Biking in Boston

as02143

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
165
Reaction score
203
Not technically "Boston" but this has always functioned more as a Biking in Zone 1A / Biking in Blue Bike cities:
Is "Zone 1A" the new name for the "Inner Core" that MAPC uses? I kind of like that because, London is like this too -- they talk about being within Zone 2 as the central area of Greater London.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,484
Reaction score
2,346
Transit Fare Zone 1A is a mapped thing, Here I am using it as basically Boston’s urbanized metropolitan core, even though its come to include Cambridge Somerville and some or all of the next ring of cities/towns…

or “where the streetcars ran” or “where the buses are useful” or “where Commuter Rail fare is same as Subway” or where Blue Bikes are offered or “where you can bike or walk for errands”

Fuzzy equivalence, but roughly true.
 

as02143

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
165
Reaction score
203
Transit Fare Zone 1A is basically Boston’s urbanized core; or “where the streetcars ran” or “where the buses are useful” or “where Commuter Rail fare is same as Subway” or where Blue Bikes are offered or “where you can bike or walk for errands”

Fuzzy equivalence, but roughly true.
There's bits of Zone 1 that actually are almost that too, kind of a bit less intense in activity than 1A stations: like far southwest Boston, Belmont, West Medford, Malden/Oak Grove. And of course, Lynn as a Zone 2 station is kind of like the other Zone 1 stations.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,484
Reaction score
2,346
So although we have both an “in Boston” and “in the burbs” biking threads, choosing which is relevant for biking in, say, Winthrop or Watertown has never been clear but never been controversial either. It’s a matter of what the poster sees in their heart.
 

HenryAlan

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
3,127
Reaction score
1,904
Transit Fare Zone 1A is a mapped thing, Here I am using it as basically Boston’s urbanized metropolitan core, even though its come to include Cambridge Somerville and some or all of the next ring of cities/towns…
And ironically, it doesn't even include all of Boston. I can think of at least 6 train stations within city limits that are Zone 1.
 

Delvin4519

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
107
Reaction score
277
And ironically, it doesn't even include all of Boston. I can think of at least 6 train stations within city limits that are Zone 1.
I think the better indicator than Zone 1A is the density of bus routes, and connectivity/continuity of urban development of the inner core. Or essentially neighborhoods covered by the old BERy streetcar network. Categorizing busable arterials into a map, the "inner core Boston area" is easier to see and mark as a rough circle of inner core development.

Zone 1A excludes much of southwestern Boston, although the Arboretum/Forest Hills parks kind of isolate West Roxbury/Roslindale from the rest of the city, focusing into a narrow corridor to connect the neighborhoods. The Commuter Rail zones don't really do a good job of describing distance/connectivity to Boston. IMO, the density of bus routes is the best indicator of whether it's "inner core Boston" (most of them are BERy routes). (i.e. a neighborhood's bus route isn't based out from Waltham/Lynn/Quincy/Salem, and doesn't feed from the outer suburbs (i.e. more of a "local" bus route, than a "suburb feeder" bus route). If so, then it's "inner core Boston", than "Outside of Boston".

Essentially it boils down to:

Transit Fare Zone 1A is a mapped thing, Here I am using it as basically Boston’s urbanized metropolitan core, even though its come to include Cambridge Somerville and some or all of the next ring of cities/towns…

or “where the streetcars ran” or “where the buses are useful” or “where Commuter Rail fare is same as Subway” or where Blue Bikes are offered or “where you can bike or walk for errands”

Fuzzy equivalence, but roughly true.
Or in map form, here's the area roughly being described.

1671557860630.png
1672018366305.png


I'm always struggling to figure out where the "core area of Boston" ends. Essentialy, areas that do not have a majority of area zoned for SFH, areas with good urban continuity, areas that make an attempt at mixed use zoning. Areas you can commute from Boston without hitting an extended area of nature reserves with no urban development at all. Areas not quite out to 128 (the edge of the buses), but make some of the way there from Boston (roughly the last "bus hub" before 128). Areas you can bike to in under an hour in more than 1 direction, areas you can bike to and stop somewhere along the way for an errand, places you can bike to for far more than just commuting to Boston. Neighborhoods with "at least a sidewalk going the whole way" on both sides of the street. Areas with a bus stop nearby and you can bike to another bus route's bus stop.
 
Last edited:

Delvin4519

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
107
Reaction score
277

Delvin4519

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
107
Reaction score
277
So that's Zone 1A map? Where did the map come from?

Regardless, I have today Brookline (and a lesser extent Newton) really throws a wrench in what should be a circle from the center aside from natural barriers.
It's not a Zone 1A map, otherwise West Roxbury, Roslindale, and Hyde Park wouldn't be highlighted. But to be fair, those 3 neighborhoods, while Boston proper, are somewhat isolated from the rest of the inner core, due to Franklin Park/Arboretum. I guess I suppose that's why they aren't Zone 1A.

It's more of a rough approximation map where most historical BERy streetcar routes ran, and what became the backbone of the MBTA's no. 1-121 bus routes. These busable arterials have the potential to all become high frequency routes (hence highlighted blue on the 1st map), and as such, where much area of focus are being made to make these communities (more) bikable today, and where urban development could cater to those who want to bike around in their day to day life.
 
Last edited:

bigeman312

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,868
Reaction score
885
At this risk of continuing this de-rail, my internal way of classifying the "urban core" is all of the connected census tracts with a population density of 10,000+ and all of the other census tracts fully contained within that area. I hope this is helpful/interesting to others, or at the very least one you can ignore if it's not helpful/interesting:

Boston_Urban_Core.png


This system definitely risks false negatives. If you drop the threshold to 9k/sq mile you could include the following:
  • A tract in Dorchester containing Adams Village
  • A tract in southeastern Hyde Park
  • A tract in eastern West Roxbury
  • Three tracts in Medford containing Wellington, Medford Square, and the rest of South Medford
  • The remaining tract in Everett
  • A tract in Revere containing Point of Pines
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,787
Reaction score
648
So although we have both an “in Boston” and “in the burbs” biking threads, choosing which is relevant for biking in, say, Winthrop or Watertown has never been clear but never been controversial either. It’s a matter of what the poster sees in their heart.
Yeah it doesn’t need to be codified haha. I think generally it’s pretty obvious what’s “burbs” (usually referring in fact to bike trails rather than road improvements) and what’s “boston” (which usually means any area that’s clearly urban but really tends to focus on actual streetscape level stuff). But, if Lynn ended up doing a ton of street level bike ways, I might still be fine with it being put under Boston, since it’s urban at the ground level. Idk
 

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
469
Reaction score
921
Yeah it doesn’t need to be codified haha. I think generally it’s pretty obvious what’s “burbs” (usually referring in fact to bike trails rather than road improvements) and what’s “boston” (which usually means any area that’s clearly urban but really tends to focus on actual streetscape level stuff). But, if Lynn ended up doing a ton of street level bike ways, I might still be fine with it being put under Boston, since it’s urban at the ground level. Idk
From an awareness > advocacy standpoint, they should be one thread.
 

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,787
Reaction score
648
From an awareness > advocacy standpoint, they should be one thread.
Totally disagree. We don’t need one monolithic thread for everything bicycle related, just as we don’t have a single thread for transit stuff, either. I like having the separate threads, it’s nice to be able to look at them one at a time.
 

Delvin4519

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
107
Reaction score
277
From an awareness > advocacy standpoint, they should be one thread.
Disagree. There's a huge difference in context with biking in the inner core, vs. biking in the suburbs. Biking in areas where BERy streetcars previously ran (this thread), is typically referring to biking in more urban contexts, with urban development generally able to allow for more short biking trips/etc./etc., and such generally bike infrastrucure will adapt to this specific context (i.e. biking for short errands, daily needs/shorter commutes/travel time etc.)

Biking outside BERy streetcar areas (the other thread) generally means urban developement is nonexistant, and in car dependent suburbia, places are spread out over long distances, as such, bike infrastructure is generally in the form of long trails, for more recreational (ex: long day trips, cross state/country) or more "hardcore commuters" commuting long distances into the city. (ex: Lexington -> Arlington/Alewife -> Boston, or Lynn -> Linden Sq./Everett -> Boston).
 

BeyondRevenue

Active Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2020
Messages
469
Reaction score
921
Disagree. There's a huge difference in context with biking in the inner core, vs. biking in the suburbs. Biking in areas where BERy streetcars previously ran (this thread), is typically referring to biking in more urban contexts, with urban development generally able to allow for more short biking trips/etc./etc., and such generally bike infrastrucure will adapt to this specific context (i.e. biking for short errands, daily needs/shorter commutes/travel time etc.)

Biking outside BERy streetcar areas (the other thread) generally means urban developement is nonexistant, and in car dependent suburbia, places are spread out over long distances, as such, bike infrastructure is generally in the form of long trails, for more recreational (ex: long day trips, cross state/country) or more "hardcore commuters" commuting long distances into the city. (ex: Lexington -> Arlington/Alewife -> Boston, or Lynn -> Linden Sq./Everett -> Boston).
If only we had some sort of tagging system you could slice threads how you wanted.

Yes... I agree there are often differing concerns about types of bike infrastructure and users. I am saying if someone in Belmont wants me to advocate for their path (and I would) and I live in Boston, I might miss it. Real example: Someone who wants to ride in to town from Quincy has my full and undying support because there is very little safe infrastructure on the bridges and mainways to and from Quincy. But, since it's in da' burbs, I might miss it. Especially now that there are so many ebikes, the distance and need lines are blurring.

Ergo, awareness (of a problem we all could help with) and advocacy (contacting those who need to know there is more than a few townies in Belmont who are concerned)

Maybe we should have separate threads (from smallest to largest) EXurbs, SUBurbs, Urbs and SUPurbs.
 

Delvin4519

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
107
Reaction score
277
If only we had some sort of tagging system you could slice threads how you wanted.

Yes... I agree there are often differing concerns about types of bike infrastructure and users. I am saying if someone in Belmont wants me to advocate for their path (and I would) and I live in Boston, I might miss it. Real example: Someone who wants to ride in to town from Quincy has my full and undying support because there is very little safe infrastructure on the bridges and mainways to and from Quincy. But, since it's in da' burbs, I might miss it. Especially now that there are so many ebikes, the distance and need lines are blurring.

Ergo, awareness (of a problem we all could help with) and advocacy (contacting those who need to know there is more than a few townies in Belmont who are concerned)

Maybe we should have separate threads (from smallest to largest) EXurbs, SUBurbs, Urbs and SUPurbs.
Yea, there's definitely the problem of overlapping multiple areas of concern with a long commuter crossing long distances into town. In that case, there'd be a problem of which thread to check/splitting a large biking thread into smaller, more managable threads.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
5,484
Reaction score
2,346
My sense is that biking in “Boston” is different precisely because of these other factors (bus, rail transit, density, bikeshare stations) that mean that in “the core” bikes are used for commutes and errands and mix both on the street and in people’s heads with/as usable transit.

Whereas we call them burbs based on car dominance, low residential density, and bike being more a leisure mode (few worry about intermodal hubs in the rails to trails routes…they worry about parking and bathrooms, the way one would at a DCR or town park )

The advocacy and conversations are just different
 
Last edited:

bigeman312

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
1,868
Reaction score
885
Could we simply provide clarity by re-naming the thread(s):
  • Biking in Boston, Brookline, Camberville, Malden, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere
  • Biking the Boston ‘Burbs
Or
  • Biking in Boston, Brookline, and Camberville
  • Biking in Malden, Everett, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop
  • Biking the Boston ‘Burbs

Or even get really fancy and replace “biking” with “micromobility” if we want clarity on the inclusion of other modes that have a lot of overlap in infrastructure, such as skateboarding, e-bikes, e-scooters, etc.
 

Delvin4519

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2022
Messages
107
Reaction score
277
Could we simply provide clarity by re-naming the thread(s):
  • Biking in Boston, Brookline, Camberville, Malden, Everett, Chelsea, and Revere
  • Biking the Boston ‘Burbs
Or
  • Biking in Boston, Brookline, and Camberville
  • Biking in Malden, Everett, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop
  • Biking the Boston ‘Burbs

Or even get really fancy and replace “biking” with “micromobility” if we want clarity on the inclusion of other modes that have a lot of overlap in infrastructure, such as skateboarding, e-bikes, e-scooters, etc.
Maybe "Biking & Micromobility in xxx", to have both.
 

Top