Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, MDC, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
71
Biking the Boston 'Burbs (Trails, DCR, & Towns beyond Hubway area)

I'd like to start a thread focused on the trails and biking policies of the cities beyond the biking "core"--maybe think of this beyond the Hubway service area (so not Somerville, Cambridge or Boston)

So this is a thread that focuses on more "suburban" issues like trails (e.g the Minuteman from Cambridge to Bedford), and MDC paths (like the Fitchburg Cutoff) and how suburban cities and towns think about bikes.

Can I start with a basic question? If I find that on the Mystic Valley Parkway in West Medford that there is a circular storm grate whose "bars" are aligned in such a way as to trap bike tires, what can be done about it? Its been this way for at least two Aprils.

It is approximately here on the northern shoulder of the MVP http://binged.it/10kMept

Should I just take the law (and a crowbar) into my own hands?


Also, how "bike-friendly" in general is the MDC?

There is a lot that could be done along all parts of the Mystic Valley Parkway to make it more bike-friendly, and I'd think that'd be a very "MDC" kind of thing to do--bike paths should be the whole reason we've mixed our parkways and parks in the near-outer 'burbs.
 
Last edited:

Randomgear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
341
Reaction score
1
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) took over the MDC some time ago.
DCR still has holdovers from the old "bikes don't belong on MDC roadways" era - for a few days after the Alewife Greenway Bike Path was installed signs stating that bikes aren't allowed on the roadway were in place until they were slapped upside the head.
I'm not sure who did the slapping.

Performing roadwork without a permit or a police minder will likely get you in trouble if the police drive by. better to ask DCR to fix the grate - should be easy enough to get them to rotate the circular cover.
I don't have a contact for the DCR manager for the Mystic Valley Parkway.

DCR Contact info:
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114-2104

DCR Main Phone: 617-626-1250
DCR Main Fax: 617-626-1351

E-Mail: mass.parks@state.ma.us

Community Relations Group Line: 617-626-4973
 

Ron Newman

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
8,395
Reaction score
0
If you have the strength and ability to rotate that grate by yourself, without risking getting hit by traffic, by all means do it.

As for those 'No Bikes' signs on Route 16, I was the principal 'slapper' of DCR, along with the Cambridge Day news website.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
71
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) took over the MDC some time ago.
DCR still has holdovers from the old "bikes don't belong on MDC roadways" era - for a few days after the Alewife Greenway Bike Path was installed signs stating that bikes aren't allowed on the roadway were in place until they were slapped upside the head.
I'm not sure who did the slapping.

Performing roadwork without a permit or a police minder will likely get you in trouble if the police drive by. better to ask DCR to fix the grate - should be easy enough to get them to rotate the circular cover.
I don't have a contact for the DCR manager for the Mystic Valley Parkway.

DCR Contact info:
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114-2104

DCR Main Phone: 617-626-1250
DCR Main Fax: 617-626-1351

E-Mail: mass.parks@state.ma.us

Community Relations Group Line: 617-626-4973
Well, I sent them the details and got an "Out of Office" reply. The details included:

Both are near where Sagamore Ave ties in to the Parkway, alongside the lower Mystic Lake. A picture and map location for each are here:

On the "uphill / outbound" side of the MVP, between Sagamore Ave and Pine Ridge Road http://goo.gl/maps/1laaX (the incorrect orientation is clearly visible in the photo...its been wrong for at least a year)

On the "lake / inbound" side of the MVP, across from Sagamore Ave
http://goo.gl/maps/I7VHV
 

Randomgear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
341
Reaction score
1
If you decide to do it yourself, bring a crowbar to pry it up and be careful, I nearly through my back out as a teenager trying to move one off our driveway. Those things can be heavy.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
71
While we're at it, what would it take to add bike facilities in the following way:

Along the Mystic River Road in Medford (which today is over-wide...but would be a great place for simply painting a bike lane on)
http://goo.gl/maps/hra5J

And improving what Google Maps calls the Mystic River Path (which is really just a 4" wide jogger's scorch for most of its length)

And the missing link from the Craddock Bridge (at Main St in Medford Square) to the Mystic River Reservation?
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
71
Well, I sent them the details and got an "Out of Office" reply. The details included:

Both are near where Sagamore Ave ties in to the Parkway, alongside the lower Mystic Lake. A picture and map location for each are here:

On the "uphill / outbound" side of the MVP, between Sagamore Ave and Pine Ridge Road http://goo.gl/maps/1laaX (the incorrect orientation is clearly visible in the photo...its been wrong for at least a year)

On the "lake / inbound" side of the MVP, across from Sagamore Ave
http://goo.gl/maps/I7VHV
Hooray for Rep. Sean Garballey (D-Arlington & W Medford). His office says they've separately contacted the DCR and been assured of a fix. I must say, Rep. Garballey has always been extremely responsive to these "pothole" issues.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
71
In praise of the DCR (and Rep Sean Garballey). As of this morning, just days after my message, they have replaced the dangerous, mis-oriented round grates with a permanent replacement! The replaced grates have a "tombstone" shape so that they can never be wrongly oriented with respect to the roadway! Hooray for responsive government!

So maybe there's hope for biking in the burbs (and on DCR parkways) after all. :)
 

BostonUrbEx

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
4,257
Reaction score
0
In praise of the DCR (and Rep Sean Garballey). As of this morning, just days after my message, they have replaced the dangerous, mis-oriented round grates with a permanent replacement! The replaced grates have a "tombstone" shape so that they can never be wrongly oriented with respect to the roadway! Hooray for responsive government!

So maybe there's hope for biking in the burbs (and on DCR parkways) after all. :)
Good job, Mr. Arlington. :)

Now if only the DCR would put bike lanes in its roadways... *cough* All of the Fellsways and Lynn Fells Pkwy *cough*
 

Ron Newman

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
8,395
Reaction score
0
Mystic Valley Parkway between West Medford and Winchester Center doesn't exactly have 'bike lanes', but it has wide shoulders that are used like bike lanes.
 

Balerion

Active Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Messages
138
Reaction score
4
Speaking of fixes, I noticed that Arlington re-paved a few small areas of the Minuteman where roots and/or frost heaves had created significant bumps. One was near the Lexington line just south of Bow St. The other was a brutal bump near the bike shop that has a back door that opens up to the path closer to Arlington Center. Much appreciated!

Now, if only Lexington would clear up the mess between Woburn St and Fletcher Ave...



On another note, I rode down Trapelo Rd from Lincoln down to Mt Auburn in Cambridge via Belmont Ave this weekend. The quality of the road in Belmont...oh my goodness. By the end, my friend and I were pining for the sweet, smooth pavement of Beacon St in Somerville.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,317
Reaction score
130
Speaking of fixes, I noticed that Arlington re-paved a few small areas of the Minuteman where roots and/or frost heaves had created significant bumps. One was near the Lexington line just south of Bow St. The other was a brutal bump near the bike shop that has a back door that opens up to the path closer to Arlington Center. Much appreciated!

Now, if only Lexington would clear up the mess between Woburn St and Fletcher Ave...



On another note, I rode down Trapelo Rd from Lincoln down to Mt Auburn in Cambridge via Belmont Ave this weekend. The quality of the road in Belmont...oh my goodness. By the end, my friend and I were pining for the sweet, smooth pavement of Beacon St in Somerville.
Trapelo + Belmont St. from Waverley to the Cambridge line are due for a major overhaul, which is why they've been letting it rot underneath your feet for all those years. Unfortunately the town's petty disputes over minor streetscaping aesthetics have made the Mass Ave. Arlington rebuild debate look positively dignified by comparison. Who knows when it's going to get done.
 

Balerion

Active Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Messages
138
Reaction score
4
Trapelo + Belmont St. from Waverley to the Cambridge line are due for a major overhaul, which is why they've been letting it rot underneath your feet for all those years. Unfortunately the town's petty disputes over minor streetscaping aesthetics have made the Mass Ave. Arlington rebuild debate look positively dignified by comparison. Who knows when it's going to get done.
Interesting, I do not follow Belmont town politics. I commute up the Minuteman from Somerville and although my route does not quite take me along these roads, my general proximity has led me to follow Arlington's Mass Ave debate and Somerville's Beacon St project. I thought that the sound and fury around those two were bad enough!
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
71
The Fitchburg Cutoff Bike Path is now open from Alewife to Belmont (as of Aug 23 they've closed the Cambridgepark Drive connection...I hope for re-building).
 

Ron Newman

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
8,395
Reaction score
0
When I biked it around 5:30 on Friday, the CambridgePark Drive entrance was still open, even though signs in other places said it would close. Since it's currently being used as a truck access route for the rest of the project, it needs quite a bit of re-landscaping before it can permanently reopen.

The wetland and boardwalks are still fenced off. I think they're about a month away from opening to public use.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,800
Reaction score
71
Sadly, what had been only piles of gravel and sand alongside the Fitchburg ROW in Belmont is now a fully-framed industrial building under construction-- blocking or seriously impinging on the most natural way to extend the Fitchburg cutofff bike path to Belmont Center and Waverly and the Mass Central ROW. :-(
 

Ron Newman

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
8,395
Reaction score
0
Any idea what that building is going to be? I'm hoping that when it's done, there will once again be some way to ride around it to Channing Road.
 

Ron Newman

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2006
Messages
8,395
Reaction score
0
I followed your link but can't find the photo on the page ... can you link more specifically to just that one picture?
 

Top