Archive for November, 2011

The Thomas H. Menino Cyclo-Tunnel…and other big dreams

Friday, November 18th, 2011

The week just past and some upcoming meetings are proving to be very exciting for bicycle advocates in the city of Boston. Wednesday night keen observers saw that Boston Bikes was opening a planning meeting with their design firm Toole Associates to view the initial Master Plan for Bicycle Infrastructure and to suggest tweaks and or areas where there might be something BIG that hadn’t been thought of yet.

Dotriderblog’s big idea turned out to be taking a lane out of the Callahan or Sumner Tunnel and dedicating it to bicycles. I’ve since dubbed it the Thomas H. Menino Cyclo-Tunnel. I’ve also further dreamed that a bike lane be suspended from the ceiling of the tunnel and a limited height lane remain under it thus only limiting trucks and other tall vehicles and not any automobiles. Of course that would significantly add to the expense.

Expense wasn’t the question in the plan. It appears to have taken EVERY suggestion by ANY bike advocate from ANY part of the city and incorporated it into a huge series of sharrows, bike lanes, dedicated lanes, cyclotracks and separate pathways. WOW! If instituted (w/o the THM C-T) I believe that would bring Boston’s bike infrastructure to nearly 400 miles of roadway.

Of course not even I asked how much or how long at the time. A lot of the plans are already in the mix like the Morrissey Blvd Master Plan that calls for all kinds of new accomodation. Given the pace of events in the City the Mayor will have to hang around another 20 years in order to see this dream realized. I’m not sure if I’ll last that long myself…

Hopefully this plan will come together and we’ll start the day by day work to begin implementing it. There will be a lot of community meetings in any bike advocate’s future if these are to get done. Of course, the more is installed the better the results the easier it will be to convince crabby neighborhood groups that it is in their best interest to go along with this.

Hence Dotriderblog’s other MAIN suggestion might appear to be a good idea in terms of developing a constituency for more bike infrastructure. EDUCATION! There needs to be a plan to educate riders and automobile drivers alike about bicycles and how to operate them and for cars to deal with them. The more of us that understand how bikes should work on the road the better. Perhaps I’ll be able to go for more than a day without someone suggesting I get off the road.

The meeting in Dorchester on Thursday showing how DCR is trying to proceed with the Neponset Bikeway along the Neponset River was truly exciting. We’ll know by the end of the year if the Federal Funding will be forthcoming for same. We noticed the TIGER funds got through the latest budget vote yesterday although the cutting of the high-speed rail funds might eat into that… (sigh).

The Missing Link’s in Dorchester will be slated for completion if the TIGER Grant comes through. If it doesn’t they will be left off the current plan except for perhaps having the plans completed. So keep your fingers crossed or contact the White House, your Senator’s and your local Congressperson and tell them to speak up for the Tiger Grant for the Neponset Bike Way!

Next week will be a meeting on the Casey Overpass and a Cyclo-track extension on Morton Street. Cool! Go folks go! I hope that one works too! Quite an exciting week!

Peddle on!

City planning wish list

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

This post may get changed and added onto. Any of my local friends PLEASE either post a comment or e-mail me directly if you think of anything I’m leaving out.

We’ve caught wind of an event by Boston Bikes on 11/16 at the Library to provide input to the direction they should be heading when developing more bicycle infrastructure. WOW! Outside of ditching cars there are dozens of suggestions that come to mind.

To start, if the City and State would only require ALL ROAD PROJECTS include a plan for bicycles, we’d get off on the right foot. It seems there have been a dozen or so projects in Dorchester that simply haven’t thought about bikes for a mili-second. Boston Bikes would take a big step up if they had more input on the projects. We might have lanes on Morton Street, Geneva Avenue, Bowdoin Street as well as a few other streets. Or Sharrows anyway.

What’s the dream? Let’s start with Mass Ave from Everett Square to BMC. A separated bike lane from the Square to the bridge past South Bay would be a good start. Then a solid lane up to the point where cars have to veer around the fire station and THEN a direct bike lane up Mass Ave in the face of the one way traffic coming south. Add southbound lanes all the way and we’re in there.

So, while we’re looking at commutes, finishing lanes on Blue Hill Avenue to Dudley and all the way to Mattapan works. Branching off that, River Street, Cummings Highway, Norfolk Ave, Morton Street, Seaver Street (Talbot, American Legion Hwy, Columbia Road and Warren Street (sharrows) are done!), Quincy Street and hey! Dudley could use attention.

Looking off Dot Ave, Adams Street (in Lower Mills and Fields Corner), Neponset Ave, Freeport Street, Hancock Street, Pleasant Street, Boston/Dorchester Street, D Street, Dover Street Bridge all come to mind. Morton Street and Washington Street from Lower Mills? Sure.

Harvard Ave, Bowdoin, Ashmont Street, Park Street all come to mind as east/west streets that are major arteries in Dot. Granite Ave? Let’s! Adams Street from Adams Village? Of course!

Out on the waterfront, we have the Missing Link movement trying to obtain millions to finish that neglected segment. How about Morrissey in front of BC High and the Globe? Lane after lane for cars…nothing for bikes! Day Blvd, Columbia Road out to Southie? Way overdue. Old Colony Boulevard!

Improve ALL access points to Franklin Park so we’re not jumping a curb or slithering through a gap in the fence. Yup!

There is an effort somewhere (is it dead?) to make a bike trail along the Purple Line. Sounds good!

How about Hubway stations at JFK, Fields Corner, Ashmont, the new Purple Line Stations, Franklin Park and on into other neighborhoods? Great idea! Throw in UMass, Codman Square, Grove Hall for Hubway? Wow!

We’re going to measure the width of Dorchester Avenue where the state only deigned to put Sharrows and compare it with the other laned part of the Avenue. We’re hoping (and pretty damn sure really) that something built in 1804 maintained most of its original width from Lower Mills to Congress Street no? Betcha!

So that’s it off the top of my head right now. Please let us know if you have any other thoughts. Dot-centric of course. Thanks!