DCR Recreational Advisory: Temporary Path Closures for the Paul Dudley White Bike Path in Boston
WHAT: Beginning on Monday, November 2, 2015, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) anticipates closing four segments of the Paul Dudley White Multi-Use Path for reconstruction and restoration work. The project will include reconstruction, re-striping, loam and seeding of shoulders, and erosion controls to protect the adjacent Charles River. DCR will commence the reconstruction and closing of the four segments, one at a time:
Segment 1: Longfellow Bridge to Exeter Street / western lagoon
Segment 2: Fairfield Street to Deerfield Street (both sides of the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge)
Segment 3: Anderson Bridge to Weeks Pedestrian Bridge
Segment 4: Eliot Bridge to the Artesani Playground / Christian Herter Park
Users should plan accordingly, seek alternate pathways, and use caution. Detours / alternate routes should be available as follows:
Segment 1: Alternative paths along the lagoons and Esplanade
Segment 2: Cambridge side of the river or pedestrian overpasses at Fairfield and Sherborn Streets to Back Street and Beacon Street (see http://trailmap.mapc.org/)
Segment 3: Cambridge side of the river
Segment 4: Alternative paths along Soldiers Field Road
WHERE: Paul Dudley White Bike Path, Boston, Longfellow Bridge to Christian Herter Park
WHEN: Expected Monday, November 2, 2015 until Mid-December
The John Hancock Non-Profit Marathon Program has generously awarded MassBike with non-qualified runner entries for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Each April, thousands of accomplished runners descend upon Boston to participate in the legendary Boston Marathon, one of the most prestigious and renowned road racing events across the globe. As these runners take on the daunting physical challenge of the historic 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon, they will also each raise a minimum of $5,000 each to support MassBike's work.
Starting today, MassBike will be accepting applications for 2 available team slots for the 2016 Boston Marathon for runners to join our team, Running to Ride.
The fundraising by this team will fuel efforts to improve conditions for bicycling in the Bay State. Working with lawmakers, schools, police, business leaders, and municipalities, MassBike is the voice for bicyclists throughout the state. With 4,000 members and growing, MassBike helped elevate Massachusetts in national bike friendly rankings to the number four position. Our runners will help Massachusetts climb to the top spot, making us a healthier and more prosperous place to live.
As a member of Running to Ride, you are responsible for:
- A minimum fundraising campaign of $5000
- $350 Registration Fee
- The additional cost of training (shoes, gear, etc.)
- A $30 application fee, which will be applied to the selected runner's fundraising campaign
Please download the application and submit the completed and signed application via mail or email to MassBike no later than November 11, 2015 to be considered.
Monday, October 19, 6:00 p.m.
Boston English High School, 144 McBride Street, Boston
Monday, October 19, 4:00 p.m.
State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston
Wednesday, October 21, 6:30 p.m.
Union Station, 2 Washington Square, Worcester
Wednesday, October 21, 6:00 p.m.
Leominster City Hall, 25 West Street, Leominster
Thursday, October 22, 6:30 p.m.
Cambridge Rindge and Latin HS, 459 Broadway, Cambridge
Monday, October 26, 6:00 p.m.
Braintree City Hall, 1 John F. Kennedy Memorial Drive, Braintree
Monday, October 26, 6:00 p.m.
Bangs Community Center, 70 Boltwood Walk, Amherst
Tuesday, October 27, 6:00 p.m.
Battleship Cove Marine Museum (Ward Room), 5 Water Street, Fall River
Tuesday, October 27, 6:00 p.m.
Middlesex Community College, Lowell Campus,
33 Kearney Square, Lowell
Wednesday, October 28, 6:00 p.m.
Peabody City Hall, Wiggin Auditorium, 24 Lowell Street, Peabody
Wednesday, October 28, 6:00 p.m.
Natick Town Hall, 13 East Central Street, Natick
Thursday, October 29, 6:00 p.m.
Pittsfield City Hall, City Council Chamber, 70 Allen Street, Pittsfield
Thursday, October 29, 6:00 p.m.
Plymouth Town Hall, 11 Lincoln Street - Harbor Room, Plymouth
Monday, November 2, 6:30 p.m.
Mansfield Town Hall, 6 Park Row, Mansfield
Thursday, November 5, 6:00 p.m.
Springfield City Hall, 36 Court Street, Springfield
Thursday, November 5, 6:30 p.m.
Cape Cod Community College, Tilden Arts Theater,
2240 Iyannough Road, West Barnstable
Join the conversation about the future of our transportation investments.
Make your voice heard.
MassDOT and the MBTA are preparing five-year capital plans, blueprints that will guide investments in our transportation system between 2017 and 2021. The Capital Investment Plan (CIP) determines how we prioritize our largest investments, covering all transportation projects - everything from highway and municipal projects to regional airports and rail and transit, including the MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities. These Capital Conversations will help to guide our five-year Capital Investment Plan process as well as upcoming planning processes for statewide bicycle, pedestrian and rail plans. We want to hear from you about how those investments should be prioritized in order to maintain and modernize the Commonwealth's transportation facilities. How can we improve our transportation systems, increase transportation capacity where existing facilities are inadequate, and build new projects to help communities to prosper and residents to get where they need to go?
Representatives from MassDOT and the MBTA will be on hand to hear your input about transportation needs and capital priorities. Please help spread the word about these Capital Conversations to friends, family and business associates. Your participation is critical to our success.
Online Capital Conversation:
Monday, October 19--Thursday, November 5.
Meeting locations are accessible to people with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency. Accessibility accommodations and language services will be provided free of charge upon request, and as available. Requests should be submitted within ten days of the meeting at which services will be required, if at all possible. Such services include documents in alternative formats, translated documents, assistive listening devices, and interpreters (including American Sign Language). For more information or to request reasonable accommodation and/or language services, please contact Trish Foley at (857) 368-8907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ever had to navigate a huge transit facility that felt unsafe? Can you think of a piece of property owned by a transit agency which could be used to make bicycling safer in your community?
Today you can make a difference, but only if you act right now to make sure that your comments are logged by the end of today, Tuesday, October 13.
The Federal Transit Administration is still implementing a portion of a law which was passed in 2012 (MAP-21). It establishes their authority to regulate safety at transit agencies nationwide - believe it or not, this is a new responsibility. They have wide latitude in how they do this and depend greatly on the public to determine the details of how it's done. Any member of the public can comment - you don't need a degree in transportation engineering to participate.
Here's what to do:
1) Visit Regulations.gov and read the proposed regulation.
2) Click on the "Comment Now!" button on the top right, and leave a paragraph or two in your own words, describing why you think bicycle safety (and pedestrian safety) should be a crucial part of any National Public Transportation Safety Program.
Need some inspiration for your commentary?
- The new program already mandates a safety training program for all agencies. Could that program include training for bus drivers?
- Bus stops are usually on land owned by an entity other than the transit agency. Since the current program only deals with facilities owned by the transit agency itself, how can the safety program encourage coordination with other land-owners so that these things don't fall through the cracks?
- The MBTA is the second-largest land-owner in Massachusetts. Many other transit agencies in the nation are large land-owners as well. How can a national public transportation safety program ensure that all of a transit agencies assets and facilities are used to promote safety, not just those currently used for running transit service?
Please submit your comments by the end of the day today, don't miss your chance to be heard!
We have one more ask - please forward this to at least one friend who lives in another state besides Massachusetts. The more broadly our voice is heard, the stronger we will be.
Report by Programs Director Barbara Jacobson
What is PARK(ing) Day?
PARK(ing) Day takes place in cities worldwide the third Friday in September and celebrated its tenth anniversary this year! The event originated in 2005 to address the lack of open/public space in San Francisco and has expanded each year since. The premise of the event is to reclaim and repurpose parking spaces for something other than a parked car. By reclaiming the space for people, it becomes an activated place. PARK(ing) Day is a great way to pilot temporary, creative installations and strengthen the case for more green spaces in cities and towns.
Programs Director Barbara Jacobson and GIS Analyst Mat Schete wanted to repurpose and reuse something that is readily available. Both were interested in bicycling as a way to facilitate economic growth and development. One way to increase patronage to local businesses is to have facilities for bicyclists. It seemed only fitting that since the concept was to utilize a parking space, that the MassBike space should repurpose the one car space for many bike parking spaces. Typically, there is a 10:1 ratio of bicycles parking capacity to car capacity. A standard parking space is 20’ x 7’ so there was plenty of space to repurpose!
Barbara and Mat decided to use wooden pallets for the project because they are strong, durable and adaptable. After finding pallets on craigslist, the pair strapped them to Mat’s car to take them to be crafted into bike parking and a jenga game.
Bike Valet Coordinator Michael Zembruski joined in to help saw out the wooden beams holding the pallets together. This way there would be more room for the bike wheels to run through the pallets and park easily.
Mat and Barbara set up The Pallet Cleanser at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Prospect Street in the Central Square Business District in Cambridge. Adjacent to the Red Line subway station, the MassBike space attracted many visitors to the installation who were not bicyclists. Because of the one-on-one setup with a small table and chairs, it was easy to engage with people who stopped to check out the project.
Overall, we had 150 interactions throughout the day. Temporary pilot programs like Park(ing) Day bring a heightened awareness to public/open space, sustainable transportation and activating cities and streets for people.
Some of the feedback that people said to us:
“I wish this was here year-round.”
“Why only one day?”
“The City should do more of this!”
Let’s do pilot programming and gather both qualitative and quantitative data.
Let’s work collaboratively with municipal & local business stakeholders.
Let’s solve problems creatively.
Let’s work together.
Let’s do more.
This week - If you set up a reoccurring donation to MassBike through our friends at GlobalGiving, they will offer a 1 time, 100% match! With your help, we can continue to offer crucial workshops, partner with local municipalities and offer assistance with new bicycle planning projects, and lobby for proposed bills to support vulnerable users in Massachusetts. Support us this week, and GlobalGiving will double your efforts.
Click here to double your support today.
A large mural facing the road. A full scale Bochi ball court beneath an overpass. A public park inside a triangular intersection.
Complete Streets advocate Barbara Jacobson has seen countless examples of asphalt transformed into lively public spaces. She will share these during her presentation, “Bicycling: Going Beyond the Paint,” at the New England Bike Walk Summit hosted by the East Coast Greenway Alliance on Thursday, September 24th, in Worcester Massachusetts.
Jacobson recalls projects that go beyond infrastructure and embrace the unexpected. Barron Plaza in Cambridge’s Central Square, once a four lane thruway, is now it’s one of Boston’s liveliest destinations, supporting a bevy of nearby restaurants and venues. In Mexico City, a parking area has been revamped into a public meeting space furnished with sculptures, bike racks, and shrubbery. In San Francisco, a full scale park decked out with ball courts and swings sits beneath an underpass.
Some projects incorporate technology. “The Faces of Dudley,” a civil rights mural project proposal that Jacobson worked on for FEAST MASS, incorporates an iPhone accessible audio track that tells the story of the leaders pictured.
Effective transformations, however, aren’t limited to large public works projects. Simply reinventing a parking space as a “parklet” can excite local business owners and jumpstart collaborations. Small efforts – a movie screening beneath a bridge in Baltimore or a string of lights hung on dark overpasses in Austin – are evidence of complete streets ideals spreading across the U.S.
“Cities are living, they’re changing, they’re adapting,” says Jacobson. “It’s about viewing the streets as a place for people to be in rather than drive through.”
The Honorable Ayanna Pressley
1 City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201
Dear Councilor Pressley:
I am writing on behalf of the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition in regards to the City of Boston’s efforts to improve the safety of the roadways for vulnerable road users. As bike ridership continues to increase, better infrastructure is needed to meet the demands of safety and usability of bicyclists on the streets of Boston. The City of Boston signed onto Vision Zero in March of 2015, but from the public’s perspective, there has not been much action taken on the proclamation of the goal of zero fatalities on the roadways. Since Vision Zero was adopted, three bicyclists have been killed: Fritz Philogene, 18; Yadielys Delcan Camacho, 8 and Dr. Anita Kurman, 36.
Better protected infrastructure is possible and is necessary in order to prevent crashes and fatalities from happening within the City. Innovative infrastructure redesigns and enhancements such as separated bike lanes and protected intersections must be considered and implemented throughout the city in order to ensure that biking is safe for all on all of Boston’s streets.
High speed arterials such as Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan, Washington Street in Roxbury, Massachusetts Avenue, and Tremont Street in downtown Boston should be top priorities for building out the spine of the bike network plan.
With the implementation of better and safer infrastructure comes the issue of maintenance: both for pre-existing projects as well as for year-round bicycling, such as snow removal. The City needs to have a larger maintenance budget for existing projects and additional funds for short-term pilot programming for testing protected intersections with additional funds for implementing more permanent curbing.
By allocating more funds for separated bike facilities, protected intersections and pilot programming, and having an active timeline for project implementation and maintenance, it will demonstrate the City of Boston’s commitment to Vision Zero and clearly convey to operators of large trucks and motor vehicles that bicyclists belong on Boston’s roadways and all precautions are being taken to account for their safety.
As a personal note, every day when I commute from my apartment in Jamaica Plain to my office in the Financial District, I tell myself the same thing, “Not today.” I await the day when I no longer have to tell myself this mantra and can bike safely without thinking that I will get into a crash or die while biking on the streets of Boston.
Programs Director, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
But this isn't just any old ride to the ball park.
Conceived by legendary cyclist Tim Johnson with the support of Red Bull , this ride is an informal ride to engage the community of Rhode Island and connect them via bicycle to the major league Red Sox in Boston, starting at minor league team's home. We'll showcase the creative ways that bicycles can be woven into every day recreation and regional travel in Massachusetts (and New England), some of which is the result of MassBike's work.
Riders will depart Boston via the commuter rail in the morning, meeting up at at Providence City Hall starting at 11:30. The ride departs at 12 noon. We will ride to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, arriving at 12:30. After picking up a baseball there, we will then head north at speed, departing at 12:50 p.m. to deliver it to Fenway Park for tomorrow evening's game.
We expect to arrive at the Blue Hills Road overflow lot at 4 p.m. (using the proposed Park and Pedal location on Route 138 in the Blue Hills Reservation), just north of Royall Avenue in Milton.
From there we will roll north to Fenway Park arriving at 5:30 p.m. at D Gate, at the MassBike valet service.
The long ride is free and open to participants capable of holding the pace of 20 mph. The beginning and finishing stretches of about six miles on each end are open to the general public regardless of their cycling ability.
We'll be talking about many things along the way...including roll on MBTA access, improving conditions from RI to the South Shore and on up to Boston, the new Park and Pedal program, urban cycling and commuters, and more. Be sure to tune in.
[caption id="attachment_24239" align="alignleft" width="300"] Zagster at the YMCA. Left to right, Aaron Donahue, Councillor Josh Zakim, Tim Ericson, Nyesha Motley, David Tavares[/caption]
As I labored up a massive climb during the Vermont Overland Grand Prix I fixed my gaze on the little pink ribbon tied to my stem.
The month of August had three ribbons for me. The one tied to my stem came at the service for Anita Kurmann, the young Swiss medical researcher killed by an errant truck driver in Boston. I learned of her death while laboring up another climb during the Cycle Massachusetts ride near Greenfield, where a Channel 5 reporter reached me.
The impact of her death has proven both profound and curious. She was the seventh bicyclist hit and killed in Massachusetts by a motor vehicle this year. But the date, the time, the location, her occupation, and her innocence garnered massive attention. The intersection where it occurred had been cited repeatedly as dangerous by all transportation groups, private and non-profit. Poor enforcement added to the issue.
The massive media attention, most of which proved well-written, did light a fire under Boston officials. I personally did five media interviews, all of which were sparked by that incident.
The intersection of two iconic Boston streets, Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street, serve as a transportation ground zero. The danger is that the intersection is overloaded bikes, pedestrians, automobiles and trucks…But the design remains mostly just for cars.
Do you think we’re going to have a lot of bikes there? Let’s see, it’s at the end of one of the few Charles River bridges. Harvard, MIT and other universities are on the Cambridge side; BU, Northeastern, Suffolk, Emerson and other universities are on the Boston side, along with several famous hospitals. Confused tourists bound for museums and Fenway Park mix with trucks seeking access to the Mass Pike and other wider boulevards for deliveries. And with a major subway station two blocks away, pedestrians flood every crossing.
I learned a lot from other advocates on ways we must respond to both journalists and those folk on-the-street, at-the-barbecue, and in-the-office when they ask, “why do you think there is such an uptick in fatal bike accidents?”
Talk about a loaded question.
First, we have to straighten out data.
- In 2014 Massachusetts had 16 bicycle deaths; this year we are at 7 as the summer season winds down.
- The number of bicycle crashes might be up somewhat, but given that the number of bicyclists and hours spent bicycling are way up, the “rate” of crashes is coming down…dramatically.
- Of note is that we have had 149 motorists deaths this year. But where is that story?
- When measured in the only fair way of doing so, by hours spent with each activity, bicycling is safer than …well ….even living. When measured per million hours of activity, bicycling in American sees a fatality rate of .26, compared with driving automobiles which harvests .47 deaths. Motorcycles blows them all away at 8.80. (But notice there is no media frenzy about the crazy increase in motorcyclist deaths, eh?)
Second, we have to straighten out language.
- The word “accident”, which was inserted by automotive PR agencies, sounds innocent. The more accurate word is “crash”. Nobody speaks about a “plane accident”, do they? Here's an interesting read on the nomenclature of this.
- And this woman’s death was NOT the result of a bicycle crash but a truck crash. Bicycle crashes rarely prove fatal unless they involve motor vehicles. We have not had a fatal bicycle crash this year; only collisions with cars prove fatal.
With each successive interview I gave and each successive report I heard, saw or read, I realized that the media had started to chant a “bikes are dangerous” mantra. This mantra, I feared, could undo decades of improvements made in both policy and engineering for bicyclists.
But the month of August also brought me two other happier ribbons …and a bow.
The second of the ribbons would be the ribbon cutting at the Somerville Community Path extension, which opened from Cedar Street to Lowell Street. This is essentially stretching the Minuteman Bikeway, which in 20 years has spawned networks of spurs and trails positively impacting the health and prosperity of more than seven communities.
This extension is one to behold. The engineering includes several play areas, fitness equipment, and a spongy running trail alongside the paved trail. The ribbon cutting drew Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano.
But honestly the prior ribbon cutting that week made a larger impression on me.
They cut a ribbon on the Northern Strand Trail, often known as Bike to the Sea, to open its section through Revere. From an engineering perspective, this hard-packed path is not something to behold. This path is located about four miles east of the Somerville path. But the Mystic River and the elevated I-93 serve as more than physical barriers. For the Revere opening had no hipsters present. There were no bike hippies, no tie-dye, no pony tails, no college kids, no tattoos, no piercings.
Stephen Winslow has steadily worked for two decades to auger this bike path from Everett, into Malden and later Saugus. But Revere, with its surprisingly beautiful corridor through the Rumney Marsh, had been the missing link between two ends.
These communities hardly resonate as bike-friendly places. Study a Strava heat map and these communities are largely void of much activity. And while the Minuteman has more than a dozen bike shops near its path, the current Northern Strand communities have not a single bike shop. Bike lanes and “sharrows” remain an oddity. And bike racks are not found at supermarkets.
And yet Winslow has somehow built a steadfast group of community leaders, not cyclists per se, who have augured through enormous political and cultural resistance to build this path.
“Revere has come a long way since our first Bike to the Sea Day in 1993,” said Winslow. “The ‘No Bike Signs’ have been taken down on Revere Beach Boulevard and new sidewalks laid end to end. Bicycle lanes and sharrows have started popping up the last few years. All this means that drivers no longer shout out for bikes to get on the sidewalk. With the completion of the Northern Strand in North Revere, there’s even revival of talk to look at options to bring a trail directly to Revere Beach along the Rumney Marsh as we had originally envisioned.”
After the ribbon cutting we rolled about 100 meters to “Anthony’s Cabana”, where a fenced property abutted the path. The wooden picket fence did not set this modest home apart from the others along this Revere Street, dotted with quaint sugar cube properties. Only the surf board on this fence serves notice of the spirit of its owner.
For once inside this fence, one finds a densely packed outdoor pavilion with an in-ground pool, jacuzzi, full bar, game pavilions, sound systems, flat screen televisions….Welcome to the home of Anthony Chianca. With disarming smile, this bald, middle-age man in a Hawaiian shirt loves to entertain.
But this man - about as far from Howie Carr’s stereotype of a bike hippy one could find - has worked tirelessly to improve his neighborhood and his city to build this path that runs behind his home.
This path is close to connecting into a powerful bike-friendly corridor into Boston. And that path is crawling tantalizingly westward as the Somerville Community Path is crawling tantalizingly eastward.
Sadly it has taken Winslow 22 years to get this far. And his dream of a Bike to the Sea path can only now claim to get one to a salt marsh. But with this Revere connection, the path runs unfettered to the Lynn line. Lynn, a city that needs bike facilities far more than any other community along this pathway, sadly has a decidedly anti-bike mayor.
But the placid and persistent Winslow has outlasted every element of opposition to date.
The same day that I attended the ribbon cutting in Somerville I also got a bow. This came from Zagster, the Cambridge-based bike share company has been steadily working in smaller cities, corporate centers, and college campuses nationwide. With high-quality Breezer Villager bicycles, this company has developed such surprising clients as General Motors, where accountants realized they were pissing away a full time salary a day as employees waited for shuttle buses to move them to and from their 28 buildings. This car company put in bike share.
So what to do with those bikes when they come offline, in need of some minor repair and upkeep?
Zagster opted to present 30 of those bikes to the Boston YMCA on Huntington Avenue, the nation’s first Y. The bikes were presented to less privileged kids from Roxbury and Dorchester who participated in an essay contest. The essays revealed just how important something as simple as a bicycle could be in their lives, expanding a world from a few blocks to a few miles.
One young family, with three little kids, received a bike. I could see and sense just how hard dad was working to be just that, a dad. And this sturdy and swift machine could expand his economic horizons by about five miles. Within that radius would be opportunities in education, healthcare, social services, recreation and something suburban folks take for granted: a supermarket.
The bow on that gift, coming off the tragedy in Boston and ensuing media coverage, showed me how in four different locations serving four entirely different communities that bicycles continue to present a solution to so many problems. We hold that truth to be self-evident.
I had spanned an entire socio-economic spectrum during that week of ribbons and bows. Of all the ribbons and bows I saw, however, one particular application made me recognize that our gains would not recede.
For as we gathered for a rush hour ghost bike presentation to commemorate the loss of Anita Kurmann I expected to see a cop or two sent to keep the peace. What I saw, however, caused my throat to thicken with emotion. For there, wrapping around the entire corner, stood a dozen green-clad Boston Police Department bicycle patrol officers. As we cyclists - of all stripes and styles - clustered on to the corner, we had this day-glow shield to the smoldering conveyor belt of evening traffic. One dump truck driver sounded a horn briefly … only to register the glare of these officers.
This thin green line confirmed that we indeed belonged there. This thin green line, for which we have worked to establish for 35 years, confirmed that we indeed mattered. They understood the loss. They understood the experience of bicycling in Boston. They understood the senseless impatience and rage of these motorists all rushing to the next red light.
And each of those hardened cops wore a tiny pink ribbon too.