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Only Thing Worse Than Traffic…Talking All Day About Traffic

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 18

Once again Bikeyface nails it. Nothing is more annoying than hearing all your coworkers complain and complain (and complain and complain…) about how HORRIBLE their commute was, especially when you know they all live like 3 miles away and just refuse to bike/walk/take the train.

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Read the rest of this AMAZING comic, here.

My coworkers all think I am nuts but my commutes have been relatively awesome the last couple days. Door to door my 3 mile commute has been in the 20-30 minute time frame, my friend waited 45 minutes for the bus to arrive, and another hour and a half for the bus to go the same distance.

When I got home yesterday, I was warm, dry, and it had only taken 20 minutes I was like:

If we lived in a place where we had really top notch bicycle infrastructure, and the city made it a priority to clean it off when it snowed (special machines for the lanes etc.), EVERYONE could have such a stress free awesome commute, not just us “crazy people who ride our bikes in the snow.”

Cars are stress machines, especially when it snows. If you want to spend less time stuck in traffic, and a lot less time talking about traffic, give bike riding a try. See the side bar for some helpful winter riding tips. Happy snow cycling!

ps. If you have any questions about winter riding, drop them in the comments.


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Posted in advocacy, Commuting | 1 Comment »

Bikes Infrastructure Makes Traffic Run Smoother

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 22

In Manhattan they did anyway, with the help of more pedestrians and higher transit rates, as well as the new bike share program.

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After several blocks in the heart of Times Square were pedestrianized and protected bike lanes were added to five avenues in the middle of Manhattan, motor vehicle traffic is actually moving more smoothly than before, according to the latest release of NYC DOT’s annual Sustainable Streets Index [PDF].

The report, which gathers data from the MTA, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and DOT’s own counts, also shows that the volume of traffic entering Manhattan has basically stayed flat since 2009. At the same time, transit ridership has started to rebound from the recession and service cuts.

Even with population and employment levels increasing after the recession, car traffic into the Manhattan CBD declined 1.7 percent in 2011. Since 2003, traffic volumes are down 6.5 percent, while transit trips to the area have increased 11.3 percent.

The annual report incorporates numbers on bike-share usage. Between the Memorial Day launch and August 26, Citi Bike riders made more than 2.5 million trips covering more than 5.5 million miles. There have been eight crashes involving Citi Bikes, none causing injuries classified as serious. Of stations sampled during the final two weeks of July, the busiest included those near hubs like Grand Central Terminal and Union Square.

 

Read the rest of this fascinating article here. It seems obvious that if you take a bunch of people out of cars and instead they take public transit/ride a bike/ or walk that traffic would move better, but its always nice to see some real world data to prove it.

What I think is the real take home from this study is that peoples lives are improving.  They are being more healthy (even public transit is healthier than driving).  They are saving money, they are reducing their impact on the planet, and even the people who are still trapped in their cars are happier because traffic is moving smoothly.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they were happier as well.  Its a win win win win.

People defend cars, and get very upset when you try to make it harder to use them, but they really have so very few benefits and so very many drawbacks.  I think what we are seeing is that this fact is finally sinking in.

Thanks Ben for the heads up on this.


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Now We Know Who To Blame For All That Traffic

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 18

The dark blue on the map shows the neighborhoods whose residents spend the most time stuck in traffic. The red outlines identify 15 census tracts whose drivers disproportionately clog traffic, because they all tend to travel on the same small number of roads at the same time. When commuters from these census tracts clog the roads, the congestion ripples throughout the entire metro area, making everyone’s commutes longer.

The dark blue on the map shows the neighborhoods whose residents spend the most time stuck in traffic. The red outlines identify 15 census tracts whose drivers disproportionately clog traffic, because they all tend to travel on the same small number of roads at the same time. When commuters from these census tracts clog the roads, the congestion ripples throughout the entire metro area, making everyone’s commutes longer.

A recent study by MIT and UC Berkely using anonymous cell phone data and gps have determined that it is just 15 areas in the Boston metro area (out of 750 tracked by the census) are causing almost all of the traffic jams in Boston.

What they found, perhaps surprisingly, is that during rush hour, 98 percent of roads in the Boston area were in fact below traffic capacity, while just 2 percent of roads had more cars on them than they could handle. These congested roads included short stretches of I-495 southbound and Route 128 southbound, a number of downtown streets, and a wide scattering of suburban arteries, such as Bridge Street in Lowell (southbound) and Water Street in Haverhill (northbound). Each of these roads has what the engineers term a high degree of “betweenness”—that is, they’re essential for connecting one part of the metropolitan area to the others.

The backups on these roads ripple outward, causing traffic to snarl across the Hub. Marta Gonzalez of MIT, one of the lead engineers on the study, explains the effect this way. “The analogy we make is of your circulatory system,” she says. “When you have one artery that is blocked, it will affect your entire circulation.”

By tracking the cell records, they found that it’s just a small number of drivers from a small number of neighborhoods who are responsible for tying up the key roads. Specifically, they identified 15 census tracts (out of the 750 in Greater Boston) located in Everett, Marlborough, Lawrence, Lowell, and Waltham as the heart of the problem, because drivers from those areas make particularly intensive use of the problematic roads in the system.(via)

What this says to me is that, if we could connect these areas to decent public transportation and cycling options we could eliminate large amounts of traffic in this town. By working smarter, not harder, we could burst the bubble of traffic with laser guided improvements to our infrastructure.

The study demonstrated that “canceling or delaying the trips of 1 percent of all drivers across a road network would reduce delays caused by congestion by only about 3 percent,” MIT wrote. ” But canceling the trips of 1 percent of drivers from carefully selected neighborhoods would reduce the extra travel time for all other drivers in a metropolitan area by as much as 18 percent.”

The effectiveness of this “selective strategy” is attributed in the study to the facts that “only [a] few road segments are congested” and that these road segments are clogged by people originating largely from only a few areas. Even though data was anonymous, researchers were able to infer drivers’ home neighborhoods “from the regularity of the route traveled and from the locations of cell towers that handled calls made between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m,” UC-Berkeley said.(via)

If we can get drivers in these targeted areas to bus/train/cycle to work, we could dramatically reduce traffic in the rest of the town. Combined with some sort of congestion tax to keep otherwise non-car drivers from filling in the empty space made by the reduction of traffic, and using the money from that and a re-organized tax system to fund improvements in public transportation infrastructure, we could be living in a very pleasant city devoid of most single occupancy car drivers.

Science!


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Posted in advocacy, Commuting | 6 Comments »

Give A Better City A Hand Collecting Craigie Bridge Information

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 25

The good folks at ABC are trying to keep tabs on the Craigie Bridge construction (which PS. starts next Friday).

Got this in the email

————

Dear Boston bicycle and pedestrian community,

Anybody commute or ride regularly on the Craigie Bridge? If so, can you get in touch with me? Here’s what I’m trying to find out:

1. Start and Destination?
2. Do you take an alternative bridge / route?
3. The construction on the Craigie is starting the night of Friday, Nov. 5th. Like the BU bridge, the Craigie is supposed to remain open to bikes and peds throughout construction. Can someone confirm this?

A Better City is working on a bridge construction / traffic advisory website for all forms of transportation. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

I assume you can contact them here or you can leave them in the comments here and I will have them take a look.


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Posted in advocacy | 1 Comment »

Tom Vanderbilt Talks “Traffic”

Written by Boston Biker on May 10

Thanks to Erik for pointing this out to me.

It’s great, watch it twice and think hard. Also read this book its fantastic.


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Traffic Advisory: BU Bridge

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 29

DCR CREWS WORKING ON BU BRIDGE

Cambridge-to-Boston traffic will be detoured to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge

WHAT: Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) crews will be installing barriers in preparation for the first phase of construction on the BU Bridge, which carries traffic over the Charles River between Cambridge and Boston. During the work, all Cambridge-to-Boston lanes will be closed and traffic will be detoured to the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge. Only buses and emergency vehicles will be allowed in the Cambridge-to-Boston direction. One lane of Boston-to-Cambridge traffic will remain open.

WHEN: Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night October 28, 29, 30 7 p.m. – 5 a.m. each night

WHERE: BU Bridge Between Cambridge and Boston


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Posted in infrastructure, news | 2 Comments »

Traffic Advisory: Craigie Dam

Written by Boston Biker on Aug 27

This will probably be relevant to you if you bike over this dam, be warned.

DCR CREWS WORKING ON CRAIGIE DAM

Expect occasional delays by the Museum of Science

WHAT: Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) crews will be making repairs to the Craigie Dam Bridge Road by the Museum of Science. During the work, traffic will be stopped occasionally to allow the movement of machinery.

WHEN: Friday, Monday, Tuesday August 28, August 31, September 1, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. each day

WHERE: Craigie Dam Bridge Road between Cambridge and Boston. Near the Museum of Science


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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Comments on the Charles River Basin Connectivity Study April 23, 2014
      TweetI have prepared extensive comments on the Charles River Basin Connectivity Study and submitted them for review. I strongly support many aspects of the study, but there are some details I would change, and there are some opportunities which the … Continue reading →
      jsallen
    • Bikes In Cuba! April 23, 2014
      TweetRegardless of why or how people came to use bikes in Cuba, they do, and they use them for just about everything. Charlie sent in these beautiful photos of his recent trip to Cuba, and the awesome way in which bikes are … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Happy Earth Day! April 22, 2014
      Tweet   Happy Earth day.  Remember, earth is not just were we keep our stuff, its also the only planet we can live on.  You were going to anyway, but in case you needed motivation, bikes are in fact good … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Happy Earth Day! April 22, 2014
      Tweet   Happy Earth day.  Remember, earth is not just were we keep our stuff, its also the only planet we can live on.  You were going to anyway, but in case you needed motivation, bikes are in fact good … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Power To The Pedals Film Premiere April 22, 2014
      Tweet Power to the Pedals: Wenzday Jane and the Culture of Change Trailer from Heather Merrill on Vimeo. Boston Premiere of the Documentary Film “Power to the Pedals” The Boston premiere of “Power to the Pedals: Wenzday Jane and the … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Dorchester Bike Fest! April 22, 2014
      Tweet   Only a couple days away!  Be there!  April 26th!
      Boston Biker
    • MassBike Update April 22, 2014
      TweetFrom Massbike: —————– Mark Your Calendars For Bay State Bike Week! Child Safety Day hosted by Boston Police Department What do the Northampton Tweed Ride, Jamaica Plain Free Pancake Breakfast, Franklin Bike Rodeo, and over 170 other local bike events … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • MassBike Update April 22, 2014
      TweetFrom Massbike: —————– Mark Your Calendars For Bay State Bike Week! Child Safety Day hosted by Boston Police Department What do the Northampton Tweed Ride, Jamaica Plain Free Pancake Breakfast, Franklin Bike Rodeo, and over 170 other local bike events … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • MassBike Update April 22, 2014
      TweetFrom Massbike: —————– Mark Your Calendars For Bay State Bike Week! Child Safety Day hosted by Boston Police Department What do the Northampton Tweed Ride, Jamaica Plain Free Pancake Breakfast, Franklin Bike Rodeo, and over 170 other local bike events … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Hubway Gets A New Support Number, And Installs Three New Stations April 22, 2014
      TweetFrom Hubway: ———— Hello Hubway riders! We only changed one digit, but it’s an important one. Starting today, Tuesday, April 22nd, Hubway Customer Support has a new phone number. Hubway’s keys, docks, bikes, and stations are designed to be intuitive, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker