Archive for July, 2011

Another Dotriderblog letter ignored… and some painting and sign updates

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

The Globe did a fine piece pointing out that Boston’s neighborhoods were being left out of the bike share. However there was nary a mention of Boston’s biggest neighborhood. We tried to be positive in pointing that out, along with providing some nice suggestions for how Hubway could creep it’s way south. I even failed to mention the bike trail that folks were advocating for along the Purple Line but hey there’s already some pretty good bike infrastructure (gulp) in the north end of town… Here it is and later I’ll update what we’ve seen in town for progress… 

Dear Globe
Thank you for the piece on Hubway’s rollout and how most of Boston’s neighborhoods plus Cambridge and Somerville were left out. I’d like to add a plug for Dorchester as an area overlooked by Hubway. To start, Dorchester is roughly the same size and population as Cambridge and it’s actually in the city limits.
A station located near JFK station would be in a densely populated and widely visited area of Boston. With thousand of folks living in Harbor Point, attending UMass Boston and visiting the JFK Library, along with the Harbor Path providing access to Carson Beach and Castle Island it is an obvious location. Then consider Franklin Park with 100,000’s of visitors a year and and both sides of Dorchester are covered.
So, with stations in JP at any Orange Line station, Franklin Park, the soon to be completed Purple Line stations at Geneva Avenue and Uphams Corner plus JFK would provide the network Nicole Friedman suggests is required for success. The biking infrastructure is already there too with the Southwest Corridor in JP, bike lanes in Franklin Park, on Blue Hill Avenue and most of Columbia Road, soon to be installed bike lanes on Dorchester Avenue and the Harborway Bike Path. If that works, chances are a similar network could be built along the southern tier of town from Pope John II Park, Lower Mills to Mattapan Square. Fill in the blanks from there and Dorchester residents would be well served by Hubway. 

So we’ve seen new paint on Columbia Road as it looks like the punch list is being addressed. Also some signs posted in Franklin Park as well as on Blue Hill Avenue. Didn’t notice the gaps on Talbot Ave filled in….yet. No progress on Dot Ave, but the 10 Intersection Solution isn’t finished. I have to say it is more difficult to go south through Fields Corner now that a turn lane has been added to go onto Park Street west and another to go to Gibson Street east. Luckily cars continue to park in the no stopping anytime zones in front of Town Field to help us bike riders.
Oh yeah another thing just occured to me wrt the Hubway program. $85????????? There goes the tourist trade. That’s a lot of cab riding or it makes renting a bike from one of the downtown establishments much cheaper for sure. Especially if you think it would be $85 for each person? We thought the sign up was to be free and the cost to taxpayer’s zero. I guess they got a sponsor but here’s thinking they didn’t charge enough for that. I don’t know what it costs in other cities, but when I was in San Franciso two years ago there were dozens of rental by the hour shops that didn’t put an $85 onus on you.
While I’m at it I was amused to hear there are STILL negotiations on some of the sites? Talk about seat of the pants. Just think how much more education or bike infrastructure improvements might have been made had the super-human efforts to salvage the bike share idea was put into that. But hey, I already said it was destine to fail. After three years and an ever shrinking pool of bikes in a smaller area, it would appear my cynicism has been pretty spot on. Believe it or not I was secretly hoping to be proven wrong. So far I haven’t missed a beat in terms of my predictions… We’ll see how it goes starting next Tuesday.

Croc from McCrory

Friday, July 15th, 2011

We all saw the outlandish piece in Friday’s Boston Globe by Brian McCrory suggesting it would be better to remove all bicycles instead of promoting more. Here’s dotriderblog’s response. Doubt it will be run, but hey it felt good to press that send button….

Dear Globe
I expect Brian McCrory’s suggestion that bicycles be banned from all roadways in his piece on Friday was toungue in cheek. Just to start however, his presumption that Boston’s streets were made for cars in most cases is wrong. History shows that downtown was layed out from the cow paths and most of the spoke roads heading out of town were trolley lines. None were ever designed to carry an automobile.
What McCrory also doesn’t seem to realize is that a person on a bike isn’t in a car that takes up ten times the space. He should be rooting for more riders instead of none. If bikes were banned, street traffic in Boston would be a more snarly mess than it is today as riders would be forced back into their cars or onto the T overwhelming both of those modes of transport.
His assault on bike culture is off the mark as well. Certainly the early adopters are folks who are prone to taking chances and if you think they’re bad on a bike chances are they’d be worse in a car. Data from other cities show that as the number and percentage of riders goes up, the rate of accidents and laws broken goes down. Yet another reason Brian should be rooting for more bikes not none.
It’s too bad his rant will ad fuel to the fire from those who yell at riders to ‘get off the road’ each and every day. It’s too bad the Globe allowed this rant to run instead of asking McCrory to raise the bar a few notches and look at the issue in a serious manner. If so he would have found the Hubway system to be the half-baked, out of sequence, exclusionary tourist-based system that it is. He might have pointed out the woeful lack of biking infrastructure that should have been in place before any bike share plan was considered. He would have discovered the tin ear the Mayor’s Bike Program has to the residential neighborhoods who are getting little in terms of resources for bike infrastructure at the expense of the development of Hubway.
There’s a lot of stories surrounding the Hubway system, running a piece suggesting bikes be banned didn’t shed light on any of them.

More riders than ever… City summer doldrums

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

As the mercury rises into the 90+ degree range we’re amazed by the ever increasing number of folks out there riding every day! I don’t have my regular camera in hand so I haven’t been able to chronicle them as much as I’d like but here are some highlights:

Tons of white women all over Dorchester. They’re even in neighborhoods where not long ago seeing any white person on the street was very unusual… Increasing numbers of black women out there riding. More minority riders wearing helmets. Of course the BNB groups riding are always a thrill to dotriderblog.  Saw a rider heading South on American Legion Highway for the first time ever! ALWAYS riders all over Franklin Park.

Lowlights? A traverse of Dot Ave to see how the Ten Intersection Solution is working starts it off. Having seen NO SIGN of signs on Talbot Ave or any attempt to address the Punch List left over from last year shouldn’t be a surprise. Missing opportunities like Morton Street because of a reticence on the Mayor’s Bike Program to push transportation planners to actually THINK and come up with viable solutions finishes things off.

Hey! Where’s the Bike Share? Year three and counting. Each time it gets smaller and less ambitious and seems to cost more money. Too bad such great time and talent has been wasted on something that is so obviously premature. I can even say “I told you so” since I did, three years ago when I first heard of the idea… Meanwhile neighborhood infrastructure gets the half-baked treatment and the Menino administration is becoming more sensitive than ever. Menino-sensitive is a new term. It’s somewhere near hyper-sensitive….. you pick which side of it.

Good to see more cops out on bikes lately. They should have been out on them BEFORE the neighborhood BS started to come down. Well d’uh! It’s amazing how much more folks see on bicycles instead of air-conditioned, computer equipped cars… Keep it up! Get them out ALL YEAR ROUND as part of an integrated patrolling approach. It’s amazing how much fitter the officers on the bikes look as well. Wonder why eh? Plus it will help reduce crime and save money at the same time. Fixing a flat on a bike is a lot cheaper than replacing a cruiser that’s been sitting around idling for 24-hours a day…