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MBTA Public Hearings Underway

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 22

MBTA public hearings underway – make your voice heard!

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Now is the time to show up and speak up about the proposed MBTA fare increases and potential service cuts!   Public transportation goes together with cycling like peanut butter and chocolate.  They are essential partners in creating a world class transportation system!

2 ways to take action today:

1. Attend an upcoming MBTA public hearing: meetings provide critical opportunities for T riders to voice their concerns about fare hikes and service cuts. Click here to view the full schedule of upcoming hearings.

2. Submit a public comment via email:


And don’t forget to share your comments and concerns with your elected officials as well because they will be making critical decisions in the future about the fate of public transit. Click here to find out who your representatives are and how you can reach them.


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Cycling Adds Redundancy To A Transportation Network

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 18

I sometimes have odd thoughts on my ride into work.  Today’s were mostly around how nice the sun was, and how great it was to be riding, but as I locked up my bike (after an effortless commute), I realized something.  Bicycles add a lot of redundancy to a transportation network.

These thoughts were peculating in my mind because nearly every person at my job has complained about their commutes lately.  Be it by bus, by T, by car, or walking (the only people not complaining are the ones riding bikes…hmmm.)  Seems that if you dump enough snow on a city that has a lack of redundant transportation options and everything comes crashing down.

If the T is delayed, and the bus can’t run, and your car is stuck in a snow bank, you basically have the option of walking, or taking your bike.  While walking is a fine and useful form of transport, if you want to get some place really fast you will take the bike. Plus no one shovels the sidewalks.

The amount of infrastructure it takes to keep bikes “running” is relatively small, you don’t need to even plow the entire street, just a slim strip down the middle.  In a perfect world without on-street parking, you could have the roads clear enough for bikes in a relatively short period of time.  (as one commentator said “I still don’t understand why my tax dollars go to subsidize a nice paved parking spot in front of every car driver’s house. If people don’t have enough space on their own property to store all of their possessions, maybe they should just get rid of some of them?”)

Currently Boston has very low bicycle ridership, below 10% on even the best days.  But if we could get 15-30% of our population riding regularly (and making sure we put forth the minimum amount of effort needed to keep the infrastructure clear for them in the winter), we could dramatically reduce the burden on our public transportation infrastructure.  This would free up space for more people to take the bus, or the train, or even for folks that absolutely needed to drive (especially folks like fire/ambulance service).  These numbers are not as crazy as they might seem, as many places around the world have experienced this level of ridership (even in snowy places).

Increased redundancy means we are better able to handle extreme weather events (like say 6 feet of snow in a month), would have decreased levels of air pollution, less use of fossil fuels, and a whole host of other economic and health benefits.

The amount of money it would take to build and maintain a vibrant bicycle infrastructure would be peanuts compared to what we currently spend to just pay the interest on the dept the MBTA has.  This problem is well within our grasp, using technology that has already been demonstrated successful by other cities.

Or we can just keep doing the same thing, and having the same problems.  The choice is ours.

 


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Posted in advocacy, bostonbiker, Commuting | 1 Comment »

MBTA Says No Dedicated Train For Cyclists For This Years Midnight Marathon Ride

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 04

Edit: More info here and here.  This ride is still going to happen!

In a head scrathing decison the MBTA has announced it wont provide a train for this years Midnight Marathon Ride.

 

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Cyclists who rely on a special Commuter Rail train to travel between Boston and Hopkinton for the annual Midnight Marathon Bike Ride will have to find a new way to get to the starting line for this year’s event.

After the Boston Athletic Association allegedly asked the organizers of the ride to derail their annual 26.2-mile trek, the MBTA announced that a set of train cars reserved last year for shipping hundreds of cyclists to the starting line would not be arriving at South Station in 2014.

“A special train, dedicated to bikes, will not be provided this year,” said MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo in an email to Boston. Pesaturo said the train would not be giving rides to the cyclists “at the request of local public safety officials,” not the BAA. Standard rules for bikes on off-peak Commuter Rail trains will be in effect, which means a maximum of four bikes will be allowed per coach.

The BAA asked Midnight Marathon Bike Ride organizers not to host the event, citing safety concerns. Last week, the BAA put out a set of specific security guidelines in response to last year’s bombings at the finish line.

Peter Judge, spokesman with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the state office that works with BAA officials to address security issues both prior to the marathon, and on race day, said the reason for asking cyclists to cancel their trip “dove tails” on last year’s bombing, but it’s actually just a general concern voiced by officials in municipalities that the riders pass through. “Anytime you are going to send 1,000 people out at midnight on bikes, you have the potential for issues. [The bombings] aside, this is something that has been discussed every year, and there has been concerns,” he said. “It’s strictly a public safety issue and the timing of it. It’s a cool idea, but it’s just raw with potential. That being said, we are asking them not to have the ride.”

I feel like this is the worst possible response to a terrorist act. “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” We are basically saying that if you do something horrible to us, we will change our entire way of life and relinquish basic freedoms.  I guess 9/11 and the response to it has taught us nothing.

You are allowed to take your bike on the train, you are allowed to ride your bike on the road, and neither act is a danger to anyone. If the powers that be are concerned that people bike riding on a road at midnight with no crowds is more dangerous than having 26.2 miles of packed human beings watching the actual marathon than they are not thinking straight.

I simply don’t see how they are going to lock down all 26.2 miles of the course. I don’t see how they are going to search every person who wants to watch the marathon. Crowds if anything will be bigger this year. No cowardly act of violence is going to keep Bostonians from participating in a symbol of unity and international togetherness.

I don’t know where the person in the story above is getting this 4 bikes per car thing (that rule is not listed here), but if that is how they are going to play it, we simply show up as soon as rush hour is over (7pm), and cram every car with 4 cyclists all night until midnight.  Folding bikes are also allowed at all times on any train, so bring your folder if you got one.

I say we all show up at south station and buy a ticket.  And then we cram ourselves onto any train available, we rent some buses, carpool, get a U-haul,  hell lets make this 26.2 mile ride into a 52.4 mile ride and do it out and back.  This sort of panic and fear based foolishness shouldn’t keep us from enjoying our legal rights to use the trains and roads.  Feel free to use the comments below to set up ride shares, truck rentals, etc.

I think its important that we make this ride bigger and better than ever as a symbolic gesture, to raise a big middle finger to anyone that would use fear as a tool of persuasion.  Don’t be confused, train or no train this ride is going to happen this year.  Bring a friend because its going to be huge!

Fuck fear mongers, fuck terrorists for using violence against innocent people, and fuck them both for trying to make us afraid.  Lets come together and show everyone that love and bicycles are stronger than bombs and fear.


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Posted in news | 4 Comments »

This…This…This Is Amazing!

Written by Boston Biker on Sep 27

As a wise person once said, “haters gonna hate.” But Hate aside, this is amazing. I am SOOOO SICK of the same old boring ass stick in the mud shit that comes out all the time. This, and the recent urban cycling guide, both display a sense of humor that is sorely lacking in these gloomy times.

Do the MBTA safety dance!

(And yes I know this has nothing to do with cycling, but just look at it! How could I not post this?!)


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Posted in advocacy, Commuting, video | No Comments »

Bike Lane Changes In Roslindale

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 26

A reader David sent in the following report about bike lanes in Roslindale/JP Area:

In the October 2009, bike lanes were added to Washington Street between Ukraine Way (just south of Forest Hills) and Roslindale Square. They added some convenience, and (some people feel) safety to the ride, and were generally perceived to be a useful development – an example of the city bringing bike facilities out into the neighborhoods.

In June 2013, the city added a handful of parking spaces on either side of Washington Street, just south of Ukraine, where previously there was no parking and just the bike lanes. They routed the southbound lane (the one in the video) around the parking spaces (you can still see the remains of the original lane). The northbound bike lane was replaced by sharrows when they added parking spaces to that side.

As you can see, to avoid the bike lane, vehicles need to make a pretty sharp swerve into a pretty thin car-and-bus-lane, and in the video taken at the time, almost none of them do. Same is true today, two months later, so there doesn’t seem to be any progress along the learning curve among the car-and-bus-enthusiasts who use the road. (Some might argue that without actual parked cars, there’s no need to respect the bike lane, but at the least, it means the paint will soon be worn off.)

The two buildings that the parking spaces were added for were built on MBTA-owned land, and (I thought) were considered transit-oriented development. Both buildings already have off-street parking, so there should be no need to put parking on the street.

This decision was made, I’m told, a while back, during the time that Boston had only an interim bike coordinator. I’m not aware of anyone in the bike community who was consulted, nor any public discussion of the change before it was implemented. Rumor has it that the decision to trash the lanes will not be changed.

I am not familiar with any of the facts surrounding the changes made to these bike lanes, or the people involved with them. But it is clear from the video that motorists have not “responded well” to the changes, aka they are driving in the bike lanes. This is a clear sign of poor planning, enforcement, or both.

If the car is truly no longer kind in this town, why do we continue to put on-street parking in? Especially considering this location is about a 3 minute walk to the T.

Anyone else have any information on these lanes, or how they got into their current configuration?


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Posted in infrastructure | 6 Comments »

The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Protected Bike Lanes Installed On Mass. Ave. In Central December 9, 2016
      TweetThe good folks in cambridge fighting for improved bike safety are claiming their first (of hopefully many) victories, with the installation of protected bike lanes in Central Square.   from their email: We are excited to report major progress in … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Vision realistic December 8, 2016
      TweetFrom an e-mail about the 2016 Progress Report of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition: Based on our assessment, the City has made progress, but the City will need to dedicate more capital resources and funding for staff in order to … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • Vision realistic December 8, 2016
      TweetFrom an e-mail about the 2016 Progress Report of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition: Based on our assessment, the City has made progress, but the City will need to dedicate more capital resources and funding for staff in order to … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • Vision realistic December 8, 2016
      TweetFrom an e-mail about the 2016 Progress Report of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition: Based on our assessment, the City has made progress, but the City will need to dedicate more capital resources and funding for staff in order to … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • Vision realistic December 8, 2016
      TweetFrom an e-mail about the 2016 Progress Report of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition: Based on our assessment, the City has made progress, but the City will need to dedicate more capital resources and funding for staff in order to … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • December 4, 2016
      On November 29th, CommonWheels finished out a strong season of Open Shops and DIY Community Bike Repairs with a new community event called the Ally Skills Workshop: Combatting Sexism and Transphobia. The workshop was led by Kendra Albert and gave great... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • December 4, 2016
      On November 29th, CommonWheels finished out a strong season of Open Shops and DIY Community Bike Repairs with a new community event called the Ally Skills Workshop: Combatting Sexism and Transphobia. The workshop was led by Kendra Albert and gave great... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • The Inman Square Peanut Proposal December 2, 2016
      TweetI have posted comments about the proposal for a “peanut roundabout” in Inman Square, and other proposals for the Square, on the Cambridge Civic Forum blog. I think that the City’s “bend Cambridge Street” proposal — with a minor modification … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • An Alternative to the Inman Square Peanut Proposal December 2, 2016
      TweetI have posted comments about the proposal for a “peanut roundabout” in Inman Square, and other proposals for the Square, on the Cambridge Civic Forum blog. I think that the City’s “bend Cambridge Street” proposal — with a minor modification … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • A Sign Of The Times December 2, 2016
      Made this brass knuckle bookmark for a client and they wanted “Civility” stamped on it.  Thought it fit perfectly into the world of 2016.  No reason we can’t be civil while we fight the power! Continue reading →
      Boston Biker