Cycling skills, good roads, public awareness.

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Removing on-street parking for bike lanes

Jackson Square Bike Lane Concept

Jackson Square Bike Lane Concept

A proposal for bike lanes on Centre Street between Lamartine St and Sunnyside St (near Jackson Square) was floated at the March 23 meeting of the Centre South Transportation Action Plan Citizens’ Advisory Committee. The 42-ft curb-to-curb width is just a bit too narrow for the bare minimum bike lanes proposed for Centre Street between Elliot St and Lakeview St. The necessary width would be obtained by eliminating parking on one side of the street only. (See the presentation, pages 56 – 61.) Currently there is about 21 ft (travel lane + parking lane) on each side of the street. The suggested new configuration is an 11 ft travel lane and 4 ft parking lane on one side and an 11 ft travel lane with a 5 ft bike lane, 8 ft parking lane on the other side. The remaining 3 ft would be used to widen the existing 8 ft sidewalk on one side. The proposal would leave on-street parking in front of most businesses that do not have on-street parking. This would be accomplished by switching the side without parking from the south side near Mozart Park to the north side near Bromley-Heath. Nevertheless, at least 37 on-street spaces would have to go. Continue Reading »

Bike Lanes for Jamaica Plain?

<b>Centre Street with and without Bike Lane -- the Street has Grown Wider!</b>

Centre Street with and without bike lanes -- the street grew by 10 ft!

The “Centre/South Streetscape and Transportation Action Plan” is proposing bike lanes in the Centre Street business district in Jamaica Plain from Eliot Street to Lakeville Rd. The images from the presentation at the January 2010 meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the project show bicyclists safely out of range of car doors in the existing conditions but clearly within range when bike lanes are added (see images above, doors added to original). Shared lane markings should instead be used on Centre and South Streets to encourage bicyclists to safely use the streets and to discourage motorists from harassing bicyclists. Gore stripes can be used to indicate that the door zone is unsafe. Shared lane markings have already been used at Forest Hills and in Roslindale Square and several other locations in Boston, and are proposed for the majority of the Centre-South Street corridor that is less than 44 feet wide and thus considered too narrow for bike lanes.

Door Zone Buffer Zone (Paris)

Door Zone Buffer Gore Stripes (Paris)

Continue Reading »

Can we at least stop the wrong way riders?

This morning on my way to work on Centre Street, a wrong-way rider is coming right at me in the 4 feet between stopped traffic and parked cars. I slow and wave at him. He just keeps charging along. Fearing a collision, I hop off the bike, and he barely fits past, still zooming, and giving me a scare. I look back and see him continue to charge along at speed, barely avoiding a right-turning police car.

Wait. A police car? The officer couldn’t have not seen him. How about a little enforcement here? I go back to the intersection, where the school crossing guard is saying something — maybe to the officer. I say I want him to come back. She motions, he reverses. I go to his open window and say — hey, did you see that wrong-way bicyclist going fast? He nearly hit me. He asks for a description, which I give. He gives an impression that he might do something to find this guy. But probably not. Nah, not likely.

The new bike law in Massachussetts allows police officers to use the standard ticket book they always carry to give tickets to bicyclists. It also requires training — for example in why wrong-way riding is dangerous. But it’s expecting too much to see any actual enforcement.

Updated Massachusetts Bicycle Rules

Finally, a bill fixing some of the problems in Massachusetts traffic laws relating to bicycling has been signed in to law by the Governor. Continue Reading »

Moped Lessons

Peter DeMarco’s “Who Taught You to Drive?” column recently took up the subject of mopeds. This topic is timely, since people are discovering these small motorcycles now that gas is more than $4/gallon. He also brings up two issues related to non-motorized bicyclists: passing between lanes of stopped traffic and parking on Boston sidewalks. Continue Reading »

Oh, Freedom

This month the trolley tracks in Jamaica Plain were paved over. All gone. It took two days. They had been a hazard and a nuisance, especially for cyclists, causing many injuries. And they had not been used by a trolley since December 1985. That’s 22 and 1/2 years of unnecessary pain. Completely unnecessary, because the plans for trolley “restoration” always called for replacing the existing tracks to provide greater support for the “Light Rail Vehicles” that are now the only kind used on the Green Line (and which are ironically heavier than the old PCC cars previously used in Jamaica Plain). Continue Reading »

Aaron Fine and Rosie Shatz

Crash scene

UPDATE June 27, 2008: Aaron Fine was sentenced to two years, but only two months in prison, followed by a suspended sentence for six years with supervised probation, including these special conditions: mental health counseling, abstaining from driving for four months, 600 hours of community service, and no contact with the Shatz family. Continue Reading »

Bike Week Challenge

The City of Boston is co-sponsoring a “Commuter Challenge” as part of Bay State Bike Week. Well, I have a Bike Week Challenge for the City of Boston. Here are some critical policy changes–and a few fixes–that we desperately need. Will we see them this week? Bike Week 2009? Continue Reading »


Newsflash: In Boston, the filling of potholes “appears to be a totally subjective decision of the supervisors and is unsupported by any records, data bases, or even a planned survey approach.” Continue Reading »

Bikes Belong?

Bikes Belong ad “Remember me?”This morning I cycled past a bus shelter near home and noticed that there was a Bikes Belong ad:

Remember Me? I was the first birthday gift that you asked for and actually got. We’d get away and explore new places, limited only by imagination and sunlight. All the other kids wished they were you: lucky, fast, and free. What do kids wish for now? Continue Reading »

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