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Your Bad Driving Is The Reason Why Traffic Is So Bad

Written by Boston Biker on Sep 04

The main reason we have too much traffic, is because we have too many people driving cars…but it also has a lot to to do with the fact that people are horrible at driving.

Want a simple way to make your life a lot better? Stop driving your car to work!

Also, don’t blame cyclists we are speeding you up, not slowing you down.

Besides all the mental anguish people suffer from driving cars, there is the very real and very serious threat of climate change. It’s long past time when you could just close your eyes and do nothing, make your life better, make everyone’s life better, ride a bike!


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Build More Roads They Say…We Need More Lanes They Say…

Written by Boston Biker on Oct 09


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Traffic Congestion: How To Fix It

Written by Boston Biker on Jul 27

Here is a great email I got from Liviable Streets

———-

The statistics show that each of us is driving less.  So why do our roads feel more jammed up?  Why does it take longer to get anywhere?  And what can we do about it?  Some politicians have begun blaming Traffic Calming and bicycle lanes for the backups; saying that Complete Streets and pedestrian bulb-outs are making roads less safe because less accessible for emergency vehicles.  Is there any truth to this?  More fundamentally, is car congestion a problem to be solved or a solution to a problem?

A 2013 report from US PIRG showed that the average number of miles driven by the average American has been falling for about a decade, through economic booms and busts, and was down to mid-1990s levels.  Millennials, our nation’s largest-ever generational cohort, are using transit and bikes more and taking fewer and shorter car trips, resulting in a 23% drop in the average number of miles driven.  The percentage of high school seniors with a driver’s license fell 12%.  Walkable city life is increasingly attractive to both young people and retiring baby boomers.  The rise of on-line shopping, social media, and telecommuting has meant fewer quick car trips.

Despite these trends, as every driver knows, our roads are increasingly congested – not everywhere or all the time but for increasing periods at a growing number of key intersections and road segments.  Congestion radically reduces the volume of traffic passing through a road section, the through-put, thereby creating a negative feedback loop that creates more backups.   It’s estimated that USA drivers spend about 14.5 million hours every day stuck in traffic.  Congestion not only costs us time – in 2011 Boston drivers collectively lost about 137 million hours, or about 53 hours per commuter per year – but also fuel and therefore pollution, health, and money.  Not to mention frustration and occasionally murderous road rage.  Although we Bostonians believe we’ve got it worst, car congestion seems to be clogging roads like kudzu in nearly  every city in the country – and, by some reports, across the globe .

It’s true that a new report has said that the first four months of 2015 has set a new record in total vehicle miles in the US – up nearly 32 billion since the previous high in 2007, pushing gas consumption as well as prices upward. Lower gasoline prices and a recovering economy (consumer spending in May, 2015 had the highest month jump in six years) are two reasons for the jump, probably augmented by the continuing lack of viable alternatives to car driving for many people.  But a four-month blip is not enough to explain years of delays.

We do know some things that are contributing to the larger problem – land use patterns and population growth are the most important.  The low-rise dense designs that make older urban areas walkable and transit-efficient is illegal to build in many places today due to parking requirements, anti-mixed use and other zoning requirements, etc.

We know some things that may appear to be causative but actually aren’t – making roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists, prioritizing bus and trolley traffic, even reducing the average speed of cars.

We know some things that (counterintuitively) do not help reduce congestion – most notably building more roads or adding lanes, all of which eventually fill up as our additional drivers decide to move into the new space.

And we know some things that do improve the situation, but usually only when they are applied as a group rather than singularly – improving road use efficiency using technology (signal timing, access controls, central monitoring) and other methods (car pools, HOV lanes, car sharing, perhaps driverless cars), increasing alternative options (transit both regional and downtown, bicycling), changing land-use patterns (Smart-Growth style transit-orientated development), requiring corporate and municipal  Transportation Demand Management programs (incentives to not drive alone or to not drive at all), and (most effective of all) congestion pricing of various kinds.

What is needed is the cultural and political willingness to accept this knowledge and act upon it – while also coming to grips with the reality that the continuing imbalance of potential drivers to current or any plausible future amounts of road space means that congestion is a permanent part of a car-based reality.

Read more »


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A Perfect Example Of How Cars Don’t Work For Boston

Written by Boston Biker on Feb 03

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Yesterday our fair city got a good dose of snow, a sizable storm in its own right, but combined with the big ass blizzard we had last week, the entire city was struggling to keep up.  Today the city woke up to an public transportation system crippled by yesterdays snow, the head of the MBTA actually told people to drive to work

Anyone unlucky enough to drive into the city today (or drove in any of the cities around Boston) knows that without the MBTA to carry most of the folks to work, driving simply is not an option.  Snow or no snow, there are just too many cars, and not enough road.  There was bumper to bumper grid lock for both the morning and evening commutes today.

This truck was stuck like this, cars were backed up for a long way in both directions, I just got off my bike and walked around.

This truck was stuck like this, cars were backed up for a long way in both directions, I just got off my bike and walked around.

I have been riding through this weather, and a lot of my coworkers have been telling me just how crazy I am.  But the only thing moving on wheels today was people riding bikes.

Not only did the cars fail to get people around, but they made removing the snow a lot harder as well. They also slid around crashing into things, getting stuck in snow banks, and potentially killing or harming people or property.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  If even 20-30 percent of people rode bicycles (levels many snowy northern European cities accomplish), the roads would be relatively unclogged, allowing the folks that absolutely needed to drive the road space needed to do so.  It is also a lot easier to clear space for cyclists on the road, as they need much less of the road clear in order to cycle safely.  The lack of cars parked on the road would also allow for more area to place the snow.

Sure it sounds like pie in the sky thinking, but as today’s epic traffic jams illustrate, the current system isn’t working for anyone.


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Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

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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The Word On The Street

  • RSS Here is what people are saying

    • Bike!Bike! Southeast 2017 March 23, 2017
      This past weekend Sophie and Brian took a trip to Alexandria, BA for Bike!Bike! Southeast a “conference” of community bike projects. Bike!Bike! serves as a way for a wide variety of groups that use bikes to make a social impact to engage wi... Continue reading →
      commonwheels
    • Hubway Introduces Unicorn Madness March 19, 2017
      Tweet Vote today for your favorite in Round 1! This month, Hubway is introducing a tournament of its own by celebrating its 8 uniquely wrapped bikes, also knows as “unicorns.” Get to know the unicorns, join the fun, win prizes … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Historic Middlesex Canal Bike Tour – Saturday April 1st March 19, 2017
      TweetThe Middlesex Canal Association Presents: Spring Bicycle Tour of Historic Middlesex Canal   On Saturday, April 1, 2017, the Middlesex Canal Association will present its spring bicycle tour of the Middlesex Canal.  The Canal was the “big dig” of the … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Call And Email The Mayor, Let Him Know You Want A Better Bicycling Budget! March 15, 2017
      TweetFrom The BCU: Email Script Below is a template for emails to Mayor Walsh. Please personalize it and add your own information. The more personal details, the more effective the letter will be. Don’t forget to forward it to your … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Hubway Will Be Closed For The Crazy Weather March 13, 2017
      TweetDuh, but you know still a heads up. Hello Hubway rider, Due to the inclement weather, Hubway will temporarily close at 10 AM on Tuesday, March 14th, for the safety of our riders and staff. Once the closure has begun, no bikes can … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Livable Streets Update March 13, 2017
      TweetWhat’s happening Become a Street Ambassador We are launching our Street Ambassador program for 2017 to directly engage the public in our Better Buses and Longwood Areacampaigns. We need volunteers who are passionate about improving transportation and are willing to help us … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Thing A Week 10: Rubber Stamp March 12, 2017
      I needed a rubber stamp to mark the packages I was sending out from my etsy store, so I figured…why not make one. I didn’t have any stamp rubber laying around, or the tools to carve it…so I started by making both of those. I had a little bit of mold max 60 left over […]
      Boston Biker
    • The Future Of Boston Is In Your Hands March 8, 2017
      TweetFrom Livable Streets: After two years of outreach, dozens of workshops, and thousands of comments from people like you, the City of Boston has released its GoBoston 2030 Vision & Action Plan, an unprecedented roadmap for the region’s mobility future. … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Bikes Not Bombs Gets New Executive Director March 8, 2017
      Tweet Meet Elijah Evans, Our New Executive Director! Bikes Not Bombs is pleased to announce that Elijah Evans will be joining us as our new Executive Director. Elijah has a lifelong commitment to social justice and has the passion, vision, … Continue reading →
      Boston Biker
    • Thing A Week 9: Dune Inspired Jewelery Part 1 March 6, 2017
      I am very into Dune, and re-read the original 6 books once a year.  During my many re-reads I noticed there are a bunch of instances of jewelry being mentioned. So I decided I would re-create them. Kynes Rabbit Pin: A copper pin engraved with the likeness of a hare clasped the neck of Kynes’ […]
      Boston Biker