The Latest From BostonBiker.org

News, Events, Updates


Traffic Congestion: How To Fix It

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 27

Here is a great email I got from Liviable Streets

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The statistics show that each of us is driving less.  So why do our roads feel more jammed up?  Why does it take longer to get anywhere?  And what can we do about it?  Some politicians have begun blaming Traffic Calming and bicycle lanes for the backups; saying that Complete Streets and pedestrian bulb-outs are making roads less safe because less accessible for emergency vehicles.  Is there any truth to this?  More fundamentally, is car congestion a problem to be solved or a solution to a problem?

A 2013 report from US PIRG showed that the average number of miles driven by the average American has been falling for about a decade, through economic booms and busts, and was down to mid-1990s levels.  Millennials, our nation’s largest-ever generational cohort, are using transit and bikes more and taking fewer and shorter car trips, resulting in a 23% drop in the average number of miles driven.  The percentage of high school seniors with a driver’s license fell 12%.  Walkable city life is increasingly attractive to both young people and retiring baby boomers.  The rise of on-line shopping, social media, and telecommuting has meant fewer quick car trips.

Despite these trends, as every driver knows, our roads are increasingly congested – not everywhere or all the time but for increasing periods at a growing number of key intersections and road segments.  Congestion radically reduces the volume of traffic passing through a road section, the through-put, thereby creating a negative feedback loop that creates more backups.   It’s estimated that USA drivers spend about 14.5 million hours every day stuck in traffic.  Congestion not only costs us time – in 2011 Boston drivers collectively lost about 137 million hours, or about 53 hours per commuter per year – but also fuel and therefore pollution, health, and money.  Not to mention frustration and occasionally murderous road rage.  Although we Bostonians believe we’ve got it worst, car congestion seems to be clogging roads like kudzu in nearly  every city in the country – and, by some reports, across the globe .

It’s true that a new report has said that the first four months of 2015 has set a new record in total vehicle miles in the US – up nearly 32 billion since the previous high in 2007, pushing gas consumption as well as prices upward. Lower gasoline prices and a recovering economy (consumer spending in May, 2015 had the highest month jump in six years) are two reasons for the jump, probably augmented by the continuing lack of viable alternatives to car driving for many people.  But a four-month blip is not enough to explain years of delays.

We do know some things that are contributing to the larger problem – land use patterns and population growth are the most important.  The low-rise dense designs that make older urban areas walkable and transit-efficient is illegal to build in many places today due to parking requirements, anti-mixed use and other zoning requirements, etc.

We know some things that may appear to be causative but actually aren’t – making roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, prioritizing bus and trolley traffic, even reducing the average speed of cars.

We know some things that (counterintuitively) do not help reduce congestion – most notably building more roads or adding lanes, all of which eventually fill up as our additional drivers decide to move into the new space.

And we know some things that do improve the situation, but usually only when they are applied as a group rather than singularly – improving road use efficiency using technology (signal timing, access controls, central monitoring) and other methods (car pools, HOV lanes, car sharing, perhaps driverless cars), increasing alternative options (transit both regional and downtown, bicycling), changing land-use patterns (Smart-Growth style transit-orientated development), requiring corporate and municipal  Transportation Demand Management programs (incentives to not drive alone or to not drive at all), and (most effective of all) congestion pricing of various kinds.

What is needed is the cultural and political willingness to accept this knowledge and act upon it – while also coming to grips with the reality that the continuing imbalance of potential drivers to current or any plausible future amounts of road space means that congestion is a permanent part of a car-based reality.

Read more »


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Livable Streets Update

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 07

from Livable Streets:
———–

Happy Birthday to you

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June was a big month for LivableStreets! We kicked off our 10th anniversary celebration with a Birthday Bash at Aeronaut (see photos from the party here!) and launched a new membership program.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new program, learn more by visiting our brand new website and become a member today!

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We have a membership level for everyone. Whether you are able to contribute $5 a month (yep, just 5 bucks!) or $1000 a year, by becoming a member you aren’t simply donating to a cause, you are demonstrating your support for creating a world-class transportation system in metro Boston.

And don’t worry if you missed the Birthday Bash, we’ll be celebrating our anniversary throughout the remainder of 2015, so stay tuned for other opportunities to get involved!


Get to Watertown on September 12

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Registration is live for Tour de Streets (formerly Bike4Life), our annual family-friendly ride and BBQ! Whether you are a lifelong biker, or you haven’t touched a bike in decades, Tour de Streets has a route for you.

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The start and end location of the ride will take place at a beautiful green space on The Arsenal on the Charles in Watertown. The routes will be scenic and comfortable for both new and experienced riders. And if you prefer not to ride, you are welcome to join the BBQ and post-ride activities. To learn moreclick here.

We hope you’ll save the date for September 12th and join us this year as a rider or supporter of this important fundraiser for LivableStreets!


It’s time to rethink buses

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After a tough winter, more and more people are recognizing how vital public transit is to moving people efficiently and effectively in and around the region.

A new report, Better Rapid Transit for Greater Boston, recognizes buses as a key piece of our transit system and highlights Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as an option that should be considered for Greater Boston’s transportation future.

The report identifies five corridors ripe for BRT. As CityLabhighlighted, Gold Standard BRT in these corridors has the potential to dramatically cut commute times and connect communities. To read the full report click here!

LivableStreets has been exploring BRT for more than two years as a member of the Greater Boston BRT Study Group–a group made up of transportation experts, planners, and community leaders. This report is a result of the study group’s work and part of LivableStreets broader effort to prioritize transit on our streets.

To learn more and get involved in making our transit system better for everyone in metro Boston, visit our Transit Priority Page.


Carshare in Cambridge, bike lanes in Brookline and rethinking the I-90 interchange

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A vision of Allston from the NBBJ team

In June LivableStreets advocates stepped up in a big way to help make Brookline, Allston and Cambridge more livable and enjoyable for everyone.

In Brookline Mark Tedrow and Rebecca Albrecht spoke up for creating a safer and better design solution for Babcock street and secured a bike lane on Newton Street.

In Cambridge several LivableStreets members showed their support for increased carshare capacity and Steve Miller and Chris Taylor helped dispel misconceptions about carshare in a letter to the editor.

In Allston dozens of community members shared their thoughts on a major project to renovate the Allston entrance and exit of the Mass Pike. LivableStreets members asked for a design that could result in 60 new acres of developable land, a new commuter rail station, a new neighborhood, and an unparalleled opportunity to improve connectivity for everyone walking, biking, driving and taking public transportation throughout the region. To learn more about this effort visit our I-90 project page.

These are just 3 of the more than 80 street project our Advocacy Committee is involved with. If you’d like to learn more about how you can get involved in the committee and make a street, intersection or neighborhood you care about more livable contact Jeff Dietrich at jeff.dietrich@livablestreets.info


Win

Connect Historic Boston Groundbreaking

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Pedestrian bridge over the Charles River

Friday, July 10, 1pm
@ Union Street in Blackstone Block, Boston

The City of Boston will be breaking ground on construction for Connect Historic Boston this Friday—come celebrate! You may remember hearing from us about this project a couple of years ago. LivableStreets was a member of the advisory committee that helped shape this initiative and we are excited to see it finally being built!

The goal of Connect Historic Boston is to make walking, biking, and taking the T to National Park Service sites and other destinations in downtown Boston easy and fun.

 To learn more visit Connect Historic Boston’s page.

We hope you will join us in celebrating this important step in connecting historic Boston on Friday!


Opportunities

Boston Women’s Bike Ride & Bites Festival

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Saturday, July 18
@ Daisy Field, Willow Pond Road and Jamaicaway, JP, Boston

Join New England’s largest cycling event for women! This year the event will celebrate active, healthy living with fabulous food provided by some of the top women in Boston’s food businesses, like Jody Adams and Joanne Chang. To register and learn more click here.


Job opportunities in Cambridge and Boston

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Are you looking for a job that will contribute to making our streets and community more livable? The cities of Cambridge and Boston are hiring!

Cambridge is hiring for anAssistant Director for Street Management. This new position supervises the Engineering, Operations, Street Occupancy and Planning units within Traffic, Parking, and Transportation.

And the City of Boston is hiring for two positions, Director of Communications and Community Engagement and aGreenovate Boston Program Manager.

Please share these jobs with your networks and consider applying today! 

Sincerely,
LivableStreets Alliance

 


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Livable Streets 10th Year Birthday Party!

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 20

Livable Streets is turning 10!  Got the email below.
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What do BBQ and bowties have in common?
They are a couple of the many raffle prizes and activities we have in store for you at our birthday bash next Wednesday, June

Anniversary Launch Party details:

Date: Wednesday, June 24th

Time: 5-8pm
Location: Aeronaut Brewery, 14 Tyler St., Somerville, MA

This celebration won’t just be a walk down memory lane. It’s the kickoff to our next decade of creating safer streets and vibrant communities, making the Boston region a better place to live, work, and play for everyone.

 

There is something for everybody at the celebration, including:
  • An interactive map and table activities
  • A photo booth for kids (and kids at heart!)
  • Complimentary snacks
  • Aeronaut beer (brewed onsite!) for purchase
  • Birthday cake, of course!

We’ll be scattering shoutouts and announcement throughout the evening, so swing by at anytime and feel free to stay for 3 minutes or 3 hours. Our party will wind down around 8pm, but you are welcome to stick around for the after party featuring a live band. To learn more and see the event schedule visit our event webpage.

 

If you are planning to join the celebration, please RSVP. The event is free, family friendly and open to the public, but its helpful for us to have a sense of how many people are coming.

 

All are welcome. We hope to see you there!

 

LivableStreets

 

p.s. wearing orange to the party is highly encouraged!

Thanks to our host:


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Livable Streets Update

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 27

From Livable Streets:

Spring Open House recap

Despite the dreary weather, our April 9th Spring Open House was a resounding success! It was great to see more than 100 new and familiar faces! To view photos from the event click here.

 

Highlights from the Open House include:

  • Toasting to our recent Comm Ave victory
  • Previewing our 10th Anniversary and new membership program being launched in June
  • Hearing from some of our newest board members
  • Enjoying food and drinks donated by Aeronaut Brewing, Downtown Wine & Spirits, Flatbread, Harpoon, and Whole Foods

If you didn’t get a chance to come to the Open House, be sure to stay tuned for the exciting events and opportunities we’ll be rolling out over the next few months!

Get a head start on Bike Month

May is Bike Month! Join LivableStreets tomorrow morning at City Hall for the city’s first Bike Friday. You can join a bike commuter convoy from one of dozens of locations throughout the Boston metro area. Safe guided convoys with experienced ride leaders will follow a fixed schedule and route and finish together at City Hall Plaza in Boston. Join a convoy, or just show up for the fun. Learn more and register here.

If you can’t join us tomorrow, we hope to see you at a future Bike Friday this summer. Check out our calendarfor the dates and more Bike Month opportunities!

Take action: Federal transportation bill

Congress is preparing to take action on a new federal transportation bill. We need your help to make sure that Congress doesn’t cut funding to help local communities build sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes, trails and more.

Our friends at the League of American Bicyclists have made it easy for you to ask your Senator to Co-Sponsor S. 705, The Transportation Alternatives Program Improvement Act.

The Transportation Alternatives Program provides hundreds of millions of dollars each year to local communities to invest in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. For decades, our federal transportation system has prioritized building roads, leaving many of our communities with few transportation options and rising safety risks for people bicycling and walking. S. 705 would help make sure that Congress continues to invest a small share of federal transportation dollars in these types of projects.

Newsworthy  

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LivableStreets weighs in on parking, buses, Comm Ave

Did you know MBTA buses serving downtown Boston make about 1,200 trips and carry more than 60,000 passengers every day? Ari Ofsevit, LivableStreets Advocacy Committee member (and Boston Marathon runner!), rebuts a recent claim that buses are to blame for downtown Boston’s congestion and digs into the enormous benefits buses provide in a piece he wrote for Commonwealth. To read the full article click here.

 

Demand-based parking rates could be the answer to scarce spaces, says LivableStreets Board member Charlie Denison in a letter to the Boston Globe. What do you think? Check out the full response here.

And Executive Director Jackie Douglas was invited to write a guest blog for the Barr Foundation breaking down our recent Comm Ave victory. It might not sound exciting on paper, but several of the new design elements have never been done before in Boston. Read more about what LivableStreets did to help win a Safer Comm Ave here.

Public meetings and other opportunities _______________________________________________________________________________

Massachusetts Transportation Summit

Friday, May 1

@ DCU Center, 50 Foster St, Worcester, MA
Join Transportation for Massachusetts for the first-ever statewide summit for exploring and exchanging ideas and actions to improve transportation in every corner of the Commonwealth. Speakers include Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, ZipCar founder Robin Chase and many other presenters and visionaries sharing ideas on the next generation of transportation solutions. LivableStreets is an active member of T4MA and helping plan this event-we hope to see you there!

 

For more information and to register visit: www.t4ma.org/summit

Go Boston 2030 Visioning Lab  
Click for event details

Friday, May 8 & Saturday, May 9

@ China Trade Center, 2 Boylston St., Boston, MA

 

Stop by to participate in planning the future for Boston streets. Go Boston 2030 is a City of Boston initiative to envision a bold transportation future. The two year process will result in a plan that will be a road map for the city. The event will kick off with remarks from Mayor Walsh and include interactive activities, performances, a data visualization gallery, emerging technology demonstrations and more!

 

To learn more about Go Boston 2030 visitgoboston2030.org


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Protected Bike Lanes Coming To Comm. Ave. Redesign!

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 12

Currently the world is drowning in snow, but this is huge news!!

From Livable Streets.

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We did it! 
 

Example of a protected bike lane.
After years of advocating for a balanced redesign plan for Commonwealth Avenue,the city has now agreed to a safer, more livable design that includes protected bike lanes!
As yesterday’s Boston Globe reported, “The city went back to the drawing board after an outcry by advocates, media criticism, and an impassioned public meeting two months ago at Boston University where more than 100 citizens showed up despite a nor’easter.”
For years, LivableStreets has been saying no to Boston’s inadequate plan for the redesign of Commonwealth Avenue that designed for car traffic at the expense of biking, walking, and transit. Thanks to over 1800 signatures and stories collected by our Street Ambassadors, and a strong coalition — including LivableStreets, Boston Cyclists Union, WalkBoston, MassBike, and BU Bikes — Boston and BU officials went back to the drawing board. Thank you City of Boston!
LivableStreets co-founder Jeff Rosenblum presenting a vision for a Comm. Ave. that prioritizes walking, biking, and public transportation.
Photo BU Free Press
While thrilled with the news, this project is not yet complete. Stay tuned: we expect the City of Boston to hold a public meeting to share their latest plans in the next month.
We will continue to work with the city and our partners to ensure pedestrian and traffic calming improvements are included in the new design and push for a concrete commitment on transit priority for the Green Line and buses. And we will be pushing for better clearing of sidewalks and bike lanes in winter!
For more information, check out our project page.
While this victory is very exciting, and it is news to celebrate, Comm. Ave. is just one piece of Boston’s transportation puzzle. LivableStreets staff, members, and volunteers are active 365 days a year working to create more livable streets.
Have you renewed your LivableStreets membership for 2015? Or not yet a member? No better time than the present! Sign up today.

 


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10 StreetTalks In 1 Night!

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 02

This annual event by livable streets is awesome check it out!

 

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10 StreetTalks in one night! 4th Annual 10-in-1 StreetTalk.
Tuesday, December 16, 6-9pm
Central Square Theater

 

Ten 7-minute presentations including:

  • John Barros, Boston’s Director of Economic Development, “Lessons from the Netherlands.”
  • Andrew Howard, Harvard LOEB Fellow, “Better Block.”
  • Matthew George, CEO, Bridj.
  • Alice Brown, Boston’s Urban Mobility Project Manager, “Questions Campaign.”
  • Josh Ostroff, T4MA Director of Outreach, “Vote No” campaign.
  • … and more!
Learn about innovative transportation research, start ups, and advocacy stories given by planners, city officials, students, entrepreneurs, consultants and business leaders from around the Boston region. Beer and wine for purchase, light snacks provided.

 


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Action Alert: Allston I-90 Interchange Project

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 20

Lets make sure we don’t end up with just another highway, see below

From Livable Streets:
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We have a vision for something more than just a new highway. 
After months of MassDOT I-90 Allston Interchange task force meetings, a significant number of critical issues are still unresolved. We need you to tell MassDOT that their job is not yet finished. In the 21st century, this $260 million project has got to deliver more than just a rehabilitated highway.
 
Imagine what could be done with this space!
Imagine what could be done with this space!

Attend a public meeting tonight, or write a comment letter.

Public Meeting – Thurs. 11/20 @ 6pm. Brighton High School, 25 Warren Street, Brighton (more). beforehand, you can attend the site visit @3pm Beacon Park Yard Gate at the intersection of Cambridge Street and Lincoln Street (more).
Comment letter – Cut-and-paste using the template below to comment by e-mail. This is a powerful way you can participate in the public process. (Deadline Tuesday 11/25)
Current allocation of existing space.
Current allocation of existing space.

The trends are clear: people are relying less on private automobiles and more on public transportation, biking, and walking. This project must invest in a future that improves the quality of life in our city and provides commuters/visitors transit options, and not just throughput of cars.

LivableStreets is part of a coalition of community groups called “the People’s Pike.
What do we “The People’s Pike” want?
Do you want something like this? (From a Boston Society of Architects design charrette, team led by Kishore Varanasi from CBT Architects.)
Do you want something like this? (From a Boston Society of Architects design charrette, team led by Kishore Varanasi from CBT Architects.)
  • Acres of new parkland along the Charles River called “Allston Esplanade.”
  • A multi-use community path connecting Allston to Cambridge via the Grand Junction Rail Bridge crossing the Charles under the BU Bridge.
  • A new ‘West Station’ transit station that provides rapid transit service (every 10 minutes) to downtown & Kendall Square.
  • A deck over the highway and rail yard to cover these loud and dirty uses, protect residential quality of life and connect the existing and new neighborhoods.
  • Existing roads extended to connect Comm. Ave. and Cambridge St. to reducing cut-through traffic on Harvard Ave & Linden St.
  • New Mass Pike on & off ramps near Beacon Street to serve the Kenmore/ Fenway/ Longwood area to get those cars off Allston’s streets and Storrow Drive.
 

Cut and paste into your email

 

Dear Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett:

 

I am writing regarding the MassDOT’s Environmental Notification Form for the I-90 Allston Interchange Project #15278. In the 21st century, this project is not worth $260 million of taxpayer dollars if it is not going to do anything more than rehabilitate a highway. The trends are clear: we are relying less on private automobiles and more on public transportation, biking, and walking. This project must invest in a future that improves the quality of life in our city.

 

PERSONALIZE WITH A FEW SENTENCES HERE. What kind of future do you want to see? Which issues are most important to you and why? 

 

I urge you to require MassDOT include the following:

  • Acres of new parkland along the Charles River called “Allston Esplanade.”
  • A multi-use community path connecting Allston to Cambridge via the Grand Junction Rail Bridge crossing the Charles under the BU Bridge.
  • A new ‘West Station’ transit station that provides rapid transit service (every 10 minutes) to downtown & Kendall Square.
  • A deck over the highway and rail yard to cover these loud and dirty uses, protect residential quality of life and connect the existing and new neighborhoods.
  • Existing roads extended to connect Comm. Ave. and Cambridge St. to reducing cut-through traffic on Harvard Ave & Linden St.
  • New Mass Pike on & off ramps near Beacon Street to serve the Kenmore/ Fenway/ Longwood area to get those cars off Allston’s streets and Storrow Drive.

While I recognize the hard work MassDOT has put into designs so far, there are a significant number of critical issues unresolved. MassDOT needs to revise the project so it does more than just move automobiles.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Your Name 

Address


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Livable Streets Is Hiring!

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 03

A great organization if you are looking for a job.

From email:

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We are hiring! In response to an ever-increasing demand for the organization’s services to improve our streets, public transit, and public spaces, we are growing! Join our team and help create a world-class transportation network – one that makes our city a better place to live, work, and play. It’s a great time to get involved. 2015 is an exciting year for LivableStreets as we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary, launching new initiatives, and embarking on our next strategic plan.Right now we are hiring for the following two positions:

 

Deputy Director: LivableStreets seeks a highly motivated and experienced professional who will play a critical role in helping LivableStreets achieve its vision to provide high quality programs and have a major impact on transforming our streets in metro Boston. The Deputy Director will be instrumental in our strategic response to an ever-increasing demand for the organization’s programs, and positioning the organization for continuedsuccess. Click here for full Deputy Director job posting and how to apply.

 

Executive Assistant: LivableStreets seeks a detail-oriented individual with experience in an office setting to serve as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. The Executive Assistant will work to maintain and improve LivableStreets internal systems and be instrumental in ensuring day-to-day operations run efficiently and effectively to help achieve our strategic plan. Click here for full Executive Assistant job posting and how to apply.

 

 


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Put Your Street On A Road Diet August 28, 2015
      TweetFrom Jeff Speck and his campaign to slim down our roads.   more info here.
      Boston Biker
    • Put Your Street On A Road Diet August 28, 2015
      TweetFrom Jeff Speck and his campaign to slim down our roads.  
      Boston Biker
    • Cars…Not So Good August 26, 2015
      Tweet NPR reported today that Boston ranks 6th!  Sixth!   Sadly it isn’t “Awesome Cities”, it was Cities with the highest level of time wasted in traffic.  We didn’t get here by accident.  It was years of decisions, choices we … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • test August 26, 2015
      Tweettest
      Boston Biker
    • Help Hubway Decide Where To Expand Next August 24, 2015
      TweetFrom The City: Since Hubway’s last expansion in Boston, we’ve received over 33,000 suggestions for station locations. Based on that input and consultation with community-based organizations, we have developed a range of station options for our 2015 expansion. We have … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Where should Hubway go next? August 24, 2015
      TweetBoston Bikes wants input on expansion of Hubway bike dock stations in Boston.  Fill out the survey to help place new stations in Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury/Franklin Park, and South Boston.  Looks like the Hubway bike network will be even … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • Where should Hubway go next? August 24, 2015
      TweetBoston Bikes wants input on expansion of Hubway bike dock stations in Boston.  Fill out the ssurvey to help place new stations in Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury/Franklin Park, and South Boston.  Looks like the Hubway bike network will be even … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • Nearly Doored; Passenger Good Enough to Apologize August 20, 2015
      TweetUsually I scan driver’s seat or the rear driver side seat to check for doors that might opening ahead of me. In this instance, a passenger in the rear reached over the seats to open the rear, driver-side door. I … Continue reading →
      yourstruly
    • Ghost Bike For Anita Kurmann August 19, 2015
      TweetA ghost bike will be placed where Anita Kurmann was killed by a driver in a truck last week.  The memorial will be Thursday Aug 20th at 6:30pm at the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Beacon st.
      Boston Biker
    • Ghost Bike For Anita Kurmann August 19, 2015
      TweetA ghost bike will be placed where Anita Kurmann was killed by a driver in a truck last week.  The memorial will be Thursday Aug 20th at 6:30pm at the intersection of Mass. Ave. and Beacon st.
      Boston Biker