“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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in getting involved.