The Latest From BostonBiker.org

News, Events, Updates


Cycle Tracks Vs Parking Spaces: False Argument Continues In Somerville

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 23

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.


submit Cycle Tracks Vs Parking Spaces: False Argument Continues In Somerville to reddit.com Add to Reddit.

Tags: , ,
Posted in advocacy, infrastructure | 38 Comments »

The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Michelle Wu’s Editorial on Biking in Boston July 22, 2016
      TweetThe Boston Globe recently published Boston City Council President Michelle Wu’s thoughts on improving bicyclist safety and promoting bike commuting in Boston by way of protected bike lanes.  It’s been passed around quite a bit in Boston cycling circles, but … Continue reading →
      Liam
    • I Am Heading Out To The Corn! July 22, 2016
      TweetI am going to be doing my 5th (!) RAGBRAI next week. It’s going to be hot, and fun, try not to break anything while I am gone.   Read some past RAGBRAI stories here.
      Boston Biker
    • Newbury Street Closed To Car Traffic One Day Next Month July 22, 2016
      TweetIn an effort to make it more like downtown crossing Newbury Street will be closed to cars one day next month (Aug 7th). The city’s decision to shut down Newbury Street to vehicular traffic on Sunday, Aug. 7, is drawing … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Councillor Michelle Wu Wants Your Help To Find Places For Better Bike Lanes July 18, 2016
      TweetSo lets tell her!   From Facebook Need some crowd-sourcing help to move protected cycling infrastructure! Can we generate a list of all the road segments in Boston where there’s already a painted bike lane next to parked cars? i.e. … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • No Need To Imagine New Infrastructure, Just Copy What Works July 13, 2016
      TweetHere is something I would love to see here.
      Boston Biker
    • Babes Bike Boston 2! July 9, 2016
      TweetIts happening AGAIN. The Babes Bike Boston race is back! From Femmechanics: Femmechanics (https://femmechanics.wordpress.com/) is hosting our 2nd annual alleycat next Saturday July 16th! BBB is an alleycat for FTW (femme and/or trans* and/or women) riders of all biking abilities, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Awesome Ad Featuring Boston Bike Polo Players! July 9, 2016
      Tweet Let the Games Begin from Rule Boston Camera on Vimeo. If you have never watched or played bike polo you are missing out, lots of fun, one of the most fun things you can do.
      Boston Biker
    • Cambridge Fast Tracks Inman Square Redesign June 30, 2016
      TweetThe city of Cambridge has decided to fast track the redesign of Inman square after the recent death there. Sigh…seems the best way to get shitty infrastructure fixed is to have someone die in it. We saw the same thing … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Jeff Jacoby Is A Dirty Sleaze Bag Who Tries To Get Attention When Cyclists Die June 29, 2016
      TweetIt seems Jeff Jacoby, resident murderous goon at the Globe, likes to make stupid public statements after cyclists are killed to try and squeeze just a little more attention for himself and his horrific view points.  I wrote way back in … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Drunk Driver Gets 12 Years For Killing Cyclist In Dorchester June 29, 2016
      TweetIn a rare turn of events a motorist was actually sentenced to jail time for killing a cyclists. All it took was him being drunk and driving without a license.  Nothing will bring back young Fritz Philogene, but at least justice … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker