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The Natives Are Restless

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 30

Today a man screamed out of his car at me “THE BIKE LANE IS OVER THERE!”  He did so while vigorously pointing at the pile of debris and torn up pavement that I had moved slightly over to avoid.  There wasn’t a bike lane in sight, but that wasn’t the point.  He was angry, and had no one to address his anger at so he was taking it out on me.

I caught up with him in about 20 feet because he was stuck in the epic traffic jams that have been growing out of the Longfellow project.  I asked him if he needed something and he told me to get off the road, blah blah blah the same thing every angry motorist has ever shouted.

I informed him that I had the full legal right to use the lane blah blah blah the same thing every cyclist says….then I screamed and pointed “93 IS RIGHT OVER THERE!!!” and rode off, because frankly it was a nice day and I was enjoying my relatively unencumbered ride to work.

I got to work about 15 minutes later, for all I know he is still stuck in traffic.  The problem is, this  guy brought a mountain bike to a road race.  By which I mean to say, he incorrectly chose his mode of transportation to fit the reality of our current situation.

Motorists seem to be the most put out by the construction project.  Sadly, the car is no longer king in Boston, and it shows.  To put it mildly, they are really cranky.  I don’t begrudge them their crankiness, I would be cranky too if I was stuck in a car for an extra hour every day.  But sadly they have to understand one thing:

The roads are too small, and the cars are too big.

bike-bus-car

There is simply no way around this.  If you want to drive your giant car (why does it need to be that big if its only carrying one person around?), on Boston’s tiny ass road system, you will quickly run out of room.

Its just simple math.  You got X amount of road space, and Y amount of cars, and Y>X.  Its that simple, no amount of honking and yelling and getting upset is ever going to fix the problem.  At some point you just can’t shoe-horn one more fucking car into the system without causing gridlock.

You also can’t build your way out of this problem.  In the 60’s and 70’s they tried building more (and bigger) roads, all that did was encourage more folks from the burbs to drive in causing the problem to get worse.  The Longfellow needs to be fixed, and while its being fixed the amount of road space we have to move cars is even less.

If you are stuck in traffic trying to cross the Longfellow, and you drove in from say Somerville, it might be time to consider a bicycle.  Or a t-pass, or a nice pair of walking shoes.  Your doctor will be happy with the extra exercise, your wallet will be happy with the savings on gas, and I will be happy because you wont be screaming out of your car at me because you have no other place to direct your anger.

PS.  Cranky motorists please try to remember, that every cyclist on the street is one less car you need to be stuck behind.  You might not be doing anything to make traffic less horrible, but they are.  So the next time you see one shout out your window “THANK YOU FOR CYCLING!” and continue on your way.


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Posted in bostonbiker, infrastructure | 4 Comments »

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