New Bike Lanes On Harvard Ave. In Allston

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 12

I have been getting reports of new bike lanes on Harvard Ave. in Allston. Does anyone have pictures of this yet? Anyone ride down it yet?

Update: pictures!

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Posted in infrastructure | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “New Bike Lanes On Harvard Ave. In Allston”

  1. By Grim on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    I rode south on this just this morning. I did note that the southern lane is pretty solid the whole way, but the northern lane dips in and out, and at the very end near Cambridge street it disappears altogether – exactly where it is most necessary. Fail.

  2. By hoolese on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    The off and on again thing with Bostons bike lanes seem to be their M.O. Whenever it comes to a tough intersection or when the street narrows, Menino has taken the approach that the bike lane should suffer for the betterment of the SUV crowd. This is added to the fact that bike lanes are used as parking lanes when they are up against the sidewalk (instead of between parked cars and travel lanes). The Jamaica Pond lanes and the lane near Forest Hills MBTA often have cars, without tickets, parked in them. I asked the city about it and they said Boston traffic people don’t work on the weekends. Right, no one gets tix in the south end on Saturdays. Bostons bike lanes are just for show, there is no enforcement of them and they start and stop so often they are worse than useless, they tease what could have been.

  3. By yikesbikes on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    There is always room for improvement but there are few things that make me happier than new bike lanes. This is a step in the right direction.

  4. By Marianna on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    In response to hoolese’s comment, what I don’t get is why the city doesn’t seem to want to MAKE money ticketing these cars. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel!

  5. By Charlie on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    This is great news! The challenge for Harvard Ave is that the curb to curb width is not the same along the entire length of the street. You typically need 44′ minimum for there to be room for a 10′ travel lane, 5′ bike lane, and 7′ parking lane in each direction. Just north of Brighton Ave, Harvard Ave is narrower than this, so sharrows are the only option without removing parking. Since this is the center of a business district where parking is already in short supply, I would guess that removing parking is not something on the table at the moment. I hope that at some point it could be looked at so that the bike lanes could be continuous. Allston is ripe for some better parking management.

  6. By J on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    Are these the lanes the city said would be installed in November of last year?

  7. By Boston Biker on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    J: I am not sure, would you be mad if they said they would install them in November but didn’t get around to them till last week? I mean I can understand being a little miffed that it took them a long time, but we are suffering a rather bad economy, and the weather (since about November) has not been exactly amenable to installing road lines.

  8. By teeheehee on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    I walked by the stretch between Cambridge and Brighton during lunch today – I remarked in my utmost (and quite repulsive) giddy way until I realized there was a lane on only one side. Charlie’s right that it’s a pretty tight fit in that section, thought I don’t recall actually seeing sharrows on the side without the lane.

    Also, the uncontrolled crosswalk (no lights, etc.) near the post office had a middle-of-the-road post that wasn’t there before.

    Grim, or whoever else, if you happen to take it from Cambridge towards Brookline I’d like to know your thoughts – I might have a chance to check it out later today but can’t be sure, yet.

    I wonder how many miles this adds to Boston’s system, and if it counts as a mile if predominantly only one side is marked.

  9. By teeheehee on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    I just checked it out; they had to move the center line on the section of road between Brighton and Cambridge in order to make enough room for the one lane. I saw no markings on the other lane, was hoping to see sharrows or something. From Brighton Ave heading towards Brookline there are lanes on both sides, and they end at the bubble-wart pavement where lanes pre-existed (on the way in to Brookline).

    Oh, and as expected some drivers think a bike lane makes for excellent double-parking. I had to give one car driver a Significant Glare, also snapped a pic for posterity. On the way back I was a bit squeezed between some parked vehicles and some encroachers immediately to the left who don’t know how to drive within the lines.

    Unfortunately I would not say I felt any safer in these lanes – they’re probably very much needed here but the drivers are going to be the ones that make the ultimate difference and this road is just too trafficked. Another observation: when some cars were approaching the middle-of-the-road crosswalk signs they swerved to the right in a way that would be dangerous to anyone parallel to them in the lane – on the side with no lane there’s no hope whatever! Take the lane on that stretch, it’s the safest thing to do.

  10. By J on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    Boston Biker, it bothers me that none of the city bike lanes have been on schedule. The comm ave bike lanes (kenmore to public garden) were supposed to be painted LAST april. The harvard ave bike lanes were supposed to come in November. It’s inexcusable that painting a white line can take 6 months longer than expected, and remember, this is on top of the 18 month “review” process the city insists happens.

    Meanwhile, cities like DC can put in a 2 mile contraflow lane separated from parking less than 4 months after announcing them.

    And it’s not just bike lanes. Mexico city took 6 months from announcing a bike share system to having it available. How about the Boston bixi system? It was supposed to start in May, and now supposedly July, but they havent announced anything since last year. No subscriptions, no maps, no details. The process has been going on for over 2 years.

  11. By Boston Biker on Apr 12, 2010 | Reply

    J: I think you dramatically underestimate the effort it takes to design and implement a well designed bike lane (or for that matter even a half assed bike lane). not to mention the unique challenges that a person wishing to do so in a city like Boston faces.

    I would suggest humbly that you might be more happy if you championed and encouraged the infrastructure projects that get done, rather than dwell on the face that they might not happen on time.

    I would also suggest (again humbly) that if you want them to go faster, bitching about it wont help. Most of the political realities of Boston are done behind closed doors. One must be very careful to mix public pressure with “its who you know” style politics.

    Or long story short, its a lot more complicated than you think, and we should be happy with what we got, while fighting for more.

  12. By Marianna on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    THE LANES ON HARVARD ARE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PIMP! They’re wide and (I think) a little further from the curb than usual, so I think there is more non-door-zone lane than in some other locations. Maybe it’s just my interminable optimism (har har har). I guess they’re largely symbolic because there was no road widening or anything, but they make a huge difference visually. They continue for at least a little bit between Comm and Beacon, too, they were just installing them a half hour ago.

  13. By J on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    Boston Biker, don’t lecture me on the political realities of Boston. I’ve worked with the city on bike related issues, including meetings with Nicole. I’ve also met with politicians in Cambridge, Boston, Somerville and Brookline.

    Boston is not as unique as it claims to be. Narrow streets? NYC is packed with streets that are less wide than many in Boston but have green bike lanes. NIMBYs? They exist absolutely everywhere. If NYC is too far off of an example, one only has to look towards Cambridge. Please elaborate on the unique challenges Boston faces.

    In fact, installing bike lanes should be even easier in Boston than elsewhere because of the power the mayor holds. For better or for worse, it’s menino who decides what does or doesn’t get built in this city.

    “I would also suggest (again humbly) that if you want them to go faster, bitching about it wont help.”

    Nodding along and praising the “improvements” we get does not yield any result. Results are obtained through bitching, in person, through letters, at community meetings, and yes, even online. Saying “great job” doesn’t help when the job is badly done (Columbus street) or done extremely late. Just because we expect government projects to be late and over budget doesn’t mean we have to take it.

  14. By Xue on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    Eric took pictures of city workers painting the pictures of little dudes riding bikes last night…

  15. By Boston Biker on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    I was suggesting that the political climate IS the problem here, not the physical one.

  16. By blixkit on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    Now if only they would tackle the rest of N. Harvard Street.

  17. By 100psi on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with what J writes. I’m tired of being grateful for stale table scraps.

    The lanes on Columbus Ave. are useless, more dangerous than no lanes at all. And of course there’s the giant square hole on the Comm. Ave. lane, along with street parking the entire length of them.

    Bicycling magazine writes that Tuscon, AZ, a city with less population than Boston, has “has more than 700 miles of designated bikeways.” !!!

    What are we waiting for?

    And where was the bicycle Mayor after the two accidents last week? No press conference after a fatality of a cycling college student, in a college town?

  18. By Ray C on Apr 13, 2010 | Reply

    Here are some of the “bike lane” I took today:

  19. By Aaron on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    I rode on the lanes today. In the past I would’ve avoided Harvard Ave (because it would be slow with so much traffic and nonsense, not for safety reasons).

    At morning rush-hour it was quite pleasant as I was able to roll by all the stopped cars with little difficulty (going from Cambridge St. to Coolidge).

    I agree with Boston Biker about the challenges of getting infrastructure added. I also agree that it makes sense to hope and work for better, and to never give up on that, but we also have to recognize the reality of the situation. We live in an old city with old infrastructure and old politics.

  20. By teeheehee on Apr 14, 2010 | Reply

    Looks like they added the sharrows on the North-bound section betwixt Brighton Ave and Cambridge St.

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