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Old 08-27-2013, 10:41 AM   #21
crash575
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Try this:

Belmont-Light-to-build-115-kV-single-loop-transmission-line
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Old 08-27-2013, 10:58 AM   #22
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

No, I meant your other link, to Flickr. Which photo did you want us to look at there?
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:33 AM   #23
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

That's my vBulletin signature. Not relevant to the thread.
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Old 11-26-2013, 10:59 AM   #24
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

I've noticed that the driving lanes of the Mystic Valley Parkway, at least in the Arlington section (from the Alewife Brook Parkway to the Arlington Public Safety Building on Rt 3) are over-wide (14'? more?) and the "marked-and-paved" margin is just slightly too skimpy to really work as a bike lane or "Sharrows"...but close. My guess is that these over-wide single-lane parkways are a remnant of having been 4-skinny-lanes road like some of the other Olmstead-designed parkways (eg. Alewife Brook Parkway, and along the Jamaica Way / Riverway in Boston)

What would it take to narrow the auto lanes and give about 8" to 24" more to the shoulder and get some bike markings painted on them?
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Old 11-27-2013, 12:03 PM   #25
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Originally Posted by Arlington View Post
I've noticed that the driving lanes of the Mystic Valley Parkway, at least in the Arlington section (from the Alewife Brook Parkway to the Arlington Public Safety Building on Rt 3) are over-wide (14'? more?) and the "marked-and-paved" margin is just slightly too skimpy to really work as a bike lane or "Sharrows"...but close. My guess is that these over-wide single-lane parkways are a remnant of having been 4-skinny-lanes road like some of the other Olmstead-designed parkways (eg. Alewife Brook Parkway, and along the Jamaica Way / Riverway in Boston)

What would it take to narrow the auto lanes and give about 8" to 24" more to the shoulder and get some bike markings painted on them?
The problem is there's just not much you can do with 'tweener width roads like that stretch of MVP. The weaving space is kind of needed when a shoulder can't fit a DCR work truck when they're out mowing the lawn on some segment of that road each week, and they're limited in winter by the watershed on how close they can plow up to the curb.

The only creative solution I've seen for tackling this is the Concord Ave. redesign between the Fresh Pond rotary and Belmont town line: http://goo.gl/maps/y4b9X. They ate the grass between the sidewalk and curb for a bike lane grade-separated from the road. Concrete for the sidewalk, asphalt and diamond stripes for the bikes, neon warning signs everywhere. I was very skeptical it would work in such a constrained space on a moderately busy sidewalk, but it really does do wonders and infills a tough gap between the grade-separated path along the parkway and the proper on-street bike lane in Belmont. The stark difference in surface materials and coloring of the surface keeps peds and bikes disciplined about staying in their designated spaces without crossing over and creating safety hazards. Despite the lack of any spatial separation between the two. Surprisingly well-desciplined in practice. That's a model that may be applicable elsewhere.

Those kinds of thin grass strips are borderline useless for giving any sense of separation from the road. It would absolutely be an option on a moderate volume road like MVP outside of where the full grade-separated river path is. This strip isn't nearly wide enough for tree plantings. All it does is host the fugly light poles, which could be moved behind the sidewalk or to the sidewalk-less other side of the road. They're probably due for replacement soon a la the new decorative LED fixtures on Nonantum Rd. because this whole stretch of MVP is rather poorly lit. That's good enough excuse for doing it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #26
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

For a completely different/non-studied project, I'm surprised Acton hasn't asked for a Rail-With-Trail from SA to West Acton, which is an actual commercial center with the line slicing right through. The ROW looks wide enough, 90% of it has zero development on either side, and people keep asking for a stop in West Acton, yet I have literally never seen this proposed. Is it just too short a stretch to matter?
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:04 PM   #27
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

^ I could see it being looked at more once Acton's "villages" 20 year plan starts picking up steam. Both South Acton and West Acton are among the town centers that Acton is trying to "urbanize". If they do start attracting more residents in more village oriented housing (as opposed to the sprawl that makes up much of the rest of the town), connections between the village centers will be more of a priority. Acton could end up with a local transit system like Lexington does if they do the planning right.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:17 PM   #28
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

That's exactly where the idea was coming from, especially with some actual mixed use buildings going up in West Acton. They've also looked at fixed route buses, which seem like overkill for a town with that kind of density, but existing sidewalks and bike racks (no bike lanes to speak of) are well enough patronized that the town is seriously working on expansion.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:46 PM   #29
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Right. Acton is one of the outer suburbs that is definitely going for smart-growth.
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:48 PM   #30
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FitchburgLine View Post
For a completely different/non-studied project, I'm surprised Acton hasn't asked for a Rail-With-Trail from SA to West Acton, which is an actual commercial center with the line slicing right through. The ROW looks wide enough, 90% of it has zero development on either side, and people keep asking for a stop in West Acton, yet I have literally never seen this proposed. Is it just too short a stretch to matter?
West Acton had a stop until 1975 when loss of subsidy to the outer stops cut the commuter rail back from Ayer to South Acton. When funding got reinstated 5 years later and service was re-extended to Gardner they omitted West Acton and Shirley. Shirley lobbied and got theirs back in '81. Acton let it drop.


The town's intermittently shown interest in bringing back the station. But there's not a lot of room to work with. The block between Arlington St. and Mass Ave. will only fit about 3 cars' worth of platform space and block both grade crossings, and the space isn't plentiful to flip it on either opposite side unless the residential abutters are really, truly OK with a commuter rail platform resting up against their backyard fence. Lack of any parking also means the state would have zero interest in pursuing (plus they've torn their hair out enough at some of the town's demands for the long-delayed South Acton rebuild).

It could happen, but the town and village of WA have got to float the advocacy for it pretty much alone. And that's a tall order getting all hands together in a bedroom community that likes its picket fences.


RE: trails...the double-track project is eating all the slack space on the ROW. Because of the wetlands the trackbed is elevated about a foot in the middle, with the ultra-wide sides of the ROW a de facto drainage channel. It's not as spacious as it looks when you consider how soggy and/or icy that trail would perpetually be if chain-linked behind the tracks. And I'm guessing DCR's probably going to have some issues with the downside of those drainage issues when the trail is strictly intra-town and doesn't have running space to connect to any other trails.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:18 AM   #31
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Lack of any parking also means the state would have zero interest in pursuing
That's backwards thinking. They want a walkable CR station. The state has asphalt fever.
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:57 AM   #32
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

^ Especially when a hypothetical West Acton stop would be complementing the South Acton one, which has parking. The town does have commuter shuttles that run to the train station during the morning and evening rushes. Since the town is trying to develop more density in the little centers it could be worth looking at down the road.

That said, West Acton doesn't yet have the foot traffic to support a standalone stop so close to South Acton (of course then you can look at Weston's absurd low-boarding stops). I think that once Littleton's makeover is done and it starts capturing a lot of the highway riders who are currently trekking to South Acton, it becomes less busy, lessening demand for a secondary Acton stop for local riders. As it is, the walk down Central Street from West to South Acton is not much longer than a straight shot down the tracks would be.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:36 AM   #33
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

I don't have time to respond to F-line and others, so I'll just address a few points.
F-line: The trail would link to the ARRT at SA, and could also extend to Idywilde if it became popular.
Matthew: The town wants both
Acton is trying to attract development and de-sprawl, so this trail would be a way of attracting it.

Last edited by FitchburgLine; 12-11-2013 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:07 AM   #34
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

^ Assuming the trail would pass an EIS through the marsh.
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:16 AM   #35
FitchburgLine
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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^ Assuming the trail would pass an EIS through the marsh.
Of course, this is just a crazy transit pitch of mine, not something official.
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:41 AM   #36
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Originally Posted by FitchburgLine View Post
Of course, this is just a crazy transit pitch of mine, not something official.
Oh I know. It will be interesting to see how Acton does with its plans for more density and walkability, at least within the village centers. They will at some point start looking for connectivity between them.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:34 PM   #37
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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^ Assuming the trail would pass an EIS through the marsh.
Bingo.

It would be a great idea to do because the ROW property lines are so wide, but it's not one state/T/DCR/whoever have any good reason to fight for if such an effort requires any appreciable project overhead in wetlands mitigation. It's a drainage ditch first and foremost, not a mainline trackbed like the slack space throughout Belmont for the Fitchburg Cutoff Path extension. Even something as inocuous as the type of small crushed stone on the trail surface can have runoff implications into the marsh that become a pain to mitigate unless someone local is willing to pony up $$$ for embankment and culvert work.
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Old 03-16-2014, 05:43 PM   #38
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

What might be done to ask the State to take surplus width from the MVP on its bridge over I-93 in Medford and devote that asphalt to bikes and pedestrians?

Here is a map, with the lane in question shown in red:
(Link works , even if picture doesn't)

As a relic of a never-built "inner loop", Rt 16 Westbound is paved about twice as wide as even modern traffic demands as it crosses over I-93. For much of its route from Meadow Glen to the Craddock Bridge, it is a full 3-lanes wide, plus shoulder: 4 full lanes of asphalt, vastly overbuilt for any use it will ever have, given Governor Sargent's cancellation of all "inner" highways in 1970.

We know width-reduction is legally possible here: Some of the extra bridge with was "taken" over Main St about 10 years ago (and turned into "median")

As highway segments go, this over-wide stretch is unsafe because all the extra pavement, invites speeding, creates confusion over which lane you should be "lining up in", and so induces high-speed weaving.

But as a way to get across I-93, it could provide a key link for non-auto modes.

I am writing to Sen Brownsberger, for his knowledge of biking and the Craddock Bridge. I am writing to Sen Jehlen, Rep Garballey, as representing me in West Medford. And the Medford Bicycle Commission and Councillor Camuso because they might represent Medford's municipal interest in this.

As public works projects go, this could be an inexpensive transformation: as simple as installing a jersey barrier on the right shoulder, topped with chain link, and designating the resulting 8-foot wide paved area a bi-directional bike path.

This might be a near-"free" way to close a critical gap in the pedestrian and cycling "map" of Medford (and Metro Boston)--it could connect the Craddock Bridge in Medford Square via grade-separated path all the way to South Medford, Meadow Glen, the Mystic River Reservation and beyond to 10 Hills Somerville, Assembly Square (and one day, to Boston)

It certainly would better connect Medford Square as a place to walk or bike to or from.

What might be done to advance this at the State level?
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Old 06-03-2014, 10:15 AM   #39
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Quote:
Originally Posted by matredsoxfan View Post
The state is doing that study along all of Route 20 through Watertown and Waltham. They are planning on doing an overhaul of the roadway in the future.

Also Bike Sharrows were just painted last week on Route 20 at Stow Street and from Ceaderwood Avenue to the Rotary. They were also painted on Route 117 from Stow Street to Hill Road and will probably be painted on the section of Main Street from Hill Road to Everett Street when that is repaved in the next month. That will make sharrows run from Stow Street to Prospect Hill Road.
This, as well as the proposed Central Mass Rail Trail, will really help bike connectivity west of the city.
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Old 07-01-2014, 05:26 PM   #40
Arlington
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

The Mystic River Watershed Assoc. is reporting that $250k is in the State's 2015 budget for the completion of the Mystic River Master Plan. This master plan (which specifies a network of bike-accessible trails) must be finalized before individual construction projects and proceed.

I'm a little fuzzy on what $250k gets, except its clear that it is a gating issue. It is variously called "permitting" (for which $250k seems high) and "shovel ready design" (for which $250k seems low).

Either way, this is the next step toward getting easy bike access along both sides of the Mystic River between Alewife Brook (and its paths) on the west and then fanning out as the Mystic widens, reaching eastward to connection points at Wellington, Assembly Sq., and Charlestown/Sullivan.

The plan itself proposes primary paths alongside the existing parkways in this area, and smaller paths (I'm picturing stone dust) along the river's edge.

Details here: http://mysticriver.org/mystic-river-master-plan/

And the current draft of the plan here:
http://myrwa.squarespace.com/storage...inal-11-09.pdf
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