovers. More info when I get it. From The Globe: Cambridge police are asking the public to stay clear of a portion of the Inman … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker