Do You Want Protected Bike Lanes On The Longfellow?

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 13

From Cambridge Bike Safety:

The Longfellow Bridge, a critical bike connector to Boston, is going to be restriped and reopened in May. You may be surprised to learn that in the final design, the inbound bike lane will be similar or worse than it is today: it will continue to have a dangerous 5 1/2-foot painted bike lane between fast-moving cars and trucks on one side, and the storm grates and detritus that builds up next to the crash barrier on the other side. The outbound lane will be slightly better, with a small 2-foot buffer separating bikes from one lane of car traffic with no protection.

According to Boston’s bike counts, one-third of AM rush hour commuters are on bicycles. Those families, commuters and visitors deserve a safe space to ride! We have been working to convince state officials to install pilot protected bike lanes by restriping both lanes, inbound and outbound, with buffers and flexposts to provide separation and permanent protection for the commuters, families, and other people traveling over this bridge on bikes.

To make this vision a reality we need to keep the pressure on state officials. Please take these two actions today to ensure help us transform the Longfellow Bridge from a highway to a safe, mulit-modal connector for everyone, including those walking and bicycling!

  1. Call or email your state representative’s and senator’s offices (look yours up here or find the list of Cambridge reps below) as soon as possible and tell them how important it is to you as a constituent that MassDOT update the design to include safe, protected bike lanes on the bridge in both directions. Please copy us or email us afterward ([email protected] and [email protected]) so we can keep a count. Talking points are below.

  2. Sign this petition asking state officials to stripe a safe bike lane with a buffer on the inbound side of the Longfellow. If you’ve already signed, share the link with your friends by email or Facebook.

Background:

A group of advocates led by the Boston Cyclists Union, Cambridge Bicycle Safety, and others has been working to convince state officials to change their plans for the inbound side of the bridge, and use painted buffers and flexposts to provide separation and permanent protection for the commuters, families, and other people traveling over this bridge on bikes.

Specifically, we are asking MassDOT to keep the bridge to one travel lane inbound for cars, in order to install an inbound protected bike lane that would allow cyclists to cross the bridge safely.

  • With only one general travel lane, the protected bike lane can be designed to be quite wide, which will have two ancillary benefits: (1) emergency vehicles like ambulances will be able to safely use the bike lane/buffer when needed (with bicyclists pulling over to the side), (2) bicyclists will be able to safely ride side by side and pass each other on the steep climb up the bridge.

  • We know that one lane is all that’s needed, given that there’s only been one car lane over the past 5+ years of construction, and the traffic implosion that had been predicted never materialized. Also, designating only one travel lane for motor vehicles will reduce speeding.

  • Due to these benefits, the Cambridge City Council officially endorsed this proposed design, and two of our state representatives, Mike Connolly and Jay Livingstone, have publicly written to MassDOT asking them to improve safety by adopting this design. (It’s still important to call Mike and Jay to thank them, so they know this is something people really care about.)

  • Also important to note: the change we are asking for can easily be made, even at this late stage. It primarily involves simply painting different lane markings on the bridge, and does not need to delay the project.

For more information, see the Boston Cyclists Union’s post on the history of the Longfellow bridge project. MassDOT’s currently planned design is using data on mode shares from 9 years ago. In that time, Cambridge bike counts have doubled, and the Longfellow bridge has operated with one vehicular inbound travel lane for 5 years without incident. The bridge must be updated to reflect current trends and emphasize safe, healthy mobility with protected bike lanes in both directions.

Be sure to include Longfellow Bridge in the subject, and if possible add a personal story why this is essential for your safe commute and enjoyment of public spaces.

Sincerely,
The CBS Core Team

Write or call your statehouse legislators using the email addresses and phone numbers below. If you don’t know who they are, visit: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Be sure to include Longfellow Bridge in the subject, copy us ([email protected] and [email protected]), and if possible add a personal story why this is essential for your safe commute and enjoyment of public spaces.

House

Rep. Dave Rogers (24th Middlesex)
617-722-2370        [email protected]

Rep. Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex)
617-722-2692        [email protected]

Rep. Mike Connolly (26th Middlesex)
617-722-2060        [email protected]

Rep. Jonathan Hecht (29th Middlesex)
617-722-2140        [email protected]

Rep. Jay Livingstone (8th Suffolk)
617-722-2013        [email protected]

Rep. Denise Provost (27th Middlesex, Somerville)
617-722-2263        [email protected]

Senate

Sen. Patricia Jehlen (2nd Middlesex)
617-722-1578        [email protected]

Sen. Sal DiDomenico (Middlesex and Suffolk)
617-722-1650        [email protected]

Sen. Joseph Boncore (1st Suffolk and Middlesex)
617-722-1634        [email protected]


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