Archive for September, 2012

Ghost Bike in Dorchester

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Dotbike installed this Ghost Bike in honor of our fellow Dotrider Mr. Bui age 63 who was run over on Morrissey Blvd late one night when he was returning from fishing.

Here’s my first effort at posting a photo on this site. Typcially I post a link to the dotbike flickr site. While the idea is to honor the fallen rider Mr. Bui, the Ghost Bike also says something about Dotbikers. Beyond Casey (works with Boston Mag & lives nearby) and his partner ??(sorry) the folks who showed up could be identified as the core of Dotbike. We might have had a few more, but the crew that communicates, gets out into the community and rides rides rides was there. You know who you are. Thank you one and all for responding to my e-mails calling for us to install a bike. Thanks to those who obtained a bike, found the paint, donated the lock, showed up on Sunday morning at 8:30 AM! and said our prayers over the spot marked Left Sho in what was a gruesome looking stretch of roadway where poor Mr. Bui and the unfortunate Mr. Ahern met. God bless you all. Given this is the stretch of road dubbed “The Missing Link” by Dotbike and the Dot Reporter piece chronicalling this even turned to a photo of our state and city elected officials not far up the road looking at the Pedestrian Cross Walk marking this site and honoring Mr. Bui was imperitive. Add to that the fact Hub on Wheels was minutes from riding past and the installation was timely and sensitive. Here’s hoping everyone who saw the Ghost Bike and realizes its significance will call their State Representative, Senator and the Governor’s office and tell them enough is enough and its time to make installing “The Missing Link” priority #1, not something we might do with some Obama Tiger Whatever # $. Enough now, I’m getting angry… Pedal on! Call your Rep & Senator NOW! Thanks!

Thoughts while counting

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

Dotriderblog was part of Boston Bikes recent bike count. We worked two sites, Dot Ave and Columbia Road and Washington St (in Dot) and Columbia Road. The following are my unscientific observations.

The Washington Street post revealed that there is a lot of education that needs to go on for Dotriders. With over 50 men passing that site, 80% of them didn’t wear helmets and 66% of them were what Dotriderblog calls “Sidewalkers.” They were typically riding on the sidewalk and very often heading the wrong direction. Some would wind back and forth onto the road where it seemed convenient. There wasn’t a lot of long distance commuter traffic. It’s a small wonder dotriderblog is always scratching his head when Boston Bikes reports high percentages of folks wearing helmets.

The Dot Ave site revealed much the same as a high percentage didn’t wear helmets and rode on the sidewalk. Lowering this percentage was a growing stream of folks who commute up the Avenue utilizing the bike lane and Dot Ave’s terminus in downtown.  This number will continue to grow as the fact is there will be more bike riders every day rather than less. Having counted at this site a year or two back, the 139 bikes we saw in two hours doesn’t seem like much but it was much more than before. Even the 71 seen at Washington Street was higher than what we may have found a few years back.

Riders at all spots didn’t do any good for cyclists’ safety image. I was amazed at the high number of folks coming north who drifted halfway across Columbia Road instead of waiting for the light. Perhaps it was spurred because Dot Ave there has a turn lane and there is no bike box or spot for riders to feel safe in what is probably one of the city’s craziest intersections. For better or for worse this intersection wasn’t included in the Stimulus Funded 10 Intersection Solution for Dorchester Avenue. It’s a state planned intersection though as there is no thought to accomodate cyclists. So it’s not a big wonder that many riders eschew the road and take the law into their own hands.

On the safety front though we witnessed two automobile accidents in two hours at Washington and Columbia. Both were a direct result of someone running a light. The police could make thousands each day at BOTH intersections just by standing there and citing folks who ‘block the box.’  Of course if they did, all havoc would break out. And they say it’s those crazy cyclists making things difficult for cars…

We saw one Hubway at Dot Ave. I got a chance to speak with the rider and he goes from Central Square to UMass which are two sites just added this year. Of course he took off down the sidewalk the wrong way. Wouldn’t it be nice if local Dorchester students at UMass would have the option of picking up a bike at Fields Corner or Peabody Square and head to school?

One thing that is definitely true about a significant number of bike riders in Dorchester is that many riders are using bikes for very very local riding. Many must be riding just a few blocks or less than a mile to home or work locally. Eyeing the riders closely, many had poorly tuned bikes with rusty chains and low air in their tires. There wasn’t any spandex or fancy bike computers. IPhones might be about the only similarity.

So how do we help our local riders? Good question. Given the news that two riders have been killed on Dorchester (South Boston was part of Dorchester until 1804 and it was a block from Dorchester Avenue) this past few days makes it a very important one too. Hopefully our Interim Bike Czar will either shed the Interim tag or be replaced by someone with a real title and more political pull that’s been on display since Nicole Friedman moved to Maine. Given most folks at City Hall are ensconsed in their jobs for life, they can easily ignore anyone who appears temporary, especially someone so young without any obvious political clout. So Boston’s bicycle future is on a bureaucratic hold despite a constant swelling of our numbers.

Quick update on construction etc. in Dot

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Neponset Avenue has been repaved for about half its length. Bike lanes have been installed going north but only sharrows going south. This road is way wider than 50 feet, so what’s with only one lane? (Must be a state planner?)

Franklin Park is blocked going from Pierpont Road to Glen Road due to pathway improvements which will actually make for a flat transition for riders in the future. While there is no easy access, regulars may plan an alternate route which isn’t as nice but is ok. Also this project is due to be completed fairly soon (before winter) so let’s go!

Broken (run over) bike racks in Peabody Square in front of Ashmont Cycles fixed within a week of ribbon cutting ceremony when dotrider asked the simple question, “How does leaving broken bike racks in front of a new bike store reflect on your actual support of his business…”

Dot Ave from Gallivan to Richmond is on a punch list. Great punch list! It’s a year old and aging daily.

Hubway announcements for JFK and UMass? Our bet is 2013…Anyone else?

And the beat goes on out in the hinterlands of Dorchester.

Peddle on!