Biking in Boston

kjdonovan

Active Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2006
Messages
496
Reaction score
46
With the Northern Strand trail progressing and recent upgrades to the River's Edge area paths and the Revere Beach Pkwy bridges, the last remaining section of the "Wellington Greenway" is the stretch along the T parking lot. I can find nothing official saying this is funded but old news reports say it was scheduled to be completed last year. Hasn't even begun yet.
1a_5.jpg
 

BuilditDenser

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
133
Reaction score
6
A couple of days ago, there was a virtual open house for making Tremont street safer in the South End. Projects limits are roughly from Mass ave to where it meets 90 - so this is a good sized project that stretches the length of the South End

A couple of links: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/aeef112aceeb493597fb442f1dafdf8b - virtual open house presentation. Super clean layout, I really like the format

See here for the 75% design: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wYth1dsFsUMrB9evl6xFn2MKSKK2n1vs/view

Highlights - protected bike lanes for the street protected by low profile concrete barriers. Narrows travel lanes from 2 to 1. Consolidation of rt 43 bus stops, floating bus stops similar to Ft Point or Comm ave. Raised sidewalks
 
Last edited:

BuilditDenser

Active Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Messages
133
Reaction score
6
^ The Tremont Street design improvements seem really thoughtful!

While the Tremont improvements seem to be well thought out, I wish that the improvements for COVID created a more fluid connection than what's pictured on the map. How hard could it be to route it over Tremont instead of Shawmut?

 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
765
Reaction score
567
While the Tremont improvements seem to be well thought out, I wish that the improvements for COVID created a more fluid connection than what's pictured on the map. How hard could it be to route it over Tremont instead of Shawmut?

Once you get over the pike Tremont really doesn't connect anywhere useful, it becomes a lot of one way roads and badly designed intersections. And then Shawmut basically becomes Tremont at a certain point.
 

George_Apley

Not a Brahmin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,632
Reaction score
1,025
While the Tremont improvements seem to be well thought out, I wish that the improvements for COVID created a more fluid connection than what's pictured on the map. How hard could it be to route it over Tremont instead of Shawmut?

Shawmut is a much quieter street than Tremont in general and it's only a block parallel in the South End. It makes sense for it to be a cycling corridor where folks can easily divert to Tremont or Washington as needed.
 

sm89

Active Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
929
Reaction score
47
Once you get over the pike Tremont really doesn't connect anywhere useful, it becomes a lot of one way roads and badly designed intersections. And then Shawmut basically becomes Tremont at a certain point.
Tremont St is being redone later year. Adding protected bike lanes and going from 4 lanes to 2 (1 lane each direction). The final plans and open house are available here:
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,108
Reaction score
268
Shawmut is a much quieter street than Tremont in general and it's only a block parallel in the South End. It makes sense for it to be a cycling corridor where folks can easily divert to Tremont or Washington as needed.
Shawmut does not have the bus traffic, and does not have the pedestrian crossing incentives for the rework. If you read the study, the bike portion is only part of the motivation. If you want this to happen, it needs to happen on Tremont, where multiple constituencies benefit. It is not just about the bike route. That's how politics work.
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
765
Reaction score
567
Tremont St is being redone later year. Adding protected bike lanes and going from 4 lanes to 2 (1 lane each direction). The final plans and open house are available here:
Yes I'm well aware of that project, I was talking about Tremont St North of the Pike.
 

mass88

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
2,032
Reaction score
25
In general, how would people who ride bikes in the city rate the upgrades, additions and overall bike infrastructure the city has done over the last decade?
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
765
Reaction score
567
In general, how would people who ride bikes in the city rate the upgrades, additions and overall bike infrastructure the city has done over the last decade?
I'm impressed, but I just happen to ride in areas that have seen some great improvements. Columbus Ave from Ruggles to Mass Ave was a night and day improvement, the bike lanes on Kneeland and now Stuart St in Chinatown have changed my entire commute, Longfellow bridge is great, as is the North End path, but I only really go on those for leisure. Mass Ave has seen some great changes over the past few years and with more hopefully to come this fall, If we can work on the connectivity between all these great sections then I think Boston will have some best in nation bike infrastructure. Does that live up to worldwide examples? No absolutely not but for America I think we're doing pretty damn well.
 

kjdonovan

Active Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2006
Messages
496
Reaction score
46
In general, how would people who ride bikes in the city rate the upgrades, additions and overall bike infrastructure the city has done over the last decade?
C+. We went from nearly nothing a decade ago to a grab bag of options, most minor, with a few fundamental improvements (Cycletrack around North End/Downtown, protected lanes on the bridges). If you compare what NYC has done or, if you're getting really crazy, a place like Montreal, we are still kowtowing to parking needs over bike infrastructure. And there's little appetite for partnering with Camberville/Brookline on a common and funded strategy.
We should not be doing cartwheels every time they repaint existing streets to squeeze in bikelanes.

A B+ would have been to create dedicated off-street cycle tracks for the top XX east-west and north-south routes throughout the city (Blue Hills, Comm Ave, Tremont, Boylston, Broadway, etc.) ensuring you have a safe ride with a uniform amenity.
 

Vagabond

Active Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
191
Reaction score
302
A decade is tough, especially with the 2014 change in leadership. I can say that those who had not been downtown for a few years do not recognize it- I hear it all the time from those visiting the city.

It is obvious that Boston has been taking advantage of the shutdown to sneak biking improvements in before traffic returns, and therefore will not shock the system with changes. The success of outdoor restaurants taking away parking and creating road diets also is making the roads a bit safer.

Looking at biking from a more historic perspective, the bike share story is a very positive one. People are getting used to riding bikes, and drivers are getting used to sharing roads with them.
 

Bananarama

New member
Joined
Mar 18, 2020
Messages
89
Reaction score
107
When are the damn Melnea Cass bike lanes coming? Hands down one of the worst roads to bike on in the city, and it's the last leg of my commute. The sidewalk isn't even viable for most of the way because of how it's degraded by roots, potholes, and haphazard utility access points (the S Bay Harbor trail is honestly a joke).

The improvements and lanes downtown are nice, but aren't a drastic improvement over just riding in the road since the surfaces are usually better and traffic more amicable (relatively speaking).
 

#bancars

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
159
Reaction score
218
In general, how would people who ride bikes in the city rate the upgrades, additions and overall bike infrastructure the city has done over the last decade?
In addition to what others have said, I have personally benefited from the new Comm Ave protected cycletracks, as well as to a lesser extent the Brighton Ave bus/bike lane.

I will also note that Brookline has slowly been improving and has a very forward-looking transportation department that has implemented some good, if modest, improvements, especially at some intersections and connection points.

However, neither Boston nor Brookline are as comfortable to cycle in as Cambridge/Somerville -- yet.

The biggest issues throughout the inner core of Boston and surrounding municipalities are connectivity and continuous safe, protected cycle infrastructure (whether off or on-street). Most people aren't going to try biking if they don't feel relatively safe for 100% of their journey. It doesn't matter if 90% of the commute is on the Charles River PDW bike path; if the last 10% of the commute requires one to navigate a 4-lane, high-speed stroad or huge intersections with no protection, most people are not going to bike.
 

vanshnookenraggen

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
6,532
Reaction score
364
When are the damn Melnea Cass bike lanes coming? Hands down one of the worst roads to bike on in the city, and it's the last leg of my commute. The sidewalk isn't even viable for most of the way because of how it's degraded by roots, potholes, and haphazard utility access points (the S Bay Harbor trail is honestly a joke).
MCB might have my vote for the worst road in Boston. It isn't just about road top quality: it's a scar on the landscape that was never fixed so all the development around it is disjointed. It cuts Roxbury off from the South End just as the Inner Belt would have. It had potential to be the exact opposite but the city never even thought about rezoning around it. Instead we have a suburban drosscape but now with slightly taller buildings.
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
765
Reaction score
567
When are the damn Melnea Cass bike lanes coming? Hands down one of the worst roads to bike on in the city, and it's the last leg of my commute. The sidewalk isn't even viable for most of the way because of how it's degraded by roots, potholes, and haphazard utility access points (the S Bay Harbor trail is honestly a joke).

The improvements and lanes downtown are nice, but aren't a drastic improvement over just riding in the road since the surfaces are usually better and traffic more amicable (relatively speaking).
Melnea Cass had already been through bidding and had a contract awarded and the last presentation to the public said construction was going to begin in Summer 2020, which is.. now.. so hopefully very soon. Very long construction period though, 5 years to completion.
 

cden4

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2007
Messages
1,131
Reaction score
58
In general, new bike lanes have been way too slow to be rolled out, and in a very disconnected way. There still is not a connected network. (Even the protected lanes around the North End and North Station don't connect to anything, not even the bridges.) Still way too many places where you go from protected bike lane to sharrow (shared travel lane) with heavy traffic. The average person who is not comfortable sharing a busy city street with traffic will never bike there. We have a lot more work to do, and it needs to be faster.
 

sm89

Active Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2014
Messages
929
Reaction score
47
In general, how would people who ride bikes in the city rate the upgrades, additions and overall bike infrastructure the city has done over the last decade?
So much progress has been made! We are approaching 10% mode share in a lot of areas and therefore are starting to experience calls for much more progress than ever before. As shown below, we always have the "Strong & Fearless" people on the road. They're the types that take the lane on McGrath Highway; the vehicular cyclists. The "Enthused & Confident" (what I consider myself) don't mind taking the lane on smaller streets, mixing with traffic for turns, and are perfectly fine with standard bike lanes in the interim. Now that we are building more protected lanes and off street paths, we are breaking into the "Interested but Concerned" group. This is a place we want to be, but it also demands a lot more attention (and construction). This has been somewhat of a mixed bag for designers and city officials. There is an ability and appetite to build both types of facilities, but the groups are starting to advocate against each other. For example, standard bike lanes are still great if they can fit and be implemented quickly with no traffic or parking issues, but the "concerned" folks become outraged that there is no physical protection from traffic. On the flip side, the confident cyclists are impatient with the time it takes to perform outreach and construct physically separated lanes, instead hindering the roll out of smaller projects like contra-flow lanes, shared lane networks for wayfinding, etc. It's honestly sending elected officials very mixed signals. In the long run though, I do think the "concerned" riders should continue to ask for more, but need to realize that there are interim measures that don't diminish the long term goal of "all ages and abilities" networks that cities are looking for. In the past there was this idea that "well if they build a bike lane they'll just move on to the next project". As if a protected facility is now off the table. That's not how planning works! If I had one suggestion to help bring both sides together, it would be "ask cities what they're willing to do now in the interim while they're planning for the longer term projects" (example Western Ave Cambridge).

If you read the twitter comments about the Summer St contra-flow lane in Boston linked above, people are upset that there is a truck in the lane and that it's not protected, etc, but forget that IT IS NOW LEGAL to ride in the other direction, regardless of whether you have to avoid an illegally parked truck. This is a great example of an incremental improvement that while not all ages and abilities, will be beneficial to literally hundreds of people on bikes.
 

Top