Give Matt A Hand

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 06

Anyone know any info that could help this guy out?


hi, I am a longtime area resident but new to biking.

I ride in from the south with MIT as my destination. This morning I came in on the Washington St. bike lane to the Pierre Lallement trail and then to Columbus Street. I turned left on Mass Ave and crossed the bridge. All was wonderful except for Mass Ave, which was somewhat terrifying for a first-timer like me.

On the way home I instead crossed the Longfellow Park bridge, and then took Charles St. to Dartmouth and then back to the Columbus Street bike lane. Neither Charles nor Dartmouth was as scary as Mass Ave but still not great.

I’m wondering, are there other/better ways to get from Columbus to the bridges? Alternatively, I could come up the Jamaicaway bike path and try to get to the B.U. bridge (once it reopens) though I don’t know the best connection to do that.

Thanks for any advice!

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Posted in Questions, routes | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Give Matt A Hand”

  1. By geoff on Nov 6, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Matt, this is right on my once-a-week commute:
    J-way Google map

    you can ride up the J-way and when the path hits park street, cross and take a left. on the map at point-B, there’s a very convenient alleyway there that will take you straight to point-C. at point-D, there’s a bike/foot overpass that takes you straight to the esplanade along the river. From there, you can get on the longfellow bridge, i guess, but I take it all the way to north station.

    hope this helps — I personally like the J-way better than the southwest corridor since there aren’t so many stops, and it seems a bit safer.

  2. By Charlie on Nov 6, 2009 | Reply

    Hey Matt,

    I commute almost daily from Field’s Corner to MIT. I take a few different routes depending on the day or whim. Here they are: — fastest route. Traffic on Blue Hill isn’t that pleasant, but the other roads aren’t bad. Northampton st. only works northbound unless you want to go wrong way on a one-way street; I just take Mass ave the whole way back going south. — Lowest traffic route. It took me a long time to learn all the turns, though, it’s a total zig-zag through north Dorchester/Roxbury. I take this one when I’m feeling relaxed. — simplest route (basically Dorchester Ave and Massachusetts Ave). These roads have higher traffic, but they are fairly wide, which is sometimes better than moderate traffic on a narrow street. I take this route when I feel like riding as fast as I can (but not necessarily getting there fastest).

    Wish it were better, but this is the best I’ve yet found. 🙂

  3. By William Furr on Nov 6, 2009 | Reply

    I bike Mass Ave from Cambridge to Huntington Ave every day. It’s really not that bad. There’s some potholes to watch out for, but I haven’t had a problem yet.

    The BU bridge is open to cyclists now, too. The sharrows are right in the middle of the lane and there are several signs stating “bicyclists have full use of lane”. So when you’re crossing the BU bridge, just take the whole lane and go at your own pace. You’re not going to ruin someone’s life by making them cross the bridge at 12-15 mph.

    Hopefully when they’re done with it, it’ll have a nice bike lane. 🙂

  4. By SJ-special on Nov 6, 2009 | Reply

    I would also suggest writing to the Bike Czar of Boston. Not because I think that she’s going to be super helpful, but because she needs to hear from people that a bike-lane here and a bike lane there doesn’t make a city bike friendly.
    [email protected]

  5. By matt on Nov 6, 2009 | Reply

    thanks all – this is most helpful! maybe I was just chicken on Mass Ave, but the motorists seemed quite aggressive.

    Geoff: great idea to try the Jamaicaway. will give that a shot, including your shortcut from ‘B’ to ‘C’.

  6. By J on Nov 7, 2009 | Reply

    William, the BU bridge will have bike lanes on either side when construction is done in late 2011. Until then, there will be moving sharrows (there will be three different phases of work on the bridge), as they do the left, right, then center.

    DCR is in charge, and theyre using the same system on the dam bridge.

  7. By matt on Nov 11, 2009 | Reply

    I found a nice way of avoiding mass ave.

    just continue on columbus ave to west newton, then turn left and follow onto belevedere. hang a right on dalton, jump across boylston to hereford, and then reconnect with mass ave via back st. the turn from back st onto mass ave is the end of on-street parking, and you’re clear across the bridge.

    was a nice ride from westwood to MIT this morning (13m), especially w/holiday traffic!

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