Biking in Boston

HenryAlan

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The Arborway project has released three alternatives, along with a new interactive comment space. All three include grade-separate bike paths, and some of them rework or even eliminate the two rotaries. My preference is Alt-C, which does the most to restore the recreational nature of the Parkway and best serves to enhance safety. Of particular note, that alternative and only that alternative, completes the connection to Forest Hills (and thus Franklin Park), making for an uninterrupted off street bike route from Fenway area to Franklin Park. With the new protected lanes coming to American Legion, Cummins Hwy, and ultimately Blue Hill Ave., it would be criminal not to complete that final segment in the Emerald Necklace paths.

Link to interactive comments and map

Screen shots from Alt-C:

Alt-C Kelley Circle
altc.1.PNG


Alt-C Murray Circle
altc.2.PNG
 

cden4

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DCR wants your comments! Please note that they intend to mix and match components from all 3 options. Don't think of them as 3 distinct alternatives. Tell them what pieces you like from all 3!!!

I'm torn about circles vs no circles. I like circles (roundabouts) in general for a few reasons:
- Drivers always have to slow down. No speeding through straight ahead on a green light. This is especially beneficial during off-peak times.
- They are much safer. Crashes are at slow speeds and vehicles are always going the same direction.
- They require fewer lanes at intersections.
- They are very efficient. You don't have dead time like you do with traffic signals where you're waiting for no reason.
- Pedestrians and bicyclists crossing ALWAYS have the right of way. No waiting.

Downsides:
- Two-lane roundabouts are tricky for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross. This can be mitigated though by putting splitter islands between each lane at the crossings.
- Crossing relies on drivers to yield. There are no protected phases for pedestrians and bicyclists. (This is a tradeoff for less delay.)
 
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jass

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- Drivers always have to slow down. No speeding through straight ahead on a green light. This is especially beneficial during off-peak times.
- They are much safer. Crashes are at slow speeds and vehicles are always going the same direction.
In theory.

Most US designed roundabouts have straight exits for vehicles, meaning they accelerate into the crosswalks.
 

C-Town_Jeff

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PXL_20201026_132349925.jpg


They added the hatching to separate the bike lane. This has helped to the extent that cars form only one line, but as soon as they have gone around the corner far enough to see 2 lanes ahead on Cambridge Street they quickly go back to forming two lanes even though this means they are cutting through the new green paint at the bike turn lane.
 

DAVE

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- Pedestrians and bicyclists crossing ALWAYS have the right of way. No waiting.
I wouldn't say no waiting...especially at this location. Drivers in roundabouts often feel weary of stopping, even to let pedestrians go, so for pedestrians I think roundabouts tend to be worse at this size. You end up having to force yourself into the street to force a car to stop.

As far as the emerald necklace, this probably feels like the scariest part to connect to go from one part to the next. I did it recently on a bike for the first time and it was not easy so I'm glad they are rethinking the roundabout.
 

jass

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Get the jackhammers out and plant some trees in that massive hatched area
 

Codman89

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I have yet to understand the logic behind why they removed a quite nice planted median to draw on a giant yellow hatched area... It looked quite nice:

They extended the sidewalks on both sides of Court Street (left and right in your link), and the probably needed to demo everything that was in the median to do so. While the new painted area is roughly the same shape, it's much smaller in size. I agree that it would be great to not have a giant, unused expanse of asphalt though. My guesses as to why:
  • Any type of raised median would likely encourage pedestrians to cross there. Especially given that's where the crosswalks used to be - old habits die hard. Also the signal timing is quite bad for pedestrians and the new crosswalks don't necessarily correlate with pedestrian desire lines. Basically there's plenty of reason for pedestrians to want to cross there, and a raised area would make that more likely to happen.
  • While reconstruction certainly did some good (wider sidewalks, actually accessible crosswalks), it's definitely still not great. Much easier to continue to evolve the design (like with this restriping) if you're only dealing with asphalt.
Totally agree that there's many ways to make the intersection more appealing, but at least they seem to be utilizing some of the flexibility built into the current design?
 

real_EthanHunt

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all correct in the above post. The idea (right or wrong) was to shorten the crossings (through the wider sidewalks) and have 1 stage pedestrian crossings (the previous signal timings was 2 stages to get across, legally). Putting a raised median back in would encourage peds to jaywalk and cross in 2 stages. Of course, this being Boston, people still use the pavement marking gore as their 'protection' and do this anyway.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Wash

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The Watertown Branch Rail trail will be really nice once it's paved. Right now it's a mudhole, but the bones are there.
 

BentFryingPan

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When it opens it's going to be a really nice alternative to the Charles River path, especially to get to all the other paths that converge at Alewife. I would say that the Watertown Branch already has fairly heavy use on the first segment, even in spite of the lack of connectivity (for bikes especially).

I hope as Watertown increases in bike infrastructure in the coming years, particularly on Mount Auburn Street / Main Streets, biking will be far more attractive as a way to get around.
 

jass

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all correct in the above post. The idea (right or wrong) was to shorten the crossings (through the wider sidewalks) and have 1 stage pedestrian crossings (the previous signal timings was 2 stages to get across, legally). Putting a raised median back in would encourage peds to jaywalk and cross in 2 stages. Of course, this being Boston, people still use the pavement marking gore as their 'protection' and do this anyway.
Heavens forbid we think about pedestrian LOS
 

HelloBostonHi

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Heavens forbid we think about pedestrian LOS
Nothing like increasing cycle lengths and pedestrian delay in one go...

On the thread topic though, I was out at the intersection we're discussing at Govt Center and they've retuned the signals with a new plan that actually does a pretty good job of reducing delay significantly. By reducing the lanes on Court St they've made it so the through lanes on Cambridge can run at the same time as the turns on Court St, which is one entire less phase in the cycle, it's now just all vehicle movements, then all pedestrian movements. That should reduce delay significantly for crossing Cambridge St on foot (and in the grand scheme of things is actually good for all users including vehicle delay)
 

HelloBostonHi

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If you do live near downtown and ride a bike I would recommend checking out the new lanes around the Common and the garden. I've been down there a few times this week and they're great. Flexposts are in and the markings are near complete. Still a few more bits to finish but it's night and day compared to a few weeks ago when there were lines everywhere and cars everywhere.
 

HenryAlan

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If you do live near downtown and ride a bike I would recommend checking out the new lanes around the Common and the garden. I've been down there a few times this week and they're great. Flexposts are in and the markings are near complete. Still a few more bits to finish but it's night and day compared to a few weeks ago when there were lines everywhere and cars everywhere.
I took advantage of the nice morning to leave early and detour through the new downtown protected lanes. Overall, very nice, just a couple of things that need adjustment.
  • First, and hopefully right away, they need to move the Blue Bikes kiosk on Beacon St. Based on pavement markings, there is space set aside for it, but right now, it's blocking the natural bike lane.
  • The bi-directional section on Boylston between Tremont and Charles is fantastic. They should consider also doing this on Charles St. where it is just as wide, and perhaps even on Beacon St.
  • It would be nice for the lane to continue on Arlington St., for a block or two, rather than abruptly dumping people in to traffic.
  • State St. itself is not complete, but the transition from Court to Cambridge/Tremont is very well designed.
  • The gap in Columbus between Dartmouth and Stuart needs to be completed, but it looked like they are about to start on that (orange cone separation from Berkeley St., still need something between there and Dartmouth.
Overall, it gets a big thumbs up. And I'm also very excited to see similar work happening further out. Both the Cummins and American Legion projects are turning out quite well, but they point out how desperately in need Blue Hill Ave. is for something better.
 

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