What's a cycletrack? A friend of Sam Adams explains.

How many of you knew that the beer we all know and love here in Boston was elected Mayor in Portland? Yep. Mayor Sam Adams. Well we didn’t get the memo either, but his administration is doing great stuff. Case in point: here’s Sam’s Transportation Policy Director Catherine Ciarlo talking about Portland’s new Cycletrack!

The Boston Cyclists Union recently requested one of these on Western Avenue as part of the redevelopment associated with Harvard’s new Allston campus. Boston Transportation Department’s director of planning Vineet Gupta thought it was such a great idea he asked Harvard to design it—so apparently the design is underway!

Union folks have taken this cycletrack-to-be the “Hipster Highway” because it will help connect Lower Allston with Central Square, but the truth is you won’t need a fixed gear to appreciate it. Check out this keen video from Portland introducing their version:

On the Right Track from Mayor Sam Adams on Vimeo.


  1. matt on April 28, 2010 at 10:23 am

    interesting…i’m more optimistic about the “buffered bike lane” than the cycletrack, just in terms of implementability. also, I would feel more likely to be right-hooked by a car if I’m in the cycletrack.

    curious to hear what Schmiek, Stidman, and others who know more than I do think about this

  2. pete on April 29, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Hey Matt!

    Just off the cuff, I know there’s been some research done that does point to a need for mitigation at intersections. People feel so safe in these that they get a little lazy about looking around when they get to the intersections. What cities have to do is create much stronger signage to remind drivers and cyclists about the potential right hook and left cross dangers, plus painting the lane green across the intersection helps, and some cities, like New York for example, are beginning to implement special bike go and stop signals that are timed against when cars are allowed to turn. This seems to work very well. Another thing I’ve seen is that cities will design them so that parking is not close to the intersection—in other words, by the time you hit the intersection you’re in what amounts to a buffered bike lane and in plain sight.

    New York’s versions of these have cut injury rates in half for all road users!

    We will be watching the design of Western Avenue very closely (with the help of bike-friendly engineers and others) to make sure these mitigations are in place, and keeping all of our membership aware of any potential challenges in the design process.

    And as far as being implementable, these things criss-cross Montreal and several European cities. They aren’t for every street of course, but we have dozens of streets with potential for cycletracks. Long term, as in next time they completely reconstruct the street, the BCU would like to see one on Blue Hill Avenue, as a safe way to get to the Blue Hills.

    Thanks for your comment!!

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