DCR Allston-Brighton Riverfront Parks and Parkways

Aprehensive_Words

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Looks lovely, but does anyone know why Massachusetts insists on comingling bikes and peds in settings like the extension of the Paul Dudley White path along SFR in this design?

That path is already a high-capacity bicycle thoroughfare aimed at two-wheeled through traffic, but it's not great for all concerned if you mix peds going 4 mph with lots of bicyclers going 10-15 mph.
 

grand_junction

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Looks lovely, but does anyone know why Massachusetts insists on comingling bikes and peds in settings like the extension of the Paul Dudley White path along SFR in this design?

That path is already a high-capacity bicycle thoroughfare aimed at two-wheeled through traffic, but it's not great for all concerned if you mix peds going 4 mph with lots of bicyclers going 10-15 mph.
Besides the flippant "Department of Cars and Roads" moniker I have to think one of the main reasons is that DCR doesn't aim to design a lot of their pathways and parks for commuting purposes, but for low-stress recreational purposes. The fact that these routes end up being thoroughfares for commuter cycling (and recreational, to be fair) traffic always seems to be an afterthought for these designs, with the primary design purpose to be green space/recreational park space.

That's kind of the Achilles heel of so much of DCR's pathways -- the Southwest Corridor is poorly designed to share traffic -- even with some signage for splitting of pedestrians and cyclists, there are no pavement markings and pedestrian traffic is often "officially" (at least per the signage) put on a narrow sidewalk. The esplanade has a similar problem, and it's clear from the recent mediocre job of pavement markings there that it's still an afterthought.
 

FK4

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Besides the flippant "Department of Cars and Roads" moniker I have to think one of the main reasons is that DCR doesn't aim to design a lot of their pathways and parks for commuting purposes, but for low-stress recreational purposes. The fact that these routes end up being thoroughfares for commuter cycling (and recreational, to be fair) traffic always seems to be an afterthought for these designs, with the primary design purpose to be green space/recreational park space.

That's kind of the Achilles heel of so much of DCR's pathways -- the Southwest Corridor is poorly designed to share traffic -- even with some signage for splitting of pedestrians and cyclists, there are no pavement markings and pedestrian traffic is often "officially" (at least per the signage) put on a narrow sidewalk. The esplanade has a similar problem, and it's clear from the recent mediocre job of pavement markings there that it's still an afterthought.
It’s also cultural. Nobody in Boston, drivers, bicyclist, pedestrians, obeys any rules, ever, and that’s considered totally acceptable by the vast majority of people. People walk in the bike lanes no matter what signage you do; if you pull that shit in Europe you get yelled at. At least in Europe the bike lanes tend to fairly aggressively have signs saying “keep out, pedestrians”. We could use those here.
 

grand_junction

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It’s also cultural. Nobody in Boston, drivers, bicyclist, pedestrians, obeys any rules, ever, and that’s considered totally acceptable by the vast majority of people. People walk in the bike lanes no matter what signage you do; if you pull that shit in Europe you get yelled at. At least in Europe the bike lanes tend to fairly aggressively have signs saying “keep out, pedestrians”. We could use those here.
Honestly, I think it's less of a cultural thing -- there are plenty of places in Cambridge where there are grade-separated bike lanes at sidewalk grade and people largely stay out of them. It's DCR parks and paths that end up as throughways for commuters where there isn't dedicated space for pedestrians vs cyclists where there are conflict zones, but if they were designed with this in mind it would be much less of an issue.

I kind of keep the SW Corridor out of this consideration because, having run, biked, and walked it at length dozens of times, the "bike-only" stretches are much wider and generally better than the pedestrian sections (e.g this stretch -- tree-lined paved path versus curb-protected sidewalk next to a high-speed six-lane road, or this stretch, tree-lined wide path versus narrow sidewalk). But if you designed these paths with all uses in mind you'll wind up with a much better experience than leaving the shared cyclist/pedestrian traffic as an afterthought.
 

FK4

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Honestly, I think it's less of a cultural thing -- there are plenty of places in Cambridge where there are grade-separated bike lanes at sidewalk grade and people largely stay out of them. It's DCR parks and paths that end up as throughways for commuters where there isn't dedicated space for pedestrians vs cyclists where there are conflict zones, but if they were designed with this in mind it would be much less of an issue.

I kind of keep the SW Corridor out of this consideration because, having run, biked, and walked it at length dozens of times, the "bike-only" stretches are much wider and generally better than the pedestrian sections (e.g this stretch -- tree-lined paved path versus curb-protected sidewalk next to a high-speed six-lane road, or this stretch, tree-lined wide path versus narrow sidewalk). But if you designed these paths with all uses in mind you'll wind up with a much better experience than leaving the shared cyclist/pedestrian traffic as an afterthought.
I think the aesthetic difference is a big factor, certainly the sidewalk in JP on the southwest corridor has that issue too. But people walk in the bike paths around Kendall as well. And pedestrians hurl themselves into traffic in Boston in ways I’ve never seen in any other city, anywhere. We have a culture of chaos here. But yes, it could be ameliorated at least partially.
 

737900er

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Besides the flippant "Department of Cars and Roads" moniker I have to think one of the main reasons is that DCR doesn't aim to design a lot of their pathways and parks for commuting purposes, but for low-stress recreational purposes. The fact that these routes end up being thoroughfares for commuter cycling (and recreational, to be fair) traffic always seems to be an afterthought for these designs, with the primary design purpose to be green space/recreational park space.
I think in DCR's vision the bike commuters will use the bike lanes in the roadway.

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Aprehensive_Words

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Maybe the spandex set? But what irks me about DCR thinking painted gutters are a good idea is that it's pretty clear (from research and other cities' experiences) that we can't look to MAMLs to drive mode shift, whether for distance commutes or as a last-mile connector with rapid transit services.
 

Equilibria

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Maybe the spandex set? But what irks me about DCR thinking painted gutters are a good idea is that it's pretty clear (from research and other cities' experiences) that we can't look to MAMLs to drive mode shift, whether for distance commutes or as a last-mile connector with rapid transit services.
But if that's the concern, couldn't anyone who wants a separated experience use the parallel cycletrack (actually, why even have lanes in the roadway except to hide how narrow the road truly is becoming)?
 

737900er

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But if that's the concern, couldn't anyone who wants a separated experience use the parallel cycletrack (actually, why even have lanes in the roadway except to hide how narrow the road truly is becoming)?
To the perspective of someone in a car I doubt that this will feel any different from Nonatum from Galen St. to North Beacon which is posted at 40 and approximately the same width. I have a hard time seeing the bike lanes getting that much use over the mixed use path.

What I'd rather see, and I think @Aprehensive_Words is getting at, is that there should be space to have: Soldiers Field look like Nonantum from North Beacon to the Eliot Bridge in half of the existing roadway, and then separate walking and cycle paths like SW Corridor. The rendering just has grass in the space vacated by today's westbound roadway.
 

Aprehensive_Words

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That's it, precisely.

Eyeballing the cross-section, however, I wonder if there might actually not be space for a second ped path? I imagine you'd need to keep the slope from the edge of the multi-use path to the bottom of the bioswale fairly tame, and a ped path might upset that.

And there's definitely a storm sewer underneath that side of SFR. Would anyone familar with these types of projects opine on whether it's possible the bioswale was added in part to protect the park and the Charles River, and in part to avoid having to dig that storm sewer up?
 

sneijder

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But if that's the concern, couldn't anyone who wants a separated experience use the parallel cycletrack (actually, why even have lanes in the roadway except to hide how narrow the road truly is becoming)?
Here's what grinds my gears though. Roads (for all modes including pedestrians) should be designed to best minimize points of conflict, not only between cars and bikes, but bikes and peds as well. They're completely ripping up this ROW and there is plenty of space for all 3 modes to have their own space, so why the hell would you force bikers to choose between sharing space with cars or dodging people? Seems like it could clearly fit bike path, gravel dirt walking path, 2-lane roadway, sidewalk from left to right.
 

as02143

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I wonder how this road diet works or does not work with Boston's idea for a Transitway on Western Ave. I thought this section of Soldiers field was supposed to take some of the displaced traffic.
 

Equilibria

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I wonder how this road diet works or does not work with Boston's idea for a Transitway on Western Ave. I thought this section of Soldiers field was supposed to take some of the displaced traffic.
Yeah, this is a bit of an example of the BPDA hand not knowing what the DCR hand is doing.
 

Charlie_mta

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I wonder how this road diet works or does not work with Boston's idea for a Transitway on Western Ave. I thought this section of Soldiers field was supposed to take some of the displaced traffic.
I haven't taken a detailed look, but the corridor seems like it should be wide enough to support two roadway lanes in each direction, plus two paths, one for bikes and one for pedestrians.
 

Arlington

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MAML (Stereotype) Middle Aged Men in Lycra. Those who dress and ride like experienced cyclists; the “bike lobby”; cyclists who assert their equal place on n the road (added to acronym thread along with SFR)
 
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fatnoah

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I haven't taken a detailed look, but the corridor seems like it should be wide enough to support two roadway lanes in each direction
I used to drive this section of SFR during my daily commute. At no point did it ever seem like two lanes in each direction were required. The moderate speed increase for impatient drivers like myself was somewhat mitigated by the relatively short length of the road. My personal opinion is that one lane with adequate turn/merge lanes would be more than sufficient, and that a median-separated, one lane in each direction road with bike and walking paths would be the ideal solution.
 

HenryAlan

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Yeah, this is a bit of an example of the BPDA hand not knowing what the DCR hand is doing.
It's not uncommon for one DCR hand to not know what the other DCR hand is doing, so it's no surprise that they can't even minimally coordinate with an entirely distinct agency.
 

Equilibria

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It's not uncommon for one DCR hand to not know what the other DCR hand is doing, so it's no surprise that they can't even minimally coordinate with an entirely distinct agency.
I don't see any reason why a post-diet SFR and Herter Park can't be turned over to the City of Boston. They'll function like municipal facilities.
 

Charlie_mta

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Median separation will only serve to increase vehicle speeds and reduce functional green space.
A major road with only one lane in each direction should have median separation to prevent vehicles from illegally passing, causing head-on collisions. Many of the "super-2" expressways (with just one lane in each direction) in Massachusetts have a median barrier for that very reason. Here's one of these:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.568...273&pitch=0&thumbfov=100!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
 

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