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The Math On Driving Doesn’t Work

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 06

From MetroNews

A common political argument is that bike and transit riders should “pay their own way.” A study in Vancouver however suggested that for every dollar we individually spend on walking, society pays just 1 cent. For biking, it’s eight cents, and for bus-riding, $1.50. But for every personal dollar spent driving, society pays a whopping $9.20! Such math makes clear where the big subsidies are, without even starting to count the broader environmental, economic, spatial and quality-of-life consequences of our movement choices. The less people need to drive in our cities, the less we all pay, in more ways than one.

Or to put it another way, you are not paying for bike lanes and side walks with your taxes, your paying for massive infrastructure projects to move cars around.

All that money could be used in much better ways.  For instance we could just leave it in your pocket…or we could put it into public transit, or renewable energy, or use it to hire more teachers, or make sure our water is clean, the list is nearly endless.

The other thing to think about is that once car usage is reduced, deaths from car usage is also reduced.  Less crashes, less hit and runs, less obesity, less asthma, less wars for oil, less fracking, less cancer, less diabetes, less global warming induced bad weather.

In short we are spending our money all wrong on things that are only hurting us.

In contrast cycling walking and public transit actually makes money for society!

A recent American study suggested that compact development, on average, costs 38 per cent less in up-front infrastructure and 10 per cent less in ongoing service delivery than conventional suburban development, while generating 10 times more per acre in tax revenue. Many cities overbuilding the suburbs are putting their fiscal future at risk — and that’s before the bigger picture costs are even included.

Over the last decade, Canadian cities like Calgary, Edmonton, London, Halifax, Regina and Abbotsford have been doing the hard math on the real costs of how and where they grow — not just up or out, but how smarter design choices save costs. The resulting math has been powerful — tens of billions of dollars more of public cost for car-dependant suburban growth than for smart infill — and I haven’t even yet seen such a study that includes all the full and life-cycle costs of our growth choices. Once these shocking numbers are revealed, municipal leaders can’t “un-know” them, no matter what political ideology they live by.

Want more examples? There’s math showing that replacing on-street parking with safe, separated bike-lanes is good for street-fronting businesses. That crime goes down as density goes up. That providing housing for the homeless actually saves public money. That you can move more people on a street when car lanes are replaced by well-designed space for walking, biking and transit.

It’s hard to argue with numbers like that.  Building car infrastructure is a dead end, and needs to stop.

With sea level rising, and a demonic Cheeto in office convinced its a Chinese hoax,  its going to be beholden on local municipalities to rescue themselves.  Boston is already experiencing flooding on some high tide days, its only going to get worse.  Our tax money needs to go towards fighting and recovering from the mistakes of the past, not repeating them.

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Posted in advocacy, Commuting, infrastructure | No Comments »

Celebrate Comm Ave Improvements (Part 2) This Friday

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 27

A bunch of big wigs will be on hand to celebrate the second phase of the Comm. Ave. improvement project.  Come check it out.


From Livable Streets:


This Friday, we are excited to celebrate the groundbreaking of the second phase of the Commonwealth Ave project!

CommonwealthAveGroundbreaking.pngThanks to the work of LivableStreets advocates like you, our partner advocacy groups, and many others, we were able secure a plan for Comm Ave that includes crucial improvements like protected bike lanes, raised crosswalks, improved bus stops, and transit signal priority for the Green Line and 57 bus. This is a landmark improvement and a big victory for the 100,000 people using Commonwealth Ave.

If you are available, join Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack, Federal Highway Division Administrator Jeff McEwen, Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin, Boston University President Robert Brown and others to break ground on the second phase of the Commonwealth Avenue improvement project.

Event Details:
Commonwealth Ave Groundbreaking

Friday, October 28, 3:00 pm
@ 855 Commonwealth Ave, Boston

This project is an important example of LivableStreets’ larger vision of a seamless network of improved streets across greater Boston that are safe and convenient for all. To learn more about our work to improve the designs for Commonwealth Ave, click here.

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Ride Your Bike To Vote For Bernie Sanders!

Written by Boston Biker on Mar 01

I saw a lot of folks riding their bikes to vote today, parking is a breeze and it makes it super easy to get to the polls.

Oh also while you are there VOTE FOR BERNIE!!! officially endorses Bernie Sanders for bicycle president!

ps. Feel the Bern

Ps. It’s super super close, call all your bike friends and get them out to vote!

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Vote NO on Question 1

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 10

I will gladly pay taxes if it means I get benefits.  Indexing the gas tax makes perfect sense.  Roads and bridges are mostly demolished by cars, cars run on gas.  Removing this tax will allow cars to destroy our roads and bridges and remove an important means of funding them.  Vote NO on question 1.

I would go so far as to say we need to figure out other funding methods, the rise in electric cars will see a dramatic reduction in gas tax revenue, but no reduction in the amount of wear and tear on our streets.  Perhaps a yearly “car ownership” tax for anyone who own a car, indexed to the cost/weight of the vehicle.

In the mean time don’t take away a vital way we repair our public roads and bridges, vote NO on question 1.


From MassBike:


You’ve probably heard a lot about the Question 1 ballot measure in the upcoming election. We want to tell you about what Question 1 would do,  what that would mean for you, and why we are supporting a NO vote on Question 1.

Question 1 would eliminate the gas tax indexing law and put at least $1 billion in transportation investments in jeopardy over the next decade. Indexing the gas tax helps this dedicated transportation revenue source maintain its value and was a vital part of the 2013 law that reversed years of under-investment in transportation.

Question 1 is bad news for cyclists and pedestrians. Safe biking and walking requires good planning and investments, and Massachusetts has a long way to go to design and build streets, bikeways, trails, and walkways that are safe for everyone.

After years of neglect, roads and bridges in Massachusetts are now a major public safety crisis. This is something we can no longer ignore. Passage of Question 1 would mean our roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate, threatening the safety of Massachusetts cyclists and all residents.

For all of these reasons, MassBike supports a NO on Question 1 vote on November 4.

Say NO to sacrificing new infrastructure.

  • Question 1 threatens to cut $1 billion in transportation investments over the next decade.
  • Question 1 would reduce or eliminate new walking and biking paths.
  • Question 1 would reduce or eliminate road / bridge projects with new bike facilities.

Say NO to unsafe bridges.

  • Today there are 28 bridges in Massachusetts that have been closed because they are unsafe and another 447 that can only carry reduced traffic loads.
  • The ten busiest structurally deficient bridges in the state carry more than 1 million cars every day.

Say NO to traffic fatalities.

  • Massachusetts roads are unsafe for too many cyclists.
  • Roadways conditions are a significant factor in one-third of all traffic fatalities in Massachusetts.
  • Motor vehicle crashes cost Massachusetts $6.3 billion a year in medical and other costs.

Say NO to cutting public transit improvements.

  • Indexing the gas tax helps to improve our public transit system.
  • Question 1 risks investments in aging subways, rail, and buses.
  • Question 1 risks improvements in the MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities.

Say NO to risking environmental benefits.

  • Question 1 will hurt our ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Question 1 will limit our ability to invest in low- and non-polluting transportation projects such as biking, walking, and public transit.

Say NO to Question 1.

If you are eager to help stop Question 1, please spread the word and follow the campaign on Twitter or like it on Facebook.

Click here to read the full ballot question.

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Posted in advocacy | 1 Comment »

Candidates Talk Transportation And Smart Growth

Written by Boston Biker on Jun 08

Starts off a little slow, but a really good insight into what our potential new leaders think about the future of transportation in this state.

From Livable Streets:

Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates took the stage at the Boston Public Library to discuss top transportation and smart growth priorities in front of hundreds of people watching in-person and through the live-stream.

The forum was sponsored by two state-wide coalitions, Transportation For Massachusetts and Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance. As a member of Transportation For Massachusetts, LivableStreets helped coordinate the forum, building off the success of the Mayoral Forum we helped coordinate last September with 28 partner groups. These forums provide an opportunity to elevate the issues we all care so much about, to hear directly from candidates about how they plan to improve transportation to make our communities more livable, and inform voters – that’s you – about where they stand on these issues

The full house and dynamic twitter conversations (#MovingMAForward) show that people in Boston and across the state hold transportation as a top priority. It was energizing to see you all there. With so many of us that care about these issues, we are well poised to make our city safer and more livable.

Forward this email with the video to a friend to help raise awareness about important transportation issues and to grow the community of people invested in improving our streets for people.
Thank you,

Jamie Maier, Campaign Coordinator
LivableStreets Alliance
[email protected]
T: @StreetsBoston
F: LivableStreets

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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Pewter Cast “Gem” Earrings March 9, 2018
      Carved, cast and made these pewter (lead free) “gem” earrings.  They have a lovely faceted surface that catches the light and has a lot of depth and interesting texture.  My first real effort at making my own beads.  If you lik... Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Silver “Rock” Earrings March 9, 2018
        I carved and cast these silver “rock” earrings for my partner. The hardest part was getting those little jump rings soldered to the top of the “rock” without melting them or the rock…but I did it and she loved them. Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Hubway Is Dead Long Live Blue Bikes March 8, 2018
      TweetBlue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts will pay nearly $20 million to turn the Boston area’s Hubway bike share system into Blue Bikes and expand the program with more than 1,000 new bikes and more than 100 new rental stations … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Very Complicated Tribal Wolf Vinyl Decal February 22, 2018
      You ever just do something to see if you can?  That’s what this vinyl decal was about. Just wanted to see how complicated a decal I could cut out, as well as how patient I could be while weeding it. Designed and put into great cut. Starting the cutting process It took a long time… […]
      Boston Biker
    • Quincy Is Co-Hosting Traffic Skills Cycling Course With MassBike February 8, 2018
      TweetFrom the email: Hello Quincyclists, I would like to announce that Quincy is co-hosting a League of American Bicyclists’ Smart Cycling Traffic Skills 101 class on April 7 and 8. Please join us! Register here: This Traffic Skills 101 Cycling … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Last all To Submit Comments For Allston I-90 DEIR February 7, 2018
      TweetFrom Livable Streets: Are you willing to wait 22 years for your train to show up? Now is the time to let state leaders know that we can’t afford to wait. The Allston I-90 Interchange project can transform access and mobility for … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Hubway Winter Update February 2, 2018
      TweetFrom Hubway:   Hubway had a winning January! This past month, Hubway riders took over 40,000 trips, more than double the January record. Want to try out winter riding? You don’t need to be tough — you just need to be … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Speak Up For Zoning Reform In MA! February 1, 2018
      TweetFrom Livable Streets: Did you know that the last time Massachusetts updated its zoning laws was in 1975? We need your help today to ensure that our future includes responsible planning for great neighborhoods! Contact Massachusetts legislators and let them know that we … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • My e-mail in support of West Station January 31, 2018
      TweetAlexander Strysky is the reviewer for the Massashusetts Environmental Protection Agency reviewer for the I-90 Interchange project in Allston. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has backed off from plans for prompt construction of  anew West Station on the Framingham-Worcester commuter-rail … Continue reading →
    • My letter to the Globe about the Kurmann fatality January 31, 2018
      TweetI’ve read the Op-Ed piece by Andrew Fischer and Alan Wright, “Killing Bicyclists should be a crime” in the Sunday, January 28 Globe. I agree with Wright and Fischer that a charge of involuntary manslaughter against the trucker in the … Continue reading →