Archive for September, 2011

Hostile media and Missing Links…

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Over the past month dotriderblog has gotten letters in both Boston dailies (sorry if the Monitor is still out there) decrying their reports on scofflaw bike riders being ticketed and the accident rate in Cambridge… Our points being:

If you’re ticketing bicycle riders where are the 50 car driver tickets for each bicycle ticket? As IF folks in their cars are any LESS scofflaw or apt to break the law than any bicyclist… For that matter throw in pedestrians and the cops will be in traffic court for years.

Hey car folks, guess what? Every rider isn’t someone else in a car jamming up traffic! More riders = less drivers! D’uh! One might think some drivers would like that advantage no? I want a back pack sticker reading “If you think I’m a bad rider you should see me drive!…to which one friend said that’s too long just put “Boston Driver” on and that will say it all

The media isn’t doing us any favors through their coverage. How about something about how to be a safer rider? Jeesh the past two weeks drivers have been more scofflaw aggressive and nasty to riders than EVER! Coincidence? Perhaps. It has been a warm September and dotriderblog has been known to be too aggressive (in some circles) related to expressing his opinions of someone’s driving habits. Hence the folks with their windows open hear me and often respond with a series of four letter words. At least the papers ran my letters.

Which brings me to the second half of my post title: Where was the Mayor’s Boston Bikes on this one? HEY! The Globe and Herald didn’t take my letters thinking I’m a kook. The guy from the Globe said it was a great letter when he shredded my assertions based upon the stats I’ve gleaned the past few years as a pseudo bike advocate… HOWEVER wouldn’t it have been nicer if my letter had been displaced by a nice note emphasizing safety and civility when riding signed by the Mayor or his minion? Other bike organizations missed for that matter, although I’ve been led to understand that for one it may well have not been from a lack of effort…

What’s with Cambridge letting police harrassing riders? Let’s get organized and hand out MassBike Share the Road flyers to bikes AND cars at the most jammed up intersections in the area. Where’s that effort? Education is key. City leaders are missing these teaching moments as the media doesn’t seem to be getting the point that riding bikes is with us now and it won’t go away until we have 10 years of $1/gallon gasoline (and it will happen just like it did before). And by the time that happens it may well be too late as a generation of folks have gotten used to the idea that it’s usually faster, cheaper, healthier and less stressful to ride your bike somewhere in town rather than to use your car.

Now that it is obvious to even the hardest case nay sayers that the Hubway bike share system is going to be a success, isn’t it time for the city to ramp up its public relations FOR bicycles? One suspects that we’ll see a new roll-out in this regard in the spring. Let’s hope so.

So as we head into October and the evening ride gets darker, be sure to get all the blinkers and head lights tuned up and ready. Get those light colored close out and be ready. We’ll see you out there one day! Peddle on!

Attention to detail

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Summer is winding to a close and dotriderblog has begun riding across a wider spectrum of Boston Streets than usual. It’s funny how much more one sees on a bicycle rather than in a car. Here’s a few of the things we’ve noticed in just the past week.

The one that made me smile the most is the Hubway station on Yawkey Way. We’ve been chronicaling (and will do so with yestereday’s photos as well on the dotbike flickr site) the dire need for bike racks by Gate D on Yawkey Way at Fenway Park. We’ll show a continuing daily need for bike racks as there were a couple chained to trees and fences and just a half block later there’s the Hubway….Can a private bike use Hubway bays  for parking?

There were only two bikes  in the bays and the more time I spent in town the more I saw them riding around. So Hubway will be a success and I’ll be proved wrong (as predicted here or at least wished for). My criticism that it was miss timed and there is much to do around the city to make the infrastructure safer for riding for all of us still stands. We thought doing the safety stuff first made the most sense, but no one listened. Hopefully that will get more attention going forward.

Mass Ave compromised with Sharrows in a few spots and nothing’s happening north of Columbus Avenue really.

The Dot Ave Ten Intersection Solution continues to be a drag and as of now there are fewer Sharrows as south of Route 203 was paved and the sharrows have yet to return. It’s been over a year since they put the ‘temporary’ paint on Dot Ave from Old Colony to Broadway and there’s still no bike lanes… Any sharrows or lanes anywhere else have already been obliterated. Plus the turn lane from Dot Ave to Park Street heading west is an accident waiting to happen. It’s too bad State planners didn’t take our observations seriously. The road design still reeks of increasing automobile flow instead of promoting safety and traffic calming…

Parks got pounded in the hurricane and they’re still out there cleaning up. They got things barely passable but need to back through and clean up the smaller messes. Once Franklin Park was voted the second most beautiful park in the world, but Parks seems to see it as a great dumping ground for snow and brush… No doubt Franklin Park will get more than its share of brush dumped within it’s confines.

We’re still seeing more riders than ever on our short route to work. We’ve refound our camera and have filled up the memory card in recent days, so one day we’ll have to update the flickr site. The range and diversity of folks continues to be astounding. Add to that where you see folks and for this Dot-ite veteran it’s is heartening to see the old lines that separated us blur. While that may be happening with folks living in different spots it is way cool that bikes are leading the way in getting folks to ride into parts of town fearful folks might deem as “No go”. We’ll let you draw your own conclusions about that…

It must have been the air in my tires…

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Dotriderblog posted the comment, “I put some air in my tires and I have a whole new attitude” as his facebook status the other day and someone asked me if it was meant to be a metaphor.  Good question. My answer is definitely! My new approach on any issue will be to see how we can get some air in the tires of the project at hand. Despite my post a while back suggesting it isn’t easy to be a crank, it really is. Hindsight is easy as is being critical. So….

Instead of pointing out the mundane things that have been done that shouldn’t have and bemoan what isn’t getting done, we’ll try to figure what needs to be done and who might be able to provide the air in the tires to get the job done! After all the evidence is pretty clear that investing in improving the infrastructure for bicycles is good for automobiles. Every biking denizen is someone who’s NOT in a car. They’re not cutting you off, running the light or taking your parking spot with their car. The more people who are on bikes means less people in cars. Less cars jamming and wearing out the roads.

We’ve all heard the lip service from state and city transportation officials that clearly show they understand expanding our transportation options is a good investment. Despite that there is an institutional prevailing wisdom that cow tows to the forces advocating for more automobile access.  By getting more air in the tires of those open to promoting bicycles and bike culture, perhaps the incremental changes that we see might begin to move a little faster.

So it is obvious that the Mayor’s Bike Program could use some air in their tires through the addition of more staff and resources to promote safe bicycle use around the entire city. The Roll it Forward program needs to expand the educational element as part of its distribution efforts. Hubway could use some more air too in order to expand its service area to all Boston’s neighborhoods as well as across the river to Cambridge and Somerville.

Since I’ve adopted my new attitude we attended DCR’s presentation of their new proposal for a Bike Path along the Neponset River from Lower Mills to Mattapan Square. I liked it! I came prepared to be po’d at the Milton Fear and Loathing Crowd and instead I came out feeling sorry for them since they’re going to miss this awesome new resource. The folks in Mattapan will get most of the pay off! Great! Plus it was an ingeneous and wonderfully esthetically pleasing plan that will give riders awesome views of the Neponset River. Kudos to the planners at DCR for that one!

Then on August 31, as I was zipping down Talbot Ave to a meeting in Dorchester (my usual 10 minutes late) I couldn’t help but notice the Bike Lane Chevron Guy had been installed in front of the Harambee Play Ground heading east and the Sharrow Arrow in front of the Lee School heading west had been installed! HOORAY!!!!!!!!!! It must be my new attitude!