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Do You Want Protected Bike Lanes On The Longfellow?

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 13

From Cambridge Bike Safety:

The Longfellow Bridge, a critical bike connector to Boston, is going to be restriped and reopened in May. You may be surprised to learn that in the final design, the inbound bike lane will be similar or worse than it is today: it will continue to have a dangerous 5 1/2-foot painted bike lane between fast-moving cars and trucks on one side, and the storm grates and detritus that builds up next to the crash barrier on the other side. The outbound lane will be slightly better, with a small 2-foot buffer separating bikes from one lane of car traffic with no protection.

According to Boston’s bike counts, one-third of AM rush hour commuters are on bicycles. Those families, commuters and visitors deserve a safe space to ride! We have been working to convince state officials to install pilot protected bike lanes by restriping both lanes, inbound and outbound, with buffers and flexposts to provide separation and permanent protection for the commuters, families, and other people traveling over this bridge on bikes.

To make this vision a reality we need to keep the pressure on state officials. Please take these two actions today to ensure help us transform the Longfellow Bridge from a highway to a safe, mulit-modal connector for everyone, including those walking and bicycling!

  1. Call or email your state representative’s and senator’s offices (look yours up here or find the list of Cambridge reps below) as soon as possible and tell them how important it is to you as a constituent that MassDOT update the design to include safe, protected bike lanes on the bridge in both directions. Please copy us or email us afterward ([email protected] and [email protected]) so we can keep a count. Talking points are below.

  2. Sign this petition asking state officials to stripe a safe bike lane with a buffer on the inbound side of the Longfellow. If you’ve already signed, share the link with your friends by email or Facebook.

Background:

A group of advocates led by the Boston Cyclists Union, Cambridge Bicycle Safety, and others has been working to convince state officials to change their plans for the inbound side of the bridge, and use painted buffers and flexposts to provide separation and permanent protection for the commuters, families, and other people traveling over this bridge on bikes.

Specifically, we are asking MassDOT to keep the bridge to one travel lane inbound for cars, in order to install an inbound protected bike lane that would allow cyclists to cross the bridge safely.

  • With only one general travel lane, the protected bike lane can be designed to be quite wide, which will have two ancillary benefits: (1) emergency vehicles like ambulances will be able to safely use the bike lane/buffer when needed (with bicyclists pulling over to the side), (2) bicyclists will be able to safely ride side by side and pass each other on the steep climb up the bridge.

  • We know that one lane is all that’s needed, given that there’s only been one car lane over the past 5+ years of construction, and the traffic implosion that had been predicted never materialized. Also, designating only one travel lane for motor vehicles will reduce speeding.

  • Due to these benefits, the Cambridge City Council officially endorsed this proposed design, and two of our state representatives, Mike Connolly and Jay Livingstone, have publicly written to MassDOT asking them to improve safety by adopting this design. (It’s still important to call Mike and Jay to thank them, so they know this is something people really care about.)

  • Also important to note: the change we are asking for can easily be made, even at this late stage. It primarily involves simply painting different lane markings on the bridge, and does not need to delay the project.

For more information, see the Boston Cyclists Union’s post on the history of the Longfellow bridge project. MassDOT’s currently planned design is using data on mode shares from 9 years ago. In that time, Cambridge bike counts have doubled, and the Longfellow bridge has operated with one vehicular inbound travel lane for 5 years without incident. The bridge must be updated to reflect current trends and emphasize safe, healthy mobility with protected bike lanes in both directions.

Be sure to include Longfellow Bridge in the subject, and if possible add a personal story why this is essential for your safe commute and enjoyment of public spaces.

Sincerely,
The CBS Core Team

Write or call your statehouse legislators using the email addresses and phone numbers below. If you don’t know who they are, visit: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Be sure to include Longfellow Bridge in the subject, copy us ([email protected] and [email protected]), and if possible add a personal story why this is essential for your safe commute and enjoyment of public spaces.

House

Rep. Dave Rogers (24th Middlesex)
617-722-2370        [email protected]

Rep. Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex)
617-722-2692        [email protected]

Rep. Mike Connolly (26th Middlesex)
617-722-2060        [email protected]

Rep. Jonathan Hecht (29th Middlesex)
617-722-2140        [email protected]

Rep. Jay Livingstone (8th Suffolk)
617-722-2013        [email protected]

Rep. Denise Provost (27th Middlesex, Somerville)
617-722-2263        [email protected]

Senate

Sen. Patricia Jehlen (2nd Middlesex)
617-722-1578        [email protected]

Sen. Sal DiDomenico (Middlesex and Suffolk)
617-722-1650        [email protected]

Sen. Joseph Boncore (1st Suffolk and Middlesex)
617-722-1634        [email protected]


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Help Bring Protected Bike Lanes To Cambridge St!

Written by Boston Biker on Apr 17

got this in the email:

————

Do you want to see protected bike lanes on Cambridge St? We need your in-person support to make sure it happens!

On April 25, the City is holding its first public meeting for the Cambridge Street protected bike lane project. We need as many people as possible to show up and express support!

When: Tuesday April 25th from 6PM-8PM
Where: Cambridge Rindge & Latin School – Media Café, 459 Broadway (use main school entrance)

  1. Click here to RSVP on Facebook.
  2. Canvass with us at least once this week along Cambridge Street! Click here to sign up. The focus of the canvass is to inform neighbors about the project, building support for protected bike infrastructure at the local level. Talking points and materials will be provided.

This project is in no small part because of our community’s collective effort last fall and will be a model for future protected bike lanes and lay the groundwork for a much broader protected network. It’s essential that we work with the city to get this one right.

More details about the project below.

Sincerely,
The CBS core team
What is happening, and where?

Protected bicycle lanes are going to be installed on Cambridge St from Inman Square to Quincy St (near Harvard). The lanes will have a similar design to those on Mass Ave near the Harvard Law School and Lafayette Square, except that they will be longer and on both sides of the street. Here is an example cross-section, and here is a photo of one of the similar lanes on Mass Ave.***

Detailed comments

Three design elements that Cambridge Bicycle Safety views as critical for safety for Cambridge Street and all protected bike lane pilots:

  1. The protected bicycle lanes need to be physically separated from parked and moving cars along the entire length of the protected lane. This can be accomplished using a range of options from flex posts to pre-cast curbing and planters.
  2. Vehicles such as buses, taxis/Uber/Lyft, and delivery vehicles should not need to, or be able to, block or stop in the bike lane. Floating bus stops–where the bus stops in the travel lane and picks up riders from a raised platform–and appropriate signage and physical barriers to prevent disruptive stopping in the bicycle lane should be included. Here is an example from the MassDOT separated bike lane design guide.
  3. Designated loading zones need to be provided elsewhere to make sure that deliveries and passenger pickup/dropoff can take place. Loading zones are crucial for small businesses who depend on deliveries, and they are also important because they provide an alternative to stopping in the bicycle lane.

We’ve recently sent the city two memos outlining our suggestions for the spring projects. Read them here.

*** Although they aren’t the focus of this public meeting, two other short segments of protected bike lanes are also being added this spring, one on Brattle St from Harvard Square to Mason St, and one on Mass Ave from Trowbridge St to Bow St. Additionally, protected bike lanes are part of all the Inman Square redesign options. We’ll be writing more about these projects soon.


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Live In Cambridge? Time To Make Some Phone Calls.

Written by Boston Biker on Jan 30

Time to get on the phone!  In between calling up your senators and telling them to fight trump, you should call up your local folks and demand bike lanes!

————

We’re writing with good news and bad news about our shared work to make our streets safer for everyone in Cambridge.

First, the good news: All four designs for Inman Square include protected bike facilities and so many of us showed up to the public meeting they had to turn people away and schedule a new one!

Now, the bad news: Unfortunately, the city does not appear to be committed to implementing a Spring network of protected bike lanes as the council requested last fall, based on their most recent update which they’re going to present to the city council tomorrow. Instead, they only plan to complete a portion of Cambridge St and a small sliver of Mass Ave this spring, with no concrete plan for further work. We continue to be excited about the popup protected bike lane that’s planned for Cambridge St, but that needs to be just the first step in a concrete, accelerated work plan for a broad network across the city.

Two cyclists died last year and the city’s lack of urgency is troubling. We need your help to keep up pressure on the city to commit to a detailed plan and timetable for a connected network of protected bike lanes.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Most valuable: Come to the city council meeting tomorrow, Monday January 30, and speak out in support of an expansive Spring network. Public comment starts at 5:30pm, you can call (617) 349-4280 to sign up until 3pm or sign up in person until 6pm. Say that you are speaking about CMA 2017 #27 (the bike safety work plan). We’ll put up talking points here. RSVP and share on Facebook.
  2. If you can’t make Monday’s council meeting, please write or call your City Councillors and the City Manager expressing your disappointment at the lack of urgency and the narrow scope in the plans for protected lanes. Numbers for each City Councillor are available here.

Sincerely,
Annie, Nate, and other members of the CBS core team


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Protected Bike Lanes Installed On Mass. Ave. In Central

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 09

The 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 the push for bike safety in Cambridge! Today, the City started to implement pop-up protected bike lanes on sections of Mass Ave! Additionally, the City has has committed to begin building a broader network of pop-up protected bike lanes this spring.

These are a major achievements and they would not have happened without you. The City Council and the new City Manager Louis DePasquale are responding to our petition signatures, phone calls, letter writing, rallies, and council meeting attendance. As a measure of the city’s commitment, the traffic department will be hiring an additional engineer in large part to help with the plans for increased bike infrastructure.

Our road to success has not been without challenges. As you may recall, in early November, the city had stated publicly that establishing even a single protected bike lane before the end of the year would be impossible due to the time needed for planning and the practical problems posed by snow and cold weather. This surprising reversal in policy was the result of our calls, letters and presence at council meetings letting City Hall know that we were not satisfied with the pace of progress.

Even as we celebrate, we recognize that we are still a long way from our goal of a network of protected bike infrastructure on all major thoroughfares. During the Winter, conversations will continue with city officials to work out details for the Spring roll-out of additional protected bike lanes. The city has not specified the exact plan for the spring pop-up network and we want to make sure that it is significant in scope and is as successful as possible. It will be important to voice our opinion at public meetings and, if necessary, at the council to make this happen. Let’s continue to use our collective power to ensure that we get the safe streets everyone deserves.


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Do You Want Protected Bike Lanes On The Longfellow? April 13, 2018
      TweetFrom Cambridge Bike Safety: The Longfellow Bridge, a critical bike connector to Boston, is going to be restriped and reopened in May. You may be surprised to learn that in the final design, the inbound bike lane will be similar … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • #30DaysofBiking Day 7 April 7, 2018
      TweetThis is better! A sunny, somewhat cool spring day. Me on my bike, my daughter on a trail-a-bike, and my son on his bike. We rode down the Southwest Corridor, stopped at Ula Cafe for lunch, rode over by Jamaica … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • Riding Lexington Street, Waltham, July 4, 2015 April 7, 2018
      TweetIt should be noted that bike lanes have been installed on much of the stretch of Lexington Street shown in the videos. Videos showing the new conditions are in preparation. Two videos, for now: A demonstration of lane control in … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • Riding Lexington Street, Waltham, July 4, 2015 April 7, 2018
      TweetIt shoudl be noted that bike lanes have been installed on much of the stretch of Lexington Street shown in the videos. Videos showing the new conditions are in preparation. Two videos, for now: A demonstration of lane control in … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • #30DaysofBiking Days 3,4,5, and 6 April 6, 2018
      TweetIt’s been cold, rainy, windy, and I’m not sleeping well. These days of biking are short rides on Hubway to get from here to there, head down, and shivering. This is not the joyous Days of Biking I signed up … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • #30DaysofBiking Day 2 April 3, 2018
      Tweet Easter Monday.  The first work day of April.  Today is the day I’m going to start riding my bike to work again! Or not.  Because it’s snowing.  And I’m tired and lazy. But every bit of biking counts no … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • #30DaysofBiking Day 1 April 2, 2018
      TweetI didn’t think I was going to go for a bike ride on Easter Sunday.  As tends to be my habit, I ride less and less in the winter time and then find it hard to get back into the … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • Police Seek Driver Who Struck Cyclist In Hit And Run March 23, 2018
      Tweet Cambridge police are asking for the public’s help in finding a driver who allegedly struck a 14-year-old boy on the morning of March 15 and fled the scene. A silver Toyota Prius struck the boy around 7:22 a.m. that … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • 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