Bicycling groups push for year-round bicycle paths

A number of bicycling groups are reacting to an e-mail exchange over the Southwest Corridor bike lane with by asking why major bike lanes aren't given the same clearing priority as roads.

MassBike takes the issue of snow removal on off-road pathways – and all bicycle facilities - very seriously because many people who ride bikes rely on them for their daily transportation 365 days a year. In many cases, pathways like the Southwest Corridor or the Charles River bike paths are the only safe route for people who ride bikes where parallel roadways are unsafe or uncomfortable for bicycling. Furthermore, all state agencies should be unequivocally committed to well-established state laws and policies, such as the Healthy Transportation Compact, that support increased bicycle use for everyday transportation.

This is why I have written DCR Commissioner Jack Murray to request a meeting to address the issues raised in these emails and ensuing public discussion. I appreciate the challenges that DCR and other agencies have faced this winter, and can understand the frustrations expressed by both DCR and bicyclists, but we have the opportunity to shift this discussion to a real dialogue.

Groups posted photos today of the "0.05%" - a reference to the way one official referred to what he said was the small number of bicyclists he says just refuse to accept the realities of winter in Boston.

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    Comments

    Pay Special Bike Taxes

    I pay a gas tax every time I fill up (which is a lot) to maintain the roads in the state. I have no problem paying the bike tax myself, as long as the money goes towards bike path creation, restoration, and maintenance. Of course, reasoning with the bike mafia is like arguing about evolution with one of those preachers in Kentucky that uses snakes. This is a great snow day troll posting Adam. Have at it everyone!

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    You mean

    Like property taxes and income taxes?

    You know, the ones that pay for clearing the roadways for citizens to use?

    I didn't know that having a bike meant that I don't pay those ... sheesh, what a chump I am. I need to go file an amended return and get my $$$ back.

    Oh, as for gas tax, read here: http://taxfoundation.org/article/gasoline-taxes-and-tolls-pay-only-third...

    Massachusetts
    Share of road spending covered by gas tax and tolls and user fees: 41.5%

    The rest of that money (58.5%) comes from federal funds, state income tax, and local property taxes - also known as "taxes everybody pays".

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    This is Massachusetts. Rather

    By on

    This is Massachusetts. Rather than look at more efficient / effective ways to manage the taxes we already pay, adding another tax is more than likely what our legislators would propose.

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    Great Argument, Pope Swirly, but you miss my point

    I estimate that I paid $331 in state gas taxes last year to the state alone. 40,000 Miles / 29 MPG = 1,380 gallons of gas. 1,380 x $0.24 = $331 in road taxes, enough for 0.50 days of my own personal snow plow by my estimation. I would pay $0.05 extra per gallon if the money was clearly earmarked for bike paths like SW Corridor, M. Cass, the JWay and others. If everyone did it, it would add up.

    What I am trying to say is that simple wishing for the DCR Commissioner to wave a magic wand and have the SW Corridor priority plowed is not going to happen.

    Instead of wailing away on this board, contact your State Rep. and State Senator next time the budget comes up for discussion. Crash the State House and see that instead of having money earmarked for some coat holder's kid getting a job at the Probation Department or a Second Assistant Deputy Director of Diversity at Bridgewater State, see if that money could be moved into the MDC / DCR budget for specific bike path maintenance.

    That's democracy. Wining and crying and expecting your cake without having to pay for it is mob rule.

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    Gosh, I never thought of that!

    Instead of wailing away on this board, contact your State Rep. and State Senator next time the budget comes up for discussion.

    Gee whiz, I never would have thought of that in all this time! I'll just have to have a little chat with them when I see them ... like, once a week or so ...

    Wow - first I find out that I pay taxes that I don't have to, now this talk to people that I already know well business! Amazing!

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    Swirly is just messing with us - right?

    By on

    These off the wall posts by Swirly are a joke, right? She's really just messing with everybody. No one could really be as out of it as she sounds...

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    Thank god

    By on

    someone said this. We are talking about ONE truck with a plow running down a path after the storm with the sander on. ONE. TIME.

    Unlike roads, it doesn't have to be kept clear during the storm, just opened up after. It the DCR seriously going to go bankrupt driving the 20 or so miles of the SWC and Charles River paths?

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    The DCR already *does* plow

    By on

    The DCR already *does* plow the Southwest Corridor. In theory. So we don't need to increase the budget at all.

    The complaint that started all of this said they did a sloppy job. That's the issue. No new taxes needed -- just get the existing plow employees to try a little harder.

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    Um...DCR manages a lot more

    By on

    Um...DCR manages a lot more than the SAC. There are almost 20 miles of paths around the Charles River.

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    Please, no more of this "raise the gas tax" nonsense!

    By on

    Enough is enough, already! The gas tax is a hopelessly outdated vehicle ill-suited for actually collecting a steady stream of funds through which we can maintain and expand our transportation infrastructure. It ought to be repealed and replaced.

    By subtracting that $0.24 in state gas tax and another $0.184 from the current average cost of gas in MA (per here: http://www.massachusettsgasprices.com/Prices_Nationally.aspx, about $3.454 as of this morning), we find that the pre-tax price of fuel per gallon in MA is $3.03. At your figured 1380 gallons of gas and assuming (uh-oh, you know what they say about assuming) $3.03 works out 'close enough' to the 2013 yearly average, you paid $331.20 in state gas tax, $253.92 in federal gas tax, and $4181.40 in pre-tax price of fuel. If, however, you had paid MA sales tax on that $3.03 instead of state fuel tax - you would have been charged just $261.3375 in state tax, representing a 'savings' by you of just under $70.

    Wow! Would you look at that? It's a tax cut! Republicans are all about cutting taxes. Now, I know what you're thinking, but hang on. This gets better. Right now, the MA gas tax is rather nonsensically "indexed to inflation" and our friends in the GOP are hard at work trying to get that overturned one way or another. But even if they don't manage to overturn it, "indexing to inflation" does nothing to account for how erratic the price of gas is to begin with (and it also doesn't account for the difference in fuel cost from octane to octane) - the cost of gas could very well spike faster than "inflation."

    Suppose that a month from now, the pre-tax cost of gas has jumped to $3.20. While we hand-wring and pearl-clutch about "indexing to inflatation," the fuel tax per gallon will have remained static (awaiting its annual increase) and the percentage of the cost of fuel that is "taxes" will have actually decreased. If, however, gas was subject to state sales tax instead, that $0.17/gal rise in fuel prices would have automatically caused the amount paid in taxes to also go up by $0.01/gal - automatically. No "indexing" required, no hand-wringing, no avenues for legitimate grievance. Sure, it's still a "tax cut," but that lost revenue can and will easily be made up for over time through other mechanisms (commercial VMT, which only impacts the heaviest and most damaging road users and nicely side-steps the legitimate privacy concerns inherent in private VMT schemes).

    "But what about the federal fuel tax?" you're about to ask. Great question! There's no federal sales tax, but that doesn't mean we can't restructure the federal fuel tax to also behave like the sales tax - as a percentage of cost instead of a fixed cents-per-gallon. Right now, that $0.184 federal gas tax is a little bit over 6%, and there's talk of wanting to double the cost in cents per gallon. If, instead, we replaced "cents per gallon" with a straight 10% federal tax ($0.303 cents at today's prices) - the overall amount of taxes paid remains static, if more heavily weighted towards the federal side of the equation, and instead of this "inflation indexing" nonsense, rising and falling gas taxes see the tax revenue adjust automatically.

    It's straightforward, it's fair, it guarantees we don't have to go through this circus nonsense every decade or so, and it's a "tax cut" that long-term results in more funding - which, in my opinion, is the best kind of "tax cut."

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    I see what you did there

    By on

    First, I'm reading the first 95% of your reply and I was thinking, "nice bait and switch there, John." First you suggests that cyclists aren't paying their way, which is B.S., and suggest Swirly missed your point. Then goes on some long-winded explanation like she wasn't actually defending against what your original assertion was but then you finish with

    Wining and crying and expecting your cake without having to pay for it is mob rule.

    So she didn't miss your point after all.

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    Mass car owners paying gas

    By on

    Mass car owners paying gas taxes, auto excise taxes and auto sales taxes as well as car inspection fees, license fees and registration fees are also paying property and income taxes; and have no problem with some of their property/income taxes being used for roads.
    So what is your point... that only citizens actually using a particular public service should expect to pay for that service? Do riders of the MBTA pay 100% of its costs... do you think only school families should pay for the schools.

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    Please reread the statistics

    Yes drivers pay money.

    No, that money does not cover the costs.

    We are talking about how tax money is spent - nearly 60% spent on roads comes from general funds to which all people have contributed.

    All cyclists are asking is that some of that resource - which they pay into as well - be spent for cycling needs.

    If you can't get past a I PAY SPECIAL CAR TAXES mentality, or a CARS VERSUS BIKES mindset and see that roadway plowing funds come from everybody's taxes, I can't explain it any more simply.

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    Swirls ,I like you , really ,

    By on

    Swirls ,I like you , really , not trying to wind you up, BUT , now that bikes have gone from playground and paper route transportation, to the big world , competing with the autocar, how is the notion that user fees apply to the bicycle as they do to the autocar foreign and deflected onto other arguments. You drive the autocar , you pay insurance for liability , inspection and registration fees , drivers license fee , gasoline taxes and other taxes. If you are not riding your bike after school delivering newspapers , you need to pay. Stay away with that ubolt lock of yours now !

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    60%

    By on

    Do you know what that means?

    If drivers paid all of it, you would have a point.

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    special shoe tax?

    By on

    do I need special liability insurance if I want to walk across a street? the reason you need liability insurance and inspection and registration fees is because cars are dangerous weapons (car collisions are the leading cause of death for people under the age of 40) that pollute the environment and wear down our roads. They place an enormous burden on our infrastructure (and our environment, and our health and safety) and thus you should have to pay more, and should be more liable and responsible if you want use them.

    bicycles, on the other hand, have a very minimal impact on infrastructure, pedestrians or other cyclists killed by cyclists is extremely rare - 1 death every few years - and they don't pollute, unless physical activity gives you flatulence. While I do think there needs to be more cyclist education and passing basic bike safety should be required of all middle schoolers and high schoolers - if you actually went and did the calculations for how much impact bikes have on our infrastructure (balanced against the economic and health benefits they provide) - and subtract that from what we already pay in other taxes, that "bike tax" would be negligible, and cyclists likely already pay more than their fair share.

    http://grist.org/article/2010-09-27-why-an-additional-road-tax-for-bicyc...

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    We mean excise taxes-- separate from local taxes

    By on

    Everyone with cars pay annual excise taxes on top of the taxes you are already paying. Bicyclists don't pay these taxes..but they should contribute, as you suggested to a fund to maintain bike paths.

    yeah, how about people getting angry at ignorance

    By on

    " Of course, reasoning with the bike mafia is like arguing about evolution with one of those preachers in Kentucky that uses snakes."

    Yeah, and those minorities just get so bent out of shape any time you start talking about racism, welfare, laziness, entitlement, etc. Why on earth do they get so angry when you point out The Truth, huh?

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    If you're so worried about minorities

    By on

    Maybe you should direct your energy towards safer bike routes in Mattapan, Dorchester or Hyde Park, all of which lag way, way behind JP in terms of transportation options and certainly ANY kind of bike infrastructure, let alone ice-free paths 365 days a year. How are those poor saps getting to work on time these days?

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    2 tons vs 200lbs

    By on

    Cars, and especially trucks do exponentially more damage to roads than bikes do, which is negligible. THIS is why the gas and excise taxes exist, to offset damage. This is also why trucks pay more than cars, who pay more than bicycles. The only wear and tear a bike path takes is from the sun and frost heaves (the latter wouldn't even be an issue if we built our roads correctly, but that's a whole other discussion).

    Why do you think roads get repaved every few years, but some sidewalks have been around longer than your grandmother? It's not magic!

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    Auto Excise

    By on

    Actually, the excise tax just goes to the general fund and is not earmarked for roads.

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    Oh, of course!

    By on

    So that magically changes the fact that cars destroy the roads they need to drive on, right?

    Or, that we needed to invent, install and maintain expensive devices like, traffic lights, turn lanes, sinage, etc? (And yes, I know bikes have these things. But its to seperate them from the cars, which need them.)

    I'm not saying cars don't have a place in out world, they do, they're great. But for anyone to seriously think they don't cost a million times more money than biking (or walking, scootering, wind surfing…) is insane. The costs drivers pay in licence, taxes, etc. are just the tip of the iceberg compared to the amount of infastructure they require.

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    Sidewalks lasting longer

    has much to do with them being concrete, as many roads used to be. Concrete is safer too, much better grip when wet. People bitch about the road noise however.

    Cars and trucks do what bicycles can't - help melt the snow by driving over it.

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    The salt melts the snow Mark.

    By on

    The salt melts the snow Mark.

    Or have you never driven in a storm where they get caught with their pants down and don't salt? Or Maine, where they just pack it down and sand? If anything, cars driving on snow makes it worse, as it turns into a sheet of ice from getting packed down.

    The only time your theory holds water is if a light dusting is coming down and/or its 30something degrees.

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    Nice try, MarKKK

    By on

    Cars don't melt it very much. There just isn't enough contact time, except maybe at big intersections. If the cars melted well, they wouldn't worry about spreading sand and salt around - they would just drive a big truck around all the time.

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    It's a combination of both

    If you just lay salt down and leave it alone, nothing much happens. A teeny little spot around the crystal may melt a bit, and that's it.
    Add cars to the equation, and things happen a lot faster. The salt gets mixed with the other snow and melts faster, and with the constant mixing plus some solar power, you end up with a fairly clean street.

    Take a look at a street that gets little traffic. The snow will hang around for days/weeks while busier streets are clean.

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    Movement

    By on

    Yes, I'm familiar. The contact pressure of the tires will melt it to a small degree (similar to the way ice skates work, by melting) but the contact time is too small to do much. Most of what you see is due to tires moving it around, not melting it.

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    I pay special taxes

    By on

    I pay gas taxes even though I don't drive. I pay taxes that pay for schools even though I don't have kids. This is how society works, dude.

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    Where's that GIF of a guy eating popcorn?

    I'd have a easier time convincing Ron Paul to fund universal healthcare then I would getting the pro/anti bike people to come to terms.

    It's too bad this story doesn't mention people with dogs so the anti/pro leash law people could get into action and we could have a grand UHub flame war to end all UHub flame wars.

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    entitlement

    By on

    Funny how nobody talks about "entitlement" when drivers plunk down cones to save bits of public property, slash tires, etc...but when a cyclist asks "hey, would you do something about this road-for-bikes being a skating rink and badly plowed?" it's ENTITLEMENT CITY.

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    BAN CARS!

    I just moved to Southie with my pet poodle. I'm from LA, where everyone is friendly and kind, unlike the stupid locals with their stupid accents. But whatever, I work at a tech startup and make loads of cash so what do I care. Anyway, my car is still registered in CA as I pay way less in insurance. I wouldn't even need a car but I HAVE to go to Newton every other Monday night to visit my aging aunt and there is no way in hell I'm taking a bus. But this morning when I got back from Whole Foods someone parked in MY SPACE. (Before you ask, yes, it's my space. It's in front of my apartment and I push the snow off my car when it's parked there so by law I own that spot till spring.) So I double-parked the car in the bike lane while I went inside to get a bike U-Lock to smash their mirrors off. I had to park around the block but at least I taught them a lesson. I bet they just were from the suburbs anyway.

    Anyway, since I already had my U-Lock out I decided to ride my bike to starbucks and then my office in the Innovation District. That was a mistake as all the paths and bike lanes still had snow. Can't this stupid city even keep the bike lanes clear of snow! Hey Walsh, I HAVE RIGHTS!

    So then I come home this evening and the Piddles the poodle is going nuts. I guess I forgot to take him out this morning. I also "forgot" my poopie bags too but I have this neat trick -- As soon as he's getting ready to do his thing I suddenly realize I have a very important text so send so I turn the other way and take out my iPhone 5S. Piddles is an awesome dog. He likes to run and he's super friendly and never bites so I don't mind just letting him run around.

    The only way I can get through the snow is to think about this summer when I'm getting a Segway so I don't need to try and find parking in the North End when I go out to dinner. I still miss LA but you can't get traditional Italian food like that on the left coast. YANKEES SUCK!

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    Want to buy a beach?

    Anyway, my car is still registered in CA as I pay way less in insurance.

    Just like in LA? Where people own the beach? There's this nice one in your neighborhood I can get you a good deal on if you just send me some money up front ...

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    Perfect characterization

    By on

    You nailed the entitled attitude of some (not all) transplants that are turning so many formerly friendly family neighborhoods, that the East Coast used to be full of, into rootless cardboard cutouts.

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    Good characterization

    By on

    You nailed the entitled attitude of some (not all) transplants that are turning so many friendly lost standing neighborhoods, that the East Coast used to be full of, into rootless cardboard cutouts.

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    You mean this?

    By on

    IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/aVZgT.gif)

    That said, I think I'm done with this topic for tonight at least. Thanks, all you bike "advocates" for making this crazy bike lady feel as if we've lost. our. collective. f'ing. minds. Instead I'm going to go try to chip away at the three inches of ice on my sidewalk.

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    not concern trolling

    Sally is too invested here to fit the mold. An actual concern troll intends to sabotage the discussion. There are a lot of people "poking the bear" to amuse themselves (also not Sally). I do think the "tone argument" criticism is a little valid, but actually this is not a war. It is more than obviously hypocritical for "anon' to keep saying concern troll.

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    Your side walk Sally??

    By on

    Wait, what!!?? Your side walk????. I'd go into a Sally style tirade about it being a 'public sidewalk' and 'you don't own it' rant, but hey, it's late, I'm tired and she's too silly to spend time bitching about.

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    plow blades on the front of cars?

    By on

    Guess if we're not going to properly plow the bike paths, we're not going to properly plow the roads either.

    If you expect to drive your non-4x4 vehicle year round you're living in the wrong city, pal.

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    A great deal of private plows

    By on

    A great deal of private plows clear public streets, when the responsible parties don't. Sometimes you have to improvise.

    The plow blades on bikes was a joke, btw

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    Well, I can't wait for all the non-cyclists

    By on

    ....to explain to us how we're wrong, how we're expecting "perfection" (the person who emailed DCR **NEVER ASKED FOR PERFECTION**. He asked that the SWC not be a giant effing skating rink that's so slippery not even studded snow tires will work, and that DCR adjust the plow properly so it plows down to the pavement, not leaving an inch or two of snow that then gets packed down and turned into ice.)

    You know, sort of like white people telling black people about racism, guys telling women about sexism, etc.

    Then, of course, will be the concern trolls like Sally who think that spreading sand on ice makes it more slippery and that the DCR does a swell job of snow removal. And that the SWC is only used by people who live right next to it. And that everyone is confident enough to ride on roads severely narrowed because the city won't plow to the curb...because when the roads narrow, and you're riding outside the door zone, you get buzzed and honked at by irate drivers.

    Then there will be the comments about "entitlement." Because cyclists are "entitled" when we simply want our infrastructure maintained to the same standard as infrastructure for others, and the right to get where we're going safely and without harassment, threats, violence, injures, etc.

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    This here isn't advocacy, it

    By on

    This here isn't advocacy, it's complaining.
    But MassBike talking to the DCR is advocating for better service to their constituency.
    Finding out what can the DCR do better, and what can cyclists reasonably expect from them.

    "... effing skating rink that

    By on

    "... effing skating rink that's so slippery not even studded snow tires will work"

    Studded snow tires totally work, but why not take a cleared roadway instead?
    You know go, a half-mile or a mile out of the way, take an extra 5-10 minutes or so, but not have to worry so much about a fall?

    I agree that plowing is often performed very poorly either by incompetents or the careless and should be addressed.
    Quality control of DCR maintenance staff performance could really be improved.

    But hey, they have other jobs to get to, what's a few complaints from a tiny constituency?

    Drivers get harrassed and threatened, etc., too. This is called driving in Boston.

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    They could use an army of

    By on

    They could use an army of robots to clean each MBTA vehicle and station 24/7

    Keep whining

    By on

    And while you're at it, tell me why the city should waste countless millions to cater to the needs of the select few? Roads are plowed because they're used by hundreds of thousands of commuters (both car and public transit) on a daily basis, whereas there might be at most 100 morons with a major death wish who insist on biking on city streets after a major snowstorm in the entire city of Boston. Stop whining and take public transportation like everybody else, you're not special.

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    read the article

    The whole point is that there is more bicyclists that you are willing to admit. We pay taxes and commute to work. I live in boston and I can tell you that driving a car is the stupidest and most expensive way to get to work. I don't ride my bike much in the winter because it isn't safe, but I wish things were different.

    The people that designed the Southwest corridor bike path meant it to be open year round. The people that maintain the park forgot this or somehow never knew it. whether DCR has the staff or support to clear these paths is a separate question. But there is no excuse for refusing to work on it. the original emails should not be allowed to treat any citizen this way.

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    "I live in boston and I can

    By on

    "I live in boston and I can tell you that driving a car is the stupidest and most expensive way to get to work"

    May be true for you, not for everyone. I live and work in Boston, for the job I have and where I live, I rely on a car for work.

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    Should I? Plenty of parking

    By on

    Should I? Plenty of parking in my neighborhood. My job requires driving. So, if I live in the city, I shouldn't have a car? Ridiculous.

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    Thrilling

    By on

    My 80 year old neighbor will be thrilled at your comment-- and yes, she still works!

    Really?

    By on

    Stupidest and most expensive? Maybe for a trust funder Starbucks jockey whose daddy paid for their Leather District loft but forgot to buy a parking space.

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    You "don't ride your bike much in the winter..."

    By on

    "Because it isn't safe?" On the SWC path or because of the state of everything--narrowed salty roads,ice, driving sleet, snow, etc.? Because the impression I'm getting from the ardent ".05%" is that if the DCR were doing their job you'd be out every day biking with impunity. The fact is the SWC IS used--happily, comfortably--year-round by a huge number of people including cyclists, but the notion that any amount of path maintenance (or hey--magic ice-melting sand!) will enable everyone in Boston to bike safely and sanely here 365 days a year or that if they can't, they will give up biking altogether is just plain misguided.

    "driving a car is the

    By on

    "driving a car is the stupidest and most expensive way to get to work"

    And riding a bicycle, a single 15mph collision can result in you having a frakked up back for the rest of your life. The healthcare cost and lost productivity from that one accident can easily run in the 100's of thousands of dollars. How does that figure into your math?

    Twentysomething bicycle fanatics are often in major denial about the risks of cycling.

    The denial is just sitting there

    heart disease and stroke are the top two causes of death on earth. This actually costs all of us alot of tax money. I respect that people have a right to not to exercise but that's the real denial. I am not 20. I ride my bike because I work many hours and I don't have time to go to the gym. It takes a half hour to work whether i sit on the bus or ride. So I choose to ride my bike because I am not in denial about my health.

    "insist on biking city

    By on

    "insist on biking city streets"

    you do realize that a significant number of people use bicycles as their primary/only method of transportation, right?

    of course you don't. if you realized anything at all, you wouldn't be anon.

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    Riiiight

    By on

    All those granola-munching, kombucha-drinking bike nazis can't afford a $70 T pass.

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    Snow removal.

    By on

    The snow removal isn't great. There are crazy drivers out there! We have the Mr. Magoo's of the world, leaving a trail of accidents or near misses. Unfortunately, we also have some drivers who just aren't very observant.
    The woman who was run over by the 18 wheeler near Broadway, it was awful. The driver couldn't see her.
    Regardless of the reason, biking in certain areas is very dangerous, even in fair weather conditions.
    With all the snow, it seems it's dangerous everywhere. Biking is great and I understand some people rely on it for transport. I am always courteous to bikers. I usually find myself saying a prayer for them, these days a Rosary.
    As far as the bike paths, if there is a particular one, try and call a state or local rep, they usually get things done. Snow removal needs some serious work in Boston. Not just by the state and local government, but, residential and commercial property as well.

    Oh, like the Masshole drivers

    By on

    Oh, like the Masshole drivers with plows attached to their trucks that help clear the streets that you bike and drive on? Your disdain for everyone but yourself astounds me.

    What about the pedestrians??

    By on

    Can we all agree to plow the sidewalks so we can walk to our cars and bicycles or walk to even walk to a mass transit stop?

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    Somerville is getting to that point

    There is some movement afoot for getting better enforcement of the sidewalk clearing ordinances. The fact that Somerville does not use school buses (save for the kids who can't walk to school) gives this extra urgency.

    One way that some people I know are going to raise that issue is by requesting that snow clearance priorities be reshuffled, or that additional money be spent for the city to clear sidewalks in key areas, such as snow emergency routes.

    Of course, that will cost money - but it might raise awareness enough for better enforcement. Another idea: if you don't do it, the city will do it and charge and fine you. Either the "city clears it, but raises taxes" or the "city does it and fines you" are likely to renew interest in the current system. Then, when or if that fails, the stage is set for using other means.

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    Sidewalk clearing ordinances are nothing

    By on

    more than a way to extort labor from people who don't own the PUBLIC sidewalks. If the government is truly serious about making sure that PUBLIC sidewalks are cleared after storms to a similar standard as the streets are, then the government should be expected to do the work themselves. After all, isn't snow clearance one of the government services we're supposed to pay taxes for?

    And for those of you who will inevitably whine about "it's too expensive, it's impractical, etc. etc." ask yourselves this: How many minimum wage seasonal shovelers could a City hires If they got rid of half of the "necessary " people at the enforcement hackdoms like Licensing Boards, Inspectional Services Division, etc. etc.. Also ask yourselves this - Suppose the governemtn suddenly decided to apply the same "private property owners must clear adjacent public property" standard to plowing the streets as well?

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    Seriously

    By on

    I walk several miles to and from work, even in the winter, for most of the same reasons that cyclists seem to prefer cycling year-round. The bike lanes on the Mass Ave bridge were about as clear as they could possibly be this morning, while the sidewalks were entirely coated in a layer of slush and mud. Where's my plow?

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    Only method?

    By on

    Bullcrap - most of the ardent bike nazis live within walking distance to the nearest red, green or orange line stop, and they can easily afford a T pass.

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    T-pass

    Oh, you mean that ticket like thing that you can use to get into an enclosed, underground facility where you wait packed in with thousands of your fellow citizens while no trains come?

    Fortunately, the bunkers do tend to have stairs for when you have to run up to get your bike so you won't be late for work again.

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    cycling makes up over 10% mode share

    By on

    in some zip codes in the city. In cambridge, of all the people who use any sort of vehicle to get to work, 1 in 4 are cyclists.

    The Greater Boston area also has the second highest TOTAL NUMBER of regular bike commuters in the country - behind LA metro - something like 35,000 people from the last census. Portland OR metro only has around 20,000 or so. You don't see us because WE'RE ALL ON THE SEPARATE BIKE PATHS.

    Once again, DCR->MassDOT

    As I said somewhere deep down on the last installment of this sure-to-be riveting series... the SWC path is more of a commuter path than a recreational one. As such, transfer it to the DOT, rather than maintained by the DCR. Also, remove roads from the DCR's jurisdiction and give those to MassDOT as well. Trim the DCR.

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    Reason 1,364 why cyclist

    By on

    Are the whiniest group of pretentious a-hole in Boston. It snowed take a fucking bus.

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    reason

    By on

    reason #1279233842378402340923434805 why anon comments shouldn't be allowed.

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    Grab a shovel, cyclists!

    By on

    As a cyclist, I usually side with cyclists. But here I feel that it is a near-Sisyphean task to keep bike paths clear for a very small group of people. Consider also budget concerns and dwindling resources, it seems like a diminishing returns situation to pay overtime to clear these paths that may melt and re-freeze within a week anyway.

    As every Dad in America says, "If you want something right, do it yourself". So convert that digital social media slack-tivism and organize for some old-fashioned activism. Roll up your sleeves, put some elbow grease into leading by example and shovel the paths out yourselves.

    Winter is an inconvenience to everyone and snow removal budgets are finite. Suck it up and find a new route or take the T like the rest of us.

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    Sure

    By on

    Sure. I find piles of snow to be the most effective space saver.

    i hate to be that guy...

    By on

    but I am going to be that guy and say tblade is 100% correct.

    If the bikers are so up and arms about this, why aren't THEY out shoveling and clearing ice if they are so concerned about it.

    Sure I get it's the DCR's removal issue, and yes one could argue the typical "my taxes being paid" crap but come on, this is the state we're talking about. They can barely clean out bus stops, street corners (for WC/HC egress), and around fire hydrant. The way this state runs, we're lucky they plow at all (sarcasm). Not saying its right, however, rather than just be a total bitchfest, why not DO something about it instead.

    Maybe get a team of the bikers that use the path to team up and take turns or 'own' a section to clean up. Gee maybe even get the local media involved to notice what you are doing. This MIGHT even get the looks of politicians (city and state) that will go "hey why isn't the DCR doing that, it's their job" and then will investigate. And poof now you have political support, far more than you did just being a crazy bitchy person at the DCR, and you might even get your paths all cleared next winter!

    Just saying folks.. sometimes actions speak far more than words.

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    What percentage of Boston rides/drives on your street?

    If it's truly a minute percentage of the population, as it would be for most residential neighborhoods, then would the city/state be justified in telling you to wait until spring to be able to use your street in a safe manner or to move to a sunnier locale? Would you and your neighbors simply (a) move, (b) attempt to shovel out your little travelled street or (c) would you do your best to see your tax dollars spent to clear a path for you to travel safely via your preferred mode of transport?

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    I don't f'ing care

    By on

    I don't fucking care. I am not going to get sucked into this absolutely useless argument.

    All I will say is the more the bikers like the pushy, self righteous, self-entitled, snobby that I've seen post in this thread and the one from the other day makes me hate bikers even more.

    I'm all for different modes of transportation, HOWEVER, when we see these bikers come off and act like the world owes them f'ing something because they ride a bike, it really is a turn off to their cause. And just makes most bikers just look like a bunch of militant bat-shit crazy folks on wheels.

    I'm sorry but maybe of these bikers spent as much energy being annoying on internet message boards and actually got out and SHOVELED the walkways they are bitching so much about, they'd be done by now.

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    My goodness!

    Others pay for services you use, but, when it comes to distributing those taxpayer-paid services fairly, everyone else is whining and bitching.

    Sounds like you think the world owes you ... or at least that your needs are special!

    There is a word for this ...

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    You're the special one

    By on

    Who feels the need to comment to every fucking post.

    I have a name for you too Swirly.. I'll give you a hint, it starts with C and ends with UNT

    You're just proving my point that most bikers are militant bat shit crazy people who don't know how to take a clue.

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    So?

    By on

    So?

    Its clear Swirly and the rest of you militant bikers are not either.

    I'm all for putting people into their place, and she needs to be put in hers.

    Go ahead do it to me. Call me an asshole. Its nothing I haven't been called before. I really do not care, especially from a group of people on the internet.

    But I've watched the bikers, mostly Swirly, argue their point to the point where they are just coming off like general assholes and c--ts. Look, we get you have points. We understand they are valid, but stop being total twats about the issue, let it go, and move on.

    Look I get it its important to you, but to sit here day after day (and yes it's been days now) to argue the points to a bunch of people online is just POINTLESS. You'd be better off focusing on your energy getting those paths cleaned, either lobbying the DCR or doing it yourself, rather than arguing your point to a group of people who have no authority to get it done nor really care about the issue in a grand scheme of things.

    Sorry for my tone, but sheesh over 400 posts between the two threads.. enough is enough.

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    Just Grow Up. Please.

    Sorry, but how does pointing out the way that roads are funded and maintained, and where those monies come from, and supporting other taxpayers in requesting that their needs be met constitute being a "cunt".

    Furthermore, why do you hate female anatomy so much that you think that CUNT is a slur? Especially since you more than likely came into this world through one?

    How do you know that we aren't working with our elected officials to have priorities for the use of our tax money better represent taxpayer needs? My reps and their staffers actually overlap my social circles, but many others here interact with theirs through more official channels.

    Something tells me that your real problem is fear of having to share. Perhaps it is my experience with children.

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    Serious Question

    By on

    Is there anything you don't know everything about?

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    Lots of things

    For starters, I don't know how to skate.

    I'm also utterly incapable of baking cakes.

    I speak only English, dammit.

    I certainly wouldn't rely on me to decipher HTML, or troubleshoot an electrical assembly.

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    not cool...

    By on

    ... disagree all you want, but a little civility goes a long way towards getting your message across. and calling anybody a cunt is just uncalled for.

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    Thanks

    By on

    Thanks for pointing out the obvious, Captain America

    This is a

    By on

    pretty damned good point. My street has four houses with ~25 people total living on it. One hell of a lot less than the amount of cyclists on the SWC. By the DCRs logic, since so few people live on it, it doesn't deserve plowing. For that matter, none of the streets in my neighborhood have above the magical .05% of people living on them to matter.

    And the fire trucks / EMS argument doesn't hold here either, since the plows pile so much snow on the corners they cant turn onto my street anyway (saw this happen the other day).

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    Lets agree on this

    By on

    Can we all agree to first plow the sidewalks??

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    Maybe some of the

    By on

    Creative bike builders could create a snowplow bike wide enough for a bike path that doesn't use those evil fossil fuels the cyclists like to point out they are eschewing (and letting us all know about it). They could set up a cyclist snow plowing service for the bike paths. Problem solved.

    Cyclist and Maker Communities Ovelap

    I'm surprised that the SCUL community based out of the Artisan's Asylum hasn't gotten on this ... or maybe they have.

    This is the best design that I've seen so far - it gets past the problems of narrow track and traction using a four-wheel design and a wide plow face. I bet you could even put tire chains on the drive wheels.

    IMAGE(http://media.treehugger.com/assets/images/2011/10/kev-on-plow_v2.jpg)

    http://www.treehugger.com/bikes/pedal-powered-snow...

    Here it is in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VozlU8TXEvA#t=15

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    yeah you're right

    bicyclists are such low forms of life they should only have services that they provide for themselves.

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    *eye roll*

    By on

    whatever.. read my comment above.

    You all are missing the entire point of my and the OPs post...

    Wow another nail in the "Bikers are batshit crazy" coffin.

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    That coffin

    By on

    Is made entirely out of nails.

    I changed my view

    By on

    Because the great majority of bicylists don't obey traffic rules, riding straight through the crosswalk while I'm crossing, and running through red lights all the time,
    without safety helmets, I have come to the conclusion that DCR should plow their bike paths in the parks. The Hubway program should also be in the parks as well.
    Bicycle paths should be maintained separate from roadways for everyones safety until cyclists are licensed and insured.. just as car owners are and pay excise taxes to the city, and obey traffic laws, so should bicycles. Plain and simple, if you get hit by a bicyle in a crossswalk, the bicylist isn't required to carry insurance, so what happens to the victim?
    Let's solve a public policy and safety issue and create a separate place for bicylists to travel.

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    Pedesestrians have the right of way when there are no lites

    By on

    Hello to my cycle friends, There is not a traffic light on every corner by a crosswalk. When there isn't a traffic lite, the pedestrians have the right of way..its a state law.
    Please brush up on the traffic rules.

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    Why stop there?

    Remember those old New England town laws about keeping some cold patch and a shovel in the trunk? Bring them back! Instead of taking pictures of potholes, motorists could stop and patch!

    Or, it could be like the sidewalk laws where you shovel what is in front of your property.

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    Nope. Most bike paths around

    By on

    Nope. Most bike paths around here are fine after a storm (the Minuteman in Arlington, the Community Path in Cambridge and Somerville, etc).

    The problem is that the DCR *does* plow the SWC, but has been doing a sloppy job.

    It's not a budget issue. It's a laziness and mismanagement issue.

    Ambulances, firetrucks and

    By on

    Ambulances, firetrucks and police cars don't use bike paths to perform vital services. Priority should be placed on the facilities these vehicles need to operate.

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    What if someone were to break their leg...

    ...after slipping on all the ice on the bike paths? By your logic, all bike paths should be free from snow and ice, in order for the first responders to be best able to assist the victim. I like your logic.

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    how many

    of those pics are on the allston footbridge? and who shovels the bridge?

    Mass DOT

    By on

    I think that Mass DOT does (big orange truck), at least they had someone out sanding and salting it last night. I assume it's theirs because it's over the pike.

    Pay Taxes then

    By on

    Car drivers pay gas tax.. bicyclists who demand same rights should have licence plates and insurance and taxes. period

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    No.

    By on

    Cars destroy roads because of their weight.

    Bicycles do not.

    NOT THAT HARD.

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    Imagine

    Imagine the outrage if MassDOT said they weren't going to pay to reopen the Callahan because only a tiny fraction of people use it to commute (and then low-ball it down to 0.5%). "Just take the Blue Line, instead. If you want a tunnel, go live somewhere where salt, freeze/thaw cycles, and seawater intrusion don't accelerate corrosion." Everyone would flip their lid.

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    Did anyone read the link

    By on

    The Mass Bike guy seems quite reasonable in his post, and this from a guy whose views on the particular issue are a bit at odds with his. He's doing his job, advocating for cycling, but he seems to note that there are DCR concerns along with cyclist concerns.

    I mean, you cyclists and anti-cyclists probably want to gripe, rant, and make personal attacks, but seriously, read the post. He's doing a better job than the rest of us (myself included) are doing in making the situation better or more understandable.

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    Late to the Party

    Unlike last time, this time I was not around to get involve in this discussion/debate/flame-war early. I know in the last thread I took a stance leaning towards DCR, though I admit much of the discussion got lost between 20 post with Cinnamngrl over the usage of puns with multiple misunderstandings and not so friendly words.

    But I digressed, the reasoning I made that put me to leaning to DCR in the last bike post is their reasoning they gave - which was spoken as overall policy - sounded reasonable, last email with a tone of unprofessionalism non-withstanding. It reminded me of the Seattle snow strategy and it sounded quite understandable salt along its many paths being along parks, rivers, and ponds. To get bare pavement, you either need salt or a warm day to melt the last layer. And knowing a lot of the paths are along such vegetation and water bodies. Meanwhile just being plowed is enough for continued jogging and other activities. Along with cost to salt, I have to DCR may have a point.

    But I don't mean it for all paths. Viewing it as an overall scope with only 0.5% of commuters rides, it's hard to justify the cost. But that's assuming spread out to all paths. At Boston's population, that still roughly 3000 cyclist. If concentrated along a few paths, I would say those paths likely merit the service need to allow the 3000 year-rounders**

    **This ignores the vegetation problem and I don't know how much it really cost to service those high winter usage paths. So while I noted it and it have to be factored, for this post, I am going to assuming it can be done and not so costly. Assuming those points, I see no reason to raise the priority on paths like the Charles River and SWC this post raised (and perhaps other high use path not raised).

    0.05%

    By on

    What is the basis of this? A DCR type pulled it out of his tailpipe and you believe it?

    Hint - it is about two orders of magnitude off.

    Too bad I can't think of a pun for that.

    I'm simply using their words

    I'm simply using their words for my argument. It could be .01%, but if all uses the same path then that path all year long, barring some extreme reason that overwhelms it (like it would cost $1,000,000 dollars to serve 5 miles for 1000 people or something absurd), then that path should still be given the treatment as a major transporation throughway with providing the standard needed for continual usage 365 days of the year.

    If there is a larger winter bike usage percent, then all the more reason for such high usage paths to be given greater snow maintenance. But their words were 0.5%, thus I point out that even the number is a small as 0.5%, it may still mean some paths are utilized enough to justify the cost.

    My street has four houses

    By on

    Why should the city plow it? 15 people out of 600,000 is only 0.0025%

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    Because your street is

    Because your street is probably very short. Since it is so short, the cost to plow it remains low, thus plowing serve the 15 residences remains justified.

    Okay.... It seems this anon

    Okay.... It seems this anon is still continues to get upvotes but no one is making any rebuttals to me explaining what's wrong with my logic. I honestly do want to hear rebuttals, for I do recognize the possibility of flawed arguments being no exception.

    My point is simple: a route (regardless of mode) that would be highly used should get service. Would you build a $400 million dollar bridge to service a town of 50 people (old 2005 reference)? Or a rail line where it would be equivalent to spending $500 for gaining each new passenger?

    You could I'm comparing applies to orange with capital projects versus maintenance needs. But I'm trying to explain here that raw number matters at much as percentages. 0.5% (and only assuming that for the sake of argument) sounds too small to put the investment. But what if the investment cost is also small? Or 0.5% still means 3000 users on a single path?

    Or let me modify that post's example. How plowed, salted, and sanded would a road be if the road had 15 people, but somehow also 15 miles long still to a dead end? Cost also matters, as I tried to include in my earlier posts, not just raw percentage of users.

    Fair But...

    By on

    That seems like a fair method. But...
    You need to look at how many people use the path year round. If you only look at the number of people using it now in the winter that number is skewed because less people use it for the very fact that it is not as usable.

    As far as I've seen

    By on

    The path has been perfectly usable for most of the winter. Until recently there hadn't been snow that really stuck or the horrible melting and re freezing situation we saw last week. If the path was in perpetually rough shape then I could understand this whole thing more. That said yes--the bike folks should do some counts on an average winter day and see what numbers they come up with. By my lights there are still plenty of folks who bike during the winter but very few who chose to bike this past week because of the cold, the rain and snow and the messy streets, not just the state of the path.

    Are parks for recreation or transportation?

    If a path is built on park land with funding intended for recreation, then its not transportation needing more than minor snow removal attempts. To do so hurts snow shoe and cross country ski users who pay just as much as cyclists to use public facilities.

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    I agree with Mark

    Return Storrow, the J-Way, the VFW, and Mem Drive to RECREATIONAL USE ONLY.

    Then there'd be plenty of room to accommodate recreational snow sport enthusiasts like cross-country skiers in the unplowed part of Storrow Bike and recreational bicyclists on the (bike plowed, natch) clear part.

    Mark is absolutely correct that non-recreational users have no business on these parkways.

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    Don't stop there

    By on

    Why do they plow the Blue Hills Reservation roads at all? Shouldn't that be snowmobile territory?

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    Recreational use like car and motorcycle races?

    Formula one and Grand Prix car races are held in world class cities on public roads along water bodies. The parkways and drives we have, however are in such bad shape that they are bad for the vehicles and unsafe for the drivers. Otherwise, yeah, some recreational motorsports (besides regular Boston driving) would be great for the city!

    Agreed

    This is twice; we have to stop this.

    I think a Grand Prix car race loop up Storrow and down Mem Drive would be a justifiable reason to close those parkways to bicycles. I don't like noise or crowds, so I wouldn't likely go to the Esplanade, but there would be great viewing from so many other places that it would be a nice entertainment for many people.

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