East Boston gears up for bike-friendlier streets

A view of East Boston back in 1879. Pre-airport. Pre-airplane!

A new planning process has been launched in East Boston to reconfigure Central Square (the one in Eastie, not that other town!), and local bike advocates are all over it.

“They definitely have a lot of really great ideas,” said Diana Baldelomar who coordinates youth at Neighborhood of Affordable Housing Inc., an East Boston CDC that is delving heavily into environmental, health and fitness causes-including biking. “They focused a lot on traffic calming. We’re going to be more specific about we want. [The city’s plan] shows bike lanes on Border Street, and two other streets, but we want to ask are those going to be connected to anything? We’re also talking about putting [sharrows] on roads that didn’t get bike lanes and just more signage.”

Currently Central Square is a free for all of cars, pedestrians, and the occasional bike. The East Boston Farmer’s Market held in the small park in the middle of the square, for instance, is very difficult for pedestrians to access.

For it’s part, the city is focused on improving pedestrian and bicycle access, but is seeking advice from the community on just what those improvements might be.

“Adding a bike lane to Border Street promotes important connections throughout the emerging East Boston bike network,” said Vineet Gupta, the Boston Transportation Department’s head of planning. “And we’re going to include bike racks extensively. At the community meeting on the 27th residents came out in support of bike accommodations on the square and we were very happy to see this.”

MassBike, Massachusetts statewide advocacy organization, is also getting involved. MassBike director David Watson made an “impassioned” speech at the meeting, said Gupta.

Other bike efforts are also underway in the neighborhood, such as an effort from the East Boston Greenway Committee to extend a path from the greenway that runs through the center of Eastie out to Constitution Beach. The effort faces a challenge in convincing MassPort to support the idea, as the path would curtail expansion of the vast airport parking lots and other facilities along one corner of the airport’s current outer limit.

For those reading this in East Boston, the Boston Cyclists Union will help spread the word to you when the next planning meetings on either of these two promising projects come up! Email pete@bostoncyclistsunion.org if you’re interested in getting involved.


  1. paul howes on August 6, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Keep me updated please.

  2. Brian Gannon on August 11, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Although we may be getting a few bike lanes we are still confined to a small area we can bike aroound due to the stubborness of the MBTA and their unwillingness to allow Bikes on the Blue line between Aquarium and Maverik, the only other direction we can ride in encounters the Lynnway where it is impassable if you dont want to change a lfat every 3 feet. Can your union assist in encouraging the MBTA?
    I have unsuccessfully dealt with the city on this issue but they push it off back to the MBTA

  3. pete on August 12, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Hey Brian,

    The Boston Cyclists Union is supporting a local effort to get bikes allowed on the MBTA Blue Line all the time, and we’ve been gathering signatures on a petition for this, but it will certainly be a challenge. It’s possible the ultimate solution will be special cars that hold bikes in a way that works on a crowded rush hour train. If you’re interested in being on a petition for simply “Allowing bikes on the Blue Line all the time” just email us at pete@bostoncyclistsunion.org and include your first and last name, address, and whether or not you’d like to volunteer for the cause or not.


    -Pete Stidman

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