Last Wednesday morning’s tragedy in Porter Square that killed 60-year-old Dr. Bernard “Joe” Lavins of Lexington had a unique component. The door on the cab of the truck showed the name of the company.
MassBike contacted Mitlitsky Eggs, a Connecticut based firm founded in 1964, for comments and information.Read more
How Cambridge Hosted Massive Development While Reducing Traffic
Typical 20th Century commercial developers in America operate with a formula that states one should build about three to four parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of office space. Given that the last decade has seen more than 5 million square feet of office space shoehorned into East Cambridge and Kendall Square, one would have to accommodate parking for nearly 20,000 cars.
With an estimated 17 of the world’s 20 largest biotech and pharmaceutical firms operating in this area, the construction of buildings went full-throttle in the five years. Recognizing this opportunity, city officials put several conditions on developers to bring bikes, pedestrians and transit user on the same plane as cars. The result? The parking ratio was set at just one parking space per thousand square feet of office.
That’s right, just one.Read more
As much as 50 percent of the rush hour traffic on the Longfellow Bridge is on a bicycle. The bridge between Cambridge and Boston is part of a key commuting corridor for cars, bikes, pedestrians and the MBTA Red Line.
The rehab project, one of five spans being re-done under the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program, has maintained inbound and outbound bicycle access throughout the project but has restricted automobiles to inbound access only. Recently the project switched from the downstream span to the upstream span, which has been renovated. This has put the bikes inbound alongside cars and outbound on a path shared with pedestrians.Read more
Ghost Bike Removed from Lincoln Crash Site Within Hours of Installation
Ghost bikes spur a lot of emotion. Like the crosses and shrines erected along highway crash scenes, these stark emblems pay tribute to a place where a cyclist died while also serving reminders to motorists to mind their behavior.
On the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 17, I corresponded with Maureen Crocker, the sister of Eugene Thornberg, who died in June after a collision between his bicycle and a motor vehicle along Route 126 in Lincoln.
The Lincoln Police granted Crocker permission to host a memorial ghost bike service near the scene of the crash on Saturday, Sept. 10. The family delayed the service to allow Thornberg’s son, Patrick Thornberg, to return from his basic training for the U.S. Marine Corps in Parris Island, S.C.
The service will be held at 11 a.m. The Lincoln Police graciously offered to close the road for one hour to accommodate the service. They would also grant permission to install the ghost bike but only for that weekend.Read more
Second Lincoln Fatality, Waltham Collision Showcase Poor Bike Conditions
News of the first crash on Wednesday, Aug. 17, came in the morning. Normally that would have filled up our caseload for the day here at MassBike.
But in pursuing details about the crash, we learned of a second crash on the same day. This one proved fatal.
Both involved large motor vehicles, a pickup truck and an SUV.Read more
ADVISORY - August 27 & 28
Longfellow Bridge Steam Pipe Venting to Require Brief Travel Closures
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project design/build contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV (WSC), announce that all vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, and MBTA Red Line travel near the Charles Circle staging area of the Longfellow Bridge will be halted for a brief period of time. The temporary halt is necessary to complete replacement of the Massachusetts General Hospital’s (MGH's) existing steam line with a new 18-inch line on Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28. The line runs under the Longfellow Bridge and is being replaced as part of the bridge rehabilitation. The new line must be cleaned before it is put into service. The cleaning process (called a “steam blow”) uses pressurized steam to remove dirt and other debris from inside the new line.Read more
Yesterday, In the wake of the tragic loss of Amanda Phillips in Cambridge last week, MassBike sent the following letter to Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan. While we continue to work diligently to improve our roadways and pass new laws, we cannot expect to see change unless we enforce existing laws. Copied on our letter to Ms. Ryan, we have reached out to Cambridge Acting Police Commissioner Christopher Burke, Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons, Attorney General Maura Healey, State Rep. David M. Rogers, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, State Sen. Patricia D. Jehlen, State Rep. Timothy J. Toomey, State Rep. Marjorie C. Decker, and State Rep. Jonathan Hecht to ensure that charges are filed against the motorists involved.Read more
It has been a busy time winding up towards the spring! Right after moving into a new office space, the MassBike staff left for the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC for a series of speakers and panels on a variety of topics followed by a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. After three days at the National Bike Summit, Programs Director Barbara Jacobson continued on to New York to represent MassBike at the Vision Zero Conference.
[caption id="attachment_24506" align="alignleft" width="300"] International Women's Day was celebrated by the delegation being made up mostly of women![/caption]
This year the delegation from Massachusetts included representation from MassBike, Boston Cyclists Union, Mattapan Food and Fitness, and Zagster. The group represented the diversity of the state of Massachusetts with local advocates, community-based groups, retail, and corporate representation, all focused on a common goal to improve bicycling in the state using their own unique strategies. The summit overlaps International Women’s Day, which bolstered excitement as the majority of the delegation members are women! As bicycling for transportation continues to become more ingrained in culture, the users will become more diverse. Massachusetts is proud to showcase the diversity of voices at the summit.
Programs Director, Barbara Jacobson & Becca Wolfson, Interim Executive Director of the Boston Cyclists Union participated on a panel about Vision Zero initiatives in cities throughout the United States. Vision Zero is a policy that originally started in Sweden and is focused on eliminating traffic crashes and fatalities to zero because zero is the only acceptable number for such incidences. Many cities throughout the United States have adopted Vision Zero policies such as New York, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale and Boston.
[caption id="attachment_24507" align="alignleft" width="300"] Becca and Barbara on the Vision Zero panel.[/caption]
The panel included Tamika Butler, Executive Director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Nick Jackson from Toole Design Group, Sam Zimbabwe, District Department of Transportation based in Washington, DC and was moderated by Leah Shahum Director, Vision Zero Network.
Barbara and Becca presented on the formation of the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition, a collective effort among advocacy groups and individuals to educate, inform and support the adoption and follow-through of Vision Zero policies and road designs throughout the Commonwealth. The panel served as a catalyst for engaging bike advocates within a broader context of improving the roadways for all users. In turn the Vision Zero strategy can help to strengthen the messaging bike advocates have been saying for years. By coupling Vision Zero with redesigning roadways for people it helps to create consensus that bike infrastructure is beneficial to all users.
[caption id="attachment_24504" align="alignright" width="300"] MA delegation meeting with Senator Markey.[/caption]
Following two days of inspirational speakers and panels, the delegation took to the hill! The delegation was sent to meet with Massachusetts legislators to discuss key bills that the League of American Bicyclists had asked us to champion. Our first ask was to remind them that there is specific funding available (402/405 funding) for educational purposes and to ensure this funding is utilized. Second was the Personal Health Investment Today Act (PHIT) which would make it easier for all Americans to be physically active. It would allow individuals and families to use pre-tax dollars for physical fitness activities through flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs). This means bicycles, cycling education classes, gym memberships, or school athletic fees could be paid for with pre-tax dollars. The MA legislators and their staff that the delegation met with were all extremely receptive! MassBike will follow up with each office over the coming weeks to ensure that these asks are followed through on.
[caption id="attachment_24503" align="alignright" width="300"] Meeting with Senator Warren.[/caption]
A fun highlight from the summit, we were lucky to be joined by the winner of the Saris poster contest, as the winner was Caleb from Somerville! Caleb came to the lobby day meetings and was honored at Representative Capuano's office. Caleb's winning design now resides on Capitol Hill! The delegation was thrilled to have him as part of the process. Thanks Caleb and your family for coming along!
[caption id="attachment_24511" align="alignleft" width="300"] Caleb and his winning poster for the Saris contest.[/caption]
The day after lobby day at the National Bike Summit, it was off to the Vision Zero Cities Conference in New York City. Highlights included best practices and projects from former New York City’s transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, and the release of her book, Street Fight. There were compelling testimonies of strength and motivation to improve road conditions from Families for Safe Streets co-founders Amy and Hsi-Pei Liao who channeled their grief from losing their three year old daughter, Allison when she was hit and killed while crossing the street. There was representation form the masked Peatónito, the ‘Superhero of the Streets’, from Mexico City. He uses humor to bring awareness to the importance of crosswalks and preventing crashes and fatalities from happening. Here is a video from his time in New York City.
Additionally, Ydanis Rodriguez, Councilman and the chair of the NYC Committee on Transportation announced Car Free NYC. The event will take place on Earth Day, April 22nd. This event will create the opportunity for people to use the streets instead of cars.