Working With MassDOT On The Longfellow Bridge

Earlier this year, we reported on efforts to ensure that bicyclists are fully included in the reconstruction of the iconic Longfellow Bridge between Boston and Cambridge. See here and here. If you've ridden across the bridge this week, you might have noticed that construction has begun on the "early action" sidewalks that MassDOT promised. (Please be especially careful during the construction, as a lane has been removed at the base of the bridge heading towards Cambridge and all traffic must merge briefly - the beginning of the bike lane will return when the sidewalks are done.)

[caption id="attachment_3316" align="alignright" width="299" caption="MassDOT Project Manager Mike O'Dowd with Joe Pavao leads the walking tour"][/caption]

There has been a great deal of public interest in the Longfellow Bridge project, and proposals made by the advocacy community (including MassBike) to prioritize bicycling, walking, and transit on the bridge have garnered a lot of attention recently. See here and here.

MassDOT heard the concerns of the advocates, and, to its credit, decided in May 2010 to take a step back in the process to more carefully examine the full range of ideas for the bridge. In June 2010, MassDOT convened the Longfellow Bridge Task Force "to ensure stakeholders are given an equal opportunity to comment on the final approach and roadway cross-section of the bridge with particular focus on serving transit, roadway, bicycle and pedestrian needs effectively and safely." More public information is available in the Task Force Google Group. I was invited to be a member of the Task Force and have been actively participating in the process.

Task Force members were invited to take walking tours of the Longfellow Bridge to see first-hand many of the problems to be addressed by the project. I went on one of the tours, and had the opportunity to speak at length with MassDOT officials and other Task Force members about the challenges bicyclists face on the bridge and at the approaches (particularly on the Boston side at Charles Circle). I think the opportunity to stand there and actually observe how bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists interact on and around the bridge was eye-opening for many people.

One thing was missing from the walking tour - actually experiencing the bridge from the bicyclist perspective. MassDOT Highway Administrator Luisa Paiewonsky recently rode over the bridge to get a feel for it, which was a great idea, but we wanted to make sure MassDOT engineers working on the project experienced first-hand the full range of challenges bicyclists face getting to, from, on, off, and across the Longfellow Bridge. So last week, we met up with MassDOT's Mike O'Dowd, Amy Getchell, and Joe Pavao, along with Glen Berkowitz from LivableStreets Alliance, and gave them the full tour by bike.

After meeting up at the Charles MBTA Station, we first observed the chaos in Charles Circle, as bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists all jockeyed for position. Then, because we think making the approach to the bridge safer for bicyclists is so important, we rode away from the bridge a few blocks before turning around, so that they could get a real taste of what getting to the bridge is like. Through Charles Circle (showing them how to take the lane to protect against right-turning traffic), across the bridge, into Cambridge, around and back again.

While we do not yet know what design for the bridge and the approaches will emerge from the Task Force, I'm confident that key people at MassDOT now understand exactly what we face every day riding across the Longfellow Bridge (and elsewhere). And that is a small victory in itself!

Summer Century & Family Ride A Success!

Our first Summer Century & Family Ride is in the books! Almost 400 riders joined us for a great day of cycling, fun, and food. Even the weather cooperated for once (a rarity for MassBike events)! Thank you to everyone who rode - with your help we raised over $9,200 dollars to support MassBike's advocacy efforts. Many MassBike members participated, and 30 new members joined up on the spot! From racers, to veteran distance riders, to families, to people just out for a leisurely ride, to some on their very first group ride, we had them all! Which is especially great because we represent all of you!

We could not have pulled it off without the dedication of our awesome volunteers. The event was organized by MassBike's Board of Directors, and you saw many of them working hard at Lexington High School and the rest stops in Groton and at Great Brook Farm State Park. We want to particularly recognize Bob Dangel, our Treasurer, who led the entire effort and really made the event happen.

We also want to recognize the support of our great sponsors who donated much-appreciated products and services to the event: Redbones BBQ, Ride Studio Cafe, Iggy's Bread of the World, Honest Tea, Luna Bar/Team Luna Chix, Landry's Bicycles, Peet's Coffee & Tea, and the New England Mountain Bike Patrol.

In case you were wondering, here is the breakdown of riders. It was a really good mix at all ability levels:

Total Riders: 397

12 mile: 34
22 mile: 61
47 mile: 76
62 mile: 126
100 mile: 100

For a grand total of roughly 22,602 miles ridden! Or from our downtown Boston office almost all the way around the earth! (If you left Boston heading north, you would make it about as far as New York City.)

We hope everyone enjoyed the event! We learned a lot, and will make it even better next time. If you have any comments or suggestions for next year, please let us know at events@massbike.org.

Here are some pictures from the day:

[gallery link="file"]

Last Chance To Save $$ On MassBike Summer Century & Family Ride


The MassBike Summer Century & Family Ride is THIS SATURDAY, and your opportunity to pre-register and save ends Wednesday, August 11th. Members save $10, and non-members save $5! Registration at the event will be $25 for everyone.


Click here to register


What's are the details?




$15 for MassBike members in advance and $20 for non-members in advance (advance sales through Wednesday, August 11). Day-of-event registration is $25 for all. There is no charge for children under 16 accompanied by an adult.


Want to do even more for MassBike? Riders are encouraged to raise additional funds for MassBike’s advocacy and outreach programs through a special $100 VIP registration or by gathering donations using MassBike’s online fundraising system. It’s a quick and easy extra step at the end of the registration process!


If you already setup a fundraising page, now is the time to make a final push! If you want to setup up a fundraising page, click here.


Thanks for supporting MassBike!


Click here to register


For more information, contact MassBike at 617-542-2453 or events@massbike.org.


Fatal Crash In Brighton

Yesterday, August 9, 2010, around 4pm, a young woman was hit by a car while biking in Brighton. The Boston Police have confirmed that the cyclist has died. MassBike shares the heartbreak of the bicycling community whenever someone is killed or injured while riding a bike. Our sincere condolences go out to the young woman's family.

At about 4:17pm, on Monday, August 9, 2010, officers from Area D-14 (Brighton) responded to a radio call for an accident involving a bicyclist being struck by a motor vehicle in the area of Warren Street and Commonwealth Ave. On arrival, officers located and observed a 24 year-old female victim being attended to and treated by EMS. The female victim, suffering from life threatening injuries, was transported to the Brigham & Women’s Hospital where she later succumbed to injuries and was pronounced. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation.


Preliminary reports are vague as to exactly how this tragedy occurred. MassBike will continue to follow the details as they emerge.

We urge everyone to exercise caution when cycling, including following all traffic laws, being very aware of your surroundings, and wearing a helmet.

I Am A School Headmaster, And I Ride

Here's a great story from our And I Ride campaign! We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great bicyclist bios here.

We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.

Our next story comes from Scott.



Where I Ride: Home in Roslindale to Work in Hyde Park
How Often I Ride: 3-4 times a week.

My Story:

In 2004, I founded a small public school dedicated to preparing students to succeed in college and to grow ethically. I spend long days inside the school building, and I love the exercise and the time outside, commuting on my bike. No email and no cell phone for those 40 minutes a day. As an educator and as a father, it’s important to me to leave the planet as good as I found it, and I want to keep my carbon footprint to a minimum.

On hot days, I need to ride slow to keep from sweating inside my suit, and I admit I get some funny looks occasionally from the 15-year-olds I teach. But as long as I can still beat each of them in a footrace, the snickers will remain at a minimum.



Thanks Scott!

We still want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to shane@massbike.org.

  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:


One Week To MassBike Summer Century & Family Ride: Register Now And Save!


The MassBike Summer Century & Family Ride is just one week away, and your opportunity to pre-register and save ends August 11th. Members save $10, and non-members save $5!


Click here to register


Two weeks ago we unveiled details of these great rides and announced new partners for the event:



  • Redbones Barbecue is cooking up lunch (included with your registration) – their famous pulled pork, BBQ beef, and portobello sandwiches!

  • Ride Studio Cafe is spinning their wrenches at the start to take care of your last-minute mechanical problems


  • The New England Mountain Bike Patrol is providing top-notch First Aid support


Great Ride Choices!


We’ve been working hard developing routes just for this event. All routes will be fully arrowed! Cue sheets and maps for all routes will be available online next week, along with GPS files for the three longer routes.


12-Mile Family Ride

22-Mile Family Ride

45-Mile Ride

Metric Century (62 Miles/100 Kilometers)

Century (100 Miles)


Click here for more details about the routes


Start Times


Saturday August 14th

Century 7-8:30am

Metric Century 8-9:30am

45-Mile Ride 9-10:30am

Family Rides 10-11am (join a guided group or ride on your own)


Registration



$15 for MassBike members in advance and $20 for non-members in advance (advance sales through Wednesday, August 11). Day-of-event registration is $25 for all. There is no charge for children under 16 accompanied by an adult.


Want to do even more for MassBike? Riders are encouraged to raise additional funds for MassBike’s advocacy and outreach programs through a special $100 VIP registration or by gathering donations using MassBike’s online fundraising system. It’s a quick and easy extra step at the end of the registration process!


If you already setup a fundraising page, now is the time to make a final push! If you want to setup up a fundraising page, click here.


Thanks for supporting MassBike!


Click here to register


For more information, contact MassBike at 617-542-2453 or events@massbike.org.


I Am An Opera Singer And A Computer Scientist, And I Ride

Here's another great story from our And I Ride campaign! We are seeking to put a face on cycling in support of a legislative campaign that we are working on this year. You can read the rest of these great bicyclist bios here.

We are still accepting entries, so be sure to read below to find out how to send in your story.

Our next story comes from Daniel



Where I Ride: Boston and environs, or wherever else I happen to be.
How Often I Ride: except when there's black ice on the roads.

My Story:

Bicycling has been my primary form of transportation for the past 10 years, ever since I first started putting myself through music school at the New England Conservatory while working at Akamai Technologies in Cambridge, and I needed to go back and forth several times each day. I've since put more than 20,000 miles on the Kona I bought for this commute, but I've also built up a fixed-gear Schwinn and acquired a beautiful Burley tandem, which I ride with my wife who is also a singer.

I now do scientific computing at Boston University and ride there from my home in Watertown and also to rehearsals, lessons, and gigs all over the Boston area. I've reluctantly had to drive or bus to out-of-state gigs, but have been planning to toss a bike in the cargo hold of the Chinatown bus for my next gig in NYC or to plan a bike tour out to my next week-long gig in Connecticut or Western MA. You'll occasionally see me on my Memorial Drive commute with my mutt Finnegan running next to me on his retractable leash.



Thanks Daniel!

We want to hear your story. Tell us about yourself and how bicycling is a part of your life. Just copy and paste the form below into an email, fill it in, and send it to shane@massbike.org.

  • Name:

  • Email:

  • Where You Ride:

  • How Often You Ride:

  • Your Profession/Relation/Title (lawyer, nurse, Grandma, son, etc):

  • A picture of you on your bicycle, or you in your daily life (be sure we can see your face):

  • A paragraph or two about your life and your bicycle:


Help MassBike Improve Your Membership



MassBike is working with a group of MBA students to conduct a survey to measure the perceptions and usage of MassBike membership. This study is being conducted to help improve MassBike's offerings. All of your answers will be confidential and anonymous. This survey shouldn't take more than 10 minutes of your time. We appreciate you taking the time to fill out the survey and thank you for your help.

Click here to take the survey

Ride for Starlight at the Rodman Ride for Kids

Join the Rodman Ride for Kids - a cycling event throughout scenic Southeastern Massachusetts that raises funds for children’s charities including Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Starlight is dedicated to helping seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. Starlight New England reaches over 100,000 seriously ill and hospitalized children and families each year.

Join the ride to make a difference for children suffering from chronic and life-threatening illness.

Choose to ride 25, 50 or 100 miles and raise $1,000 for Starlight Children’s Foundation!

Over 1,200 riders and 300 volunteers attend the ride, everyone loves the ride, raising your goal is easier than you think. At online registration, you create a personal webpage and just get creative from there: ask your company to sponsor you, put it on facebook, do a family fundraiser, etc.

It is an exciting event for everyone because all event costs are underwritten by the Rodman Ride and all donations are matched 10%, so 110% of every donation goes right to the Starlight children!

By joining the Starlight Bike Team you are brightening the lives of seriously ill and hospitalized children throughout New England.

Visit www.starlightnewengland.org or call 617-241-9911 to learn more.

Date: September 25th 2010
Location: Starts at 10 Lincoln Road, Foxborough, MA
Registration required: Online at this link http://rodmanride.kintera.org/starlight

Starlight Children's Foundation participates in MassBike's Charity Ride Partner Program to help support MassBike's advocacy and education programs.

MassBike Argues For Extension Of Community Path

You may have heard the recent news about the delay in the proposed extension of the MBTA Green Line from Lechmere through Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford. But did you know that the Green Line Extension project also presents an opportunity to extend the Community Path alongside the Green Line to create an off-road connection between the Minuteman Bikeway and the Charles River Paths, and dramatically improve bicycle and pedestrian access to the Green Line?

The project as described in the recently-filed Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) would include designing at least part of the Community Path extension, but it would not include the actual construction of the Path extension. We think that the project should include both design and construction of the entire Community Path extension, and we said as much in our comments on the FEIR (see below). I participated in a recent meeting between representatives of several advocacy and community groups with MassDOT Deputy Secretary Brian Murphy and Green Line Extension Project Manager Kate Fichter to discuss these issues.

We really appreciate MassDOT's attention to our concerns, and it appears that they now plan to include some of the underlying infrastructure for a future Path extension (thank you, MassDOT!), but the fact is there will never be a better, more cost-effective time to extend the Path than with the Green Line extension. Past experience with big projects (Big Dig?) leads us to fear that if the Path extension is not included in this project, it will never be built.


July 23, 2010

Secretary Ian Bowles

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, MEPA Office
Attn: Holly Johnson, MEPA Analyst,
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900, Boston, MA 02114

Re: EEA #13886, Urging Community Path as integral part of GLX

Dear Secretary Bowles:

The Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition (MassBike) promotes a bicycle-friendly
environment and encourages bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation.
It is our vision that car-free pathways will connect our communities, and
that bicycles will be fully integrated into our public transportation
system. MassBike believes that the Somerville Community Path perfectly
embodies this vision, connecting the Northwest suburbs of Boston with the
Green Line Extension (GLX) stations and the Charles River paths of Boston
and Cambridge. The Path as it currently exists helps to further your
office’s goals of promoting clean energy, curbing greenhouse gas
emissions, and cutting energy costs, and extending the Path in concert
with the GLX will extend those benefits to a much larger, and historically
underserved, segment of the community.

MassBike urges you to state in your certificate for the Final
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIR) for the GLX that the infrastructure
for the Community Path extension must be included as part of the GLX
project design, construction, and funding all the way to Lechmere, even
while full funding from other sources is still being identified. More
specifically, we urge you to require that MassDOT:

1. Design the Path to reach all the way to Lechmere/North Point –
through the Somerville Environmental Justice neighborhoods of Winter Hill
and East Somerville – and not just to Inner Belt (as stated in the FEIR).

2. Make the commitment that the Community Path extension is part of
the Green Line project even while full funding is still being identified.

3. Include the costs for the construction of the Community Path
extension infrastructure components in the planned Design/Build Contract
and in the funding applications for the Green Line Extension to Lechmere,
such as FTA's New Starts. We appreciate that MassDOT is considering
including partial Path infrastructure as part of the GLX project – a very
significant move – though we await an official commitment.

4. Co-sponsor or at least support the Tiger II grant application with
the City of Somerville to fund the remaining Community Path elements of
the GLX and help fund the 20% match. (Final application is due August 23)

5. Continue to work with Somerville to apply for other funds for
Community Path construction from sources such as the proposed federal
Active Community Transportation Act, House Bill 4722.

Your support of the Path extension will build on the vision of the
Southwest Corridor Park and will increase Green Line ridership at a low
per rider cost. This has been demonstrated by the success of the existing
Path in Cambridge and Somerville that brings thousands of residents to the
Davis Square Red Line Station where boardings are almost double what were
projected. The Path will be a critical zero-emissions transportation link
that will offer great environmental, health, safety, noise-reduction, and
community benefits to Somerville – and, moreover, to the region.

This key multi-modal Path will connect some 40 miles of paths in the
region, finally linking the Minuteman Bikeway with the Charles River
Paths, and all of their offshoots. This path system reaches through
Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, Cambridge, Somerville, Boston, Medford,
Waltham, and Watertown, and connects all these communities to each other
and to the Red and Green Lines. Beyond the benefit to daily Path users,
the Path extension will dramatically increase opportunities for bicycle
tourism through all of these cities and towns. The extended Path will also
be the eastern end of the planned 104-mile cross-state Mass Central Rail
Trail connecting Boston to Northampton.

Thank you very much for your consideration of our comments. Should you
have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Very truly yours,

David Watson
Executive Director
Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
171 Milk Street, Suite 33
Boston, MA 02109
Phone: 617-542-2453
Fax: 617-542-6755
Email: david@massbike.org


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