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News, Events, Updates
Got this in the email. For far far too long Americans have had an at best un-examined relationship with the effects of the cars they drive. Vision Zero highlights the most tragic effect of our transportation choices. We should commit to zero deaths on our streets.
A Tough Start to the Year: How you can get Involved
There have been more than two dozen pedestrian fatalities statewide in 2016, including the tragic death of a child near Tufts Medical Center last Saturday. Another person was hit this morning at the corner of Mass Ave & Albany Street – part of the 1.6 mile stretch of Mass Ave from Melnea Cass Blvd to Beacon Street that has been highlighted as a Vision Zero Priority Corridor. While we are seeing some positive incremental progress, we still have a tremendous amount of work to do to bring the number of fatalities and serious crashes down to zero in Boston and throughout the state.
To help you can:
Submit your safety concerns on the City of Boston’s new interactive Vision Zero safety concerns map. You can pick a location and comment on specific street safety concerns in Boston with this tool. Now you can report safety concerns, near misses, and incidents – valuable data that can be added to existing police and EMS crash data.
Read the City Of Boston’s Vision Zero Action Plan and share it with others via Facebook, email or Twitter. Spreading the word is an important first step in making sure everyone is working to reduce traffic fatalities.
- Contact your city councilors, legislators and other local leaders to encourage them to pass and support the legislation and policies above related to Vision Zero, and to focus efforts and funding on infrastructure that is safer for people walking and biking.
Share this email with your friends and encourage them to sign up for updates from the Vision Zero Coalition.
Boston City Councilors Support Lowering the Speed Limit to 20 MPH
Boston city councilors held a hearing two weeks ago to lower the default speed limit to 20 miles per hour on city streets.
The measure would decrease the speed limit from 30 miles per hour in residential areas and thickly populated business districts where there are no posted signs. In school zones, the speed limit would be lowered from 20 miles per hour to 15 miles per hour.
Several members of the Vision Zero coalition spoke at the hearing: Jackie DeWolfe from LivableStreets, Wendy Landman from WalkBoston and Becca Wolfson from the Boston Cyclists Union.
The City Council has unanimously passed the proposal, which now goes to Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The measure will also also require the State Legislature’s approval, because speed limits are set by state law.
Giving communities the option to set lower default speed limits is one more tool that can help make our streets safer for everyone. It should be paired with real infrastructure improvements to change driver behavior and force driving at safer speeds.
We’ll keep you updated as this progresses!
Boston Commits Funds to Vision Zero
Just a few days ago, the City of Boston announced they would set aside $3.1 million for Vision Zero in their 2017 budget, a significant increase from the $500,000 that was in this year’s budget. Another $9.3 million will go toward the project over the next three years.
“The underlying philosophy of Vision Zero is that our streets should be welcoming and safe,” said Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina Fiandaca.
Increasing the Vision Zero budget was one of the key recommendations the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition made to the city. Click here to read the full list of recommendations.
Cambridge Announces Commitment to Vision Zero
|Joe Barr, Director of Traffic, Parking, and Transportation for Cambridge, announcing the commitment to Vision Zero|
In March, the Cambridge City Council unanimously passed resolutions to formally adopt Vision Zero and Complete Streets policies! Cambridge follows more than a dozen other cities nationally that committed to Vision Zero.
To read the full text of the resolution click here (resolution starts on p.54).
We are excited that Cambridge has committed to Vision Zero and hope that other towns and cities throughout the state will follow suit!
Video Shines Spotlight on Dangerous LMA streets
Check out this great video highlighting the often dangerous streets conditions for people biking in the Longwood Medical Area.
Recent studies show that more than 20 percent of rush hour traffic in the LMA is on bicycle. The video highlights the needs for better street designs that will accommodate emergency vehicles as well as everyone moving to and through the LMA no matter how they get around.
Thank you for helping make our streets safer for everyone!
Tags: boston, cambridge, lma, longwood medical area, vision zero
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure, video | No Comments »
Three bike projects won! (for those of you who don’t know what the Cambridge Participatory Budget is check this out)
9. Separate Bike Lanes from Traffic
Committee: Streets, Sidewalks & Transit
Short Description: Improve safety for drivers and bikers by moving bike lanes to be between street parking spots and the sidewalk, reducing car-bike interactions and potential collisions.
Long Description: Moving existing bike lanes to the stationary side of parked cars has been implemented in many cities and countries, including New York City, Portland, and throughout Scandinavia. In fact, Cambridge has successfully piloted this idea on Ames Street in Kendall (see photo A below). A current issue is that cars, unfamiliar with the striping, park in the bicycle lane. The Cambridge Traffic Department suggested that with more than one location, cars would become more familiar and park only in the designated spots. The design possibilities, ranging from simple to decorative, can work to keep out cars using minimal street space (see photo B).
The fact is that traditional bike lanes are good at making cyclists feel safe and do improve visibility, but they do not protect cyclists adequately from harm from dooring or moving vehicles. Protected bike lanes, on the other hand, do reduce conflicts and stress for cyclists. Such an improvement to the bike lane would benefit all cyclists in and around Cambridge, because improving one road improves connectivity throughout the region. This project benefits car-drivers by removing the potential to open a door into a bike lane, as well as reduced stress from not having bicyclists slipping past a blind side. Studies consistently show—and experience corroborates—that for many people, dangerous road conditions is the reason they don’t bicycle. With all of the environmental and social benefits of bicycling, making it accessible to all comfort levels must be a high priority.
A: Aerial view of Ames Street’s protected bike lanes on both sides.
B: Minimal extra space required for a safer bicycle lane.
Make Massachusetts Avenue Safer for Bikers
Committee: Streets, Sidewalks & Transit
Location: Along Massachusetts Avenue
Short Description: Improve safety on Massachusetts Avenue by adding shared lane markings for bicycles, along with signs saying “Bike Route,” “Bicycle May Use Full Lane,” and “Watch for Cyclists” where bike lanes are not already present.
Long Description: Massachusetts Avenue is part of the Bicycle Network Plan. Commuters, shoppers, families, and students all bike on Mass. Avenue, competing with heavy traffic, including large trucks and buses. But two stretches of Mass. Avenue have no accommodations for bicycles. The most recent 2015 Bicycle Network Plan ranks Mass. Avenue as unaccommodating for all but very experienced cyclists, and community input maps show that Mass. Avenue is a place where cyclists would like to see improvements. As a solution, we propose painting shared lane markings (approximately 100) and installing more signs (approximately 45) to improve conditions for bicycles on Mass. Avenue.
Specifically, we propose painting shared lane markings in the center of the right lane in both directions, where Mass. Avenue is currently too narrow for bike lanes: from Central Square to Harvard Square, and from north of Porter Square to the Arlington line. We also propose adding frequent, large signs that say “Bike Route,” “Bicycle May Use Full Lane,” and “Watch for Cyclists.” The shared lane markings and the bicycle awareness signs will benefit drivers by making them more aware of cyclists, while also giving cyclists more confidence to use the road. According to the 2015 Bicycle Network Plan, shared lane markings reduce by half the proportion of cyclists who feel “very uncomfortable” riding in commercial areas.
This is currently the only bike signage on Northern Mass. Avenue.
Here you can see a cyclist riding on northern Mass. Avenue, where there are no bike lanes, no shared lane markings, and no bike route signs:
Shape Up Our Squares!
Committee: Streets, Sidewalks & Transit
Location: Central and Inman Squares
Short Description: Paint green bike lanes through the intersections on Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square and Hampshire Street in Inman Square to improve safety for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.
Long Description: The main intersections in Central and Inman Squares have high volumes of cars, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians on a daily basis. The City’s policy and practice with regard to painting bike lanes is to use green paint where there are potential points of conflict, such as at intersections and some street crossings. This proposal is to paint the bike lanes green at the primary square intersections – Mass. Avenue and Prospect Street in Central Square, and Hampshire Street in Inman Square. To increase awareness of bicycle presence further, the Mass. Avenue and Hampshire Street bike lanes should continue through the intersections with dashed lines. An example of the recommended treatment exists on Main Street at the intersection of Vassar Street in Cambridge, as well as on Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University.
Part 1: Inman Square video:
Intersection on Main Street at Vassar Street: Example of bike lanes continued through the intersection.
Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University, notoriously dangerous for bicyclists. The green paint here helps cyclists assert themselves in this difficult intersection.
Inman Square: To demonstrate scope of repainting.
Tags: cambridge participatory budget, new bike projects
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | No Comments »
Got this in the email, if this is part of your commute you might need to change some things up:
DCR Recreational Advisory: Temporary Closure of the Paul Dudley White Bike Path in Boston
WHAT: Beginning on Monday, December 21, 2015 and continuing to Friday, January 22, 2016, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be implementing a temporary closure of Paul Dudley White Bike Path along the Boston side of the Charles River between the Boston University Bridge and the River Street Bridge, to accommodate repairs to the pedestrian bridge.
WHERE: Paul Dudley White Bike Path, Boston, between the Boston University Bridge and the River Street Bridge
WHEN: Monday, December 21, 2015 and continuing to Friday, January 22, 2016
Tags: closing, DCR, Paul White Path
Posted in Commuting, infrastructure, news | 5 Comments »
People seem to be confused when they see the words “share” not just around here, but everywhere. Which is why “share the road” signs are often less helpful than you might think. I think the Boston interpretation of those signs is something like “everyone else get out of the way!”
It’s gotten so bad that at least one state has stopped using them all together.
Comprehension of the familiar “Share the Road” signage as a statement of bicyclists’ roadway rights has been challenged, based on arguments that it is ambiguous, imprecise, frequently misinterpreted, and not designed for that purpose…In fact, the US state of Delaware discontinued use of the “Share the Road” plaque in November, 2013.”
– From “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” Signage Communicates U.S. Roadway Rules and Increases Perception of Safety, North Carolina State University, August 28, 2015
In November of 2013, Delaware formally discontinued the use of the “Share The Road” sign, the first (and so far still the only) U.S. state to do so. The sign was interpreted in diametrically opposite ways by cyclists and motorists and failed to prevent conflict and hostility between motorists and cyclists. Arguably, the sign may actually have been causing conflict.
The authors of the new study – both NCSU faculty – surveyed nearly 2,000 people and found that there was “no statistically significant difference in responses between those who saw ‘Share the Road’ signage and those who saw no signage” whatsoever in terms of their comprehension that cyclists are permitted in the center of the travel lane; that cyclists do not have to move right to allow motorists to pass within the same lane; or that motorists should wait for a break in traffic before passing in the adjacent lane.
In sharp contrast to the complete uselessness of “Share The Road”, survey respondents who were shown the “Bicycle May Use Full Lane” sign showed uniformly high understanding of permissible cyclist lane positioning and appropriate safe passing behavior for motorists.
Which was why I was so happy to see this gem in Somerville yesterday:
It’s a little hard to see, but the giant blinking sign reads:
“IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT! IMPORTANT!”
“CYCLISTS MAY USE THE FULL LANE”
“ANYWHERE, ANYTIME, IT’S THE LAW”
This is the same intersection that recently got new bike boxes (which still sadly are not working all that well, drivers are ignoring the signs)
What also makes this sign so useful is that this particular stretch of road is just too narrow to safely “share” you have to take the whole lane or you will be squished. This road is so narrow that a bus and a car can’t pass going opposite directions if there is a parked car. It’s so narrow that a bus can’t fit in it’s own lane, even if there is no parked cars…so the sign is a good reminder to asshole drivers that cyclists need to take the whole lane, because otherwise they would get hit.
(There is also a cop who likes to hang around this intersection, he will give you a ticket for running this red light on your bike, but he is really nice guy, if you don’t sass him he will give you a warning, also don’t run red lights on your bike)
Tags: bike sign, somerville, union square, use the whole lane
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
And that would be a good thing, the street is currently one of the busiest and in my opinion worst designed streets in the city.
Public Comments are due by November 25! So make sure you contact Zach Wassmouth, Project Manager, BPWD ([email protected]) and let him know you want more pedestrian and cyclist friendly infrastructure on Comm. Ave.!
From the KeepBostonMoving.org site:
Description: The Boston Public Works Department is redesigning Commonwealth Avenue between Brighton Avenue (Packard’s Corner) and Warren/Kelton Streets. With its solid apartment blocks, unique carriage roads, landscaped median, and MBTA transit reservation, this segment of Comm. Ave. is both a multi-modal transportation corridor and home for thousands of people. The redesigned corridor will feature separated bicycle facilities, improvements to pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks, enhanced access to the MBTA Green Line, preservation and enhancement of historic landscape features, and implementation of innovative sustainable features. The centerpiece of the project will be the redesigned intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Avenue. Through a combination of geometric improvements and urban design features, this busy commercial and transit hub will be revitalized, with an emphasis on maximizing pedestrian space and amenities.
At completion, Commonwealth Avenue will be a livable, walkable, multimodal, green and sustainable corridor, safely and efficiently accommodating all users of this signature Boston Boulevard.
Project Status: In design
Estimated Project Cost: $20,000,000
Estimated Project Start: 2016
Estimated Project Completion: 2020
Project Design Team:
- Zach Wassmouth, Project Manager, BPWD
- Consultant Team – HDR Engineering, Inc. teamed with Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge, LLC, Ronald W. Buia, Inc., SMC, RM Engineering, Inc.
Tags: act now, Comm. Ave, Commonwealth Ave, redesign
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | No Comments »
Is it just me or do these look slightly lighter? Maybe its just my imagination.
With the deployment of new stations over the past week, you might have noticed a few bikes that look, well, a little different. Over 100 of the new bikes, featuring redesigned, higher-quality parts designed to improve overall durability and ease of repair, have begun to roll out into the Hubway fleet. If you haven’t had a chance to test out one of these beauties yet, here’s what you should look for to track one down, along with some Pro Tips for making the most of your ride:
BONUS TIP: Save the shifters! Our mechanics suggest, “You’ll need to pause your pedal in order to shift, just for a second while you’re turning the shifter.” You’ll shift more smoothly and you’ll also help extend the life expectancy of the parts on the bike, ensuring that Hubway bikes will spend more time on the street and less time in the repair shop, improving the experience for every Hubway rider.
Let us know what you think of the new rides. Post your pics @Hubway.
Tags: hubway, new bikes
Posted in Commuting, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
Tags: columbia road, fairmont innovation lab, livable streets, uphams corner
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, education, infrastructure | No Comments »
DotBike is awesome! If you live in Dorchester and want to make it better for cycling check them out!
- CTPS bike/walkability study of several Fairmount Line Station areas
- DotBike Board formation
- Local project updates
- 2015, A Lost Year? A discussion/speculation on why almost no infrastructure improvements for biking were made this year in Boston (not even repainting the bike lanes that faded/were plowed off last winter)
- Advocacy Strategy Session. (Action item for #4)
- Drink a beer or two, or maybe three.
Tags: DotBike, rules
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, education, fun, infrastructure | 1 Comment »