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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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This Is How They Train Bus Drivers In Colombia

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 13

Untitled-1

 

We need this here….we so need this.  (click for video, its great)

While we are at it, can we train our dump truck/trash truck/semi-truck/suv drivers this way as well?  Nothing really brings home what it feels like to not be given the space you need on the road than having a big ass moving piece of metal rush past you.  Every single large vehicle driver should be forced to go for a bike ride, or do something like this before given a licence.


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Are Cities For Cars, Or For People? (Hint: The Answer Is People)

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 05

What is so interesting about Amsterdam is that its so similar to Boston in terms of city layout, climate, etc.  This could be us!

 

More here. (the before and after pictures are particularly awesome)


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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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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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Boston Rolls Out Its “Vision Zero” Plan

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 10

This is fantastic news, and it totally where we need to be going, these are not accidents, they are crashes, and its time we fix the problems leading to needless death and suffering.

From the cities new Vision Zero website:

I am proud to be the Mayor of America’s Walking City.

Dear Bostonians,

I am proud to be the Mayor of America’s Walking City. I know that with that title comes the responsibility to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of Bostonians and visitors who use our streets every day have a safe and enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, an average of two pedestrians are hit by cars every day – people like you and me who are simply trying to get across the street. Almost as many people riding bikes are treated by our EMS and every year thousands of drivers are injured, put in danger, or delayed by collisions with other vehicles.

While only a handful of these crashes are fatal, every tragedy leaves a trail of grieving family and friends, and the despair of unfulfilled potential. As Mayor, I see the real people behind these statistics; I share the grief, pain, and sense of loss that every crash report represents.

I grew up in Dorchester. We could walk to the store, to church, to a friend’s house, or to a park. We could ride our bikes to school or to Boston Harbor. We could get on a subway train or a bus and go to work almost anywhere in Greater Boston. That freedom of movement is what made it a strong community – tightly knit and human scaled, but also fully connected to the wider world of jobs, amenities, and culture.

Children growing up today deserve that same level of freedom and mobility. Our seniors should be able to safely get around the communities they helped build and have access to the world around them. Driving, walking, or riding a bike on Boston’s streets should not be a test of courage.

We know how to build safer streets. We know how to protect our most vulnerable road users, who are suffering disproportionately because of speeding traffic and distracted drivers.

With this Action Plan, I am saying it’s time to act. It’s time to commit to eliminating fatal and serious traffic crashes from our daily experience.

IT’S TIME FOR VISION ZERO.

Sincerely,

Martin J. Walsh

 

You can find more info here at the Massachusetts Vision Zero Plan


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Detroit Bike City!

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 02

Could the bicycle help rebuild Detroit, you bet your ass it can!

 

 

Cars are a poison on the local economy, especially in Detroit, the bicycle however builds and supports a strong local economy.  This is awesome.


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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