Biking in Boston

vanshnookenraggen

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 

Lrfox

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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.
Agreed. My commute from Somerville to downtown is, thankfully, mostly bike lanes (Lowell St. Somerville - Beacon/Hampshire - Broadway/Main in Kendall - Longellow Bridge - Cambridge St.). The problem is that once you hit Cambridge St. it gets dangerous. Bike Lanes in the center of the city are way too disjointed and mostly go nowhere, forcing riders to endure sizable chunks of the commute in mixed traffic on some of the city's busiest streets.
 

cden4

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Totally agree sm89! Just look at Mass Ave. It started as striped bike lanes, and over time the City upgraded much of it to protected lanes. Same thing with Comm Ave by BU. Simpler improvements generate more bicyclists, which then generate political will to make the facilities even better.
 

HelloBostonHi

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The Bluebikes expansion to new towns has finally been announced! It's been quietly mentioned in various documents since January but now it's official: https://www.bluebikes.com/blog/2020-expansion

Revere is the unexpected add on to this news, Chelsea, Newton, Arlington and Watertown had all already quietly announced this was in the works.
 

JeffDowntown

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So Boston cyclists need a bit of help reading signs.

I noticed today that the temporary Cyclovia is set up around the Boston Public Garden. (Not exactly the most attractive streetscape with all the orange barrels!).

I saw 3 cyclists using the Cyclovia -- all were riding in the wrong direction. (It is a one way loop.) Two then proceeded to exit the Cyclovia to ride on the sidewalk along Boylston Street.

You know the City is going to stop trying to give cyclists nice things if they cannot obey basic rules.
 

Bananarama

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So Boston cyclists need a bit of help reading signs.

I noticed today that the temporary Cyclovia is set up around the Boston Public Garden. (Not exactly the most attractive streetscape with all the orange barrels!).

I saw 3 cyclists using the Cyclovia -- all were riding in the wrong direction. (It is a one way loop.) Two then proceeded to exit the Cyclovia to ride on the sidewalk along Boylston Street.

You know the City is going to stop trying to give cyclists nice things if they cannot obey basic rules.
Oh hi, yeah I've definitely done this a couple times since it opened.
Two things:

1- it's not very clear who the signs are aimed it, cars or bikes? Is there a variant of the sign for bikes? I assumed it was a sign for cars so they didn't try to enter the lane or park in there. I passed one other biker last weekend and haven't ridden during any commuter time though, so maybe it's more clear then.
2- it should be a two-way lane dammit. It's plenty wide for it at least along the Common (they took away an entire car lane, they can fit two bike lanes in there). Tremont being one-way in general has always been an annoyance for getting downtown too.

Also side note, Arlington St is an absolute mess, especially along the east side where they put up a lane. Biking in it will wreck your wheels if you're not careful, and riding in the car lane is usually safer imo
 

JeffDowntown

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The signs on the Charles Street section looked pretty clear to me. They were blue (not a normal traffic sign), had a bicycle on them and said one way with an arrow.

But you are correct that the right of way carved out is plenty wide for two-way traffic, if lined out appropriately.
 

Bananarama

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The signs on the Charles Street section looked pretty clear to me. They were blue (not a normal traffic sign), had a bicycle on them and said one way with an arrow.

But you are correct that the right of way carved out is plenty wide for two-way traffic, if lined out appropriately.
Ah, gotcha. I only saw the normal "Do Not Enter" signs along Tremont, but maybe the blue ones were facing the other way 😬...
 

HelloBostonHi

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Pop-up lanes in downtown will become permanent before winter, Active Transport team clearly working to try and capitalize on the fact they are already there and get them in before cones have to be removed for winter. I think a lot of people were concerned if the cones got taken away at winter it would be an uphill battle to ever get them back. This thread also has a bunch of other status updates in it but it's not well organized.

 

ra84970

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Ah, gotcha. I only saw the normal "Do Not Enter" signs along Tremont, but maybe the blue ones were facing the other way 😬...
Had a day off recently and no where particularly to be so I rode the new pop-up lanes downtown and given that there's really not much else other than barrels and tall cones, i was surprised at how comfortable they were. I saw a few nit-picky details to be worked out but overall from a network perspective, they got me all around downtown in a really great, comfortable way. I also think when they go permanent, they're going to be used two-way, the downtown street network is not set-up to have good-enough direct routings otherwise, so I hope they design them as such in the permanent config.
 

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I do think that tree preservation should be a higher priority in streetscape projects: I want to reduce the amount of asphalt not the amount of trees.

I have tried to understand the issues can somebody summarize: How did we end up here on melnea Cass?
 

JeffDowntown

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Boston drivers really need a lesson in the meaning of street striping and markings....

Tremont Street in the Theater district has been repaved and restriped to include a parking protected bike lane along the right hand curb, parking in the former right hand travel lane and then two through lanes of traffic.

Today the bike lane was completely filled with parked cars. Plus two enterprising souls had parked in the new parking lane, probably blocking in a couple curb parked vehicles. It was comical, but really sad.
 

jbray

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I do think that tree preservation should be a higher priority in streetscape projects: I want to reduce the amount of asphalt not the amount of trees.

I have tried to understand the issues can somebody summarize: How did we end up here on melnea Cass?
-City gets federal money to upgrade Melnea Cass to a quasi-highway
-Opposition rejects the proposal
-City, not wanting to lose 25 million comes back with a plan to rebuild MC with protected bike lanes, cycle tracks around bus stops, raised pedestrian and bike crossings, tidal flooding infrastructure, and the removal of 124 trees (including 25 labelled as "dead") to be replaced by 205 trees.
-Conservation law foundation comes in and says the tree wardens of the city are required to have held a hearing especially as this is a social justice neighborhood and that mature trees are more environmentally sound than saplings/will the new trees actually be maintained to full maturity/rising temperatures and loss of canopy.
 

cden4

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The City of Boston has completely botched this project, and now they just don't want to admit that they don't actually need $25M of Federal funding anymore. They've spent 10 years paying consultants to come up with plans that most people don't like.
 

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