Biking in Boston

Highwayguy

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On a side note, I really wish jurisdiction over the bridge was better established, cause there's this one awful expansion joint on the Boston-bound side that is, and has always been, a (literal) pain in the ass to bike over, and I have no idea who to gripe to. :/
As a rule of thumb, (almost) every bridge is state maintained. Also see https://gis.massdot.state.ma.us/StateHighwayLayouts
Not 100% accurate but pretty decent.
Zooming in on Mass Ave, l would assume state jurisdiction actually extends until Back street to include the Storrow overpasses rather than ending at the Southern dry pier, but maybe Boston actually owns two spans, who knows.
 
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JeffDowntown

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As a rule of thumb, (almost) every bridge is state maintained. Also see https://gis.massdot.state.ma.us/StateHighwayLayouts
Not 100% accurate but pretty decent.
Zooming in on Mass Ave, l would assume state jurisdiction actually extends until Back street to include the Storrow overpasses rather than ending at the Southern dry pier, but maybe Boston actually owns two spans, who knows.
"State Maintained" still does not fully answer the jurisdiction question, DCR versus MassDOT, for example.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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"State Maintained" still does not fully answer the jurisdiction question, DCR versus MassDOT, for example.
Harvard Bridge is a DCR structure.


EDIT: The placards for the bridge's 1990 rehab namecheck it as a Metropolitan District Commission joint, and I believe even the manhole covers and decorative streetlight poles all across it are likewise stamped with the early-90's MDC badge. All MDC roadways passed intact to DCR when the new agency was created to replace it.
 
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Arlington

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So the question remains (?) whether restriping the general travel lanes ends up being DCR because of their bike/ped interest, or MassDOT because the asphalt are “DOT lanes?”
 

Highwayguy

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For the joint probably complain to DOT D6. That could be fixed by adding onto a maintenance contract NBD.

Restriping whats there now definitely DOT. Looked through old Earth imagery; resurfacing and striping limits end at the joint next to Back St, so Boston doesn’t own the spans over Storrow as the jurisdiction map suggests.

As for a major lane reconfiguration, that would be its own DOT project with stakeholder outreach including DCR, the T, the City, and a Globe think piece or 5. Likey would coincide with deck resurfacing and be a “big deal”. Probably would only happen if theres push from either up top in DOT/ state GOV or the municipalities.

As for removing the curb to connect the ramp to the NB bike lane, bitch to DOT and DCR just to be safe. Definitely still within DOT’s purview but DCR could push. Curb cuts on bridges are generally avoided at all costs for *reasons* though so good luck. I think it somehow compromises the deck waterproofing? Not a bridge guy so don’t know. Would probably only happen during a resurfacing.
 
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jass

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sneijder

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donkeybutlers

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I think its great we have a public bike-share system in this city, but does Blue Bikes have a public set of principles for expanding and placing stations or any strategy for creating a strong network? I am very confused about some of the places they are not. The biggest one for me is that there should be one of these at every MBTA rapid transit station in the system, and every commuter rail stop in Boston to facilitate last mile trips (which seems to be a stated goal) but there are a lot of holes, and even some stations where the placement complicates travel from certain directions.

Heres a list (I'm a bit stunned how long it is):
Blue line: Bowdoin, Woods island, Suffolk Downs, Beachmont, Wonderland
Green Line: Back of the Hill, River way, Mission park (the whole back of the hill area is a hole in the network), Fenwood Rd, Museum of Fine arts, Northeastern University, Symphony, Prudential, Riverside, Woodland, Waban, Eliot, Chestnut Hill (huge gap here), Reservoir, Beaconsfield, Brookline Hills, Longwood, Fenway, kenmore (on the eastern side), Hynes Convention Center, Englewood Ave, Dean Rd, Washington Sq, Fairbanks St, Brandon Hall, Summit Ave/Winchester, Coolidge Corner, St Paul St, Hawes St, South St, Chestnut Hill Avenue, Southerland St. Washington St. Arlington St, Griggs St, Harvard Ave, (the consolidated Comm ave stations)
Orange line: Downtown Crossing (this one, in a pedestrian area at that, is one of the strangest holes in the whole system to me), Tufts Medical Center (hospital entrance and point of connection to sliver line), Ruggles (on the northeastern side, the station itself is a barrier to bike north/west from the existing station or from that direction to it), Forrest hills (on the Hyde park avenue side), The rest would require expansion into Medford of the whole system (but that should happen too. It would help to better merge the whole northern part of the network)
Red line: DTX, Fields corner (on the northern/western side), Ashmont (on the southern side), Davis (on the College ave side)
Almost the entire Mattapan High Speed Line: Cappen st., Valley Rd., Central Ave (never seems to have been put back from winter), Milton/lower mills, Butler, and Cedar grove
A lot of silver line stations including some important ones: Mass Ave, Worcester Square, East Berkeley, Herald St, Tufts Medical Center, Courthouse, World Trade Center, Silver Line Way, Eastern Ave, Box District, Chelsea (this is also a commuter rail station so this really should be prioritized asap), Northern Ave at Harbor St, Design Center, Drydock Ave at Black Falcon Ave
A few on the Fairmount line: Four corners, both sides of the Blue hill ave station, Fairmount, Readville, and the Talbot Avenue side of that station

Is there a plan to install stations at the new stops along the green line expansion? I haven't seen anything specific on that.

I also feel like if the cities and towns involved really wants to make this bike-share a practical alternative to the car for most people these need to be at every supermarket, every park, and every public facing municipal building (city and town halls, schools, libraries, etc.).

This system has grown a lot but like biking in Boston it still has a long way to go to consistently provide access where it is needed.
 
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Zash

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I think its great we have a public bike-share system in this city, but does Blue Bikes have a public set of principles for expanding and placing stations or any strategy for creating a strong network. I am very confused about some of the places they are not. The biggest one for me is that there should be one of these at every MBTA rapid transit station in the system, and every commuter rail stop in Boston to facilitate last mile trips (which seems to be a stated goal) but there are a lot of holes, and even some stations where the placement complicates travel from certain directions.

Heres a list (I'm a bit stunned how long it is):
Blue line: Bowdoin, Woods island, Suffolk Downs, Beachmont, Wonderland
Green Line: Back of the Hill, River way, Mission park (the whole back of the hill area is a hole in the network), Fenwood Rd, Museum of Fine arts, Northeastern University, Symphony, Prudential, Riverside, Woodland, Waban, Eliot, Chestnut Hill (huge gap here), Reservoir, Beaconsfield, Brookline Hills, Longwood, Fenway, kenmore (on the eastern side), Hynes Convention Center, Englewood Ave, Dean Rd, Washington Sq, Fairbanks St, Brandon Hall, Summit Ave/Winchester, Coolidge Corner, St Paul St, Hawes St, South St, Chestnut Hill Avenue, Southerland St. Washington St. Arlington St, Griggs St, Harvard Ave, (the consolidated Comm ave stations)
Orange line: Downtown Crossing (this one, in a pedestrian area at that, is one of the strangest holes in the whole system to me), Tufts Medical Center (hospital entrance and point of connection to sliver line), Ruggles (on the northeastern side, the station itself is a barrier to bike north/west from the existing station or from that direction to it), Forrest hills (on the Hyde park avenue side), The rest would require expansion into Medford of the whole system (but that should happen too. It would help to better merge the whole northern part of the network)
Red line: DTX, Fields corner (on the northern/western side), Ashmont (on the southern side), Davis (on the College ave side)
Almost the entire Mattapan High Speed Line: Cappen st., Valley Rd., Central Ave (never seems to have been put back from winter), Milton/lower mills, Butler, and Cedar grove
A lot of silver line stations including some important ones: Mass Ave, Worcester Square, East Berkeley, Herald St, Tufts Medical Center, Courthouse, World Trade Center, Silver Line Way, Eastern Ave, Box District, Chelsea (this is also a commuter rail station so this really should be prioritized asap), Northern Ave at Harbor St, Design Center, Drydock Ave at Black Falcon Ave
A few on the Fairmount line: Four corners, both sides of the Blue hill ave station, Fairmount, Readville, and the Talbot Avenue side of that station

Is there a plan to install stations at the new stops along the green line expansion? I haven't seen anything specific on that.

I also feel like if the cities and towns involved really wants to make this bike-share a practical alternative to the car for most people these need to be at every supermarket, every park, and every public facing municipal building (city and town halls, schools, libraries, etc.).

This system has grown a lot but like biking in Boston it still has a long way to go to consistently provide access where it is needed.
FWIW, there should be a station coming relatively close to both the Northeastern GL stop and Ruggles OL stop on Forsyth Street. Equidistant, more or less, between the two.
 

Shepard

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I think its great we have a public bike-share system in this city, but does Blue Bikes have a public set of principles for expanding and placing stations or any strategy for creating a strong network. I am very confused about some of the places they are not. The biggest one for me is that there should be one of these at every MBTA rapid transit station in the system, and every commuter rail stop in Boston to facilitate last mile trips (which seems to be a stated goal) but there are a lot of holes, and even some stations where the placement complicates travel from certain directions.

Heres a list (I'm a bit stunned how long it is):
Blue line: Bowdoin, Woods island, Suffolk Downs, Beachmont, Wonderland
Green Line: Back of the Hill, River way, Mission park (the whole back of the hill area is a hole in the network), Fenwood Rd, Museum of Fine arts, Northeastern University, Symphony, Prudential, Riverside, Woodland, Waban, Eliot, Chestnut Hill (huge gap here), Reservoir, Beaconsfield, Brookline Hills, Longwood, Fenway, kenmore (on the eastern side), Hynes Convention Center, Englewood Ave, Dean Rd, Washington Sq, Fairbanks St, Brandon Hall, Summit Ave/Winchester, Coolidge Corner, St Paul St, Hawes St, South St, Chestnut Hill Avenue, Southerland St. Washington St. Arlington St, Griggs St, Harvard Ave, (the consolidated Comm ave stations)
Orange line: Downtown Crossing (this one, in a pedestrian area at that, is one of the strangest holes in the whole system to me), Tufts Medical Center (hospital entrance and point of connection to sliver line), Ruggles (on the northeastern side, the station itself is a barrier to bike north/west from the existing station or from that direction to it), Forrest hills (on the Hyde park avenue side), The rest would require expansion into Medford of the whole system (but that should happen too. It would help to better merge the whole northern part of the network)
Red line: DTX, Fields corner (on the northern/western side), Ashmont (on the southern side), Davis (on the College ave side)
Almost the entire Mattapan High Speed Line: Cappen st., Valley Rd., Central Ave (never seems to have been put back from winter), Milton/lower mills, Butler, and Cedar grove
A lot of silver line stations including some important ones: Mass Ave, Worcester Square, East Berkeley, Herald St, Tufts Medical Center, Courthouse, World Trade Center, Silver Line Way, Eastern Ave, Box District, Chelsea (this is also a commuter rail station so this really should be prioritized asap), Northern Ave at Harbor St, Design Center, Drydock Ave at Black Falcon Ave
A few on the Fairmount line: Four corners, both sides of the Blue hill ave station, Fairmount, Readville, and the Talbot Avenue side of that station

Is there a plan to install stations at the new stops along the green line expansion? I haven't seen anything specific on that.

I also feel like if the cities and towns involved really wants to make this bike-share a practical alternative to the car for most people these need to be at every supermarket, every park, and every public facing municipal building (city and town halls, schools, libraries, etc.).

This system has grown a lot but like biking in Boston it still has a long way to go to consistently provide access where it is needed.
Great post.

For the suburbs, I think using bikeshare for ALL last mile trips is a bit of a pipe dream, but there's certainly demand for nearby nodes - like Chestnut Hill to/from the shopping centers, or Woodland to/from NWH - just two easy examples. These links should not only be created but also marketed and popularized.
 

Stlin

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Great post.

For the suburbs, I think using bikeshare for ALL last mile trips is a bit of a pipe dream, but there's certainly demand for nearby nodes - like Chestnut Hill to/from the shopping centers, or Woodland to/from NWH - just two easy examples. These links should not only be created but also marketed and popularized.
I think a good middle ground is that, at a minimum, bike parking should be provisioned for and provided at all rail transit stations, ideally the secure bike cage kind.
 
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HelloBostonHi

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I think its great we have a public bike-share system in this city, but does Blue Bikes have a public set of principles for expanding and placing stations or any strategy for creating a strong network? I am very confused about some of the places they are not. The biggest one for me is that there should be one of these at every MBTA rapid transit station in the system, and every commuter rail stop in Boston to facilitate last mile trips (which seems to be a stated goal) but there are a lot of holes, and even some stations where the placement complicates travel from certain directions.
Couple of notes limiting where Bluebikes go. First, it's done by city/municipality. Many of the places you listed aren't in the city of Boston. Up until just last year there were none even in Newton/Revere/Arlington etc. Second, every site needs owner permission and a permitting process. Off street sites are highly preferably because they can be year round, but they often require agreements with partners for access. Stations also require sunshine. In the city of Boston new stations need to be within 0.5 mile of an existing station, ideally closer. Without station density bikeshare is totally useless, need options near start and end of journey, and multiple options for times stations are full or empty.

And lastly, a new station runs about $50,000, outside of Boston proper that kind of money isn't just sitting around in transportation departments. And Boston does have a system for equitable expansion.

2021: https://www.boston.gov/departments/transportation/bike-share-expansion-2020-2021

2019: https://www.boston.gov/transportation/bike-share-expansion-2017-2019

Goals: https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-bikes/building-better-bike-share-system

I think Boston made a great move last year when the BPDA mandated all new permitted developments must include funding for and space for a Bluebikes station though, once we see those projects finishing up then density is going to go up quickly.
 

donkeybutlers

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I know many are not in the city of Boston (although too many are) but every Station listed, except the couple technically in Milton, is in a community that already has Blue bikes so not sure what point you are trying to make with that. Very few of these would be beyond that distance from another station (maybe only the ones in riverside). Obviously there are constraints but this seems more knee jerk than even bothering to actually look at the map of blue bikes stations to see the holes yourself. I called them holes for a reason they are gaps within the existing network right next to existing public transit. The only part of a rapid transit line not in a town that already has Blue bikes is the Orange line in Medford and I did say as such.

That even in that latest expansion you are citing a transit station in the study area is not getting a station shows the problem I am saying to exist is real.

Thank you for sharing the principles. one of them is "Bike share is a natural complement to the MBTA's public transit system. We work with the T to make sure bike share stations are near transit stations. You can easily hop off the train and onto a bike for the next part of your trip." They do not meet this goal as it currently stands with these many stations that do not have nearby access (including many within the city of Boston and in densely populated areas such as comm ave in Brighton which is one of the densest populated sections of the entire city/region)

Heres a list of just those stations in Boston without Blue Bikes (although i do think this is a foolish way to look at the urban area) notice this includes downtown and high density neighborhoods:
Blue line: Bowdoin, Woods island, Suffolk Downs, Beachmont
Green Line: Back of the Hill, River way, Mission park (the whole back of the hill area is a hole in the network), Fenwood Rd, Museum of Fine arts, Northeastern University, Symphony, Prudential, Fenway, kenmore (on the eastern side), Hynes Convention Center, Chestnut Hill Avenue, Southerland St. Washington St. Arlington St, Griggs St, Harvard Ave, (the consolidated Comm ave stations)
Downtown Crossing (this one, in a pedestrian area at that, is one of the strangest holes in the whole system to me), Tufts Medical Center (hospital entrance and point of connection to sliver line), Ruggles (on the northeastern side, the station itself is a barrier to bike north/west from the existing station or from that direction to it), Forrest hills (on the Hyde park avenue side)
Red line: DTX, Fields corner (on the northern/western side), Ashmont (on the southern side)
Mattapan High Speed Line: Cedar grove (other stations could conceivably be placed in Boston despite the station itself not being such as in lower mills or the removed station at Central ave)
Silver line: Mass Ave, Worcester Square, East Berkeley, Herald St, Tufts Medical Center, Courthouse, World Trade Center, Silver Line Way, Northern Ave at Harbor St, Design Center, Drydock Ave at Black Falcon Ave
Fairmount line: Four corners, both sides of the Blue hill ave station, Fairmount, Readville, and the Talbot Avenue side of that station

This is still far too long of a list.
 
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sm89

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While BlueBikes stations can and certainly do complement the MBTA, that is not their primary goal. There are many trips that are now possible without a car because stations are located in the neighborhoods and not only at stations. More stations will always be better and can help bring more trips to public transit, but the primary expansion goal should not be every MBTA station first, at least IMO. I like being able to BlueBike to the supermarket and a connection to the red line would not be helpful for me for that trip for example. As HelloBostonHi was saying, there are also additional criteria used in siting stations that can make it difficult. I think they're done a great job at expanding coverage overall and will in time find funds/sponsors to fill in the gaps.
 

DBM

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Downtown Crossing (this one, in a pedestrian area at that, is one of the strangest holes in the whole system to me),
Not remotely strange. DTX is formally a pedestrian zone (as poorly engineered/enforced as it is). This sign right here points out that bicyclists are forbidden and I'm sure there are several more like it positioned at the other gateways to the ped zone. Encouraging bicyclists in the ped zone, which a station at Wash & Summer would do, would be terrible, reckless policy--over the years I've seen demented and careless bike couriers go flying down Winter/Summer, and nearly clip pedestrians to catastrophic effect.

Anyway--let's consult the Blue Bikes station map, shall we?

A Blue Bikes kiosk at 65 Franklin St.--400 feet from the DTX Orange Line portal at Millennium Tower. Another at Tremont & Hamilton--550 feet from the DTX station portal at Summer & Wash. And another kiosk at Tremont & West--450 feet from the Orange Line DTX entrance on Temple Pl. Really, that trio isn't already convenient enough?!?
 

chmeeee

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Not remotely strange. DTX is formally a pedestrian zone (as poorly engineered/enforced as it is). This sign right here points out that bicyclists are forbidden and I'm sure there are several more like it positioned at the other gateways to the ped zone. Encouraging bicyclists in the ped zone, which a station at Wash & Summer would do, would be terrible, reckless policy--over the years I've seen demented and careless bike couriers go flying down Winter/Summer, and nearly clip pedestrians to catastrophic effect.

Anyway--let's consult the Blue Bikes station map, shall we?

A Blue Bikes kiosk at 65 Franklin St.--400 feet from the DTX Orange Line portal at Millennium Tower. Another at Tremont & Hamilton--550 feet from the DTX station portal at Summer & Wash. And another kiosk at Tremont & West--450 feet from the Orange Line DTX entrance on Temple Pl. Really, that trio isn't already convenient enough?!?
Adding to that, if you're riding the Red or Orange and your goal is to transfer to a bike to a nearby downtown destination, getting off at Park, South Station, State, or Chinatown will put you right at a Blue Bikes station AND not in a pedestrian zone.
 
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