Mayor Menino Calls For Bike Lanes On Mass. Ave./Bike Safety Announcement Today

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 15

The Metro reported this morning:

Menino’s Bike Lane Demand
A week after one fatal and one near fatal bike accident Mayor Thomas Menino slammed the state for not allowing bike lanes on Mass. Ave., which is being reconstructed with state funds. “They fit on every other street,” Menino said. “Why is Mass. Ave. not able to fit bike lanes?”

This is a rather curious development as advocacy groups have been pushing very hard to get lanes on the “new” Mass. Ave. in Boston. More information when I have it.

EDIT: see above

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Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Mayor Menino Calls For Bike Lanes On Mass. Ave./Bike Safety Announcement Today”

  1. By Paul Schimek on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    My how times change. When I was a few weeks on the job, I asked a high official in the transportation department about Hyde Park Ave. That street had recently been repaved, but no pavement markings had been applied. I feared they were going to stripe it with two narrow lanes in each direction.

    I started to explain that one lane in each direction plus a left turn lane would be much safer and would leave plenty of room for bicyclists. The High Official said: I would choose another location to push this issue. It is on the Mayor’s route to work and he wants it to have two lanes.

    And so, to this day, the northern part of Hyde Park Ave, which is a necessary and useful road for bike commuters and those trying to get to recreational opportunities south of the city, remains one of the Worst Roads to Bike On in the City of Boston. The two travel lanes are less than 11 ft wide and the parking lane is 7 ft. I believe the posted speed limit is 35 mph or higher, and there are stretches where motorists generally go much faster than that.

    As is typical, the problem is mostly psychological — bicyclists are either scared off the road or harassed. That does not mean it’s not a real problem, though. It still remains an excellent candidate for a Road Diet.

    (This issue came up a bit later with Centre St in West Roxbury, and still the verdict came in: let’s design for Honking at Safe Bicyclists, Dangerous Left Turns, and Double Parking because our Traffic Experts say that otherwise Travel Will be Slow.)

  2. By Paul Schimek on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Here’s what happens when you try to park an 8.5 ft wide truck in a 7 ft wide parking lane:

    Note also the raised median that was added by the reconstruction project and that could have been used to create shareable lanes.
    (This is Hyde Park Ave as discussed in my previous comment.)

  3. By Sam on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    I was hit by a car just last Saturday on Massachusetts Ave, corner of Haviland. SUV took a left turn right into me.

    Best part was, after I got out of the ambulance (just getting some scrapes cleaned and covered), the police officer and the people who hit me had already left, leaving my broken bicycle sitting on the side of the road.

    Did anyone give me their contact information? Of course not. Thanks City of Boston Police!

  4. By mtalinm on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Paul’s exactly right about Hyde Park north of Metropolitan. Until then it’s a great bike ride, but way way too dangerous thereafter. DItto for Centre STreet south of the W. Roxbury Parkway circle.

    Wouldn’t they have to shrink Mass Ave to one lane in order to accommodate a bike lane? I know it’s on Nicole’s project list, but it seems too narrow with two lanes.

  5. By Eoin on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    I agree that it’s too narrow. If they just designated the rightmost portion of the right lane as a bike lane, it would be terribly unsafe for bicyclists.

    I ride for about a quarter of a mile on Mass Ave in Boston every day. I usually try to go down the middle of the lane, because if I drift too far to the right, some maniac will inevitably try to buzz me or right hook me.

    Personally, what I’d really like to see on Mass Ave are sharrows painted down the middle of each lane, and big signs every block saying “Bicycles may use both full lanes.” I imagine that Mr. Menino wouldn’t need permission from the state for that, because it simply asserts existing laws.

  6. By J on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Not exactly a strong announcement from Menino. Activists and the city have been trying to get bike lanes there for over a year. I think a lawsuit was even filed. Yes, Im glad that they’re still pushing for it, but I wish someone actually did something about it. I dont understand why the city cannot make decisions about a road within its borders.

    Cambridge has bike lanes on mass ave, and Arlington will be painting their own this or next year.

  7. By Charlie on Apr 15, 2010 | Reply

    Re: Mass Ave it’s possible to fit in bike lanes without removing a travel lane. I believe the proposed dimensions are 7′ parking, 5′ bike lane, 11′ travel lane, 10′ travel lane, 1′ offset.

    (I know these dimensions are not ideal in some peoples’ minds, but it’s better than not having any bike lane at all.)

  8. By Glen on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Charlie’s comments…those dimensions may not be ideal, but it’s better to have the bicycle lane than not. Some commenters apparently like to ride in the middle of an auto travel lane. I ride on Mass. Ave. in the South End all the time, and never feel safe riding in the auto lanes. Maybe I’m not as young as fit as those who like to ride with the cars. Give me the 5′ bicycle lane. It may not be ideal, but it would be far better than what we have there now.

  9. By Jay on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Paul S: “The High Official said: I would choose another location to push this issue. It is on the Mayor’s route to work and he wants it to have two lanes.”

    Very interesting… I thought I read somewhere that the Mayor has taken to biking to work in the warmer months. Does he take the same route via bike as car? Also, wasn’t he hit on his bike a while back? Where did that happend?

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