Membership and Development Manager – Boston Cyclists Union
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By Alex Epstein, Mark Chase and Christine Casalini
On Monday the City of Somerville changed up their public meeting style at Somerville’s Argenziano School to help bring the community together around their plan for a cycletrack on Beacon Street. Rather than presenting and letting the audience react, the city appointed one person each to speak for residents, businesses, cyclists and pedestrians in turn, followed by short Q & A sessions, and then broke out into evenly divided groups to try to find solutions. Audience members were encouraged to wear colored stickers that allowed them to represent their many overlapping interests.
Alderman Maryann Heuston led things off, representing the official resident interest. Key points she raised addressed crosswalks and how to better manage parking for businesses and residents; she specifically mentioned a parking meter policy and putting to better use the many off-street private lots on Beacon Street.
During public comments, one landlord feared that the project would devalue his house and that no one would want to rent his apartments anymore. This perspective was quickly countered by another Beacon Street homeowner who believed that cycletracks and a renewed streetscape will boost his property value and the desirability of the neighborhood. By the sound of the clapping in the room it appeared that proponents outnumbered opponents by at least two to one. As the meeting went on it became clear that the proponents were not just cyclists. Those who spoke in favor included several Beacon Street residents and one prominent business owner.
Following Alderman Heuston, Beacon Street Laundromat owner Domenic Ruccio made a very short presentation asserting that the project would make at least some of the businesses on Beacon Street “inviable” and that empty storefronts would follow. This was countered by the Biscuit bakery owner Andrew Platt, who expects it to bring more customers and economic benefits. He noted that at first he too was skeptical, but now sees many benefits to the project. He urged fellow business owners to embrace the changes. Platt is the first business owner to speak out publicly in support, though others have confided support to neighborhood volunteers working on the cycletrack effort.
One resident lamented the increase in traffic on Beacon Street as Kendall Square builds out millions of square feet of employment. Kendall Square was recently noted, however, for a 14 percent decrease in car traffic even as more office space has been added. It is hoped that by encouraging more commuters to bike to work, automobile traffic on Beacon St. will decrease as well.
Alex Epstein, Beacon Street resident and Chair of the Somerville Bicycle Committee followed as the representative of cyclists. Donning a haircut from Kiki’s and noting the many local businesses he patronizes, he spoke about how Beacon has been reinvented before and how critical bike improvements on this corridor are for SomerVision (the city’s comprehensive plan). He defined what a physically separated cycletrack is and how its benefits address years of community input to the Bike Committee, such as eliminating dooring crashes and encouraging residents who are interested in cycling but concerned about safety to get on their bikes. Along the way he debunked the myth that most of the parking spaces are to be removed for cycletracks (in fact only 30-35 reasonably well used legal spaces would be eliminated). Alex wrapped up showing that over 70% of Beacon Street’s customers walk or bike and since research shows bicyclists outspend drivers at restaurants, bars, and convenience stores, more bikes mean more business.
Astrid Dodds from Agassiz, Cambridge was a surprise addition (being from Cambridge) and spoke for pedestrians. She made detailed points about the need for more crosswalks along Beacon, particularly between Somerville Avenue and Sacramento Street. At the same time she expressed concern about bicyclists riding on the sidewalk and hitting pedestrians. In the design, the cycletrack is separated from the sidewalk by street furniture and some advocates have called for changes that would put the cycetrack at a third level in between street and sidewalk levels, to help indicate to the vision impaired and others that a crossing exists. In Denmark, cycletracks through pedestrian areas are commonly sunk just .75 inches to indicate the crossing.
During the breakout sessions, conceptual drawings were displayed on easels and people plastered them with sticky notes to record their feedback. Loosely organized tables of attendees then reported on their feedback, which was usually detailed: how to handle a specific type of parking space, lane markings, types of crosswalks, and more.
Some feedback was to keep the cycletrack raised at minor side streets (just as it will be level across driveways) and to dash and color green the bike lanes through every intersection. Also, for pedestrian safety, installing proper crosswalks at every block seems important, especially since with parking on one side, more people will be crossing the street.
Overall the meeting gave the supporters of the cycletrack a great deal of positive momentum, but whether or not that momentum will carry through to the more important state public hearing on the 25 percent design for the street this Monday remains to be seen. At this meeting, all comments are recorded and those in favor and against will be counted by the MassDOT, helping it determine whether or not to approve the project. If the cycletrack concept is approved, the next stage will be to reach the 75 percent design where many details will be ironed out. Advocates plan to watch this process closely and continue to improve design before it is built in 2014.
If you can’t attend the hearing, send a letter! It’s very important to make your voice heard. Only together can we make an impact on safer street designs. Send your comments to:
Thomas F. Broderick, P.E., Chief Engineer
Written comments will also be accepted at the hearing. Mailed statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing transcript must be postmarked within ten (10) business days of this Public Hearing.
By Charvak Karpe
Recently my office moved to One Boston Place, a CBRE owned property, from a location an Faneuil Hall, also owned by CBRE. Bikes were officially banned at my old office, but the policy wasn’t enforced. I’d wheel my bike into my office, while another tenant would keep hers in the women’s room.
The first time I tried bringing my bike to the office at One Boston, a security staff member stopped me. He said the building didn’t want to be liable if someone stole the bike, which didn’t make any sense to me. I asked him who set the policy, and he answered:
“There’s nothing you can say to [the building manager] that would change her mind.”
He said the rack outside was completely safe, and monitored by guards.
“If someone takes parts off my bike, we’ll have it on video, but I won’t have my parts,” I said.
“No, we’ll stop them while they do it,” he promised.
I looked up at the monitors above his desk.
“Nobody’s watching the rack now,” I said.
He told me that the camera was being monitored on another screen behind the desk, that I couldn’t see.
So, I bought an old beat up road bike and locked it outside.
A few weeks later, someone took the front wheel and security didn’t know about it until I reported it stolen later in the day. The guard on duty then told me that an entire bike had been stolen there a month before.
Thinking that I could maybe sue the building for guaranteeing the safety of my bike at the rack, lying about that safety, and then having it stolen while guards were supposedly watching, I figured I had a pretty good position to work from. I met the building management and listened to their concerns around bikes causing damage to the building. I presented the building management with information on the NYC Bikes in Buildings law and proposed the building charge a fee for permits to bring bikes in. That way, only people with nice bikes would bring them in, and it might assuage their paranoia about messengers and beater bikes. Also Bike Lids, a product I found that protects bikes from theft, might be secure, look much better, and serve tenants. Considering that in the fall of 2002, One Boston Place completed a $6 million lobby renovation featuring polished green onyx, African cherry wood and mahogany, spending around $12,000 on dramatically improving the exterior appearance with some Bike Lids would be cheap and make a lot of sense since it would earn more LEED points. The building is up for LEED renewal in a couple years, and the existing rack was installed with the last LEED renewal, so my proposal may have some hope yet, but apparently they’re not chomping at the bit to install them.
The building manager said she appreciated my professional approach, agreed that bikes are the way of the future, took materials I had printed on the NYC law, but said she would have to check with the owners and couldn’t promise anything. I had an escalation plan floating around in my head that involved first suing the building for the stolen wheel and then bringing my bike in despite of the policy because the use of force continuum prevents the security staff from physically stopping me. The legal process for enforcing the building’s policy would be a hassle for them and either they would ignore the problem or they’d contact my company about the issue. Then it would be my company’s problem instead of mine because they would either have to fight the building policy or let me go (I can easily go work someplace else that better supports my lifestyle choices).
Several weeks later however, the building manager instituted a policy allowing bikes to use the freight elevator, just like in NYC. When I started bringing my bike in, the security guard who first told me I couldn’t bring my bike in the building high fived me with a smile and said, “the battle is won.”
I saw the head of security as I was leaving one night and he was very friendly, telling me how his friend was into racing bikes and was going to participate in the Mayor’s Cup race. Everyone seemed happy with the outcome and showed no ill will towards bikes. A colleague of European origin agreed that it was absurd that bringing a bike in was even an issue and that I had to use the freight elevator instead of the passenger elevator. Like, do people in wheelchairs have to use the freight elevator too?
One problem that I encountered was that the freight elevator is unstaffed part of the evening and used for garbage disposal the rest of the night. That means I have to go downstairs, wait five minutes for the freight elevator, interrupt the trash disposal to go all the way back up and pick up the bike. Instead, I began using the passenger elevator to leave the building in the evening because most tenants leave before I do, but one night the building manager saw me and reiterated that I absolutely had to use the freight elevator. I’m a little surprised she didn’t pretend she didn’t see me instead. Using the freight elevator in the evening is an inconvenience. I’m still being treated unfairly, but I’ve won a little progress and I figure it may not be worth fighting until I really want to quit my job.
Do you have a story about bike parking in your home, school or workplace? Please send it to the Bike Union at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re collecting stories for our indoor bike parking improvement campaign. Your story could help inspire a city ordinance or other action to correct the many problems we hear about.
Boston Globe, on NECN, and on Fox 25 over the past week, to name a few.It’s unfortunate that it takes the loss of life to awaken the powerful news media to the problem of bike safety——but when it happens it’s important to send the right message. Bike Union Executive Director Pete Stidman has been spreading the message of how Boston can become safer for bikes in the
Union volunteers have also been in touch with hundreds of members to get their feedback, suggestions and support via the annual phone-a-thon. (You too can volunteer tonight!) Members are saying they value that they now have a voice, that they appreciate and want to see more of the Union Rider newsletter, and that above all the advocacy of the Bike Union is why they ask their friends and family to join up and support. Together we are stronger.
By John Ferrante and Pete StidmanIn the wake of Thursday’s tragedy on Commonwealth Avenue, a previously scheduled bike safety hearing called by City Councillor Ayanna Pressley produced a significant victory for the Boston Cyclists Union’s long-term bike crash data improvement campaign this week.
Interim bike coordinator Kris Carter told the council the Menino Administration is now committed to carrying out the first thorough analysis of Boston Police narrative reports for bike crashes ever completed in the city. The analysis will cover 2009-2011 and will give transportation planners and others the first piece of the bike crash puzzle in Boston–the cause of crashes.
The commitment to study crashes was a ray of hope on an otherwise sad and emotional day. While Union volunteers rode to work with City Councillor Felix Arroyo from Jamaica Plain to highlight bicycle safety, 23-year-old Boston University photojournalism student Christopher Weigl was killed by a turning tractor-trailer truck in front of Landry’s Bicycle Shop on Commonwealth Ave. at St. Paul Street. The crash’s location along a major bike commuting route was seen by hundreds of passing cyclists and quickly attracted citywide media attention. Some crash site witnesses changed their plans and left work to testify at the bike safety hearing at city hall.
The hearing began with a moment of silence for Weigl, and then turned toward a very serious discussion of how to put an end to the violence cyclists experience on Boston’s streets.
“We want Boston to be the safest bicycling city in the country,” said the hearing’s lead sponsor, Councillor at-large Ayanna Pressley, who said that as someone who uses public transit exclusively and doesn’t own a car. “I view bike lanes as an equal part of our transportation infrastructure.”
“We are actually talking about a matter of life and death,” said Councillor Arroyo, who co-sponsored the bill. He recounted his morning ride with the Bike Union. “You actually have to fight the cars to get on to the dedicated cyclists lane.”
Councillor Arroyo cited a ridership increase in Seville, Spain from 6,000 cyclists to 60,000 as directly attributable to the creation of ultra-safe cycletracks throughout the city. “If you build it, they will come,” he said. His trip to Seville’s 2011 Velo City conference was funded by SRAM and Bikes Belong after a recommendation from the Bike Union.
Testimony of Barbara Ferrer from the Public Health Commission was telling. She acknowledged that while her department had access to some data — police incident reports and Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data — those resources are not typically used for injury prevention research. But thanks to constant pressure from the bike union since the 2010 death of 22-year-old Eric Hunt at Huntington and South Huntington in 2010, this is about to change.
Testimony from the acting Boston Bikes coordinator in the Mayor’s Office, Kris Carter, included an announcement that a study of three years of police narrative reports from bike crashes would be completed in the short term. Boston police narrative reports contain the information about cause of bike crashes, and have never been looked at in a comprehensive way before.
Although this is a big win for the Bike Union and all cyclists in the city, it is only a first step towards creating a more comprehensive data set on bicycle crashes.
Bike Union executive director Pete Stidman testified on behalf of the Union and explained that tying in emergency room data would provide information on severity of injury. By linking the two data sources using EMS data, one would be able to see what types of crashes are causing the most severe injuries, and target those crashes in particular with a wide variety of education, enforcement, and infrastructure improvements. The data would also help give insight into whether or not cyclists are to be blamed for the crashes, as is often the slant in certain media outlets.
“What you hear a lot is, ‘What are we doing about these scofflaw cyclists?’ I’m not saying that cyclists don’t cause accidents; they do,” said Stidman, citing one study that found bicyclists at fault in one-quarter of bike accidents. “But that is not the key problem.”
Stidman also requested that personal information in the data be redacted so that Boston’s rich educational and research community could access it and come up with innovative ways to analyze it. A broad spectrum of research specialists, from places such as the Harvard School of Public Health, MIT, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and the Boston Area Research Initiative have been in touch with the Union and expressed their interest in getting ahold of the data.Testimony from Stidman, Anne Lusk (Harvard School of Public Health), Steven Miller (LivableStreets Alliance), Jessica Robertson, and Sarah Freeman (Emerald Necklace Conservancy) also focused on infrastructure, and in particular, the creation of more separate facilities such as cycletracks and bike paths.
“Biking has been growing rapidly, but most people in Boston are still too scared to bike,” said Robertson, Transportation Coordinator for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. “The city must install more cycle tracks and bike lanes with physical separation from traffic.”
Carter cited plans for cycletracks on Malcolm X Boulevard, Summer Street, and Melnea Cass Boulevard. The Union is pushing for cycletracks on Charles Street, the streets around the Public Garden, Seaver Street in Roxbury, and Beacon Street in Somerville.
The third public meeting on Somerville’s ambitious Beacon Street cycletrack proposal started out with a series of surprising slurs on bicyclists.
“When I was a kid and I got my first bike, the first thing my dad told me was: Don’t ride in the street,” said Vincent Drago, a longtime Somerville resident. He added that Somerville Ave. runs parallel to Beacon Street and has a bike lane “as wide as two tables.” “Why do you need to bike on Beacon Street at all?”
A second resident stood up and asked why the city would encourage bicyclists to come into the neighborhood when they wouldn’t be able to afford a house. In all five speakers trash-talked cyclists before Boston Cyclists Union Executive Director Pete Stidman got to the microphone.
“I am not a Somerville resident, but I am someone who represents cyclists who don’t normally have a voice in these decision-making processes… and I have never heard such insults,” he said.
Stidman presented a crash map of Beacon Street and cited results of the Union’s Customer Survey of Beacon Street (carried out with help from Livable Streets Alliance) and encouraged residents to take the decision “seriously,” because people are getting injured on the street.
Over the previous weeks, Union and Livable Streets Alliance volunteers from Somerville and beyond criss-crossed the street’s business areas to collect 406 surveys that asked people about their shopping habits and how they got to Beacon Street. The results indicated that the grand majority of shoppers (68 percent) were pedestrians, that cyclists and cars were roughly even (even though cyclists make up roughly a quarter of the through traffic on Beacon), and MBTA transit users a close fourth.
When motorists were asked how they would respond if parking was “harder to find,” one third said they would go somewhere else, that group making up 3.4 percent of the total customer mix.
The Union concluded from the study that efforts should be made to make parking for businesses easy to find through better regulation or metering near business storefronts—neither of which are done now for Café Rustica, Beacon St. Laundromat, or the businesses around Star Market. Also, based on evidence collected when other cycletracks have been installed around the country and the world, a longer cycletrack (e.g., all the way to Inman Square) is more likely to increase the cycling rate. Given that cyclists are stopping to shop more often than motorists on Beacon, such an increase could be a boon for local businesses.
A long evening followed Stidman’s comments as people on each side of the debate stepped up to the mic to state their opinion—each getting roughly the same volume of applause, albeit from different parts of the room.
About as many speakers described times they’d been doored or hit while biking on the street as did shop owners predicting doom for their businesses. But a few paths toward resolution were also forged.
Hayes Morrison, Somerville’s director of transportation and infrastructure, said the city would go back and study the parking situation in depth, confirming the counts made before and also looking at the twice-a-week street cleaning nights when half the parking is off limits on Beacon. The city is also pursuing parking space leasing arrangements with Star Market and other parking lot owners on the street, many of whom have vast amounts of parking to spare.
Despite studies that indicate massive reductions in injury risk for cyclists when cycletracks are installed, and the fact that streets are fully reconstructed only every 30 to 50 years or so, there are still a number of people against improving Beacon Street for cyclists—or calling for a simple repaving. It’s important that those who recognize the opportunity in this $4 million project to increase access to this key commuter route make their opinions known.
There are two ways you can help ensure a safer ride on Beacon Street.
If you support the bright future vision of Forest Hills as a bustling business center and green gateway to the Southwest Corridor, Franklin Park and the Arboretum, the Union urges you to pen a letter to the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency this month as the Casey Arborway project undergoes environmental review.
The environmental review was triggered by the removal of nine trees wider than 14 inches at chest height, according to the report but the project will pose no major environmental impact.
Let MEPA know what you think the health benefits of the current design will bring, such as creating easier access to parks and increasing the number of people who ride a bike for transportation or exercise. The filing is available at bit.ly/caseyMEPA. Comments are due by Jan. 8 and can be sent to Michael.Trepanier@state.ma.us.
Despite this reality, a small group of those who were frustrated by the neighborhood’s choice to build at-grade rather than bypassing Forest Hills with a highway bridge will be trying to use the MEPA review to derail the process. At this point, all delays have the potential to threaten funding for the project, which has a spending deadline in mid 2016.
It will also be important to show up in force at a MEPA public meeting on Thurs. Dec. 6, 6pm, at English High School, 144 McBride St., Jamaica Plain. The Union strongly recommends cyclists turn out in force and speak up to be recorded as a supporter of the project.
Meanwhile the plans for the new Casey Arborway continue to evolve as the state now moves from 25 percent design toward a more detailed and complete 75 percent design. One particular sticking point is the future of a dual system of bike lanes and two-way bike paths along the new arborway. Pedestrian and disabled persons advocates have requested shorter crossing distances, pointing out that bikes would have an enormous amount cross section width with a dual system.
The Bike Union is asking MassDOT to improve the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s snow removal capacity before removing the bike lanes from the plan in the only practical way they can under current rules-with capital equipment. Specifically, a high-speed Bombardier snowplow.
For months Charlestown has been divided over the future character of Rutherford Avenue-will it continue to operate similar to a highway, or become a walkable and bike-able city street? A meeting has been scheduled for Thurs., Dec. 6 that may help decide the matter.
At issue is a proposed change to a formerly community-approved plan to make Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue far more pedestrian and bike friendly area. The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) first proposed the change as an option back in May in response to community pressure from a group that raised alarms about future traffic jams that were not reflected in BTD traffic projections.
The new option would maintain an underpass at Austin Street that the city’s traffic engineers admit is not required to handle traffic and would hinder pedestrian access to Bunker Hill Community College. Regardless of whether or not the underpass stays or goes, a linear park and bike path along one side of the street will connect from the Alford St. Bridge and the border with Everett to the N. Washington St. bridge that connects Charlestown to the North End. That bridge is also slated for reconstruction, and the Union is already working to ensure better bikeways on it.
“The Boston Transportation Department wants your input to select a preferred design,” reads an announcement for the meeting, which will be held Thurs., Dec. 6, 6:30pm at the Knights of Columbus hall, 545 Medford St., Charlestown.
Since the meeting in May, Gerald Robbins, former vice president and one of the founders of the Boston Cyclists Union, has helped found a new neighborhood initiative called the Rutherford Corridor Improvement Coalition. The new RCIC has hosted several community meetings extolling the benefits of the “surface option,” and is now calling together people who support calmer traffic and pedestrian-friendly environments.
“We believe that this may be the last public meeting in which to speak up so that Rutherford Avenue reaches its potential to safely accommodate and integrate all modes of transportation, reconnect the neighborhood, and create long-term land use decisions that best benefits the neighborhood and region,” wrote Robbins in an email. “We are asking residents to support the surface road plan at the Austin Street intersection.”
Every year more cyclists take to Boston’s streets, their very number perhaps raising awareness among drivers and, according to the data, reducing the chance a rider will be involved in a crash. But with a doubling in the number of people in Boston who bike to work in the last five years, the total number of crashes inevitably increases as well, albeit at a slower rate of growth than the increase in ridership.
That may be one reason Boston is seeing more cyclist fatalities this year than any year in recent memory. And at some point, the number of injuries and fatalities will begin to focus the emergency response, public health, and transportation communities on bicycle crashes with same intensity given to other causes of death, and that will mean understanding how the crashes happen.
Most recently, Allston Village became the scene of tragedy when 21-year-old Taiwanese Boston University student Chung-Wei Yang http://www.everybicyclistcounts.org/site/detail/chung-wei_yang came into contact with the side of an MBTA bus at Harvard and Brighton Avenue. Earlier this year the city cringed at gruesome accidents that took the lives of 63-year-old Doan Bui on Morrissey Blvd. (hit by a drunk driver) http://www.dotnews.com/2012/local-motorist-charged-motor-vehicle-homicide-oui-death-bicyclist-morr, 37-year-old Irish immigrant Tanya Connolly at A St. and West Broadway (hit by a turning tractor-trailer) http://www.everybicyclistcounts.org/site/detail/tanya_connolly, and 28-year-old Boston College grad student Kelsey Rennebohm http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/06/04/cyclist-mourned-mayor-vows-serious-look-at-notorious-stretch-of-road/ (came into contact with the side of an MBTA bus).
Some of these crashes, based on eyewitness accounts and other information gathered by the Union and the media, appear to have been caused by the driver, and some by cyclist error. Large vehicles like buses and tractor-trailers appear to be a trend, mirroring a recent London study that found that 43 percent of cyclist deaths between 1992 and 2006 were caused by freight vehicles. Another study of London bike crash casualties showed that motorists were cited for contributory factors more often than cyclists by a factor of more than two to one, so bike “scofflaws” are unlikely to be the primary cause.
Nevertheless, education of drivers and cyclists seems an obvious answer, but universal education on both is a challenge to say the least.
Some bicycle safety information has been added to the state driver’s education manual and MBTA driver training, but both will take years and maybe decades to reach every operator. It’s also not clear MBTA drivers were at fault in any of this year’s crashes.
Boston has implemented a fantastic Youth Cycling Program, but it only reaches a fraction of the student population. The state’s Safe Routes to School program funds bicycle education also, but the students in that program never actually touch a bike and funding is becoming harder to find. Comprehensive safety education for all is clearly a priority, but there are several other things that can be done cheaper and faster.
For three years, the Boston Cyclists Union has worked with the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) and the Boston Police Department (BPD) to create a database that includes both how the crashes are occurring and the severity of the injuries they cause. Both agencies have shown good faith, interest, and effort, but unfortunately little has ultimately been accomplished toward this goal so far.
Thanks to Union efforts in 2010, BPD and Boston Emergency Medical Services now have a way to mark incidents that are bike related. Around that time, the BPHC created a task force to improve bike and pedestrian crash data improvements—inviting the Bike Union and WalkBoston to take part. But after two years, the task force has produced little more than a better understanding of the challenges of collecting data in Boston and an excellent study of Emergency Room data. That study shows the hundreds of injuries occurring each year, but nothing about how or where they are happening. The task force, despite Union efforts, has become focused on identifying hot spots, but that task that has already been accomplished by the Union’s Interactive Crash Map and other maps produced by BPHC.
The best information about cause is located in the narrative reports collected by the Boston Police Department (BPD). Concerns about privacy prevent their distribution, and the police are taxed with murder and other serious crimes making it difficult to allocate time to redacting personal information. While BPD Superintendent Dan Linskey, Captain Jack Danilecki, and Research Analyst Marjorie Bernadeau have been incredibly helpful, the efforts to collect narrative reports have not been prioritized or given staff time by other city departments.
On Brighton Avenue for example, right through the site of the most recent fatal crash location, the city has been planning for a year to pilot an experiment involving the city’s first priority sharrow, similar to one on Longwood Avenue in Brookline. The design includes a typical sharrow sandwiched between two dotted lines to show where the cyclist should ride (outside of the door zone). It’s also filled in with a bit of green paint. Crash data will be used in its evaluation, but using a manual, clunky process that would not be easy to repeat on every bikeway in the city, and the city is planning more ambitious infrastructure every year.
“We’ve been picking the low-hanging fruit for a while now,” said interim bike czar Kristopher Carter in a recent phone interview with the Union. “We need to get our ladders out. We’re definitely excited about looking at cycletracks that connect to our existing current low-stress network.”
In addition to the Back Bay connection, Carter cited cycletrack possibilities to consider on Mt. Vernon Street in Dorchester, connecting UMass-Boston to JFK/UMass MBTA Station; one that would connect the Esplanade to the end of the SW Corridor on Dartmouth Street in Back Bay; and one on Malcolm X Boulevard, connecting the SW Corridor to Dudley Square.
With all these new facilities under consideration, and demand for many more from cyclists, a comprehensive look at bike crash data (including cause and severity) could both help figure out where they are needed, and evaluate if they actually provide a safer environment.