The Department of Conservation has made significant progress this year on becoming more bike-friendly, but has not been open and transparent with the process of adding new bikeways on the Arborway in the short span between Kelley Circle (at Jamaica Pond) and Murray Circle (the Arboretum).
The Bike Union officially requested the any plans for Arborway bikeways in a letter on May 5, but was told plans did not exist, and that there would be a longer planning process for the Arborway in the fall. When bike lanes were painted this week, it became clear that the plan requested may have, in fact, existed, and in any case a short-term plan for bike infrastructure was carried out but not shared with the Union.
The slip up has DCR on damage control duty, and the Bike Union scrambling to finish a more polished proposal for a protected bike lane (cycletrack). The proposal was originally being developed to be an aid to the DCR in the fall, when facilities on the Arborway were slated for discussion and study. Early findings are that the side roads along this particular stretch of the Arborway are 30 feet wide, with two car travel lanes and no parking. With two standard travel lanes at 11-feet wide each, there is still ample room for a six-foot wide cycletrack and a two foot physical buffer, such as plastic flexposts or planters that would be removable in winter to allow for snow storage. Conveniently, DCR is well equipped to plow cycletracks using vehicles now devoted to bike path maintenance.
The remaining challenge in the plan for the Arborway will be finding safe and comfortable ways to navigate around the Kelley and Murray traffic circles. Because both of these circles are adjacent to parkland, there may be short-term solutions to be had, and in the past there have been more drastic long-term reconstruction proposals to calm them and give more access to the parks in the area.
The bike lane painted this week is not acceptable bike accommodation, and may put cyclists in danger by encouraging them to ride too close to traffic, or by not providing clear options to navigate the traffic circles. The Arborway has Average Daily Traffic (ADT) of over 30,000 vehicles per day making this bike lane a high-stress facility that does very little if anything to encourage more bicycling.
By signing this petition you are encouraging the DCR to implement safe, comfortable cycletracks (protected bike lanes) on the Arborway in the short term.