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

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!

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