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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:
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:
(See that board on the ground above, it was another sign that had blown over in the wind…I flipped it back up.)
(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.
Tags: longfellow bridge, not working, rant, shitty design, sign overload
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
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.
Tags: bike lane, Comm. Ave
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
The Boston Transportation Department announced plans to bring the popular New Balance Hubway bike share program to 10 locations in East Boston this year. These stations are in addition to 10 new stations opening this summer in Roxbury and northern Dorchester.
“By expanding Hubway across the harbor to East Boston, we are giving more of our residents access to bike-sharing, which is good for our economy, our environment and our health,” said Mayor Walsh. “We will continue to work to provide residents with a diverse range of transportation options.”
The New Balance Hubway system is regional public transportation by bike, owned by the municipalities of Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville. With more than 13,000 annual members and over 100,000 short-term passes sold each year, the Hubway system will celebrate its 5th birthday this July and 5 million trips this fall.
“Bringing Hubway to East Boston is a major milestone for the program,” said Boston Transportation Commissioner Fiandaca. “With these new stations, East Boston residents and visitors will have an active, fun way to get around the neighborhood.”
The Boston Transportation Department will work alongside the public to help plan the new stations. Everyone is welcome to attend a community workshop on June 30 at the East Boston Public Library to talk about what makes a good location for a Hubway station and work together to identify general locations for new stations. People will be able to prioritize specific locations via a survey conducted by street teams from the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and the East Boston Social Center, via an online version of the survey, and by dropping by an open house on July 28.
Get ready to #takehubway in East Boston!
Community Workshop – June 30 6:30-8:00 p.m., East Boston Public Library
Community Open House – July 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., East Boston Public Library
Tags: east boston, hubway
Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | No Comments »
From Livable Streets:
Now is the time to speak up for a safer Massachusetts Ave!
Next Wednesday, June 15 the City of Boston is holding a community meeting to share proposed design improvements for Massachusetts Avenue from Beacon Street to Harrison Avenue.
This is a critical meeting. We’ve been waiting for this since the City first announced Mass Ave as a Vision Zero priority corridor last December.
The City’s goal is to use the feedback from this meeting to make safety improvements to Mass Ave this year.
Vision Zero Priority Corridor Mass Ave Public Meeting
June 15, 2016, 6pm – 7:30pm
@ Saint Cecilia Parish, 18 Belvidere St, Boston
We know that improving Mass Ave will save lives. Will you join us on June 15th?
This project is an important step in bringing the number of fatalities on our streets to zero and has the potential to be a model street for other safety improvements throughout Boston.
We’ll follow up with more details about the meeting early next week. In the meantime you can:
- Mark your calendar for June 15 and plan on attending the meeting.
- Share this email with your friends and neighbors and encourage them to join you.
Thank you for making our streets safer and more livable for everyone!
Tags: livable streets, mass ave., vision zero
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | No Comments »
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 »
— Adam Castiglioni (@ConciergeBoston) May 10, 2016
Hurrah! With barriers no less.
Tags: commercial st, cycle tracks, north end
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | No Comments »
This guy is making things happen in Dorchester, seems like an awesome guy! I used to live in the very very (very) southern point of Dorchester, and while its gotten better for cycling down there, its not nearly as good as it needs to be.
More great info on Noah and his message here. He is really talking about the real issues behind cycling, as a transit option, and as a life changing technology for low income folks. I hope the city will pivot to focusing on the neighborhoods that most need these kinds of infrastructure improvements and where they will do the most good economically.
Tags: awesome, Dorchester, noah hicks, NPR, video
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure, news, video | 1 Comment »
Hurray! Looks pretty awesome too:
The recent removal of rusty rail tracks behind his home on Beacon Street, as they were dragged out whole by heavy equipment after the wooden ties were removed, was “like watching two large snakes going by all the houses,” according to Barry Clayman.
The activity marked the beginning of the long-awaited Cape Cod Rail Trail extension through Dennis and Yarmouth.
This will be a great money maker for nearby business as well, as tourists on bike will be hungry and thirsty.
Tags: cape cod, extension, rail trail
Posted in infrastructure, news | No Comments »