The Latest From BostonBiker.org
News, Events, Updates
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With the warmer weather, the bikers are out, and with them the bike news. Here is a roundup of local bike news.
As the number of cyclists on Harvard’s campuses continues to grow, so too does the infrastructure to support them. New bike racks and repair stations are being set up, expanded bicycle benefits for commuters have been rolled out, and the University has made a major investment in the Hubway bike-sharing network by supporting the installation of 12 stations in Boston and Cambridge. The national advocacy organization League of American Bicyclists has recognized that progress by naming Harvard a silver-level Bicycle Friendly University.
An effort is underway to make cycling a more appealing alternative to driving in Newton.
Advocates and city officials, who see cycling as a way to improve the health of the population and reduce road congestion, are working on plans to better enforce existing laws for sharing the road and to extend bike lanes throughout the city.
Building new infrastructure is key to getting more people to get out of their cars, according to Andreae Downs, chair of the Transportation Advisory Group.
“Unless Newton is the outlier, once you start building bike infrastructure you get more cyclists,” said Downs.
THE efforts made by paralympians last summer have inspired a Boston man to take part in a bike ride from London to Brussels.
Paul Maddison was also inspired by his son Nick to take part in the 340-mile cycle challenge for a charity that helps children with disabilities, A Smile for the Child.
As the warm weather slowly begins to creep back to Boston, more bikes will begin popping up along the roadways and paths connecting various city points, which makes it a perfect time to start discussing bike safety once again.
City Councilor and mayoral candidate John Connolly has filed a request to convene a public hearing to talk about Boston’s bike infrastructure and how it can be improved. According to Connolly, the purpose of the hearing will be to devise a long-term strategy for planning, funding, and implementing projects to expand the current cycling infrastructure. In a statement, he said that the city’s budget for bicycle infrastructure is “insufficient to fully implement all essential new projects,” including cycle tracks on Malcolm X Boulevard and around the Boston Public Garden.
How do you make Boston bike-safe? First you find out where it’s unsafe.
Answers to that and other key questions would provide the foundation for effective policy, a team of four Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) students told Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley on Wednesday.
The four — Aaron Pervin, Temitope Olukowi, Claire Albert, and Marie McIntee — were the winners of an annual spring exercise at HSPH in which student teams examine a health policy issue and devise recommendations on how to address it. Professor of Health Policy David Hemenway and doctoral student Dahianna Lopez advised the team.
In their presentation, the students told Pressley that dealing with Boston’s bike-safety problem — made apparent by a string of fatal accidents last year — is especially difficult because information on ridership, common routes, and even accidents is scattered among reports by the Boston Police Department, ambulance teams, emergency rooms, and a variety of city departments.
According to Supreme Court spokesperson Kathleen Arberg, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer underwent reverse shoulder replacement surgery for a proximal humerus fracture at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital on the morning of April 27th.
The fracture was sustained in his right shoulder after a fall from his bicycle on the afternoon of April 26th, where he was taken to the hospital by an ambulance.
This is the third biking mishap for Justice Breyer. Two years ago, he fractured his right clavicle (collarbone) after he fell near his home in Cambridge, Mass.
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Boston Bikes announced today that it will be installing new cycling and pedestrian infrastructure designed to improve bicycling safety, mostly by “slowing cycling and walking to a manageable speed”
From the cities website:
“We think cycling and walking are great ways to see our city, but have been disappointed in the high speed that pedestrians and cyclists are traveling through our city.”
Consisting of a series of “pedestrian speed bumps” and “cycling sand pits” these additions are being installed now as the snow fall we had this winter and spring made it impossible.
Standing 3 feet tall the pedestrian speed bumps must be vaulted over slowing the pedestrian considerably, while the sand pits are 4 foot by 6 foot pits of sand placed near the intersections on streets that have bike lanes.
“Our hope is the sand will slow the cyclists enough that they are no longer a danger to cars turning in the intersection.” Said one city official.
In an effort to make sure that motorists don’t feel left out the city has also hired 32 “cycling ambassadors,” highly fit cyclists in spandex to wander the streets encouraging more people to cycle.
“Basically we hang around highly trafficked areas and approach people we see getting out of cars. Then we let them know how much better for the earth and for their health cycling is, and how much nicer they would look in pants, how they could eat more chocolate and not feel guilty, how they wouldn’t have to deal with traffic, how parking is always a breeze, how much better they will feel as parents, how it helps reduce air pollution, how it can help stop wars for oil, how it encourages more efficient urban planning, how it decreases outbursts by children in school, how it helps prevent diabetes, did I mention global warming? That sort of thing. I think its working because I followed one guy around for so long yesterday that he told me he wished he had a bicycle right now so he could get away from me.”
The ambassadors will be around until mid-summer, when they will be replaced by extra meter attendants and mascots for our local sports teams.
“We are going from Bean Town to Green town” Said outgoing Mayor Menino. He then added “GREEN TOWN” speaking slowly and clearly enunciating each syllable.
Tags: april, awesome, GREEN TOWN, improvements, news
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For the record: first cycling isn’t dangerous, getting hit by a car is dangerous. Second, cycling is a lot less wimpy than sitting at your desk and talking out your ass about stuff you don’t know anything about (listen again, both people admit to not knowing anything about what they are talking about multiple times). Third, is there no lengths to which these people will go to harp on the president (don’t get me wrong, there are a millions things to harp on him about, so why these completely insignificant ones?).
The state of current politics, where the WSJ will spend time talking about the “wimpification” of America, instead of, say an in-depth discussion about the use of drones to kill American citizens, or the approaching extinction danger facing the human species due to global warming saddens me. It doesn’t surprise me, but it does sadden me.
Tags: news, sad, video, WSJ
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The globe had a front page article today about the lack of an indictment for Dana McCoomb, the truck driver who killed cyclist Alex Motsenigos last year.
It’s a common refrain among local cyclists: Want to kill someone and get away with it? Run them over while they’re on a bicycle.
Within Boston’s growing cycling community, a perceived lack of criminal prosecution of motorists involved in fatal bike crashes has been a regular source of outrage in recent years. That ire came to a fever pitch last week, when a grand jury investigation of a Wellesley bike crash with seemingly copious evidence — video footage, witnesses defending the deceased bicyclist, a truck driver who had fled the scene and had an extensive history of driving infractions — came back with no charges.
The grand jury’s decision, bicyclists contend, is evidence of a wider problem: Most people do not respect the rights of bike riders.
“The message that we got from this particular case,” said David Watson, executive director of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, “is that, clearly, members of the general public still don’t care enough about bicyclists’ safety.”
As if to prove the entire point of the article, the comment section is a wasteland…depressing.
Tags: cyclist, death, globe, news
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Here is what is going on around town.
Winter Bike Harvest:
Boston Bikes Staff
For most cyclists, winter is a time to get in some cross-training. When it’s well below freezing and the wind-chill makes it feel close to zero, anyone with an ounce of common sense knows not to ride outdoors.
And then there’s the 1-percenters, the cyclists who think that snow and sleet and ice and cold make life interesting. For those weirdos on two wheels (I include myself in this category), winter is a perfect time to channel our inner-Shakleton and keep on trucking no matter what Mother Nature throws our way.
Friends ask us how we can pedal through the cold and the snow. When the mercury dips below freezing, layers and Windbloc will keep you warm. Many a winter morning I’ve had to unzip my jacket to keep from overheating. As to dealing with the snow and the ice, I am grateful for studded tires: they are truly a gift from the Gods of cycling. The 294 tiny studs embedded in my tire keep me glued to the ground. Sure, they look kind of strange (like some sort of Medieval weapon), but they keep me upright.
Harvard is helping curb car use, by rolling out a new initiative that will not only offer University employees tax-free reimbursements for bike-related expenses, but will also entitle the cycling-inclined to Emergency Ride Home (ERH) services.
Reimbursements are now in effect as part of the Bicycle Commuter Benefits Act, according to the Harvard Gazette. To receive a reimbursement, all faculty and staff members need to do is be able to provide proof of bicycle registration through the Harvard University Police Department. The only employees not eligible are those who have been granted a subsidized monthly MBTA pass or parking permit from the University already.
If you’re like me, you have no idea who is responsible for clearing the public pedestrian paths that run from the Museum of Science in Cambridge to the Galen Street Bridge in Watertown, assuming instead that the snow there just clears itself, or, Biblically, never falls at all, as if in homage to those dedicated enough to pound pavement during the bitter winter months.
Like me, of course, you’d also be wrong. There’s a phantom force behind the snow removal of the Charles River Paths: While the muscle is provided by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, Boston.com reports, the funds are shoveled over by Brighton-based shoe giant New Balance.
2013 marks the fourth consecutive year New Balance has paid for the snow removal, which runs the state $10,000 on average annually. The shoe company gave Massachusetts $10,000 in the first year of the collaboration, and has reportedly forked over $20,000 the past two winters.
Depending on who you ask, Boston is either a progressive roadmap for bike enthusiasts and amateurs alike, or it’s a city that places too-high a premium on two-wheeled commuting only for the well-to-do, urban core. Either way, with the proliferation of Hubway and addition of miles of bike-friendly trails, Boston has earned its ranking as the third-best major biking city in the U.S. But how does Boston rank among all U.S. cities in terms of bikeability? A new website says good, but not great.
Bike Score, offshoot to the popular website Walk Score, seeks to educate riders on how bikeable their city, neighborhood or block is based on a specific set of criteria and an easily digestible scoring system on a scale of 1-t0-100. A score of 90-100 is a “Biker’s Paradise,” meaning daily errands can be easily done on your bike; 70-89 signifies “Very Bikeable”–a bike can be used for most trips; 50-69 is “Bikeable,” or middle of the road in terms of bike infrastructure; finally, a score of 0-49 earns your city the label of “Somewhat Bikeable,” a nebulous catch-all for cities with minimal bike infrastructure in place. Boston scored a 68. So our city is about as bikeable as a city can get without being very bikeable.
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From Livable Streets!
Kendall Square – Innovative transportation policy success story
At Rush Hour Race last spring, Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis stated proudly that even though development in Kendall Square has steadily increased, car use has steadily decreased. Whoa, hold on, 4.6 million square feet of new space (a 40% increase since 2000) with less car trips?! A recent Globe article dove into the reasons why:
The biggest takeaway is that Kendall Square is not a utopian bubble. Economic development and an increase in car use don’t have to come hand-in-hand. ”There is a growing movement to employ parking policies that encourage balanced transportation systems and reinforce central cities. More parking reduces the cost of car use, which only leads to more car use and more demand for parking” (U.S Parking Policies Report by Institute for Transportation and Development Policy).
A Globe editorial concludes, “In Cambridge, finding ways to eliminate car trips is seen as a basic city service along with public safety and education.” Stephanie Groll, who oversees Cambridge’s parking-management efforts, said that she receives few complaints from businesses and institutions. In Cambridge, after all, fewer cars on the streets have become a sign that business is strong and growing.”
Kendall Square is a great example of how a city, companies and institutions can work together to achieve our mission for more walkable, bikeable and livable neighborhoods and urban centers, creating better places to live, work and play.
Part 10, on why LivableStreets is working to create safe streets for all.
Because change is possible, and creating more livable streets will better support neighborhoods and business districts.
Support the organization working to increase the number of livable communities in metro Boston - become a member today.
“Overpasses – get rid of them”
Remove McGrath Campaign in today’s Boston Globe
“Of course, the 1950s planners who built the overpass paid little heed to the people who might walk, bike, or reside in its shadow…
Now that the McCarthy is falling apart, even the state Department of Transportation agrees it is an overbuilt vestige and has promised to take it down. But the contractors who mobilized beneath it recently are not there to dismantle it. Instead, the state is reinforcing the McCarthy, spending $10.9 million to keep it standing for a decade or more…
‘We want to see these projects move to ‘shovel ready’ and not just shored up and then left behind,’ said Jackie Douglas, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance.”
“I Bike 4… a healthier city”
By David Maltzan, LivableStreets volunteer, member and Bike4Life fundraiser
“I bike for a healthier city. Car exhaust fumes raise rates of heart disease and asthma in our neighborhoods. Plus, it allows me to get exercise without having to build in an extra hour or two of ‘gym time’ every day.”
Support David and all Bike4Life riders by donating here to help us reach our goal
of $50,000 to support the creation of more livable streets.
Whether you ride for safer and better streets, in memory of a loved one, for lifelong biking, or just for fun, come join us Sunday, September 30th for this annual event. www.bike4lifeboston.org
LivableStreets in Long Beach, California
Follow on Twitter @StreetsBoston for live updates
Long Beach, California is rising on our radar – they have installed more than 130 miles of trails and protected bicycle lanes, and they have established a bike-friendly business district, to name a few. On September 7, Executive Director Jackie Douglas and Program Coordinator Kara Oberg will be headed to Long Beach to check it all out and attend the Alliance for Biking & Walking LeadershipRetreat. The biennial retreat brings together 100 bicycle and pedestrian advocacy leaders from across the country for three days of networking and learning. “We are really excited to spend time
with our colleagues from similar organizations across t
Right after the retreat, Jackie will attend Pro Walk/Pro Bike; the international conference on walking, bicycling, and creating great communities through placemaking, with more than 1,000 people ranging from government officials to public health professionals working to create livable communities.
Douglas will be wrapping up the week at the National Women’s Bicycling Summit hosted by the League of American Bicyclists and the Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals on September 13. This trip is made possible thanks to a scholarship from the Alliance for Biking & Walking – thank you.
Internship & employment opportunities in the field
The City of Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation Department seeks Transportation Intern. An ideal candidate would be interested in a one year internship. Click here for full job description.
Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) seeks a Lead Organizer to join its Community Organizing and Planning team. SCC’s organizing campaigns focus primarily on affordable housing and access to good jobs. The Lead Organizer will be charged with leading dynamic organizing campaigns, coordinating the work of colleagues, and building leaders. S/he will work with the current Director of Community Organizing and Planning to reshape the department. Requirements include at least five years of experience leading effective organizing campaigns, and proficient in English and Spanish or Portuguese. Candidates should submit a cover letter, detailing their salary requirements and particular qualifications for this position, along with a resume to [email protected]
Brown Walker Planners, Inc. seeks an experienced planner for a part time-position with potential to expand full-time after trial period. Brown Walker Planners is a small Massachusetts-based consulting firm providing professional planning services to the public sector. Master’s degree in planning or closely related field and at least five years of experience related work experience required, AICP certification preferred, strong writing and ArcGIS proficiency desired. For more information and to inquire about the position, email info@
The Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) seeks Transportation Planners, Analysts and Travel Modelers. For full job description and how to apply, click here.
The Public Way: Transportation, health and livable communities
Recent postings on Steve Miller’s Blog
“…MassDOT, BRA, and their consulting traffic engineering firms…for nearly six years they’ve been meeting with people, collecting data, modeling future traffic flows, and making plans for Causeway Street. They’ve discovered some interesting facts – for example, there are more people walking than vehicles driving through that area! And they have had to adjust to major changes in transportation priorities – six years ago bicycles weren’t considered as important, now the Hubway station (shared bicycle system) in that area is the busiest in the entire city…” Read full post here: When Being ‘Complete’ Is Dangerously Unfinished: From The Gutter To Victory on Causeway Street
Other recent posts:
> A Path Forward For Charles River Underpasses: Separating “Approaches” from “Tunnels” Removes Barriers
> Green Routes to the Future: Combining Regional Vision and Local Initiative to Revitalize Urban Transportation and Well-Being
Tags: livable streets, news
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Getting several reports that Nicole Freedman the head of cycling programs in Boston has been hired as the head of head of Maine Huts & Trails
The Associated Press
KINGFIELD — A former Olympic cyclist has been hired as the new executive director of an organization that’s developing a backcountry network of huts along 180 miles of trails in Maine’s western mountains.
Nicole Freedman begins this month as head of Maine Huts and Trails.
A member of the 2000 Olympic cycling team, Freedman has served as director of bicycle programs for the city of Boston the past five years.
Maine Huts and Trails was formed with the long-term aim of building 12 overnight shelters and non-motorized trails stretching from near the New Hampshire border to the Moosehead Lake region. Each shelter has a main lodge, private rooms with beds, hot showers and home-cooked meals.
So far, the organization has built three huts along 50 miles of trails.
No word yet on if this means she is leaving Boston, more when I get it. Freedman has been a power house of change in Boston these last couple years, and if she is leaving it will be a sad day. More here, and here.
EDIT: got an email from Nicole, she is moving, I wish her the best on her new journey.
Tags: news, Nicole Freeman
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