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3 Simple Design Elements For Safer Intersections

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 24

Lets copy this all over the place…

 


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Long Time Advocate Jackie DeWolfe Leaves Livable Streets

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 04

She has done a great job and will be sorely missed, her farewell letter below:


It is bittersweet to write to you that next Friday, August 12 marks my last day on staff at LivableStreets. I have been appointed Director of Sustainable Mobility at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation where I will continue to work on improving our streets, public spaces, and transit.

As I prepare for my departure, I’ve had fun reminiscing. I started volunteering at LivableStreets more than eight years ago and was immediately hooked by LivableStreets’ founders.  They were rethinking transportation and simultaneously rethinking the role of advocacy to forge new partnerships to create more livable communities.  LivableStreets instilled in me the belief that streets are our public space. Transportation options are key to quality of life because they unlock access to what you need and want.  Streets should be designed to accommodate people regardless of age or ability.

Today, LivableStreets has become what we had hoped for, a thriving organization with an active membership. I’m so proud of what we have accomplished together. I’m even more excited for what’s next for LivableStreets. We now have four full time staff, six summer staff, and hundreds of volunteers working on initiatives across Metro Boston. We have championed changing the conversation to integrate walking, biking and transit facilities into transportation projects to provide people more transportation options.

Whether you have volunteered, donated, shared your story, participated in one of our campaigns, worked at a partner organization, led efforts in your own neighborhood, spoke at a public meeting, or attended an event – thank you. When people ask, “Who makes up the LivableStreets Alliance?” the answer is you!

Together we have accomplished a lot in 8 years, but there is still a long way to go. We are at a pivotal moment as the Commonwealth and communities across the country grapple with how to improve safety, mobility, and sustainability, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic. I look forward to working on these important issues in my new role, and LivableStreets will be hiring to continue to do so as well. Deputy Director Stacy Thompson who has been my co-pilot for the past year and half will step in as Interim Executive Director.

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I hope to see you before I go! LivableStreets will be hosting a goodbye party onThursday, August 11, from 6 to 8pm at Central Wharf Co, 160 Milk Street, Boston. Please come to raise a glass!  If you can’t make it, we are also hosting two summeropen houses Friday, August 5, 8-10 AM and Tuesday, August 9, 4-6 PM at LivableStreets office, 100 Sidney Street, Cambridge. Come on by!

Thank you again for a wonderful eight years.

Sincerely,

Screen_Shot_2016-08-02_at_10.14.03.png

Jackie DeWolfe

livablestreets.info


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Councillor Michelle Wu Wants Your Help To Find Places For Better Bike Lanes

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 18

So lets tell her!

 

From Facebook

Need some crowd-sourcing help to move protected cycling infrastructure! Can we generate a list of all the road segments in Boston where there’s already a painted bike lane next to parked cars? i.e. where we could flip the bike lane and on-street parking to form a cycle track between sidewalk and parking. I’ll compile from the comments – please identify cross streets to delineate where possible. Thanks!


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No Need To Imagine New Infrastructure, Just Copy What Works

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 13

Here is something I would love to see here.


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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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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.)

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(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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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

    • Longfellow Bridge Cyclist Traffic Moved Again, Pedestrian and Cyclist Traffic Combined August 29, 2016
      TweetFor months anyone cycling over the Longfellow has had to follow an ever changing series of signs, battle large amount of people walking in places they shouldn’t and in general have a less than good experience, all so we can … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Cyclist Killed When Struck By Commuter Rail In Somerville August 29, 2016
      TweetI rode past this scene yesterday and was not aware of what had happened, only that a lot of police were there, and the road was blocked off. Very sad, my heart goes out to his friends and family. A … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Ghost Bike Removed Hours After Installed August 24, 2016
      TweetIn Lincoln apparently even placing a ghost bike is too much for the locals. From the globe: More than anything, Erik Limpaecher was surprised. The Concord resident late Sunday night erected a “ghost bike” along a busy road in the … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Ghost Bike Removed Hours After Installed August 24, 2016
      TweetIn Concord apparently even placing a ghost bike is too much for the locals. From the globe: More than anything, Erik Limpaecher was surprised. The Concord resident late Sunday night erected a “ghost bike” along a busy road in the … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Ghost Bike Removed Hours After Installed August 24, 2016
      TweetIn Concord apparently even placing a ghost bike is too much for the locals. From the globe: More than anything, Erik Limpaecher was surprised. The Concord resident late Sunday night erected a “ghost bike” along a busy road in the … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • 3 Simple Design Elements For Safer Intersections August 24, 2016
      TweetLets copy this all over the place…  
      Boston Biker
    • Gilooly’s presentation August 15, 2016
      TweetDeputy Commissioner James Gilooly’s presentation about the planned separate bikeways on Commonwealth Avenue is online at the URL below. I am preparing a version synchronized to his talk about it at the 2015 Moving Together conference and will announce that … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • Gilooly’s presentation August 15, 2016
      TweetDeputy Commissioner James Gillily’s presentation about the planned separate bikeways on Commonwealth Avenue is online at the URL below. I am preparing a version synchronized to his talk about it at the 2015 Moving Together conference and will announce that … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • Long Time Advocate Jackie DeWolfe Leaves Livable Streets August 4, 2016
      TweetShe has done a great job and will be sorely missed, her farewell letter below: It is bittersweet to write to you that next Friday, August 12 marks my last day on staff at LivableStreets. I have been appointed Director of … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Boston By Bike At Night Aug 13 2016 August 4, 2016
      TweetFrom this years flyer: Twenty eighth annual tour of architectural and historic sites. Meet at 11:15 pm aug 13th in front of Trinity Church in Copley Square Bring a bicycle with a light and wear something reflective.  Helmet recommended Commemorative … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker