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Old 02-10-2009, 03:08 PM   #41
jass
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Re: Biking in Boston

Seeing something so anti urban in this forum, outside of Ned, is saddening.

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IMO the bike advocates are getting undue influence...I would point to the example above and the fight over the Mass Ave reconstruction in the south end as exhibits A and B. The Mass Ave stretch is no place for bikers. It is a major artery for traffic. Bikers with a lick of common sense should take adjoining side roads. And while I would like to see a bike lane accommodated over the BU bridge it should not come at the expense of a major vehicular bottleneck.

How are bikes getting undue influence? Boston installed the very first bike lane last year...2008!

I dont have the stats for the BU Bridge, but at the Longfellow bridge, 7-9% of traffic is on bikes. Are they getting 7-9% of the space? Do you think that perhaps by making it easier to bike, this can be replicated everywhere, and even increased?

How is mass ave not for bikes? EVERY city street is for EVERYONE. Why should cyclists take a longer route just because you feel that you deserve to drive 5mph faster?

You dont seem to understand the idea of induced demand. When comm ave was recently reduced from 3 lanes to two, there was absolutely no change in traffic. Cars drive slower, but there are no traffic jams. There are also more bikes then ever, signaling that some people have left their bikes at home.

cden4 is exactly right. Roads should be designed to accommodate pedestrians and bikes first.
They dont pollute. They dont kill. They increase health instead of decreasing it.

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It is difficult to impossible and often times reckless to bike in Boston for about four months of the year. Snow and ice eat into quite a bit of the available road and parking space. In a perfect world we could redesign Boston like a simcity game and there would be ample space for bikes. Mass Ave in the South End is a very heavily traveled artery on which cars move at a high rate of speed. For the efficient flow of traffic in Boston this is necessary. I'm not a car advocate by nature. I think Congress Street should be narrowed dramatically. By and large I favor pedestrian oriented traffic planning. For this reason I can't stand the traffic pattern in the SBW. That said, in some situations cars must take priority.
No, its not difficult and especially not reckless to bike in Boston in the winter. During a storm? Sure, but its also not safe to drive.
If the road has been narrowed, guess what, its the cyclcists legal right to take over as much as space as they need. Have you ever walked around after a snowstorm? Every intersection is a nightmare, because the crosswalk is blocked by snow the plows have piled on. Its much easier to get around by bike.

" Mass Ave in the South End is a very heavily traveled artery on which cars move at a high rate of speed. "

Congrats, youve identified the problem. The sollution is to implement traffic calming. Add bike lanes, widen sidewalks, give transit priority. Right now mass ave is dangerous, making it faster is the worst thing you could do.

Why should cars take priority in some situations? They have the pike, they have storrow drive. Cars need to learn to coexist with everybody else. Driving is not a right.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:25 PM   #42
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Driving is not a right.
Damn straight.

We've spent the last 50 years adjusting our cities for cars at the expense of the person. It's time to level the playing field.

I met a guy at a transit meeting who thought all roads should be torn up and everyone should bike everywhere. I thought he was kidding until I realized he wasn't. This is just as stupid as saying everyone should drive everywhere. If you want better traffic and a better quality of life you need a balanced transportation network.

Cars are great and should not be done away with; only our total reliance on them needs to go. Sure biking in bad weather is going to turn a lot of people off of biking but that doesn't mean that we should not accommodate them since THERE IS NICE WEATHER TOO! Having a balanced network accounts for this. Weather bad? More people can take transit or car traffic will go up a bit. Then on nice days it switches back.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:29 PM   #43
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Re: Biking in Boston

Getting from the Back Bay to 93 South is easy. That's one of the main purposes of Storrow Drive.
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Old 02-10-2009, 06:57 PM   #44
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Re: Biking in Boston

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I don't understand why access to 90 East was never created from the Back Bay, but there is really no good way to get to 93 at this point in time.
I always felt it was a lost opportunity in that 90 goes thought the city but really doesn't serve the city. There currently is a task force working on adding entrances and exits to 90. They also need to add a connection between the Pike and Storrow Drive somewhere around Cambridge St. One of the issues I think the task force is discussing is access from the Pike to the Longwood Medical area. This would move a tremendous amount of Longwood and Fenway Park traffic off of Mass Ave, Then maybe Mass Ave can become a nice St. I drive and walk it all the time it's ugly as hell in the South End. There use to be tree lined malls with a path in the middle for several blocks on either side of Chester Sq.

I know one of the members of the task force, I try to pump him for info next time I see him.

Last edited by PaulC; 02-10-2009 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:16 PM   #45
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Re: Biking in Boston

Ron,

That's a very circuitous route that runs into the teeth of storrow drive traffic, especially at rush hour. It's not a route I would ever take. (I live and work not far from mass ave and travel to the south shore with regularity)

I'm sorry, but bikes are not and never will be a solution for more than 5% of the populace...especially in a cold weather climate like Boston. IMO pretending otherwise is simply naive.

Driving may not be a right but it's a reality. I have not suggested that we unduly accommodate automobiles. In fact, I would be in favor of a plan to put traffic lights on storrow drive to enable street level pedestrian crossings like those on the west side highway in lower manhattan. But I don't think we should tie ourselves in knots to accommodate bikes in all situations. There are times and places when the effort to include bike lanes is not worth the sacrifices that must be made.

Mass Ave through the south end is a narrow street to begin with. The sidewalks are too narrow for the street. Those should be widened before we even think about bike lanes.

Additional bike traffic on that street would be a hazard and less of a benefit than any additional sidewalk width that could be captured.
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Old 02-10-2009, 08:38 PM   #46
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Re: Biking in Boston

I wonder if some creative thinking would help here -- how about a center lane on Mass. Ave. that reverses direction in the middle of the day? Maybe on the BU Bridge, too? All you need are a few signs -- Northbound before 1 pm, Southbound after.

Regarding the cold weather, Holland and Denmark are not warm places, and they have tons of bicyclists.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:53 PM   #47
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Re: Biking in Boston

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R

I'm sorry, but bikes are not and never will be a solution for more than 5% of the populace...especially in a cold weather climate like Boston. IMO pretending otherwise is simply naive.
Care to explain why?

Are Dutch people built differently, or does there 30% bike participation not count?

And as ron said, the danes are also famous for riding bikes, and yes, they get snow.


Bikes will never be a solution - in the current environment. Add bike lanes, add bike parking, add enforcement that doesnt ignore bike crashes and suddenly bike riding is for the masses.

Perhaps next year when bike share is launched youll change your mind
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:42 AM   #48
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Re: Biking in Boston

Dutch people aren't built differently, but Dutch cities certainly are. And the chasm in the difference between Boston and Amsterdam does not lie in additional bike lanes. The problem with bike commuting does not lie solely in infrastructure to support bikes either. Even if every office were retrofitted for showers and there were a bike rack on every street corner, biking would still be impractical for the vast, vast majority of commuters in Boston.

Believe it or not, I actually bike to work in the nice weather. I live in the south end and bike to the back bay. As I write this my bike is propped up against my apartment wall two feet away. The short distance is manageable for work commuting for a few basic reasons that don't apply to most people: 1. The distance is short enough that I don't work up a sweat 2. If it's raining out I can walk home with an umbrella and not ruin a work outfit. Those luxuries don't apply to most people. (and those are some of the smaller obstacles)
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:20 AM   #49
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Re: Biking in Boston

Can you say more about what makes Dutch cities different from Boston, if it isn't the bike infrastructure? It certainly isn't the weather; plenty of rain in Amsterdam.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:41 AM   #50
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Re: Biking in Boston

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biking would still be impractical for the vast, vast majority of commuters in Boston.

Those luxuries don't apply to most people.
And yet you continue failing to explain why not.

The busiest transit line is the green line. People living in Alston can quickly bike (probably faster) to back bay. The busiest bus line is the 39, again, anyone living along the toure could quickly reach back bay.

Boston is flat. Boston is extremely condensed. Boston has a clear spine and financial district- its obvious where people want to go.

So how is it impractical?

I assume youre talking about the people in Belmont and Nattick who commute into the city? Of course it's not practical for them to bike the entire way. It is however practical to train to north or south station and take a bike from there. Now, they must provide their own. Next year, they can rent one. Guess what incentive will make them switch to bike?

Infrastructure / safety.


Although I don concede that youre correct in one respect: Bikes will not constitute the majority. However, Im talking about 10-30%.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:05 AM   #51
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Re: Biking in Boston

The density of development and streetscape in Amsterdam does not allow for efficient or timely movement by automobile. In Boston, the street pattern below is replicated only in the North End. Hence, in Amsterdam it is far more convenient to move about by bicycle. With an automobile you would simply be stuck in traffic. I would argue it is also far safer to move about on a bike in a city where cars can't travel faster than five miles per hour. But that's not the case in Boston. Jass, I intend no offense, but your desire to see significant percentages of the population bike into the central city from places like JP, Brookline and Cambridge, strikes me as naive. What happens if a rainshower strikes at 8 am? I've got a meeting at 9 and now my pants are covered in mud and my hair is soaked. I can see at most 10-15% adopting such a routine. They would be adventurous, die hard souls willing to brave the traffic, elements and inconvenience of bike commuting (carrying the bike inside, locking it up etc, dealing with theft). If 10% adopt such a routine that would be fantastic and I think we should make every reasonable effort to encourage such habits. But I don't think we should make such interventions when the measures will exacerbate already bad traffic situations on major arteries.

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Old 02-11-2009, 09:13 AM   #52
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Re: Biking in Boston

One of the reasons why Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and other European cities are so much more bicycle-friendly than Boston is because their governments designed the streets to make bicycling appealing and comfortable, while at the same time making driving less convenient. Of course the historic layout of the city contributes to this, but in Copenhagen, for example, up until the 1970s much of the city's streets had been primarily car-oriented. There was a specific effort to reduce the amount of auto parking and create a better bicycling infrastructure, though shared streets, cycle tracks, bicycle-only connections, etc. These are things that any city can do. Parking in Boston is already expensive, so really the next logical step is creating more bicycle-friendly streets.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:56 AM   #53
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Re: Biking in Boston

Quote:
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Even if every office were retrofitted for showers and there were a bike rack on every street corner, biking would still be impractical for the vast, vast majority of commuters in Boston.
I mentioned in my post about City Hall that in re-imagining it they should make it a city center. That includes showers and lockers for bike and personnel belongings. How about taking this one step further. When North Station and South Station and eventually Back Bay(the T talked about developing this site about 25yrs ago) are redeveloped add bike facilities. We can look at Chicago to see how it's done. There is talk of a bike rental program starting in Boston, this would tie in well if we had bike facilities as another component of our inter modal facilities. Maybe the city can encourage the medical areas to add joint facilities. Encourage the Universities too when the present tier 10 year master plans.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:08 AM   #54
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Re: Biking in Boston

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TWhat happens if a rainshower strikes at 8 am? I've got a meeting at 9 and now my pants are covered in mud and my hair is soaked. I can see at most 10-15% adopting such a routine. They would be adventurous, die hard souls willing to brave the traffic, elements and inconvenience of bike commuting (carrying the bike inside, locking it up etc, dealing with theft).
Im not saying that everybody should sell their cars and get a bike. Cars and the T are great for rainy days, but on a day like today, why not ride a bike?

There are four kinds of people

- Those who cannot or will not ride a bike, even if payed to do so (eldery, ugg wearing girls who wouldnt be seen in a vehicle costing less than 25,000)
- Those who go to extreme efforts to bike, including spandex designed for blizzards
- Those, like yourself, who bike sometimes, but could be prodded to do so more often with infrastructure that could provide a safe direct route, guaranteed supervised parking and a place to wash up
- Those who dont consider biking but would with the above improvements + seeing others do it

I believe the last two groups make up the majority.

Weve been stuck in the same bad cycle. There's no infrastructure so there are no bikers. There are no bikers so there are no improvements. Biking is like public transport. The private car has been subsidized so heavily that it does take a large investment to make people realize that there are other, better alternatives to being stuck in traffic.

As for your last point, NYC is passing a law requiring all new buildings to provide indoor bike parking. We need this in Boston.

Quote:
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I mentioned in my post about City Hall that in re-imagining it they should make it a city center. That includes showers and lockers for bike and personnel belongings. How about taking this one step further. When North Station and South Station and eventually Back Bay(the T talked about developing this site about 25yrs ago) are redeveloped add bike facilities.
Unfortunately the city wont be doing this do to budget reasons, but private groups should be encouraged to do so.
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Old 02-11-2009, 11:50 AM   #55
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Re: Biking in Boston

Maybe not now but city hall is approaching 50 years and has never been properly maintained.
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:07 PM   #56
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Re: Biking in Boston

If this old guy can bike with his groceries in the middle of winter, then why cant everyone else?


A cyclists riding past a European style lunch spot (1-2-3 combo lunches)

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Old 03-05-2009, 02:47 PM   #57
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Re: Biking in Boston

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Boston hopes to launch European-style bike-sharing program

By Associated Press
Tuesday, March 3, 2009 - Updated 2d 1h ago

BOSTON ? Boston, long known as a walking city, is hoping to become as friendly for bicyclists.

The city has put out a request for proposals to create a bike share program. The proposal envisions a network of 150 stations scattered across the city with 1,500 bicycles available to students, commuters and visitors with the swipe of a card.

Officials eventually hope to expand the network to 600 stations in the greater metropolitan area with 6,000 bikes.

Washington, D.C. launched the nation?s first bike share program last year. Other cities, including San Francisco, are considering similar initiatives, while European cities such as Paris already have successful programs.

Boston hopes to have its bike share program up and running by spring 2010.
Link

This is great news. If Menino pulls this off I will have to have a lot more respect for him. San Fran has a similar plan that is getting blasted because it only has 50 bikes. Yes, 50 bikes for the entire city. Epic Fail.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:54 PM   #58
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Re: Biking in Boston

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This is great news. If Menino pulls this off I will have to have a lot more respect for him. San Fran has a similar plan that is getting blasted because it only has 50 bikes. Yes, 50 bikes for the entire city. Epic Fail.
Menino has nothing to do with it.

The companies (14 or so) will submit their RFP. Some will propose 50 bikes. Some will propose 1,000. Boston will chose the one that makes them the most amount of money.
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:05 PM   #59
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Re: Biking in Boston

Also its important to note that "the city" means everything inside the I-95 area. The headquarters for the regional agency in charge just happen to be in Boston.

Last edited by jass; 03-05-2009 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 03-05-2009, 09:33 PM   #60
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Re: Biking in Boston

What kind of bikes will they use? How do they ensure they don't get trashed?
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