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News, Events, Updates


Noah Hicks, Bicycle Mayor Of Dorchester!

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 01

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.

Bravo sir!


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Cape Cod Rail Trail Extension Finally Starts

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 01

Hurray!  Looks pretty awesome too:

151209673

 

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.

More here

This will be a great money maker for nearby business as well, as tourists on bike will be hungry and thirsty.


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The Car Century Was A Mistake, Time To Fix That Mistake

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 01

Great story from the Washington Post today.

“We must first remember that all cities were car-free little more than a century ago. Not all cities responded to the advent of automobiles with the same enthusiasm as the cities of the United States. In fact, some cities never did adopt the car. Venice was unwilling to destroy itself in order to build streets wide enough for cars, and therefore has never had them except in a sliver near the mainland. The same situation exists in the Medina of Fez, Morocco, and several other North African cities. These districts are usually the most vibrant parts of their cities.”

Read the rest here.

Boston could go car free, instead we spent decades and billions destroying and then rebuilding the city over and over to accommodate the automobile. It cost us thousands of lives, and billions of dollars, we have basically done nothing to help people get around the town better. Traffic is still a daily part of life here in a city that was never designed for cars.

If instead of building highways, and then tearing them down and putting them in a big hole, we could have spent all those billions of dollars on better public transport, more biking and walking infrastructure, and lets be honest, a sea wall system to keep Boston dry in the global warming induced sea level we are bound to see over the next 50 years.


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The New Longfellow Bridge “Bike Path” Is Horrible

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 29

 

(Please forgive me for the first 30 seconds as I wasn’t paying attention).

So whats wrong with the situation depicted in this video?

There are giant “NO PEDESTRIAN” signs at both ends of the bike path, and yet the path is full of human pedestrians (and some dogs).

The path is far too narrow for bi-directional cycling, let alone strollers, dog walkers, joggers, etc.

The green stuff on the side billows out in the wind, catching on your handle bars (I almost crashed avoiding a walker).  I am guessing that stuff is put up to stop debris from the building site from flying into the water, but the zip ties have come loose and it now poses a serious hazard to cycling traffic.

The surface is very uneven, to the point of discomfort.  You can actually hear my bike rattle as I hit each bump, and see the camera shake.

The approaches have received all sorts of marking and road paint, but they are still horrible.  Filled with curbs to fall off, ramps to miss, and in general hard turns that put you into conflict with lots of traffic (car, bike, and pedestrian).

I still think that the bridge should be closed to car traffic, and opened up to cycling/public transit/emergency traffic.  The bridge is one way as it is, and gets modest car traffic even at rush hour.

The traffic patterns approaching and leaving the bridge have already more or less adjusted to not having the bridge.  This elaborate and poorly constructed bike path is a solution that was only necessary because we are so car-focused in our thinking.

I can say with some certainty that far more people cross the Longfellow bridge in ways that don’t involve cars, and in fact always have.  Even when it was two travel lanes in both directions the amount of walkers/public transit/cyclists users of that bridge far outnumbered the amount of folks moving over it in cars.  The fact is that the bridge would be far more productive if they just took the cars off it during the time of the construction, freeing it up for emergency/public transit/walkers/cyclist traffic.


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Bike Safety Forum Tomorrow! (Also Dot Ave Re-Design Meeting!)

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 22

From MassBike:

——–

MA Bike Safety Forum

 

Tomorrow, thanks to Senator Brownsberger and various advocacy groups, there is a public forum focused around interaction between cyclists and large vehicles. MassBike will be there, hosting one of many breakout discussion groups, with a focus on cyclist education. Join us at 6:00pm at 120 Tremont Street.

For more info and to submit your ideas and comments in advance, click here.


For our Southie members, tomorrow night is also a key meeting for the redesign of Dorchester Avenue! We encourage you to attend and share your comments in support of improved safety and bicycle infrastructure in this crucial corridor.

For additional information on this meeting, please click here.


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Longfellow Bridge Now Has A Dedicated Bike Lane Going Both Ways

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 13

It’s a little tricky (you have to wrap around under the bridge and the path is far from clear), but it sure beats walking your bike northbound battling pedestrians.  The BCU has released this video to help you figure it out.

I have used it a couple of times, and found it confusing all of those times, you are put into conflict with traffic both pedestrian and car at odd points, but with a bit more signage it might be ok.  I still think they should just close the bridge to cars, and let cyclists/pedestrians take the whole thing until it’s done being fixed.

 

I disagree with the video that this path is an improvement…at best it is a temporary compromise.  The path is crazy bumpy, the approaches are a mess, I have already noticed pedestrians on it, the interaction with cars are all from blind directions, you literally have to look behind you at most intersections to see the cars coming, there is all sorts of curbs with ramps that have gaps and its pretty easy to exit the ramps into the curb which will cause accidents.  It’s also a functioning construction zone, I got a mouth full of cement dust yesterday because they are still breaking up concrete on the bridge. Just watch the video again and look at how much the camera shakes going over the bridge, and pay attention to all the times the cyclists is put in conflict with cars coming from strange angles, there are just too many problems here.

Final verdict…well at least I wont have to walk my bike over the bridge anymore…


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Cambridge Participatory Budget Bike Projects!

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 26

Three bike projects won! (for those of you who don’t know what the Cambridge Participatory Budget is check this out)

http://pb.cambridgema.gov/sepbikelanes

9. Separate Bike Lanes from Traffic

Committee: Streets, Sidewalks & Transit

Cost: $50,000

Location: Citywide

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.

bikelanes1.png

B: Minimal extra space required for a safer bicycle lane.

bikelanes2.png

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http://pb.cambridgema.gov/massavebikers

Make Massachusetts Avenue Safer for Bikers

Committee: Streets, Sidewalks & Transit

Cost: $70,000

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.

sharrow1.jpg

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:

sharrow2.jpg

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http://pb.cambridgema.gov/paintedbikelanes

 

Shape Up Our Squares!

Committee: Streets, Sidewalks & Transit

Cost: $40,000

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.

bikelanes1.png

Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University, notoriously dangerous for bicyclists. The green paint here helps cyclists assert themselves in this difficult intersection.

bikelanes2.png

Inman Square: To demonstrate scope of repainting.

bikelanes3.png


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Temporary Closure Of The Paul Dudley White Bike Path

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 21

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


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Council Unanimously Approves Lower Speed Limit, Now Goes To Mayor For Approval April 27, 2016
      TweetThe city council Unanimously approved the 20 mph speed limit, it now goes to the mayor, and then (strangely) to the state…stay tuned.
      Boston Biker
    • Report From The Lowering The Speed Limit Public Hearing April 25, 2016
      TweetLynn gave this great report on how the hearing to lower the speed limit to 20 mph in Boston went (the report was from 4 days ago, I am just now getting around to reading it).  Looks like things are … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Rozzie Bikes Repair Day May 14th April 25, 2016
      TweetGot this in the email, looks like it could be a lot of fun. Are you good with kids? Can you pump up a tire or oil a chain? If so, please support Rozzie Bikes by coming to one (or … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • April Ghouls Day Ride April 30th! April 25, 2016
      TweetUnbeknownst to me there is another holiday at the end of April called April Ghouls day…or at least that is what the good folks at Dot Bike would have us believe. From the email: You heard it here first! — … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • America’s Absurd Fascination With Cars April 14, 2016
      TweetI was having a discussion with someone this morning and we realized that at every stage in the development of automobile infrastructure in America, other, consistently better, choices for infrastructure were available, but we continued to choose the car every … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Boston City Council Hearing On Lower Speed Limits In Boston April 8, 2016
      TweetGot this in the email.  Very interesting proposal!  If we really could make speeding enforcement and lowering speeds a priority we would be much better off.   ————————– On April 20th there will be a hearing on Councilor Frank Baker’s … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Shop Soap! April 5, 2016
      I have been making my own soap for a couple of years now, mostly as gifts for friends and family.  We have made all sorts of nice smelling, very good soaps, but something was missing.  I wanted a soap that was strong enough to blast off the various shop related gunk from my hands, but […]
      Boston Biker
    • After School at Open Shop! April 3, 2016
      Recently at a Wednesday Open Shop, a boy came up to me and introduced himself as Philip, a fifth grader from up the street. He said his gym teacher told him about CommonWheels and that he could learn about bikes and he was just wondering if he could fi... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • After School at Open Shop! April 3, 2016
      Recently at a Wednesday Open Shop, a boy came up to me and introduced himself as Philip, a fifth grader from up the street. He said his gym teacher told him about CommonWheels and that he could learn about bikes and he was just wondering if he could fi... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • Making Some Crow Feather Earrings April 2, 2016
      Here are some process shots from the latest group of earrings I made. First I print out the design, and then cut and rubber cement it to the copper plate. the design is cut out using a jewelers saw, then you file and polish the burs off. The feathers ready and prepped for soldering.  Silver […]
      Boston Biker