In pursuit of these “Bikeways for Everybody” the Bike Union’s Activist Group, working with local residents, has developed the first of five proposals for crosstown bikeways. It’s called the Harborline Bikeway and it extends 15 miles, all the way from Mattapan Square to Assembly Row, with a spur out to Castle Island in South Boston. The route would connect tens of thousands of people to safe bike infrastructure along key commuter routes, and it could be 80% complete by 2020 and 100% complete by 2025 if current projects are fast-tracked, and a few small connector projects are started.
The route for the Harborline was created by combining projects that already have huge neighborhoods support, such as the Mystic River Greenway, the Rutherford Avenue Greenway, and the Neponset Greenway, with new projects that reflect what cyclists in the neighborhoods most want. The Morrissey and Old Colony bikeways were Dorchester’s number two priority (after Dot Ave which is too narrow for a cycletrack) and Summer and First streets were South Boston cyclists’ top priority (also known as South Station to Sully’s). These priorities were determined by vote at open public meetings that were promoted to local cyclists.
On the Harborline Bikeway, there are four new projects that the bike community has to get off the ground:
- Rose Kennedy Greenway, from Summer Street to Atlantic Avenue
- Dorchester Avenue, from Old Colony Avenue to the Fort Point Channel
- Kosciusko Circle. Creating a safer environment for bikes and pedestrians.
- Shore Road, from 1st Street to Day Boulevard.
There are also several existing projects that need attention from bike activists to keep them moving forward at a fast pace. Among these, Dorchester activists have been the most active so far, influencing work on an intersection reconstruction of where the Harborline crosses Blue Hill Avenue, a new planning process for part of Morrissey Boulevard, and an extension of the Neponset Greenway along the Dorchester coast line (past the famous gas tank).
South Boston activists are also making progress asking for cycletracks on Summer Street, and as that project gears up getting bike lanes between 1st Street and D Street.
Meanwhile activists in Charlestown are beginning work to help build a temporary bikeway alongside Rutherford Avenue while the reconstruction of that street is stalled by the fight over the Casino. Somerville activists are getting engaged with a Department of Conservation and Recreation project that will connect Rutherford Avenue to Assembly Row with a bike path.
The map of the Harborline Bikeway is here. Explore it. Think about a city where every neighborhood has access to a facility as nice and as useful for getting to work as the Southwest Corridor is for Jamaica Plain. For health, for happiness, for less congested streets and fewer crashes of all kinds–Bikeways for Everybody.