Traffic Advisory: Southwest Corridor Path Under Construction

DCR REPAIRING BIKE PATH ALONG SOUTHWEST CORRIDOR PARK

WHAT: The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be resurfacing portions of the bike path along the Southwest Corridor Park between Forest Hills and the Massachusetts Avenue T station. The work will correct surface defects such as exposed tree roots, providing a smoother ride for bicycle commuters and recreational users. Cyclists will be detoured around the work areas.

WHEN: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
June 28, June 29, June 30
7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Bike path Southwest Corridor Park Various locations between Forest Hills and the Massachusetts Avenue T station

Bicyclists, Opposition Speak Out At Mass Ave Meeting

Here's what happened at the public meeting earlier this week. The Town and engineering consultants made a presentation about the goals of the project, the original and current designs, and the process and timeline. Then they opened the floor for public comment.

The most troubling changes to the design from the original concept is that lane widths have crept back up to 12-13 feet, the flush islands have been removed, and some sidewalks are not being widened as much (and in one case narrowed). The design still includes 5-foot bike lanes on both sides for the length of the project except the very end approaching Alewife Brook Parkway. The Alewife Brook intersection itself remains outside the scope of the project. So, at present it is pedestrian space that is being chipped away. As problematic as that is, I am concerned that if the "chipping" continues bicyclists will be the next group to sacrifice space to cars.

I'll be blunt: the comments were divided between those who fear change, and those who embrace change. And there were many people there on both sides.

Project opponents focused on concern about traffic backups on Mass Ave and cut-through traffic on side streets. These concerns are certainly legitimate, but the Town has addressed them already. The engineering consultants responded to the traffic questions with an analysis that showed the redesigned road would have enough capacity for projected traffic volumes out to 2028. Because capacity is high enough on Mass Ave, there should be no incentive for people to cut through on side streets. The general response from opponents: "I don't care what the analysis says - common sense says removing lanes will make traffic worse."

One particularly angry man reported that he had hired his own engineering consultants and lawyers to fight the project. Then his lawyer presented a legal argument questioning the authority of the Board of Selectmen to "narrow" a state highway. The Town's response: "MassDOT says this isn't a problem." Even if you accept this far-fetched argument based on an archaic statute, one response is the the Town is not narrowing the road, merely reallocating the space among various legally-recognized modes of travel. This argument overlooks that the road consists of the entire right-of-way from the buildings on one side of the street to the buildings on the other side of the street. The space is currently allocated among sidewalks, parking lanes, and travel lanes. The project is merely reallocating the same space, not reducing it at all.

Many project opponents laughed at a somewhat fanciful rendering of happy people and families strolling along a tree-lined sidewalk lined with busy shops and restaurants, but others said "what are you laughing at - that's what we want!" The implication was that the opponents think East Arlington's business district is just fine as it is and needs no improvements other than simply repaving the road.

One man actually stood up and said he moved to Arlington because it was more "car-friendly" and he didn't want all the bicyclists slowing him down like they do in Boston and Cambridge.

Project supporters (including me) emphasized the need to make Mass Ave safe and welcoming for all modes of travel, and reminded everyone that state law and state and federal policy all require bicyclists and pedestrians to be accommodated. Some expressed a preference for fully separated lanes (like cycletracks), but the consensus among bicyclists was that bikes lanes of some sort were needed. Various speakers refuted opponents' claims that bicyclists shouldn't be riding on Mass Ave when the Minuteman Bikeway is nearby; that bicyclists riding now on Mass Ave was proof that bike lanes were not needed; and that education of bicyclists and motorists could address the safety problems without infrastructure changes. Several parents talked about fearing for the safety of their children when crossing Mass Ave or biking together.

The meeting simply concluded when the comments were done. The next steps will be re-submission of the 25% design to MassDOT, then a public hearing on the design after it is approved by MassDOT. At that point it will be very difficult to make any significant changes to the project, so it is critically important to get any remaining comments in now. Click here for official project information and contacts.

Massive Thanks To Redbones Who Raised $5500 For MassBike!

This years Redbone's Bike Party Raised $11,000, half of which goes to MassBike! We wanted to personally thank Redbones for their continued support. They are a group of amazing people, who go through a lot of trouble to put on this annual must attend event. Thank you thank you thank you!

Here are some shots from the event, it was a great time!

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See you all there next year.

"The Lost Cyclist" Book Event Tonight, But No Valet Parking Due To Weather

This fascinating talk and slide show will go on as scheduled tonight, but due to the approaching severe thunderstorms our valet bike parking is canceled. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Author David Herlihy will present a slide show and talk about his new book, “The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance,” at The Boston Public Library, Abbey Room, on Thursday June 24, 2010 6:00 PM

The program is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

In the late 1880s, Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh, a renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist, dreamed of cycling around the world. He never made it. His mysterious disappearance in eastern Turkey sparked an international outcry and compelled Outing to send William Sachtleben, another larger-than-life cyclist, on Lenz’s trail. In The Lost Cyclist, Herlihy brings to light a wealth of information through a gripping narrative that captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying the bicycle adventurer in the days before paved roads and automobiles. The slide show will feature unpublished photos taken by Lenz himself before his world tour (on an old-fashioned "high wheeler") and during (crossing the US, Japan, China, Burma, India, and Persia).

Live From Mass Ave Project Meeting In Arlington



Hundreds show up for public meeting on this project to transform Mass Ave in East Arlington into a Complete Street. There is organized opposition to bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and other improvements. I'm here representing the interests of bicyclists and myself - I live in Arlington.

Mass BikePike Tour Registration Closes July 19th, Sign Up Now!

The 4th Annual Mass BikePike Tour is taking place from August 5-8th, 2010 and there are still a few openings. But registration closes soon, so don’t get left out of what is becoming the premier bike tour in Massachusetts.

The Mass BikePike Tour is a celebration of cycling in Massachusetts. Families and individuals who want a move leisurely pace will enjoy ample opportunity to explore the state’s scenic byways, quaint towns, and all the varied attractions the region has to offer. To make the tour accessible to all riders, we offer three daily ride options ranging from 30 to 65 miles All the routes are hilly, but if you really want to test yourself, on day 3 to ride a one mile climb at a steady 9% grade to the Visitors Center at the State Park Mt Wachusetts.

Overnight stops will feature great places to camp (indoor options available) and hardy catered meals featuring fresh local products. Participants who prefer an alternative to camping can choose to stay close by at local inns or B&Bs;

Registered riders will receive maps, route descriptions, lists of local attractions along the route, access to snack stops, SAG support, a commemorative T-shirt, and the camaraderie of friendly folks having a good time.

Proceeds from the event will benefit MassBike!

For more information and registration details, visit the web site at www.MassBikePike.org or call 617-710-1832. Find us on Facebook

MassBike Provides Free Valet Parking For David Herlihy Book Talk "The Lost Cyclist"

Author David Herlihy will present a slide show and talk about his new book, “The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance,” at The Boston Public Library, Abbey Room, on Thursday June 24, 2010 6:00 PM

The program is free and open to the public. No registration is required. Free valet bike parking provided by us!

In the late 1880s, Frank Lenz of Pittsburgh, a renowned high-wheel racer and long-distance tourist, dreamed of cycling around the world. He never made it. His mysterious disappearance in eastern Turkey sparked an international outcry and compelled Outing to send William Sachtleben, another larger-than-life cyclist, on Lenz’s trail. In The Lost Cyclist, Herlihy brings to light a wealth of information through a gripping narrative that captures the soaring joys and constant dangers accompanying the bicycle adventurer in the days before paved roads and automobiles. The slide show will feature unpublished photos taken by Lenz himself before his world tour (on an old-fashioned "high wheeler") and during (crossing the US, Japan, China, Burma, India, and Persia).

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO VOLUNTEER WITH US TO HELP VALET BIKE PLEASE CONTACT US!

Talk Show Host Has Problem With Cyclists, Let Him Know What You Think

You know those people that scream "get on the sidewalk!" or "get out of the road!"? You might say to yourself, it's just one driver and they must be pretty sad if they take the time to scream at cyclists in the street. Well, what if one of them had their own popular radio talk show? Then it changes from one man voicing his own (wrong) opinion to actively encouraging dangerous behavior by others. That crosses the line and could get people hurt.

[caption id="attachment_2758" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="How can you trust a man who forces his dog to wear such a hideous scarf?"][/caption]

One such person, who unfortunately has been given a very large megaphone in the form of his own radio show, is Dan Rea. Rea bills himself as "the voice of reason" but is actually a cyclist-hater, who says all sorts of ill-informed and incorrect things on his talk show about how bad cyclists are. Recently our Board President John Siemiatkoski called him up and tried to talk some sense into him.

Let's just say that this sort of corrective therapy takes more than one call, so John is going to be on Dan's show tonight. You can tell what the people at Rea's show think of cyclists as they have billed the show as:

9:00 John The Bike Guy: Dan Rea has a problem with bike riders. He brought up the subject on air and got a snippy response from a bike enthusiast named John. John is our guest tonight and the two go at it for real. Bike riders, this is your chance to be heard. Call Dan and support your guy John.


While on the one hand this is a blatant attempt to stir up controversy and get people to listen to his show (something we are unfortunately helping him do), on the other hand Rea has got it all wrong about cyclists. This is our chance to set him straight on the subject.

Give a listen tonight, check out the show's website for more details, and if you feel you have something to add to the conversation give a call. If you would like to buff up on your bike law before you call in see our bike law page, or head over to our Same Roads Same Rules website. If this sort of thing gets you steamed and you would like to support us in our ongoing efforts to make cycling better for everyone, you should join MassBike today. Nothing says I support cycling like becoming a MassBike member.

Live From The Green Roots Festival



The first riders are arriving and the party is heating up!

Ask MassBike: Can I Ride My Bike On Memorial Drive

We get a lot of questions here at MassBike, and we like to think we also give some pretty good answers. We realized that sharing these questions and answers on our website would be a valuable resource to others looking for the same information.

We got this question from Kristen about riding on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.



Hi,

I was out for a ride this morning and was riding my road bike (in the road) on Memorial Drive. I was headed east towards Harvard Sq. riding in the right hand lane when a state trooper pulled up beside me and informed me that I needed to be on the bike path and not in the road. He said that Memorial Dr. is a state highway and that bikes are prohibited since it is too narrow. I am wondering if he is correct, or do I have every right to be in the road?

Thanks for your help,
Kristen



Hello Kristen

This is absolutely incorrect. Bicycles are only prohibited from limited access or express state highways (such as I-93 or I-90) where it is posted, according to MGL chapter 85, section 11B. Memorial Drive is neither limited access nor express (it has numerous cross-streets and driveways), so bicycling is allowed. Many roads are "state highways" but are not limited access or express. Mass Ave is a state highway, but no one would argue bicycles are not allowed there.

Memorial Drive is narrow, and cars go way too fast there, so you might not want to ride in the road. But you can if you want to.

If anyone ever gets a ticket for something like this, we want to get a copy of it so we can investigate.

Hope this helps.


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