Steve Garfield reports the city recently replaced the white no-bicycles signs on the Jamaica Pond path that bicyclists routinely ignored with bright yellow no-bicycles signs.
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I avoid it on a bike anyway. I absolutely never cycle on a ped path. What would be great is if the rangers 1) enforced bike restrictions, and 2) ordered pedestrians off the bike paths.
I used to ride on the pond bike path, but so many young moms pushed infants in strollers two and three abreast that I stay away. The two times I stopped by parents endangering kids to say their kids were at risk, literally they swore that they had the right to do whatever they wanted (insert multiple obscenities). I asked the DCR, who says sure, pedestrians are not allowed, but de facto they are allowed because cyclists must do whatever it takes to accommodate them.
Of course, it's dangerous and bad parenting, but the constabulary is indifferent. Both cyclists on ped paths and pedestrians on bike paths should get those $50 tickets. Book 'em, Danno.
Meanwhile, I take the streets.
There is a bike path at the pond? I never bike near there, even, because I thought it was all for pedestrians. Sounds like it is, regardless of designation.
I know, I have been mildly inconvenienced by foot and stroller traffic--but we cyclists DO NOT HAVE EXCLUSIVE rights to any of these paths. It makes sense to ban bikes from the pond circuit because that is a loop that doesn't go anywhere and it is busy with runners and walkers. But that does not mean the other path is a bike-only path. If you come up onto 3 moms with strollers...go around them on the grass. Slow down and say "excuse me" if you're on a road bike with skinny tires. If they are really bad, then you have time to say "can I just get around you guys?" Even if you think you have the "right" to the path--be the "better person" and show a little courtesy instead of trying to pick a fight.
Pedestrians are at the bottom of the vulnerability food chain, so to speak and we should show them the same respect we demand from people in cars when we share the road. I know...they do stupid things sometimes--like crossing in front of us as we race towards a stale green light at a busy intersection. But cut them a little slack and recognize we all share responsibility for making things a little better instead of just demanding what we think is right.
Facetiousness aside, the concern here is people putting their infants and even their oblivious selves at risk. Sure, non-cyclists are often ignorant of what a collision of a 200 pounder on a 35 pound bike at even a slow 12 MPH can do to a human, but honest to God, pushing a baby in front of any vehicle on a path clearly marked for cycles only is beyond stupid.
Roads are for vehicles, motor, cycle and where allowed equestrian, and not for pedestrians. Ped paths for for walkers, runners and maybe young ones on trikes. Bike paths are there to protect cyclists while giving them safe passage.
Just like there are signs on interstate ramps forbidding pedestrians, cyclists and horses, each of these paths should make it clear who is not allowed, with legal penalties. Glibly saying, "Of course pedestrians should walk wherever they feel they want to," is inane.
I say post it and fine 'em. If people are so callous and dumb that they'd put their kids' lives in danger on the road or bike path, let them know it's dangerous, dumb, and illegal.
Unfortunately, the DCR thinks ignoring the issue by saying, "Watch out for pedestrians!" is a solution.
I have never seen any indication that the path around Jamaica Pond is a bike-only path. Your arguments are good advice to cyclists who should slow down and yield to pedestrians on the path. I am a parent, cyclist, walker, runner, and driver. Tomorrow morning, I might be riding along that path on my bike. On the weekend, I might be walking with my 3-year old. The cyclist bears the primary responsibility for not endangering the pedestrian.
As to the roads, I disagree there too--as a runner, I will run in the road if I feel like it and expect cars and bikes to work with me, not blindly assert their "right" to the road over common sense and courtesy.
For you and the others who have repeated this misconception:
It's not the path around the pond that's a bike path. The path around the pond is a pedestrian path. It's the other path, which passes by the pond, that is a bike path.
There's a bifurcation south of the boat house, and the bike path goes up closer to the road than the ped path, and continues roadside. It is marked as a bike path and is for through bike traffic passing by the pond from the Arborway to the J-Way and vice versa.
The lack of respect on every side creates hazard for all. Pedestrians should stay on the pedestrian path, and bikes should stay off. Likewise, no mall-walkers on the bike path. A collision will not benefit anybody, least of all the ped. And a 3-year old goofing around on a marked bike path is in mortal danger the same as in a road. If you're letting your kid do that, you're not a fit parent.
the path is split, one for peds, one for bikes. If only peds stayed on their path...
see also: Olmstead Park.
It's a common misconception. Those bicycle symbols on the bike paths denote places where bikes are allowed. Pedestrians aren't restricted from them. They're shared-use paths.
I regularly poke fun at both pious and profane pro-bike comments on blogs. The reason I poke fun at these self-absorbed folks, is that they have little awareness of anyone other than themselves. Something like 'car drivers are mean, so therefore i can do whatever i like on my bike...because i can.'
Fortunately this is a minority of cyclist, albeit a noticeable minority. Dave Atkins' excellent post outlines behavior that not only works for everyone, but builds good will for the cycling community.
Last week i heard the head of Mass Bike on WBUR and he had a difficult time moving beyond the 'drivers are mean' so bikers have no alternative..., rather than acknowledging the anger and frustration that many pedestrians and responsible drivers feel at outlaw bicyclists.
The socially positive benefit of increased bicycle use would be better advanced more by responsible cyclists advocating responsible cycling.
Mothers with strollers on the bike path - instead of running over an infant in a stroller that was pushed in front of me while riding on a bike path, I ended up landing on my chin and getting 10 stitches in the emergency room. There was a walking path 15 feet away, but that didn't seem to matter to the moms and their strollers. Ugh.
OK PEOPLE LISTEN UP. JP Pond is managed by the City of Boston Parks and Rec Dept. DCR has a few fragments here and there of land in the arborway/j-way, but the main tracts of park you see is probably city managed. Theres the arboretum, Jamaica Pond, Olmstead park, and the riverway, all out of DCR hands so you got some faulty info. Yes the path is wide enough for a bike to go through, but is it wide enough for many bikes to go through, is it wise enough to do so with the many blind curves that make up the pond's outline? (bikers WILL be going faster so spare me) the answer then is no. Bikers have been given due consideration, especially with bike lane enforcement there as well. Theres no need to ride directly by the pond when there a path the goes all around
I was going to ignore your comment, but since you took the trouble to use your Caps Lock key, I have to take you seriously now.
yessir. I still ride the bike path there - I just toot my little horn. But especially since we have that new crosswalk by Orchard street (yaaay bike tzar!) it's really nice to take the path.
This is wrong headed. The paths around the pond are wide enough for bikes.
What I don't understand is why the city is wasting time enforcing a ban against bikes around the pond when there are bikers on busy sidewalks in business districts who don't care whether they hurt a person by clipping them or worse.
and I haven't been above walking right at a cyclist on the pond trail. It's pretty funny when they don't move, hit my shoulder and then go careening onto the Jamaicaway berm. There's a trail right along the J Way for cyclists that gets them right to the bike lanes on Perkins Street and, from there, right to the bike trail at Olmstead. It also gets them right to the cross at Pond Street. They have no business on the trail because it goes nowhere and is in no way wide enough to accommodate them and the folks who stroll the pond. The joggers are bad enough, but usually friendly and a mild nuisance.
If you bike on the Pond Trail, you're pretty much a jackass.
If a cyclist sees you in an area marked BIKES ONLY, then its on bro.
The real problem continues to be that people don't read, don't care, and don't bother no matter how they are getting around because nobody holds them accountable for their antisocial behavior while walking, cycling, or driving. The real solution: enforce ALL rules for ALL modes - cyclists, motorists, and sheepedestrians included.
There are bike lanes and paths, but even those are shared with pedestrians. There's no such thing as a "bikes only" thoroughfare in this town. If you don't like it, take it up with Mumbles. Don't go breaking the law on the pond trail or you might end up in the pond.
Warning: the Pedestrians in Boston are waaaaaaaaay stupider than anybody ever thought.
Good luck not getting your ass run over - and sued for damages - if you ever visit another city.
What is this mythical "other city" where cyclists always have the right of way and pedestrians are at fault for anything? Please let me know so I can take my Surly there post-haste.
Who ever does not follow the rules is ticketed and considered to be liable for damages INCLUDING PEDESTRIANS in the following cities:
These are cities I have visited where jaywalkers are fined as much as $100, cyclists can be ticketed and fined, and motorists are frequently pulled over and cited for running lights.
In NYC, you'd also better keep your arse out of the bike lanes - they are for bikes, not large families wanting their own special place to amble.
I think you're a little confused about New York City bike lanes. It's a town where cops clothesline bikers at will and, unless you're on the Hudson River bikexpressway, a cyclist has almost no power whatsoever in NYC. Better off up here.
Based on that list above, what you're saying is our aggro friend had better watch his/her back in Canada (and psedoCanada). I'm sure that sends quite the shiver down his/her spine.
Places like Edinburgh assume that if a pedestrian is not in a crosswalk, is not on a sidewalk, and is not obeying a light, the pedestrian will be at fault for any accidents. Drivers just assume this, and will run you down.
Dublin was alot the same outside of the central tourist areas.
I've ridden a bike on the pond way once! Why? I didn't know where the hell the bike lane was, coming from the north, since I'd never been there before. Don't worry, I rode awfully slow, and often rode on the grass. And looked sheepish. So no one seemed to care.
Phew, off my chest, finally.
The path that runs along the Pond is very wide. It is easily wide enough for a bike and a few people lined up side by side. The path also matches the criteria of sidewalks where bikes are legal: non-business areas.
The trail that runs adjacent to the Pond is fine for transportation from point A to point B but is unrelated to the use of the path around the Pond. That path is for recreation. Biking along that path is a recreational activity. The path is wide enough, long enough, and gosh darn it is good enough for walking, jogging and biking.
However, if the goal is for the path to be exclusively for the sauntering set (which I gladly do as well) then let's go the full route of banning any form of movement other than walking.
We should also ban cars, motorcycles, trucks and any other vehicle that makes the Jamaica Way a virtual highway. The park roadways from the Fenway to the Arboretum were never designed for motorized vehicles. Not only are they dangerous to people but they are destroying one of the grandest boulevards of trees in the city. If banning bikes is a quality of life matter then to not ban vehicles that damage the area is disingenuous.
It is ironic that with a push for more bicycling that one of the finest areas for bike recreation is off limits. Like I wrote wrong headed.
And has been since before you moved here. With strolling folks, strollers and joggers, there isn't enough room for you and the fixie.
I"m not sure from what century you're from, but posts such as:
We should also ban cars, motorcycles, trucks and any other vehicle that makes the Jamaica Way a virtual highway. The park roadways from the Fenway to the Arboretum were never designed for motorized vehicles.
aren't helpful to any solution. I don't think that there are too many people alive today who remember when the Jamaicaway was not used by automobiles.
The fact is that an overwhelming majority, almost all in fact, commute into and around the city by public transit and driving cars. Fantastically, unreal statements aren't going to help any cause. If you believe that there should be more infrastructure for cycling, then banning the commuter route for several thousand folks going to work is probably not a good place to start.
If banning bikes is a quality of life matter then to not ban vehicles that damage the area is disingenuous.
A gazillion people come in to the city every day. Most traffic planning revolves around getting them in and out most safely with the least damaging affect on abutting neighbors. I imagine cyclist who use the Jamaica Pond region make up some small fraction of 1%, probably there are many more folks who think it's pretty ingenuous - including the pedestrians who been terrified or injured by an irresponsible cyclist.
The Southwest Corridor has a bike path which is clearly marked, at every intersection, as being bike only.
So does the path from Jamaica Pond to Route 9, which you are so happy to point out. That one actually specifically says "BIKE ONLY".
Guess what you can find in the BIKE ONLY path?
-families, four wide, taking up most of the path
-people walking their dogs, with the dog on a leash on one side of the path, owner on the other (ie, clothesline)
-dogs not on leashes who lunge at you unexpectedly
-dogs on leashes who lunge at you unexpectedly
-joggers, runners, and walkers on the right side
-joggers, runners, and walkers on the left side(ie, walking at/jogging/running at you, oblivious to the fact that it is a ROAD, ie, stay to the right!)
-children who suddenly bolt onto the path
-day-care charges (yes, seriously - multiple daycare centers in JP now take a group of 15-20 toddlers out onto the path and block most of it, and when you call out "excuse me", the women adopt that overentitled-angry-black-woman tone and scream "SCUZE YOU!" back
-Trial Court busses (for the work crews)
I've even had to go off the Olmstead path because of an asshole for Comcast who decided to park on the path and have his lunch.
Boston Police like to park some cars on the bike path behind BPD headquarters on a fairly regular basis.
Boston Parks crews once dumped a giant load of mulch blocking the entire width of the bike path and left it there for hours, and for days there was slippery debris all over the path.
So pardon me if I laugh at your whining about the occasional biker on the jamaica pond path.
Exactly where does it say "bike only?" Is that what you believe the little bike symbol to mean? Because even the DCR makes it clear that the bike symbol implies bike access, not exclusivity. It's a shared bike and pedestrian path. Even in Berkeley and Eugene, bikes don't get their own paths. The bicycle boulevards are still shared with low-speed cars and the paths are still shared with peds.
Here's an idea, crybaby biker: Get some cyclocross tires, ride around the obstacle and stop crying like a little infant. Do you still have training wheels on your bike?
I rode the pond path today and saw exactly one faded old sign near the arborway rotary end that said "Bicycle Path." There was some fine print, but I didn't stop to read it. Please point to actual regulations or laws that *prohibit* pedestrians from using the bike paths. I searched, but couldn't find anything either way.
The path from Route 9 to Jamaica Pond--east of Olmstead Park--actually has a sign that warns cyclists to slow down and be aware of pedestrians. I forget; maybe you are talking about the Brookline side? I think I recall some bike-only signs there but it is a short distance with a ped path 15 feet parallel to it, not 200 feet down a ravine.
On the southwest corridor, it is nice that there is a path designated for bikes and another parallel one for pedestrians. But again, I don't think a person who happens to walk on the bike path should get a ticket or be rudely admonished by some cyclist. That path is better marked, so I can understand clearly the intent was to separate the traffic, but everyone has to adjust their behavior with courtesy and for safety.
Meanwhile, farther north in Brookline, you have the recently repaved Riverway (also signs advising cyclists to be courteous of pedestrians) and, of course, the Esplanade, where there are some portions that are more suitable for bikes vs slower traffic--but no way is there any exclusivity--good luck enforcing that!
The Emerald Necklace and Southwest Corridor Park are great resources that promote walking, cycling and community. I have seen all the things you complain about--and I wish I could make the non-cyclists be more aware of their actions...but I think part of the deal of having these resources is that we have to share them. Maybe someday we'll have designated bikeway like in Denmark or Holland. Maybe someday they will take away a lane of the JWAY to create a paved bike express lane all the way from Fenway to Franklin Park. But in the meantime, we have a park system that promotes outdoor activity and engages people in the life of the city. As we ask people in cars to slow down and not kill us when we take the lane and delay them for 15 seconds, I don't think it is too much of a burden to have to go around the occasional (and fairly time-predictable) day care train in front of Roxbury Crossing. When it is a real safety issue--i.e. the clotheslining dog walker--absolutely tell them why what they are doing is dangerous.
A well-reasoned and civilized comment in a bike thread. You must be new here.
How did you bike from the Pond to Route 9 and miss these?
I ride up the Boston side of Olmstead Park. Those signs are in Brookline, on the west side and cover a very short distance where, as you can see, there are two paths very close together. The earlier discussion is about the area between Perkins and Francis Parkman Drive vs the loop around the Pond.
You must be awfully strong, to be able to nudge someone with your shoulder and send them flying 10 to 15 feet. And how dare people (joggers and bikers) choose to engage in forms of exercise that burn more than a trivial amount of calories. If you post tough guy/girl rantings on the internet, you're pretty much a jackass.
When you can just yell at 'em? That's what I do. No need for potentially harmful and jail-worthy violence. This place is so used to passive aggression that actual verbal aggression always leaves people slackjawed.
And how dare people (joggers and bikers) choose to engage in forms of exercise that burn more than a trivial amount of calories.
It didn't sound like dude had a problem with joggers. It sounded like his issue was with idiot bikers whose motto for life is "What do you mean I can't do what I want whenever I want to?" Just like playing rugby in the Arboretum is banned with good reason, so is biking so close to the pond. Go over to the Charles path if you want to make it hazardous and damned near impossible for someone to stroll by a body of water in peace. I'm a jogger myself, but hate it when people use their recreational activity as an excuse to tell others they're somehow winning in the race of life.
The old couple holding hands on the path has as much right to do that as I have to jog it, and I give them a wide berth out of respect. Bikes have no rights on that path, as they are banned, and I have no problem calling the cyclists on them out for what they are: Complete assholes.
This is where he takes issue with joggers:
The joggers are bad enough, but usually friendly and a mild nuisance.
My bottom line in all of this is that, with a little courtesy on all sides, pretty much any path in Boston city can be used by walkers/joggers/strollers/dog-walkers/bikers. Are there a-hole bikers who ride too fast and too close to peds on the Charles? For sure. But I also see plenty of bikers who understand the damage they can do to pedestrians in the event of a collision and who ride accordingly. I was mostly poking fun at the tough guy elements of his post. All the talk about "knocking bikers into the berm" and other such aggro nonsense. Though I agree that bikes don't belong on the Pond path. So I guess we have that in common.
I can tell you from experience, though, that being aggro in JP doesn't necessarily make you a "he." My circle includes plenty of aggressives and their gender hasn't tempered it in the least. They're the type of folks who have no problem threatening to knock guys out for looking at their girl at the Midway and, in some cases, probably have enough mass to shove someone off a path. Much as I wish it weren't so, meatheads know no gender.
The problem is not everyone follows the established transport priority order that can be applied no matter what sort of artery one is on:
4. Bike messengers
5. Emergency vehicles (that are actually responding to one)
6. Civilian bikers (no extremes: spandex or grandma bikes)
8. Ok now those with spandex pants or grandma bikes
9. Pedestrians, but only those who walk on the right half of the sidewalk (we're not in England) and walking single file is mandatory, no line abreast formations (we're not in the English navy Lord Nelson)
10. Small cars
11. Big cars
13. Taxi's and livery
15. People with giant strollers
17. People with dogs (because I know you're letting it pee on things even if you pick up the doodie)
18. Segways (actually though appearing on list they have no rights at all and should be struck by nuclear land torpedoes whenever present)
I fully agree. Oh, for cripes sake, why would you ride around the pond anyway, go for the Necklace path. I use to ride the Necklace all the way to the Fens back in the day. And yes, I came across others using that path, but mostly I saw other bicyclists. And I was not bothered and really had no problem riding around people walking enjoying the day, folks on roller skates, folk on roller skates with ski poles, whatever.
If certain, "take no prisoners" bicyclists want to ride like a bat out of hell and not stop for anyone or anything than ride on the road (and best of luck to you). A path used by a variety of folks trying to get some exercise is not the place to exercise your warrior mentality.
Now I am a jogger and I have shared paths with bicyclists, walkers, dog walkers, trikes, baby carriages, folks in wheelchairs, you name it as well as other runners. There is room for everyone if we can somehow just find a way to be nice to each other.
No cycling means no cycling. Get off the path. If joggers, walkers, and parents with strollers annoy you, get a stationary bike and pedal to your heart's content in the comfort of your own apartment.
We're complaining about the city getting its panties in a bunch about cyclists on one path, while the path we're allowed to use is infested with everyone short of marching bands and shriners.
Given that a cyclist is almost always going to be more injured in a collision with a pedestrian (since they've got the velocity and height to fall from), yeah, I think we have a right to complain.
NO BIKES MEANS NO BIKES. I DON'T CARE A HOOT IF ALL CYCLISTS HATE MOTHERS WITH DOUBLE-WIDE STROLLERS AND/OUR HIPSTERS TEXTING WHILE WALKING, GET OFF THE PEDESTRIAN PATH!
Also: he didn't say anything about wanting to ride on the path that's (always been) no-bikes-allowed. He said he's annoyed at the people who use bike paths, when they have perfectly good pedestrian-only paths.
How funny that non-bikers tell bikers to follow the rules, but then can't even handle something simple like staying off bike paths and using the pedestrian-only paths?
High fallutin concepts such as civility and niceness just are not part of the Boston way gosh darn it! Apparently reducing each other to anatomical exit points is the Boston way of carrying on a debate.
The same seems to apply to sharing. "It's mine! No it's mine! Damn it's mine and I will ban your damn ass!"
It's ironic that in a city with so many colleges, where education is in industry, debates still include a large amount of name calling, hysteria and other qualities that belong in junior high.
It's perfectly reasonable to have pedestrian-only zones where people can casually stroll side-by-side without fear of being sideswiped by 15-mph wheeled traffic. The Public Garden, the Jamaica Pond circuit path, and Harvard Yard are all good examples of this.
(On the other hand, Mount Auburn Cemetery's bicycle ban is unreasonable, since people are allowed to drive cars on the cemetery roads. Bikes, pedestrians, and the occasional car seem to get along just fine at similar Forest Hills Cemetery.)
Yes, people are allowed to drive cars through most of Mt. Auburn to visit their deceased loved ones. Do you have a problem with this? People walking through Mt. Auburn for a stroll is one thing, but speeding through a cemetery on a bike is another thing. Don't you think there's a reason bikes are banned?
Nobody would ever ride a bike for transportation, least of all to visit their deceased father's final resting place.
My husband, therefore, does not exist.
Park your bike at the gate and walk like the rest of us. No disrespect intended.
I think the Mt. Auburn ban has more to do with it being a cemetary then the type of vehicle. Forest Hills is just not as classy a burial ground as Mt. Auburn.
Cars are allowed because people ride in them, dead and living, to get to funerals, and I'm not even positive that outside of that case they are allowed in Mt. Auburn. They used to always keep the car sized gate closed as I remember.
Just like if you walked into the cemetery but then proceeded to play frisbee in it they might kick you out.
Whether our dead require such sacrosanct treatment is of course up for debate.
You are welcome to do what you wish with your dead. Please respect mine.
Both of them are equally 'classy' as both were designed around the same time by the same landscape architect, Henry Dearborn. Both have a large number of famous people buried in them.
It has always been my impression that people could drive cars into these two cemeteries for any reason, not just to participate in a funeral. Mount Auburn will even rent or sell you you a cassette tape or a CD so you can do a one-hour driving tour.
When the Forest Hills Educational Trust was still active, they sponsored the occasional bicycle tour.
You are, if you pardon, dead wrong about the concept and the contrast here. Both FH and MA are garden cemeteries, pioneers in the field and setting the tone for the U.S. MA is a few years older, but they were designed as parks as well as places for the dead.
From the beginning, both were for individuals and families to enjoy fellowship, stroll, picnic, engage in contemplation and also honor their dead. An idea was to integrate life and death in a new, positive way.
Both have beautiful grounds. I know both well and prefer FH, as did many noted writers and artists when it came time to plant their bones.
Banning the quiet cycles while allowing noisy, smelly motor vehicles for anything other than maintenance and burial is illogical and against the original aims. Times change, but this change at MA is not necessarily for the better.
Funny you mention playing frisbee in cemeteries since I have actually seen this. It was a father and two young sons.