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To Whom it May Concern,
I deeply appreciate the effort made to present a number of options and schemes to re-build the Interstate 90 interchange in Allston. The public hearings have likewise been informative and illuminating, for all parties involved.
While I applaud the addition of some bicycle and pedestrian accommodation I came away rather crestfallen. After discussion with several other advocates I had to check if indeed my reaction was on target.
The collective disappointment resonated with all concerned advocates.
The narrow corridor of the project affords several different options. I respect the constraints and the efforts to integrate a variety of modes there. I’ll defer to my colleagues at the Boston Cyclists Union, Boston Bikes, Livable Streets Alliance, WalkBoston and other neighborhood groups for their expertise there.
But the plans shown for the 100-plus acre wedge of land is what left me disappointed. This 20th Century paradigm of design is revelatory. The plan seems focused on throughput for automobiles first with bikes, pedestrians and transit wrapped around that as a distant second.
We have a chance here to go to the vanguard of 21st Century thought and put the active transportation plan into place first.
Of note is that less than 29 percent of 18-year-olds even have drivers’ licenses. We know that 17 percent of college students – those all-important job creators – in Massachusetts use bikes as their first choice of transportation and transit second. Within MetroBoston the number approaches 30 percent.
So here we are in Suffolk County, which alone has 26 colleges and universities, with a parcel of land between Harvard, Northeastern, Boston College and Boston University. All of these schools discourage students from bringing automobiles to campus.
And what do we do? We design something for Mr. Drysdale and his Cadillac in classic 1960s design.
At issue here is NOT whether we can get a share of the road; we have a blank canvas. At issue here is whether we can get a share of the engineer’s mind. A generation grew up watching Fred Flintstone stuck in traffic in the past and George Jetson stuck in traffic in the future. Can we not shatter this failed paradigm?
I reflect on this while we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the movie Back to the Future. Just 30 years ago we thought the future would be about moving through places faster.
But we missed it.
The future, with technology, social networking and mobile phones, turned out to be about slowing down and improving where we are at with each other. Instead of rocketing AWAY from each other, we worked on improving the urban space we share WITH each other.
So let’s not make that mistake with this design. Change the paradigm.
What will our verse be when they revisit this design in 50 years?
Posted in advocacy | 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 | 3 Comments »
The longfellow bridge has gone from pretty awesome (one lane of traffic and two lanes of bikes), to bad (wrong side bike path on the pedestrian walkway), to atrocious (one very narrow bike lane, and a bike/pedestrian traffic heading north).
Personally I see a lot more people going over the bridge on foot and on bicycle than I do in cars, shut the car traffic down and reserve the road for emergency and bike traffic, at least until the end of construction.
From The BCU:
The current conditions on the Longfellow Bridge are unsafe and unacceptable for people on bikes. As you may know, the outbound bike lane was removed and cyclists are being asked to walk their bike on the sidewalk heading into Cambridge. The inbound lane was narrowed so that large vehicles cannot safely pass cyclists in the bike lane. Please see our letter to MassDOT, below, and send in your own! Tell your story of traveling on the Longfellow and tell MassDOT and your elected representatives that this is an untenable situation, and cyclist accommodations must be addressed!
Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack
Department of Transportation
10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160
Boston, MA 02116
CC: Representative Jay Livingstone
CC: Chris Osgood, Chief of Street, City of Boston
RE: Longfellow Bridge Modified Phase 2 Construction
On behalf of our members, the Boston Cyclists Union, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition and LivableStreets Alliance would like to bring to your attention the increasingly hazardous conditions for people riding bicycles over the Longfellow Bridge, and we request that these hazards be addressed immediately.
Recently, due to the need to construct a temporary track for the Red Line, the inbound travel lane and bike lane have both been narrowed, and outbound cyclists no longer have a streetlevel contraflow bike lane and instead are being required to walk their bicycles on the sidewalk.
The current accommodations for the hundreds of people on bicycles* crossing the bridge daily are unacceptable to us and our members. The bike and travel lane widths heading inbound into Boston do not adequately provide a safe way for motorized vehicles to overtake people riding bicycles in the bike lane. Trolley buses, trucks and other large vehicles regularly travel in the bike lane, putting people riding bicycles at extreme risk of being sideswiped or struck from behind. Construction activities also routinely negatively impact the roadway condition with gravel and debris, and cones and markers are often moved into the path designated as the bike lane. (Please see the image attached below of current conditions heading inbound. Notice the bike lane is blocked by jersey barriers, forcing people riding bicycles into the travel lane.) Moreover, instructing outbound cyclists to walk their bikes on the sidewalk does not fulfill MassDOT’s promise to provide two way bike travel for the duration of the project.
From what we understand, this situation is temporary and twoway bicycle travel will switch to the upstream side of the bridge sometime early next year, but that does not make the current situation permissible to the hundreds of people biking over the Longfellow everyday. Moreover, we are concerned that the project will not follow the anticipated project schedule, and the current situation will persist throughout the winter. If that is the case, snow accumulation in the inbound bike lane will force people riding bikes into the travel lane with vehicular traffic, making an already dangerous situation even worse. We have provided a video, attached, demonstrating the approach of a trolley bus to a cyclist in the bike lane. Please note the bus’s right wheels overlapping with the bike lane, and the closeness during the pass.
We look forward to hearing how MassDOT plans to address these hazards.
Rebecca Wolfson, Interim Executive Director, Boston Cyclists Union Richard Fries, Executive Director, MassBike
Charlie Denison, Advocacy Committee Chair, LivableStreets Alliance
* On Tuesday, Dec. 8 the Boston Cyclists Union conducted a count of users on the Longfellow Bridge and observed 333 people riding bicycles and 713 motorized vehicles going inbound between 7:35 AM and 9:15 AM. The fact that people riding bicycles represent approximately 32% of the rushhour inbound vehicle traffic on the Longfellow Bridge demonstrate how important of a connection the bridge is for people riding bicycles between Cambridge and Boston.
Watch this VIDEO demonstrating unsafe riding conditions!
(See the full letter here: Longfellow Phase 2 Comments-2)
Tags: bcu, longfellow bridge, massdot, sucks
Posted in advocacy | No Comments »
From the city:
|Happy New Year from Boston Bikes!
2015 was a year full of changes for us, and you were all there to help. Thank you to everyone who makes Boston a better city for people who bike. Whether you attended a Bike Friday, participated in our Women’s Bike Ride & Festival, donated or received a bike through Roll it Forward, gave comments at a public meeting, or simply connected with us over e-mail, we’re thankful for all of your support. We wish you a happy holiday season, and we look forward to working with you in the new year!
|Mayor Walsh Announces Boston’s Vision Zero Action Plan
Last week, Mayor Walsh announced the release of Boston’s Vision Zero Action Plan, our citywide plan to eliminate fatal and serious traffic crashes by 2030. This announcement marks a major milestone on our path to safer streets.
|Submit Your Boston Bikes Advisory Group Application Today
There’s still time to apply for the Boston Bikes Advisory Group (BBAG). As a member of the BBAG, you will have the opportunity to advise the Active Transportation Director on priorities related to cycling in Boston including the implementation of the network plan, safety and education campaigns, and community events.
Read the BBAG Overview and view the application on our website. Applications are dueTuesday December 22, 2015. Applicants will be notified in the middle of January 2016, and the first meeting will take place in February. Memberships last two calendar years.
|Hubway Station Closures Update
Many of Boston’s Hubway stations are scheduled to stay open until 12/31, after which they’ll be brought in for the winter. You can view the complete closure schedule on Hubway’s website. Want to be notified before your station is removed? Sign up for system alerts. You can also check the Hubway map or the Spotcycle app for real time updates.
|New Community Spaces for Bike Repair
Three community workspaces are (or soon will be) helping meet the growing need for bike-repair education. Be sure to visit one of these locations, or your local bike shop to get your bike is ready to roll through winter.
Sip & Spoke Bike Kitchen
BCU Community Workspace
From Bikes Not Bombs:
Posted in news | No Comments »
Tags: bikes not bombs, Holiday Party
Posted in advocacy, fun | No Comments »
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.
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.
Martin J. Walsh
You can find more info here at the Massachusetts Vision Zero Plan
Tags: crash not accident, no deaths, vision zero
Posted in advocacy, news, video | 1 Comment »
On Sunday, December 13th, join the 19th Annual Ciclismo Classico Jingle Ride. This leisurely and festive singing bike parade goes from Arlington to Boston and back. The 22-mile bicycle ride rolls through Harvard Square, the Esplanade, Boston Common, and Newbury Street – we stop and sing carols at local landmarks, and just parade along showing some creative holiday spirit.
There will be free hot mulled cider and freshly-brewed coffee and pastries thanks to our starting-point hosts at the Kickstand Café. We’ll also enjoy hot cocoa and cookies at Harvard Square, courtesy of the Harvard Square Business Association!
It’s a parade, not a race – so if you have a bicycle, we’d love your holiday spirit along for the ride!
Join the Jingle Ride!
Date: Sunday December 13th, 2015 (ride will be cancelled if there is extreme weather)
Time: registration opens at 10:15 AM, ride leaves promptly at 11 AM
Distance: 22-mile leisurely loop from Arlington to Boston and back
Starting point: Kickstand Café, 594 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Center, MA
Cost: Suggested donation of $25 (children under 18 are free if accompanied by an adult). All proceeds go to Horizons for Homeless Children.
RSVP is required. Please RSVP at http://jingleride2015.eventbrite.com or contact Francesca at 781-646-3377.
Tags: 2015, fun, jingle ride
Posted in fun | No Comments »
Tags: hubway, winter stations
Posted in news | No Comments »