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Old 07-08-2014, 12:04 AM   #41
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

The shoulder of that part of 16 is much wider than any typical bike lane, and could simply be officially marked as a bike lane. The eastbound section of 16, on the other side of 93, has a similarly wide shoulder that could be marked for bikes as well. This wouldn't actually require any construction, just signs and paint.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:50 AM   #42
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Iirc, the Allston Pike realignment is budgeted for 260 mil, so there's that.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:04 AM   #43
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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The shoulder of that part of 16 is much wider than any typical bike lane, and could simply be officially marked as a bike lane. The eastbound section of 16, on the other side of 93, has a similarly wide shoulder that could be marked for bikes as well. This wouldn't actually require any construction, just signs and paint.
No need for it. The "Fast 14" bridge replacement of the I-93 Mystic crossing carved out more space underneath on each riverbank for paths, so they're just going to snake it along the river far away from the highway. It'll end up easier to get built that way because it's all on DCR land and doesn't require engagement from MassHighway. To do it by lane-dropping that excessive 3-lane WB carriageway and going on the pavement over 93 would ironclad-require a jersey barrier and anti-climbing fence on top (example: Gold Star Bridge on I-95 in New London, CT) because the 93 overpass and adjacent on/off ramps on each side are technically part of the Interstate Highway System. The Feds would prohibit a re-striping at that exact location above 93 even if the state were OK with it, because absolute grade separation is required on all Interstate infrastructure. One more reason to just cut out the middleman and put it 100% on DCR riverbank land.

They do call for narrowing the profile of the ridiculously under-capacity 3-lane WB ramps here for traffic calming at the Medford Sq. exit and the transition zone to the slow-speed parkway. But odds of MassHighway agreeing to that are what they are.

The paved trail might be better on the 16 side of the river because of the better thru access to Wellington and Assembly on that side (it's marked as the secondary trail on their maps, so might be stone dust). But that's what comment periods are for. Either way this fills the missing link--in duplicate!--and that's a really really good thing.


-------

  • I see they've got a nebulously worded goal in there of compelling MassHighway to fix this godawful sidewalk on Fellsway with more buffer space, which can only be done by lane-dropping that relatively uncongested Assembly-Station Landing stretch of 28 to 4 lanes + shoulder + shifted jersey barriers. Nebulously worded of course because everyone fully expects MassHighway to dig in and push back.
  • I'm a little disappointed there's nothing substantive in there about how they plan to get across Wellington Circle other than carving an underpass under the 28 bridge. I think that's way too much of an engineering longshot, and it would be a dank, claustrophobic, and very flood-prone tunnel if they did. Short of a footbridge the only way to plausibly do a safe Fellsway crossing it is to extend the bridge lane-drop through the Station Landing light that's currently 7 lanes-going-on-8 and shrink it to 4 + a left-turn lane SB with unambiguously MAXIMUM high-profile ped crossings so the crossing traffic has a less-terrifying time of getting through there. And I fully expect MassHighway to say no to that too and claim all 8 lanes are needed to the Circle.
  • Footbridge over the dam is worth asking for, but I don't think that's going to be structurally feasible. The control building is too tall and would require a wickedly high bridge to snake around. And going over the locks isn't much better when default underclearances still have to be as high as the Orange Line bridge. But they knew this would be the toughest request going in, so I don't think anyone really expects that one to make the cut.
  • Alternate footbridge north of the dam is just going to be too expensive crossing the wide point of the river. I give that alternative a zero chance of happening.
  • Love that they're calling for Assembly-Sullivan access by snaking a path behind MBTA Charlestown garage to Alford St. T's probably going to bitch and moan about that, but put a tall security fence between the yard and trail and this weedy riverbank serves up adequate space. Now all they need is to stripe a traffic-calmed crosswalk on Alford for reaching the Charlestown Boardwalk on the other side and the interior of Charlestown off Medford and Bunker Hill St.'s will have good walking access to Assembly.
  • They're gonna need to be on their game with river vegetation control to realize all these dreams of new boat landings and dense canoe/kayak traffic. Those invasive lilypad things are choking the Mystic to death. And DCR hasn't done shit about it any more than than they've done shit about the Muddy/Emerald Necklace and Charles Basin invasive species. They organized crowdsourced volunteer "weeding" days on canoes every few years, but those awful things re-grow too fast for that to be effective. Eradication is time-consuming, and DCR is about as inept and disengaged as they come with wildlife management.


All in all an extremely impressive plan. Whether it all gets realized or not or MassHighway and DCR disappoint at the the things they traditionally disappoint at, a shitload of godsend new path connectivity is coming online very soon. And they've got the vision thing well-articulated for chipping away at it in the deep long-term. I wish Charles Basin and the Emerald Necklace had their shit together as well as the various Mystic stakeholders do. The adjacent north 'burbs are running circles around the big city on multi-modal planning discipline. We see that with Somerville on GLX, and we're seeing it now with Medford/Arlington/Malden on the path system.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:36 AM   #44
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

^ Welcome back.
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Old 07-08-2014, 11:43 AM   #45
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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^ Welcome back.
Idle start to the workweek while I twiddle thumbs waiting for manuscript that's a couple days late to arrive in my lap. Don't expect prior levels of day-in/day-out posting prolificness; I simply can't binge-ArchBoston like I used to when I'm on-deadline. I kind of needed to go dark for a few months to break the addiction and establish some self- ground rules about procrastination. Got no boss looking over my shoulder in the home office to stop me from spazzing out online.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:20 PM   #46
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Idle start to the workweek while I twiddle thumbs waiting for manuscript that's a couple days late to arrive in my lap. Don't expect prior levels of day-in/day-out posting prolificness; I simply can't binge-ArchBoston like I used to when I'm on-deadline. I kind of needed to go dark for a few months to break the addiction and establish some self- ground rules about procrastination. Got no boss looking over my shoulder in the home office to stop me from spazzing out online.
Well if you feel like "spazzing" before your workload picks up again, take a look in the crazy pitches thread, I'd love to see my rapid transit and draft commuter rail maps torn apart. I'd say take a look at c_combat's too, but the most recent links appear to be broken =(

Also, good to have you back. I've had less to do with my free time without the classic F-Line wall-o-text. I had to take a similar break when I started my last job. I kind of feel like I may need to again, alas
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:53 PM   #47
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
I wish Charles Basin and the Emerald Necklace had their shit together as well as the various Mystic stakeholders do. The adjacent north 'burbs are running circles around the big city on multi-modal planning discipline. We see that with Somerville on GLX, and we're seeing it now with Medford/Arlington/Malden on the path system.
I agree. As a Medfordian, I'll admit that what's really making it happen is that Somerville is so unified in its vision of:
- auto-alternatives
- nature-seeking city dwellers
- needing to go beyond its boarders to access parks.

(Somerville's State Sen) Pat Jehlen embodies this, but it extends to all the top people (Mayor Curtatone) and, more importantly, to their staffs.

The Town of Arlington's "suburban" bikeway consensus helps, but the motive force is Somerville's urban hiker/bikers who see, just beyond their borders, an amazing range of mountain, river, and beach (Middlesex Fells, Mystic River, and north shore beaches)

Medford has JRA Cycles and a newbie Bicycle Advisory Commission, but otherwise, not a political culture that does much to look beyond cars (City Hall sits in a sea of asphalt and proposals to waste bonding authority on a big garage nearby is a perennial hot button), and precious few resources devoted to planning change of any kind (demographic, modal, zoning..). I feel like Medford's contribution was just to snap out of a nap and say "Yes" when they heard somebody ask "Do you want park improvements?"

I think Medford is happy to be swept along as long as car-drivers don't feel under threat, and Medford Square and Wellington get shown as hubs for the path system. You'd think the Tufts community would sway things pro-bike, but rather they're locked in town-gown / GLX type stuff.

Arlington was spending 100% of its political energy in resolving the 50-50 car-bike stalemate on how many lanes Mass Ave should get in its rebuild.

(I can't speak for Malden, but they seem rightfully preoccupied fixing their dreadful City Hall and creating a walkable Malden Center. Sullivan Square similarly busy just figuring out what went wrong with its Orange Line station)

So what I see is that Somerville has been very adept, very focused at filling the planning void with this plan across the whole arc of the Mystic from Arlington-Medford-Malden/Everett-Sullivan Sq. And very savvy at being the unseen hand and further savvy by not picking fights with motorists.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:17 PM   #48
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Does anyone here live in Somerville and bike downtown? A bunch of my friends are leaving A/B for Somerville, but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm currently a stones throw away from the Charles River path (and access it via a quiet residential street), and I can't see myself giving it up for what appears to be a drastic amount more street riding. I don't have an issue riding in traffic per-se, I do it all the time, but I love the stress-free ride along the Charles, not having to constantly be on alert for a right hook or dooring.

Now it appears to have a social life I'm either going to have to get new friends, or ride across Cambridge (which sucks equally regardless of mode). Anyone have thoughts? I know it's getting better, but I just feel like I have it so good, right now.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:23 PM   #49
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Does anyone here live in Somerville and bike downtown? A bunch of my friends are leaving A/B for Somerville, but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm currently a stones throw away from the Charles River path (and access it via a quiet residential street), and I can't see myself giving it up for what appears to be a drastic amount more street riding. I don't have an issue riding in traffic per-se, I do it all the time, but I love the stress-free ride along the Charles, not having to constantly be on alert for a right hook or dooring.

Now it appears to have a social life I'm either going to have to get new friends, or ride across Cambridge (which sucks equally regardless of mode). Anyone have thoughts? I know it's getting better, but I just feel like I have it so good, right now.
I live in Somerville and bike to Waltham daily. I have biked Downtown on weekends, but not on weekdays. It's fine on a nice weekend day, but I couldn't imagine biking the Longfellow with all of the construction going on during the week.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:27 PM   #50
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Does anyone here live in Somerville and bike downtown? A bunch of my friends are leaving A/B for Somerville, but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm currently a stones throw away from the Charles River path (and access it via a quiet residential street), and I can't see myself giving it up for what appears to be a drastic amount more street riding. I don't have an issue riding in traffic per-se, I do it all the time, but I love the stress-free ride along the Charles, not having to constantly be on alert for a right hook or dooring.

Now it appears to have a social life I'm either going to have to get new friends, or ride across Cambridge (which sucks equally regardless of mode). Anyone have thoughts? I know it's getting better, but I just feel like I have it so good, right now.
This is illustrative of the problem I see in all of the planning going on in Somerville. Without getting too much into what's more of a transit problem on the bike thread, all the attention is driving radial connections from Somerville (and Allston and Cambridge) to Boston without acknowledging that they're ignoring cross-town travel.

The GJ is the natural corridor for that demand, but it's locked up by the T's non-rev demand. The Grand Junction Path might someday help you, though.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:57 PM   #51
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Now it appears to have a social life I'm either going to have to get new friends, or ride across Cambridge (which sucks equally regardless of mode). Anyone have thoughts? I know it's getting better, but I just feel like I have it so good, right now.
Hey now, you're always welcome to hang out with the People's Pike crew
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Old 07-08-2014, 02:23 PM   #52
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Originally Posted by davem View Post
Does anyone here live in Somerville and bike downtown? A bunch of my friends are leaving A/B for Somerville, but I just can't see myself doing it. I'm currently a stones throw away from the Charles River path (and access it via a quiet residential street), and I can't see myself giving it up for what appears to be a drastic amount more street riding. I don't have an issue riding in traffic per-se, I do it all the time, but I love the stress-free ride along the Charles, not having to constantly be on alert for a right hook or dooring.

Now it appears to have a social life I'm either going to have to get new friends, or ride across Cambridge (which sucks equally regardless of mode). Anyone have thoughts? I know it's getting better, but I just feel like I have it so good, right now.
I live in Ball Square near Tufts and bike to my office in the Faneuil Hall area every day. It's not that bad. The Beacon/Hampshire corridor sees a huge amount of bike traffic and all of it has bike lanes except for certain stretches of Beacon (which doesn't get the same amount of traffic as Hampshire does anyway). In my opinion, the sheer number of cyclists on the road during rush hour takes a mental edge off because the large crowds serve as a constant reminder of our presence to motorists.

The crappiest part of this stretch is the fact that Beacon St is in a state of utter disrepair. The good news is that the city is moving forward with a reconstruction project that will involve most cycle track with a bit of bike line interspersed. In the meantime this stretch can be avoided by going down Somerville Ave to Park -- if you are coming from the Porter or Davis area; if you move to Union Sq or Winter Hill it's a non-issue.

The Longfellow Bridge isn't a problem. The bike lanes are actually quite wide, particularly in the contraflow direction where there is a buffered bike lane.

I take Cambridge St from Charles/MGH to and from work. Cambridge St is a shitshow in both directions, but inbound in the morning it is effectively a one-lane road because of the delivery trucks, which means that the right lane functions like a wide bike lane, except when you are going around a truck. Outbound, it's a total mess but it's also a parking lot so there isn't any danger other than the right/left hook potential going to and from parking garages and MGH.

Not sure about Charles St during rush hour.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:33 PM   #53
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Thanks for the input guys. I'll have to spend some more time riding around there, I guess. I'm still hesitant to consider abandoning this


(/bad instagram)

but I'm coming around. I've got a lease for another year, so I'll have to see what happens then.



Matt, I should be at the next meeting. I started a new job about a month ago that threw my life into a loop. It's coming together now so I hope to be more involved. You can PM me ahead of time, etc.
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Old 07-08-2014, 03:48 PM   #54
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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This is illustrative of the problem I see in all of the planning going on in Somerville. Without getting too much into what's more of a transit problem on the bike thread, all the attention is driving radial connections from Somerville (and Allston and Cambridge) to Boston without acknowledging that they're ignoring cross-town travel.

The GJ is the natural corridor for that demand, but it's locked up by the T's non-rev demand. The Grand Junction Path might someday help you, though.
Doubtful the GJ path is going to extend beyond limits of MIT's ability to move earth. That means BU Bridge to Binney St. only. Binney-Medford St. it just gets too narrow. The residential abutters will shriek about the path surface abutting against their backyard fences, and the T is unlikely to budge the other way on a safety buffer around the track. So you're looking at a very narrow path 99% likely to be done in by NIMBY's before it ever gets past its first formal PowerPoint presentation.

BU Bridge-Mass Ave. is ultra-wide. Vassar's already a ready-serve bike route as a detour around the power plant backlots on the Mass Ave.-Main block. And then can set the path off to the side of the ROW from Main to Binney on all that underutilized greenspace on the west side of GG Way. That's 1.5 miles including the river crossing and about three-quarters of a complete path circuit. I just think you'll be looking at kludging together an unsatisfying series of stripes on the narrow street grid to find a plausible way between Binney and Medford St. on the last 1/3 mile. Those blocks are out of MIT's grasp to impose its will and with too much fragmentation in the land ownership to work up approval from the neighborhood.


If McGrath gets successfully torn down you'd probably have an easy time of it from Medford St. to Washington GLX station and the Community Path on whatever traffic-calmed boulevard replaces it. It's not out of the question that there won't be near-complete connectivity through here within a few years. Total-complete is just a bridge too far through the types of properties abutting that narrow section of the ROW.
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:02 PM   #55
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

By the way, on the topic of the burbs, anyone got any tips for my friend who wants to bike from Easton to Boston?
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Old 07-08-2014, 04:48 PM   #56
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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By the way, on the topic of the burbs, anyone got any tips for my friend who wants to bike from Easton to Boston?
Try going east to Brockton. Cut over from 138 down Union/Pleasant St. to Westgate Mall without getting killed. Or cut over Elm or Main/Torrey to Pearl St. or Rockland St. and work up to Pleasant. Get about 2 blocks east of the Mall traffic on the Pleasant/Route 27 intersection to D.W. Field Park, which runs 2-1/2 miles deep into Avon. Field's well worth the trip. It's like a somewhat less immaculately-maintained Fresh Pond Reservoir, only 3x as big and a gradual uphill slope with waterfalls. Absolutely packed with locals afternoons and weekends. It's a hidden gem most people inside 128 don't even know exists.

Absolute bupkis for bike stripes anywhere until you're in the park, so may want to think about carrying the bike on the nearest BAT bus route out of Easton to get close to the Mall. Because the traffic moves at killspeed around there.


Get to the tippy-top of Field Park, then up Pond St. to Harrison Blvd. Cross Harrison on Pond, go up Bodwell through the industrial park to Page St. Head towards Route 24 on Page St., then cut up Reebok Circle through the back of the shopping center (BJ's, Kohls, etc.) to Route 139. That's what'll get 'em through Brockton, Avon, and Stoughton without getting pancaked. Traffic's light and sightlines are good on all these roads.


They're on their own from here. Find a way onto the Ponkapoag Pond trail system and they're pretty much home free inside the Blue Hills + Neponset Reservations straight into Hyde Park or Mattapan. Canton St./Randolph St. runs right by the pond and guaranteed has access to the trail system if they can work their way up from 139 via the Randolph street grid east of 24 or the Canton street grid west of 24. I don't know if any of the paths get much closer to 139 on the Canton side through the town forest...doesn't appear so from any official maps. So this leg's probably gonna be a slog.
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:04 PM   #57
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

I bike from Somerville (near Porter Square) to downtown daily. I avoid Beacon St because it's really bumpy and I avoid the Longfellow and Cambridge St because they are both hilly. Instead, I take Somerville Ave to Webster Ave to Cambridge St (in Cambridge) to McGrath, crossing over into Boston by the Museum of Science through Leverett Circle. Then I take Martha Rd to Merrimac St to Congress St. Coming home, I basically do the reverse, taking Lomasney Way and Nashua St to Leverett Circle, crossing over into Cambridge on McGrath, then taking a detour through North Point on Museum Way, North Point Blvd, and East Street, which lines me to up cross over McGrath onto Cambridge St once again. Then I take Webster Ave to Prospect St to Union Square to Bow St and back onto Somerville Ave again. This route is relatively flat and the pavement quality is good. Most of the streets through Somerville and Cambridge have bike lanes, but in Boston they don't.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:12 PM   #58
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

I recently moved to Ball Sq. area and generally bike to Union down Somerville Ave and cross to Hampshire from Webster/Columbia in order to avoid the lack of lanes/terrible condition of Beacon.
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Old 07-08-2014, 08:51 PM   #59
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

I don't bike to downtown Boston (from Davis Square) daily, but I do it fairly routinely. The Longfellow Bridge is actually quite pleasant for cycling these days, with only one lane of car traffic eastbound and no car traffic at all westbound.
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:14 PM   #60
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Re: Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

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Try going east to Brockton. Cut over from 138 down Union/Pleasant St. to Westgate Mall without getting killed. Or cut over Elm or Main/Torrey to Pearl St. or Rockland St. and work up to Pleasant. Get about 2 blocks east of the Mall traffic on the Pleasant/Route 27 intersection to D.W. Field Park, which runs 2-1/2 miles deep into Avon. Field's well worth the trip. It's like a somewhat less immaculately-maintained Fresh Pond Reservoir, only 3x as big and a gradual uphill slope with waterfalls. Absolutely packed with locals afternoons and weekends. It's a hidden gem most people inside 128 don't even know exists.
Thanks. I'll run it by him but I think this is probably too much out of the way for what he imagined doing.
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