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The Boston Globe got it slightly wrong with its “Cycle Tracks Vs Parking Spaces” Headline, mostly because there is no reason that both can’t coexist. Assuming you reduce lane widths, lower speed limits, and in general design streets for people and not cars. Parking spaces can even be integral parts of cycle tracks. So called parking buffered, or parking separated tracks use parked cars to protect cyclists from traffic.
During peak commuting times, over 300 bicycles travel Somerville’s Beacon Street an hour, making it Greater Boston’s busiest cycling corridor. It’s also considered to be the most dangerous in the state, with 154 bicycle accidents in the Inman Square area between 2002 and 2010, according to a state Department of Transportation report.
The street is riddled with potholes, and in certain areas cyclists are frequently exposed to the danger of being “doored:” struck by an opening door of a parked vehicle. But despite the dangers, it has become increasingly popular as a direct bicycle route from Porter Square to Kendall Square.
Using a combination of federal and state grants, Somerville and state transportation planners have devised a $5.5 million project aimed at addressing safety issues and making the street more bike-oriented. It will reconstruct 1.1 miles of Beacon — from Oxford Street to the Cambridge city line, including creating a cycle track, which separates bicycle traffic with a barrier dividing it from cars — and give cyclists their own traffic signals.
City officials and proponents say the plan will enhance bicycle safety without impacting vehicle traffic. But it has become a divisive issue as some residents and business owners have objected to the sacrifice of parking spaces to make room for the cycle track. As currently drawn up, the plan will eliminate about 100 street parking spaces.
But if you MUST eliminate parking spaces in order to increase the number of cyclists, local business owners should be happy. Increased cycling and pedestrian traffic (a side effect of designing streets for people and not cars) leads to more business.
I know people get upset when there is change, but they should relax. Other cities (in fact many many other cities) have implemented these changes before. In almost every case they found that lessening traffic, reducing parking, and generally making streets more people friendly led to higher property values, less pollution, increased business, and happier residents.
We are not re-inventing the wheel here, we are following the example of decades of European (and to a lesser extent American) city planning research. These designs have been tested in lots of places, they work and Somerville should be commended for installing them.
Tags: cycle tracks, somerville, stupid debate
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | 37 Comments »
Got this in the mail, looks like a great way to give back and still go for a ride. Hope it doesn’t rain!
This ride will start Tuesday night at 6 pm in front of the Independent in Union Square.. They are asking for a minimum $10 donation.
We are a group of bike lovers in and around Somerville, MA. This holiday season, we’re teaming up to bike for a purpose: to bring holiday cheer to homeless and underprivileged children in Somerville.
The Somerville Sleigh Ride
On the evening of Tuesday, December 18th, we are hosting a holiday-themed charity ride through the streets of Somerville. Suggested donation for the ride is $10-$20 (no one turned away).
We will bike through the streets of Somerville dressed up as elves, reindeer, etc, with a pedicab sleigh, and Santa! We’re going to have a lot of fun. There will be caroling throughout the city.
And with the funds raised here on indiegogo and through participants of the ride, we will purchase gifts for homeless and underprivileged children, our neighbors, right here in Somerville.
We’re hoping to provide for as many as 30 kids this year. (30 x 20 = 600!) Your contributions will make this possible. We simply couldn’t do this without your help.
What We Need & What You Get
We need to raise a minimum of $200 for our first Sleigh Ride to be a success. But we want to hit this one out of the ballpark.
The more money we raise, the more kids we can provide for, and the quality of gifts will increase, too. Every little bit counts.
And any and all extra funds raised will go directly to the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
You will get an email update from us after the ride with photos, but more importantly, you’ll get the satisfaction of helping children in need.
We are helping to bring smiles, toy trucks, footie pajamas, fuzzy slippers, etc., to kids in need in our neighborhood! What could be better than that?
Tags: homeless, sleigh ride, somerville
Posted in advocacy, fun | No Comments »
If you want to see cycle tracks on Beacon street in Somerville click here.
I support installing a cycletrack on the full length of Beacon Street in Somerville!
I believe the community can work together to find creative ways to preserve parking for businesses and residents by improving parking regulations and sharing Beacon Street’s many parking lots, and thus be able to install a cycletrack that will help reduce cyclist injuries.
Tags: Beacon, cycle tracks, petition, somerville
Posted in advocacy | 16 Comments »
got this in the email, great way to trade some bike hauling for free entry especially if you like food…which what cyclist doesn’t?!
Unleash your inner bike messenger!
The East Somerville Main Streets Foodie Crawl is an amazing event – over a dozen restaurants up and down Broadway are opening their doors in a massive ”open house” tasting party. The event is on September 18th from 6 to 8 PM and we are expecting a big crowd.
I am organizing the volunteers – since the restaurant route is about a half-mile, I know the easiest way to get around these short distances is by bike. So I’m recruiting 4 “runners” who can help move things around.
If you are interested in taking a shift, they are from 4:30-6, 5:30-7, and 7 to 8:30. You’ll need helmet, front and rear lights, and a messenger bag or pannier. You’ll get a volunteer t-shirt and free admission to the rest of the event.
Please contact me directly at [email protected] if you are interested. And tell your friends – it’s a great event and a great deal – just $25 and it includes a dessert after-party.
Tags: Food, messenger, somerville
Posted in fun | No Comments »
Ride, repair and relish in Somerville’s bicycle culture! SPOKES 2012 will feature free bike maintenance workshops, bicycle goods, info on bike activism/awareness, bike art and more. The evening will be topped off with an outdoor “bike-in movie” screening of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure complete with snacks/dinner available from food carts. Come share your love of all things bicycle and all things Somerville!
When: Saturday, September 8th [5-9pm]
Where: Union Square Plaza, Somerville
3:00-5:00pm: The Somerville Bicycle Committee will lead a “Tasting Tour of Somerville”. Donation of $10-20 per bike, with all proceeds to benefit The Welcome Project (http://www.welcomeproject.
5:00-7:00pm: Workshops, vendors, cool stuff.
7:30-9:00pm: Free screening of “PeeWee’s Big Adventure”/picnic blankets encouraged.
9:00pm: S.C.U.L. invites civilian bike craft to come along for a post-event night ride through the city. There will be music.
SPOKES 2012 is brought to you by ArtsUnion and the Somerville Arts Council. To participate or for more info email: [email protected].
Tags: fun, Scul, somerville
Posted in advocacy, fun | No Comments »
from Livable Streets
|Would you rather live, work, and play next to this?|
Do you live in or near Somerville and have to walk, bike, take transit, or drive through the McGrath Corridor to get to work, class, or do errands?
For more than a year, we have been re-envisoning what the corridor could look like. Today we have the opportunity to change one important part, the McCarthy Overpass. Now is the time to take action!
On Thursday, May 31st, there will be a public meeting about the McCarthy Overpass. We need you to attend and speak up!
Thursday, May 31st, 6-8 pm @ Argenziano School Cafetorium, 290 Washington St, Somerville. Come early between 4:30-6:00 pm for the LivableStreets McCarthy Overpass meet up to learn more about the Remove McGrath Campaign from LivableStreets Ambassadors and neighborhood groups.
and reconnect Somerville neighborhoods and business districts. Watch this video to find out what people are saying about the McCarthy Overpass.
LivableStreets supports the removal of the McCarthy Overpass along the McGrath Highway. Instead of a highway bisecting Somerville, LivableStreets advocates for neighborhood streets which provide safe, convenient access for all road users.
Whether you are a commuter or a community member, speak up in support of the removal of the McCarthy Overpass.
What can you do?
|Read our Citizen Information Handout to learn more|
Attend the May 31 public meeting and speak up.
4:30-6:00 pm LivableStreets meet up
6:00-8:00 pm Public Meeting
Learn more. Read our Citizen Information Handout with talking points for the meeting.
Share. Forward this e-lert to 5 or more friends, colleagues, family members, and neighbors to spread the word. Invite friends to the public meeting on Facebook here >>>
See you May 31.
Jackie Douglas Kara Oberg Steven Nutter
Executive Director Program Coordinator Advocacy Committee member
Tags: e-lert, livable streets, McGrath, somerville
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | 1 Comment »
Got this in the email, looks like a blast, oh bike week how I love thee!
Tags: bike breakfast, bike week, somerville
Posted in fun | No Comments »
Judging from some of the comments on the post where I mentioned that Somerville cops are going to have a couple targeted bike enforcement days (something by the way Boston and especially Cambridge have been doing for a long time), you would think that the entire fabric of our reality is tearing itself apart. But guess what, it was fine.
Somerville Police handed out more than 40 tickets to bicyclists caught breezing through red lights, cruising on sidewalks, and riding against traffic on two recent enforcement days, the department said. The crackdown is expected to continue, said Sergeant Sean Sheehan. Three more days of targeted enforcement are planned, Sheehan said, but he wouldn’t give away the dates.”Generally what the department wants to do is to get some feedback and see how its working, if people are following the rules a little more,” Sheehan said. The fines are for $20 for most infractions, which were mostly for cyclists who ran red lights, he said.
Ohhh sweet Jesus on a raft, 20 dollars! For doing something you shouldn’t be doing anyway! Tell it on the mountain I have seen the end times and they are tiny tickets and warnings… clearly I am being silly. This is exactly the kind of thing we should be pushing for as a cycling community.
When a person (especially cops) looks at the road and sees cyclists I want her to think “here is someone who belongs on this street, they deserve all the same protections and have all the same responsibilities as any other road user.” Following the rules normalizes cycling as a form of transportation. And having cyclists follow those rules (and be held accountable for not following them) is a good thing.
Pointing your finger at cars and going “but but but what about them” doesn’t change anything I have written. Cars can need more enforcement and cyclists should follow the rules. Both of those things can be true at the same time. In fact they are true. Somerville cops give out tickets to motorists every day. Hopefully in the future they can place themselves at intersections and give out failure to yield, and bad right turn, and not stopping at red light tickets. This sort of targeted enforcement could go a long way towards protecting other road user groups, like cyclists and pedestrians.
There is no evidence that I can see that shows that any local police officer are systematically enforcing laws harder on one group of road users, in fact I would have to admit that for a long time cyclists could do just about anything and there was nothing the cops could do about it. Welcome to acceptance people, where we get to use the roads and be treated like other road users, and we have to follow the rules.
Thanks Ron for the tip.
Tags: chicken little, end times be a comin, enforcement, somerville
Posted in news | 3 Comments »