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Old 10-08-2007, 10:50 AM   #21
ChunkyMonkey
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This is such good news. I have a newfound respect for biking in cities since moving to Europe. It really does work when a city builds the infrastructure to support biking.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:16 PM   #22
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I gotta say that is an impressive map. Let's hope at least part of that gets built. I still have a problem with rail trails in that they take away a perfectly good ROW for light rail. Once it belongs to the biking YUPies it can almost never go back.
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Old 10-08-2007, 05:57 PM   #23
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One wonders why we can't have both (trails alongside rails). Would it require expanding the ROW that much? Or is the occasional light rail car too much of a bother for a yuppie biker?
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:32 AM   #24
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Biking in Boston and Weather

I suppose that the die hard bikers are oblivious to the weather

Last time I checked moving faster leads to more interaction with precipitation and therefore more opportunity to get very wet and potentially very cold

If the weather is sufficiently inclement to drive the walkers off the sidewalks -- why do bikers find it acceptable?

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Old 10-09-2007, 08:37 AM   #25
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It doesn't rail/snow every day of the year! These same people would also be more inclined to use public transportation on bad days.

The ignorance about biking never ceases to amaze me.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:04 PM   #26
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Re: Biking in Boston

From today's globe:

Quote:
For cycling czar, gung ho is only speed


Nicole Freedman, Boston's top bicycling official, pedals through Arlington, Va., in a 2000 contest. (Phil Marques)

By Ethan Gilsdorf Globe Correspondent / April 6, 2008

Nicole Freedman's official position may be director of bicycle programs for the City of Boston. But she's frequently referred to as Boston's "bike czar." It's a dictatorial-sounding job title that comes with big expectations to change the local cycling climate, and quickly.

"What I didn't want to do was spend months to years creating a very, very, very detailed plan, when what we need right now is some of the real fundamentals," Freedman said by way of describing her philosophy. She is also aware there's no need to reinvent the wheel. "We are not the first city to have bike programs. How can we really pick and choose among the best practices to make Boston the best?"

I spoke with Freedman in her ninth-floor City Hall office about her plans, six months after Mayor Menino hired her to head up the "Boston Bikes" program "to make Boston a world-class bicycling city." I also learned about her fierce commitment to cycling.

The 35-year-old Wellesley native started at MIT, then transferred to Stanford, where she got a bachelor's degree in urban planning. "Or, cycling with urban planning on the side," joked Freedman. From 1994 to 2005, based in the Bay Area, Freedman biked full-time as a professional racer, and competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

She retired from racing in mid-2005 and moved back to Boston to help organize Hub on Wheels (this year, Sept. 21). After two years with the annual citywide riding event, Freedman was appointed the city's cycling czar Sept. 20 to put a full-time face on Menino's ambitious program. The Boston Bikes Summit, a three-day conference in October featuring national biking experts, cosponsored by the LivableStreets Alliance and the League of American Bicyclists, was her office's first major initiative and helped glean "best practices" for Boston.

"The mayor started cycling last year," said Freedman, who bikes to work from her home in Jamaica Plain. "Through his interest he really realized the benefits of cycling for the city. There are some very powerful economic benefits, health benefits and obviously environmental benefits."

But bicycling advocates are understandably skeptical of Menino's pie-in-the-sky talk. The mayor's previous efforts to improve cycling conditions came to an abrupt end in 2003, when bike coordinator Paul Schimek was laid off and an advisory committee was disbanded. "We did put together a great plan a number of years ago," Freedman said. "Nothing really was implemented."

Now that Menino has declared himself a bicycling convert, present and would-be cyclists hope the administration will put its money where its mouth is.

"Everyone knows this is important to the mayor," Freedman said. "It's not [only] happening because of the mayor. There's a lot of enthusiasm internally." Her top goals include installing 250 bicycle racks, creating several miles of bike lanes, and fostering a visible bike culture through citywide programs like "Bike Week" (May 12-18) and appointing another advisory board.

Freedman is also asking cyclists to help create Boston's first comprehensive bike map. Users can add notes to a Google map to rate routes as "beginner," "intermediate," or "advanced" (details at cityofboston.gov/bikes). Feedback will help her office plan which avenues - Mass., Comm., Dot? - get bike lanes.

Even to an avid but average 41-year-old urban biker like myself, it's clear the plight of bike commuters could be improved. I use my mountain bike to get around Metro Boston, but sometimes I'd like to take it on the T. Readers of this column complained that bringing bikes on the subway and commuter rail is far from convenient (they're only allowed during off-peak hours, which defeats the purpose of commuting by bike). Suburban riders wish paths like the Minuteman, which ends in Cambridge, would connect with routes to bring commuters directly downtown.

Freedman had no easy solution for either issue.

"We absolutely want to see projects like that happen," she said. "I've definitely heard a from a lot of cyclists that's they'd like to take their bikes on the T at rush hour." She says she's working in concert with MBTA officials, who plan to equip half of their bus fleet with bike racks (right now the figure stands at 35 percent) and install racks at 100 transit stations by year's end. Expanded bike access to trains remains a question mark.
As for long-distance paths, "cooperation from the regional agencies is good," Freedman wrote in an e-mail, but "projects are very complex and take years to find funding and bring to fruition."

Many questions, few answers. For now, Freedman, who is operating without a marketing budget, said she's "focusing on the low-hanging fruit," implementing basic improvements where her efforts can "make a dramatic difference." Of course, funding will have to follow; bike lanes and bike racks cost money. But Freedman said city planners are on board this time and real progress - bike racks, bike lanes, map, advisory board - will be made by year's end. Moreover, she's encouraged by the gifts we already have.
"We're a city that was laid out before the car. People have lived here before without a car and they can do it again."

For more information on the Boston Bikes program, and the bike map project, visit cityofboston.gov/bikes, or send an e-mail to Nicole.Freedman.bra@cityofboston.gov.
LINK
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Old 08-26-2008, 04:35 PM   #27
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Re: Biking in Boston

You want to see a city that's serious about investing in biking amenities for it's citizens?

Check out this shit.
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Old 09-08-2008, 08:04 PM   #28
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Re: Biking in Boston

From Streetsblog: Boston's fist bike lanes a hit with drivers.

http://www.streetsblog.org/2008/09/0...ers/#more-4527
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:32 PM   #29
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Re: Biking in Boston

Never. Saw. That. Coming.

Maybe I should do like Gerald in the "Smug Alert" episode of South Park and hand out fake tickets to offenders, since real enforcement is (and will continue to be) nonexistent.
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Old 09-09-2008, 12:43 AM   #30
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Re: Biking in Boston

Those pics are wrong. They show the moving in weekend, where parents stopped in front of the dorm so their kdis wouldnt have to lug giant boxes around.

Since then, the bike lane has been free of cars and packed with bikes.
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Old 09-09-2008, 10:41 AM   #31
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Re: Biking in Boston

Gah, I never really liked the notion of rail trails just because it makes it so hard to get a rail line running again if the ROW is used for cyclists. There's room for compromise (as czsz pointed out), but it's tough to pull off. Widening the ROW can be a real pain if it goes through a crowded area (although in that instance, it might be worthwhile to just submerge the rail line).

Here's a thought, though: since a lot of rail trails are in sparsely populated areas and are used by recreational bikers instead of commuters, why not just create an entirely new trail for them? It could still be quite flat, and still be in the middle of nowhere, and it wouldn't have to eliminate a rail line to be built. Any rail corridor in the state could someday be rebuilt (hopefully soon, since a statewide regional rail system would do wonders towards energy independence and smart growth).
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Old 09-09-2008, 11:08 AM   #32
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Re: Biking in Boston

I don't understand. What rail trail are you referring to in Boston?
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Old 09-10-2008, 12:16 AM   #33
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Re: Biking in Boston

I was actually just speaking in a general sense, but the Minuteman Trail leaps to mind. A rail line there might do better if it was submerged for part or all of the route.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:19 AM   #34
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Re: Biking in Boston

Boston.com
Quote:
BU bridge plans could spur road rage
Some fear closing lane will choke traffic

By Stephanie Ebbert, Globe Staff | February 10, 2009

On the Boston University Bridge during a recent weeknight rush hour, bicyclists winced in the frigid air, moving quickly past the long line of cars whose brake lights glowed all the way from the rotary in Cambridge to the traffic light on Commonwealth Avenue.

Disgruntled drivers blamed the traffic chokepoint on a sidewalk repair project that has temporarily squeezed two lanes of bridge traffic down to one. Now, some fear that gridlock will become standard if the state proceeds with plans to close a traffic lane on the bridge to create two bike lanes.

"There's going to be road rage," predicted Stanley Spiegel, who lives across the bridge in Brookline. "If you're going to spend public money to go for an improvement, you don't predictably make things worse. That's nuts."

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation - which manages the BU Bridge over the Charles River, linking Memorial Drive in Cambridge with Brighton, Brookline, and the Fenway - unveiled plans last fall for the BU Bridge and the two Craigie bridges near the Museum of Science.

But the plans didn't improve conditions for bicyclists, so bike advocates - whose ranks have swelled since steep gas prices persuaded many commuters to trade in their four wheels for two - turned out at DCR meetings in force.

"It was made very clear to the DCR that cyclists were very concerned about the direction that these projects were going," said David Watson, executive director of MassBike. Some 80 bike activists attended one of DCR's public meetings on bridges, he said. "That definitely got Commissioner Sullivan's attention."

But when the DCR unveiled new, bike-friendly plans for the BU Bridge late last month with plans to advertise for bids on the project in the coming weeks, some motorists reacted with dread.

"To me, the most straightforward thing to do is to add bike lanes - not subtract them from the capacity for cars and buses," said Fred Salvucci, the former state secretary of transportation who is now a senior research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Transportation & Logistics. "It backs up as is. So we know with certainty that that doesn't work."

DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. said in an interview last week that a permanent BU Bridge lane drop would not limit traffic capacity on the bridge because the $27 million renovation project includes a reconfiguration of the Cambridge rotary.

He expects that to better channel vehicles - which now crowd together from Cambridgeport and Memorial Drive, sometimes four cars deep, vying to reach the bridge.

"It's really the entrance points that are the constraining points that are keeping traffic from flowing," said Sullivan.

The DCR is preparing to renovate many of the major bridges spanning the Charles River and is making interim repairs on two major commuter thoroughfares, Longfellow Bridge and the Storrow Drive tunnel, that need more extensive overhauls in the coming years.

Bicyclists prevailed upon the state to keep their needs in mind, and the DCR hired a traffic consultant with bike and pedestrian planning expertise, Toole Design Group of Maryland.

The department now plans to hire another contractor to study bike and pedestrian issues on all its property within the Charles River Basin, and the DCR convened a newly reconstituted Bicycle and Pedestrian Working Group on Friday.

"DCR does seem to be listening to people's comments - not just from the cycling community but from everybody who's interested. Hopefully what we're hearing will actually turn out to be a good solution," said Watson.

But some question whether all the bridges the DCR is trying to repair are bike-worthy. Some bridges leave little room for error. And the Craigie bridges lead bicyclists to the unfriendly road convergence of Leverett Circle.

"I'm not sure there's anything worse than Leverett Circle," said state Representative Martha M. Walz, a Back Bay Democrat. "Since it was just redesigned, we've lost an opportunity to make that more bike-friendly. We don't want to lose any opportunities for bike lanes whenever it's possible."

Some commuters who use the BU Bridge said they have mixed feelings about the bike lanes. Though they want to encourage biking, they don't want to sacrifice any space for cars.

"The environmentalist in me says, 'Add a bike lane,' " said Amy Lipman, 38, as she crossed the bridge from her job in the Longwood Medical Area to her home in Cambridgeport. But then she sees the traffic backed up.

Diana Spiegel, Stanley's wife, who works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said she is sympathetic to bicyclists' concerns; she used to commute by bike from Watertown.

"I do understand there are safety issues that they really have to fix. We don't want the bridge collapsing or somebody falling through a hole," she said. "But change that will reduce capacity and back up Comm. Ave. in both directions? That, I was concerned about."

Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at ebbert@globe.com.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:25 AM   #35
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Re: Biking in Boston

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.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:47 AM   #36
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Re: Biking in Boston

There are really a few important points to consider:
(1) Bicyclists are required by law to be accommodated in all roadway projects
(2) Many people do bike along the bridge, as it is one of the few connections between Boston and Cambridge. Many more people would if it were a more appealing environment to do so.
(3) Preliminary analysis by the consultants shows that a three lane configuration can work while having little to no effect on vehicular capacity. As the article says, the bottlenecks are the intersections, not the number of lanes on the bridge itself. The current proposal by DCR and the consultants is to have one lane entering the bridge and two exiting, from either direction. This ensures capacity at the intersections while creating room for bike lanes.
(4) It is good for everyone to have a walkable, bikeable city. If it gets people out of cars, then it actually reduces congestion, creating more mobility for people who really do have no other option but to drive.

The main problem that we're seeing, IMO, is that bicyclists have been short-changed for a long time at the expense of motor vehicles. A recent survey by the City of Boston shows that 53% of residents would bike more if the city was more bike-friendly.
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Old 02-10-2009, 12:59 PM   #37
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Re: Biking in Boston

Bicycles are traffic and I don't see why they should avoid Mass. Ave. It connects many important institutions and destinations (Harvard, MIT, Berklee, Symphony Hall, Boston City Hospital, etc.)
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Old 02-10-2009, 02:12 PM   #38
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Re: Biking in Boston

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.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:21 PM   #39
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Re: Biking in Boston

I don't see why it is necessary for cars to move at a 'high rate of speed' on that section of Mass. Ave., or at least not why they need to move faster there than they do between Central and Harvard Squares (where bicycling is usually pleasant).
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:04 PM   #40
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Re: Biking in Boston

Getting from the Back Bay to 93 South is not easy. The Mass Ave stretch is a major corridor for that traffic. There are a lot of people who go that route and the slower the traffic moves the more automobile traffic will back up on to other roads. 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.

Personally, I don't think biking is safe in a city...with or without bike lanes. Obviously the greater speed differential between autos and bikes the greater danger. My opinion is you are a whole lot safer on a motorcycle or a scooter. That may not be politically correct, but it is based on honest observations from the driver's seat and a bike.
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