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Old 07-30-2015, 08:56 PM   #2321
Scipio
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Re: Biking in Boston

Compliance with bike boxes does seem to be pretty bad in Camberville. Every time I go by the one on Garden Street in Cambridge I see a car waiting on it. These Somerville ones are supposed to be painted with bike symbols "within the next few weeks", but the Cambridge ones have the symbols and don't have the compliance.
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Old 07-30-2015, 09:38 PM   #2322
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Re: Biking in Boston

I think there's a set of drivers who are bewildered by any markings beyond a double-yellow line... and even that...

Probably would be people who would fail the driving test if the driving test was a real test.
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Old 07-30-2015, 10:40 PM   #2323
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Re: Biking in Boston

Medford announces its first ever bike lanes and sharrows Kind of a big deal: a first recognition of non-car needs in a half century (since they paved over the streetcar tracks)

Clearly a "things are changing" (and becoming more like Somerville) message that will resonate/color the upcoming Mayoral election after a quarter century of the retiring McGlynn. I suspect candidate Burke will support it and candidate Penta will deplore it.

They've certainly chosen streets that make sense politically: a stretch by the high school used by Medford kids vs Winchester drivers, an easy choice.

Then Boston Ave (back-of-Tufts to Ball Square )and Medford St,(downhill from Magoun Sq) both of which are very Somerville-oriented, dense and also support the College Ave and Ball Square GLX.

Playstead Road is an over-wide former interurban streetcar way (grassy median, converted to 95 and 136 bus) and has a park or cemetery along most of it, and is never busy with cars (except when parked for kids soccer). I'd say it should have gotten a real lane but is on the "we drive" (and expect parking) side of town and will get sharrows.
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:43 AM   #2324
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Re: Biking in Boston

Question for the community -- is there any scientific evidence that sharrows work -- that they actually make cars share the road?

Or are they just cheap ways for public officials to get bike-friendly brownie points?
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:55 AM   #2325
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Re: Biking in Boston

I view sharrows less as a message to drivers (all non-limited-access public ways are open to bikes) and more as a message to bike riders ("here's the safe place to ride"). The experiment on Brighton Ave is largely about trying to get bike riders to stay away from the parked car doors.

Sufficiently dense sharrow installation can sometimes, I think, get through even the thickest-skulled driver that they shouldn't be honking (they shouldn't be anyway) but... who knows. By dense I mean a symbol painted on the ground like every 20 feet. Maybe with some fancy green coloring too.

As I said earlier, there are some drivers who don't seem to be able to interpret signs and lines on the ground. They get very confused (probably shouldn't be driving).

So to answer your question -- sharrows don't really count as any kind of bike facility, at least, not any more than way-finding signs do. And to be sure, those are useful, but not the same thing as a protected lane.

Then again, door-zone-style bike lanes aren't really much in the way of bike facility either. In a way, door-zone-style bike lanes are more of a benefit to drivers than to bike riders. Makes passing much easier.
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:04 AM   #2326
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Re: Biking in Boston

I agree with Matthew and will add that the general guideline is that sharrows should be placed where the lane is wide enough for both a cyclist and a car.

In practice, many sharrows are placed on roads that are too thin for a bike lane alongside a driving lane, and often too thin for a sharrow. But, local authorities view it as a token nod to cyclists, without taking anything away from cars.

This can have the unintended consequence of directing cyclists to use roads that are more dangerous than other, non sharrowed routes.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:38 AM   #2327
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I agree with Matthew and will add that the general guideline is that sharrows should be placed where the lane is wide enough for both a cyclist and a car.

In practice, many sharrows are placed on roads that are too thin for a bike lane alongside a driving lane, and often too thin for a sharrow. But, local authorities view it as a token nod to cyclists, without taking anything away from cars.

This can have the unintended consequence of directing cyclists to use roads that are more dangerous than other, non sharrowed routes.
This is my experience as well. Many of the sharrowed routes in Boston are truly terrifying to ride. And there are much better alternatives close by.
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Old 07-31-2015, 11:58 AM   #2328
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Re: Biking in Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigeman312 View Post
I agree with Matthew and will add that the general guideline is that sharrows should be placed where the lane is wide enough for both a cyclist and a car.

In practice, many sharrows are placed on roads that are too thin for a bike lane alongside a driving lane, and often too thin for a sharrow. But, local authorities view it as a token nod to cyclists, without taking anything away from cars.

This can have the unintended consequence of directing cyclists to use roads that are more dangerous than other, non sharrowed routes.
I wouldn't agree with this. If the roadway is wide enough for a bike lane, then there is little need to "share." Just stripe a bike lane. The only roads that really need sharrows are narrow ones that need to remind cars to share and, as Matthew pointed out, remind bikes that it is ok to take the lane.
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:32 PM   #2329
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Re: Biking in Boston

The Boston Transportation Department has hired Stefanie Seskin, currently the Deputy Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, to be the next "Bike Czar" aka the new Active Transportation Director for the City. Starts August 17. https://www.linkedin.com/in/stefanieseskin
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Old 07-31-2015, 02:33 PM   #2330
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Re: Biking in Boston

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I wouldn't agree with this. If the roadway is wide enough for a bike lane, then there is little need to "share." Just stripe a bike lane. The only roads that really need sharrows are narrow ones that need to remind cars to share and, as Matthew pointed out, remind bikes that it is ok to take the lane.
I agree with this 100%.

The other particularly useful place for sharrows is roads with multiple lanes in the same direction where the city doesn't want to remove a lane to put in a bike lane. Sharrows in the center of the right-most lane encourages bicyclists to take the lane and ride away from parked cars and encourages motorists to change lanes to pass. (Of course we'd really much rather have one fewer travel lane and a bike lane in these cases, but sharrows are better than nothing!)
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:07 AM   #2331
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Re: Biking in Boston

I can't wait to hear you all defend this one. Getting my popcorn ready.

http://www.boston.com/news/2015/08/0...TBJ/story.html
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Old 08-06-2015, 05:16 AM   #2332
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Re: Biking in Boston

Why does anyone need to defend one idiot?
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Old 08-06-2015, 07:13 AM   #2333
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by DZH22 View Post
I can't wait to hear you all defend this one.
http://www.boston.com/news/2015/08/0...TBJ/story.html
That this is news kinda underscores:
Idiot, indefensible person biking on interstate is so rare it makes the news
Idiot, indefensible person driving in bike lane is so common it isn't news.
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Old 08-06-2015, 07:29 AM   #2334
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by DZH22 View Post
I can't wait to hear you all defend this one. Getting my popcorn ready.

http://www.boston.com/news/2015/08/0...TBJ/story.html
Part of the problem cyclists face is that we're supposed to all be responsible for the behavior of every other cyclist on the road.

I've seen drivers do indefensible things, such as the one that was weaving in and out of the bike line at 7:30 AM and was chugging a Budweiser when I glanced in his window. I don't expect any other driver to defend his behavior, nor do I blame any other driver for his behavior.

Let's stop this mindset where drag racing on Beacon is a bad decision by individuals, but an alley cat is bad behavior by the cycling community. There are drivers and cyclists who operate responsibly on the road, and there are those who are idiots. Just like any other form of transportation.
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Old 08-06-2015, 09:57 AM   #2335
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by DZH22 View Post
I can't wait to hear you all defend this one. Getting my popcorn ready.

http://www.boston.com/news/2015/08/0...TBJ/story.html
This is pure, dickish trolling.

Of course we don't condone that.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:29 AM   #2336
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Originally Posted by dwash59 View Post
Part of the problem cyclists face is that we're supposed to all be responsible for the behavior of every other cyclist on the road.

I've seen drivers do indefensible things, such as the one that was weaving in and out of the bike line at 7:30 AM and was chugging a Budweiser when I glanced in his window. I don't expect any other driver to defend his behavior, nor do I blame any other driver for his behavior.

Let's stop this mindset where drag racing on Beacon is a bad decision by individuals, but an alley cat is bad behavior by the cycling community. There are drivers and cyclists who operate responsibly on the road, and there are those who are idiots. Just like any other form of transportation.
This X 10000000000. I am the guy at my office who bikes to work every day (Waltham office park: everyone drives). I follow EVERY. SINGLE. RULE. OF. THE. ROAD. When a coworker sees an idiot on a bike, they come in and yell at me, even though they have never encountered me on a bike in their entire life.

DZH: Next time you hear a Jew fart on a train, you should go into a random synagogue on Shabbat and lecture them about how they can defend such an action.

EDIT: I always say, "there are idiots. Some choose to drive, some choose to ride a bike, and other walk." Anyone who disagrees with this sentiment is also an idiot.

DOUBLE EDIT: Behavior like this should never be framed as driver vs. cyclist, but rather "those who follow the rules of the road" vs. "those who do not follow the rules of the road." Otherwise, this guy can get in a car and suddenly he's your friend?

Last edited by bigeman312; 08-06-2015 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 08-06-2015, 11:01 AM   #2337
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Re: Biking in Boston

Good for you BigE. I also try to bike in flagrant conformity with the law, and thank the other cyclists who stop with me at lights. I'm also not shy about telling cyclists without headlights after dark that they're life is worth a $15 headlight (white) that the law requires.

Another safety thought: Defy the local car-driver culture that avoids eye contact.

People driving in Boston are culturally-bound to not make eye contact. As a non-native it was one of the first things I noticed: how people who cut you off or block you out get an unnaturally stiff neck all of sudden so as not to see you. As a visitor (front seat passenger) in the Sumner Tunnel merge, my cousin was explicitly instructed not to make eye contact (as Southerners do), or the driver (a Boston native) would have to let a guy in.

The goal of "not seeing" is not admitting the equal humanity of all road users, and so not having to share or take turns or any of the other things we learned to do in social settings, schools, and crowded sidewalks.

Cyclists ape this mistake to their detriment (particularly when ashamed that they are running lights, it seems). Yet, Making eye contact is a recommended safety measure.

First, turning your face toward drivers increases your visibility. The human brain is hard-wired to detect faces--to seek them out even when there aren't any, (Pareidolia ain't just a second baseman ;-) but particularly when they are real and approaching (or staring), even peripherally.

Second, eye contact underscores your humanity and the social nature of sharing the road.

My own experience has been that cars that were coasting through a stop sign on a right cross street keep coasting until just a second after I judge we've made eye contact. Conversely, where eye contact isn't made, I'd say they keep right on drifting through (very often they never turn their head to look directly at cross traffic...which is also a good thing for a cyclist to ascertain about a crossing driver).
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Old 08-06-2015, 11:08 AM   #2338
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Re: Biking in Boston

Agreed, trolling, no collective responsibility for idiots, etc.

Also (/however) its really time for big, unmissable signage marking no-go zones for bikes. This person presumably got onto the cantilevered section of the Zakim and continued onto the Uppah Deck. The little underpass in the North End should have been legible for most people as 'not for bikes' (assuming that's how he accessed the bridge, rather than hopping the fence at causeway street) but I can see how someone might think that on the Zakim itself the main span is the interstate part, while the part to the right of the barriers (the cantilever, outside the cables) is some kind of 'regular road'. Then you get across the bridge and there is nowhere to go but forward.

In any scenario, this guy was really boneheaded, but there are other places in town where its MUCH easier to get into trouble real fast (especially the older pre-interstate highways / parkways).

- Storrow / Soldiers field road
- The pike onramps in the backbay
- Mem drive (even as a VERY experienced Boston biker, I'd have a hard time explaining to an out of towner why this particular road wouldn't be an ok place to bike....but I definitely wouldn't try to occupy a lane there)
- The McGrath
- Fresh Pond Parkway
- The Jamaicaway
- Charlesgate overpass
- Morrisey Blvd
- etc, etc, etc.

Consider a tourist on a hubway - the instructions (and maybe experience at 'Home' in Europe or Japan) say share the road, occupy a lane, don't bike on the sidewalk, etc. etc. .... could you really blame an out of towner for finding themselves in a hairy situation on any of those roads (again, getting all the way to the Uppah Deck is a different story)....after all once you find yourself on a freeway / freeway-lite all the right instincts would tell you to keep going, as fast and straight as possible, until you find an offramp, epecially if there is no breakdown lane...

tl:dr - Time to paint very large 'no bikes' symbols at critical intersections and onramps, mostly because our road vocabulary here is so idiosyncratic

**EDIT: I see that the article says he got one at Lev. Circle....my broader points remain....
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Old 08-06-2015, 11:34 AM   #2339
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Re: Biking in Boston

I agree 100%, but I do not think it applies to this idiot. I would bet he knows what he was doing and thought it was a "stunt" or "statement" or something of the sort.
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Old 08-06-2015, 11:38 AM   #2340
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Re: Biking in Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSTH View Post
Time to paint very large 'no bikes' symbols at critical intersections and onramps, mostly because our road vocabulary here is so idiosyncratic

**EDIT: I see that the article says he got one at Lev. Circle....my broader points remain....
Totally agree. ( Want to know where he *got off*)

Particularly the Model-T era parkways (ideosyncratic older/richer east coast cities like NY and BOS) are something that visitors/transplants from South-of-DC or West-of-the-Appalachians don't have a model for and half will wrongly think them "streets" instead of "bypassways" (Compounded that parkways themselves were tailor-built to cars were all the size of a Honda Fit, but half the weight, and had a typical speed of 25mph and top speed of 40mph)

I saw a clueless cyclist on this stretch of Alewife Brook Parkway where the sidewalk suddenly gets deleted for a block. Either we put a "boardwalk" sidewalk, or more forcefully get this guy on the "wrong side" bike path.

The fix for Parkways that are too narrow and too fast to be shared is all get parallel bikeways.
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