Biking in Boston

George_Apley

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Glad to see that. I was worried that the autobody shop and scrap yard were wielding a business veto over it.
 

kjdonovan

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I think this is more COVID muscle-flexing. Cities not wasting a crisis and pulling off the band-aid in areas where they were too timid to do serious work before.
 

Stlin

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So a question, as someone who doesn't usually ride a bike into the city during the winter. I'm given to understand that protected bike lanes, flexpost or otherwise, require smaller equipment. Given the pop up proliferation of bike lanes during covid in Cambridge and Boston, can the existing snow clearing equipment manage it all?
 

Arlington

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If even Medford has a narrow "bobcat" machine with a snow thrower attachment (named Luke Sidewalker) I have to believe Cambridge and Boston do. The DCR also has one that they use to clear even gravel jogging paths
 

HenryAlan

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Boston has bike lane snow removal equipment, but I think the question is whether it needs more, now that there are more lanes. I suspect they'll manage, though perhaps with more delay.
 

#bancars

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Boston has bike lane snow removal equipment, but I think the question is whether it needs more, now that there are more lanes. I suspect they'll manage, though perhaps with more delay.
I think it's a fair question. But also with climate change Boston will continue to see milder winters with less snow. Of course with occasional outlier years and storms as always. (Looking at you, winter of 2014-2015.)

Boston only averages ~43 inches of snow a year, and much of that is concentrated in January / February with a few big Noreasters. 90% of the year there is never really that much snow so as to impede one's ability to ride in a PBL.
 

JeffDowntown

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Can we now please teach the cyclists how to read the directional arrows? So faw most of the usage I've seen has been riders going the wrong way in one-way bike lanes. I guess going around the block is "too hard".
 

jass

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Can we now please teach the cyclists how to read the directional arrows? So faw most of the usage I've seen has been riders going the wrong way in one-way bike lanes. I guess going around the block is "too hard".
With the amount of width they have available, theres no reason it shouldnt be two ways.

And yes going around "the block" is much harder in a bicycle than in a car.
 

HelloBostonHi

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Can we now please teach the cyclists how to read the directional arrows? So faw most of the usage I've seen has been riders going the wrong way in one-way bike lanes. I guess going around the block is "too hard".
In nice wide protected lanes like these I'm really not too concerned about people going contraflow. Some of the lanes are also clearly designed for a future two way configuration, specifically Charles St through the Common is very clearly set up so that if and when the city implements the planned bike facility on Charles St through Beacon Hill it can connect there. And some of it I suspect is just people not quite figuring out how it's supposed to work yet. Like this week I saw people still riding on the sidewalk and taking the crosswalk right next to the giant two way path on Boylston. I think it takes some time for people to get used to it all. Some wayfinding signage at Boylston/Charles wouldn't hurt either, I'm not surprised people are having trouble understanding how to get in the contraflow lane there.
 

ra84970

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Can we now please teach the cyclists how to read the directional arrows? So faw most of the usage I've seen has been riders going the wrong way in one-way bike lanes. I guess going around the block is "too hard".
Have you seen the motorists? :p I've seen much more dangerous things with wrong-way motoring than I have particularly dangerous contra-flow cycling.
 

Bananarama

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That route map illustrates the main problem with the setup as is (to preface, it's MUCH better to have these lanes and some is better than none) and can probably explain some of the contraflow.
The route to the Garden from the Greenway/Long wharf is a clear and along other one way roads. But the loop is broken for getting back or simply going inbound past the Common. Washington turns into downtown crossing, a sort of ambiguous bike route (I'm still not sure what the biking rules are there) and then Court/State is one way in the wrong direction you'd want to be going...

See this scribble for a couple ideas. Yellow circle is the "broken" route area:
bike.JPG


I could imagine clarifying the bike route through DTX and then making State a 2-way cycling road - in green. Orrr put a protected lane down Essex and hook into the existing one along Atlantic - in pink. I sort of have "tourist-friendly" routing in mind here (Freedom trail loop for bikes?) but also just general connection logic. All these one-way streets really screw with reasonable wayfinding in this city. Would prefer if Tremont, Washington, and State were just two-way to begin with. There isn't a normal grid to make it work like it should.
 

dshoost88

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That route map illustrates the main problem with the setup as is (to preface, it's MUCH better to have these lanes and some is better than none) and can probably explain some of the contraflow.
The route to the Garden from the Greenway/Long wharf is a clear and along other one way roads. But the loop is broken for getting back or simply going inbound past the Common. Washington turns into downtown crossing, a sort of ambiguous bike route (I'm still not sure what the biking rules are there) and then Court/State is one way in the wrong direction you'd want to be going...

See this scribble for a couple ideas. Yellow circle is the "broken" route area:
View attachment 8511

I could imagine clarifying the bike route through DTX and then making State a 2-way cycling road - in green. Orrr put a protected lane down Essex and hook into the existing one along Atlantic - in pink. I sort of have "tourist-friendly" routing in mind here (Freedom trail loop for bikes?) but also just general connection logic. All these one-way streets really screw with reasonable wayfinding in this city. Would prefer if Tremont, Washington, and State were just two-way to begin with. There isn't a normal grid to make it work like it should.
I think your green scheme is underestimating the utility of Milk Street for cyclists. I've needed to Blue Bike from basically the Park Plaza to Long Wharf to catch a ferry on well over a dozen occasions the last 2 years, and I've effortlessly cycled A) through from Stuart/Kneeland to Washington Street through DTX, turning right on Milk Street to its ending at Long Wharf, or B) cycled east on Boylston/Essex along the 'bus only lane' to where it ends by South Station, and then head north (basically your purple line). The toughest spot is where Essex intersects with Lincoln St., JFF Surface Road, and the I-93 entrance ramps. If there was any place I'd break script and support a downtown, elevated bike/pedestrian overpass for safety/congestion mitigation concerns, it's there.
 

Vagabond

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That route map illustrates the main problem with the setup as is (to preface, it's MUCH better to have these lanes and some is better than none) and can probably explain some of the contraflow.
The route to the Garden from the Greenway/Long wharf is a clear and along other one way roads. But the loop is broken for getting back or simply going inbound past the Common. Washington turns into downtown crossing, a sort of ambiguous bike route (I'm still not sure what the biking rules are there) and then Court/State is one way in the wrong direction you'd want to be going...
Took a ride this weekend to check it out, and had a similar discombobulated experience.

1. Charles Street is slow enough for recreational biking, but is a prime candidate for losing one of its 3driving+2parking lanes to get a full 2-way bike lane. The sidewalks have always been too small here to begin with for the levels of pedestrian traffic.
1606141009112.png

2. The 1-way bike lanes at the Common are well marked and separated, but there's no evident reason to not have a full 2-way route. Plenty wide and there were LOTS of bluebikes out there riding contraflow on the sidewalk.

3. Leaving the Commons it falls apart. At Boylston and Tremont, the bike lane is on the left side of the road, then you lose markings on Essex(?) until the bus+bike lane shows up on the right 2 lanes over. When you get to Chinatown, there is no marking for a few blocks, then all of a sudden there are bike sharrows in all 3 lanes but no clear signage for where any of them go.
1606140120536.png


4. Essex@Lincoln. Don't screw this up. If you want to go left to the Greenway, you're going to end up in the 93 tunnel. Presently, the safest path is to go straight to South station, and navigate around some busses and traffic to get onto Atlantic. That's terrible. It would be better to sneak in a separated path next to the 93 tunnel to get bikers out of the way and up to Atlantic.
https://goo.gl/maps/2td4zinmSGfPB3mX8
1606140826315.png


My loop finished around the 2-way path along the North End, which is great for tourists but clearly doesn't really get you to any business districts until along the Causeway center lane. Next summer in a Covid-free world (!!), with a few changes the full loop could be filled with new riders.
 
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JeffDowntown

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Took a ride this weekend to check it out, and had a similar discombobulated experience.

1. Charles Street is slow enough for recreational biking, but is a prime candidate for losing one of its 3driving+2parking lanes to get a full 2-way bike lane. The sidewalks have always been too small here to begin with for the levels of pedestrian traffic.
View attachment 8530
2. The bike lanes at the common are well marked and separated, but there's no evident reason to not have a full 2-way route. Plenty wide and there were LOTS of bluebikes out there riding contraflow on the sidewalk.

3. Leaving the Common it falls apart. At Boylston and Tremont, the bike lane on the left side of the road, then you lose markings on Essex(?) until the bus+bike lane shows up on the right 2 lanes over. When you get to Chinatown, there is no marking for a few blocks, then all of a sudden there are bike sharrows in all 3 lanes but no clear signage for where any of them go.View attachment 8528

4. Essex@Lincoln. Don't screw this up. If you want to go to the Greenway, you're going to end up in the 93 tunnel. Presently, the safest path is to go straight to south station, and navigate around some busses and traffic to get onto Atlantic. That's terrible. It would be better to sneak in a separated path next to the 93 tunnel to get bikers out of the way and up to Atlantic.
https://goo.gl/maps/2td4zinmSGfPB3mX8
View attachment 8529

My loop finished around the North End, which is get for tourists but clearly doesn't really get you to any business districts. Next summer in a Covid-free world (!!), with a few changes loop could be filled with new riders.
Great review. Very much a work in progress.
 

ra84970

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I think your green scheme is underestimating the utility of Milk Street for cyclists. I've needed to Blue Bike from basically the Park Plaza to Long Wharf to catch a ferry on well over a dozen occasions the last 2 years, and I've effortlessly cycled A) through from Stuart/Kneeland to Washington Street through DTX, turning right on Milk Street to its ending at Long Wharf, or B) cycled east on Boylston/Essex along the 'bus only lane' to where it ends by South Station, and then head north (basically your purple line). The toughest spot is where Essex intersects with Lincoln St., JFF Surface Road, and the I-93 entrance ramps. If there was any place I'd break script and support a downtown, elevated bike/pedestrian overpass for safety/congestion mitigation concerns, it's there.
+1 to Milk Street - esp. when construction isn't there it's maybe a +2. I like coasting downhill from Washington Street down toward Post Office Square.
 

Bananarama

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These are good points. I hadn't considered Milk St very crucial, but that seems like a perfect connector.
And totally agree about the Essex + Lincoln intersection. Too many lanes and spread out markings. Needs a lane to continue across. An elevated crossing sounds ambitious, but I'm all for it.
 

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