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

    • Paris To Exclude Cars For One Day August 31, 2015
      Tweet   For a single day next month, locals and visitors will be able to experience Paris without motorized traffic, giving the city over to pedestrians and bikers. Free of traffic congestion, noise pollution and vehicle emissions, the Day Without Cars … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Boston Is Improving Dangerous Mass. Ave. Intersection August 31, 2015
      TweetAs I noted before, the intersection is definitely under construction. A protected bike lane, signs calling for turning motorists to yield to pedestrians and cyclists, and optimized traffic signals are some of the improvements coming to the Boston intersection where … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • The Responsibilities of Businesses with Drivers August 30, 2015
      TweetSharing a couple of encounters from the past week, one with a Hubway van and another with a Uber driver. Hubway: Please educate your drivers. It’s their job to regularly pull over to park and balance the stations, they really really need … Continue reading →
      yourstruly
    • Mass. Ave. Intersection Repaved, No Lane Markings August 30, 2015
      TweetThe Mass. Ave. intersection at the base of the Mass. Ave. Bridge has been repaved, and all the street markings are gone. This, as you may recall, is the scene of the recent hit and run that killed Anita Kurmann. … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Put Your Street On A Road Diet August 28, 2015
      TweetFrom Jeff Speck and his campaign to slim down our roads.  
      Boston Biker
    • Put Your Street On A Road Diet August 28, 2015
      TweetFrom Jeff Speck and his campaign to slim down our roads.   more info here.
      Boston Biker
    • Cars…Not So Good August 26, 2015
      Tweet NPR reported today that Boston ranks 6th!  Sixth!   Sadly it isn’t “Awesome Cities”, it was Cities with the highest level of time wasted in traffic.  We didn’t get here by accident.  It was years of decisions, choices we … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • test August 26, 2015
      Tweettest
      Boston Biker
    • Help Hubway Decide Where To Expand Next August 24, 2015
      TweetFrom The City: Since Hubway’s last expansion in Boston, we’ve received over 33,000 suggestions for station locations. Based on that input and consultation with community-based organizations, we have developed a range of station options for our 2015 expansion. We have … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Where should Hubway go next? August 24, 2015
      TweetBoston Bikes wants input on expansion of Hubway bike dock stations in Boston.  Fill out the survey to help place new stations in Brighton, Charlestown, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury/Franklin Park, and South Boston.  Looks like the Hubway bike network will be even … Continue reading →
      Liam