Bicyclists remember one of their own in Sullivan Square

Ghost bike in Sullivan Square

A "ghost bike" now marks the spot at Cambridge and Spice streets where Owen McGrory of Chelsea died in a collision with a garbage truck earlier this month.

Some people wanted to leave something besides flowers to remember the crash for which the driver was charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing death:

Anger over bicyclist death



Free tagging: 


Did parking lot owner agree to the display?

And associated graffiti on his signs by those drawn to the display? It would be better if the bike had a board installed inside the frame space and/or on the wheels for people to leave their messages. Some respect is needed for property owners.


I agree.

By on

Graffiti on private property is usually not a good way to gain supporters to your cause.

I have a feeling that the "ghost bike" might be returning to the netherworld as soon as the property owner finds some cable (or other) cutters.


The bike and graffiti are different things

Ghost bikes are common memorials, but the scrawlings are not the doing of those who placed it there. Regrettable response, but not the same as the bike being there.

(update: a coworker who was through there this weekend says that those scribbles and rants were there before the bike appeared).

As for "his property", please look at a zoning map - the sidewalk is public property. The fence may be public property, or the people who set up the bike may have asked permission.


Thank You

As a researcher by trade, I don't consider ignorance to be a virtue, as some clearly do.

Information is out there - just because you come from a know-nothing culture doesn't mean you can't partake.


Thank you for your brave

By on

Thank you for your brave stance, Markk. Sure, someone died, but someone else owns a sign that has some tiny graffiti on it.


I agree with you! Down With The Automobile!

That means that I don't own an automobile, ride in an automobile, eat anything which has transported in an automobile or other motorized vehicle, wear anything which has been transported in an automobile or other motorized vehicle, nor live in any structure which has had its materials brought to the site by means of an automobile or motorized vehicle, or use any power which had its carbon brought to the energy producing station by means of an automobile or motorized vehicle. Also, if I am ever injured, walk me down by means of stretcher to any local hospital for care. Gotta stay true to my beliefs you know.


Watch Out!

Swirly is reenacting the part of her life where she read the rules on operating a bicycle in a safe manner and obeying the codified rules governing traffic, stop signs, signals, and pedestrian safety when operating a non-motorized or motorized vehicle in the Commonwealth.

Maybe if she and the operator of the truck that hit this poor person had done the same these tit for tats would not be necessary on these boards.


Come on Swirly! A post about

By on

Come on Swirly! A post about BICYCLES and you're just going to type a bunch of z's? Or are you riding your bike right now and that's just a typo?


Bike-Car War Mentality

Swirly, you know that is not a rebuttal. All that show is you disagree with John Costello while agreeing with MatthewC without giving any reasons why John's post was wrong. And agreeing with Matthew and subsequently the writing on the sign is the growing hostility between cars and bikes. Consigning to sentiment implied with "down with automobiles" - that cars and bikes are rivals and enemies and there can only be one.

Cars, bikes, and all forms of transportation are tools everybody. They are there to allow us to get from A to B. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and those qualities should be what determine what mode should be used given the situation. If I want to get from BU to Central Sq in quickest time, bike is best. If I want to get from Malden Sq to Chinatown during rush hour, I'm taking the train. If I want to go to a place that 25 miles away that is near a highway, car is going to be fastest.

In short, they are different modes should be viewed plainly as different modes to be used in given situations. Not "down with automobiles" per sign or "down with bikes" per some website outside UHub.

The writer on the sign is understandably upset. That makes it hard to say anything. But what's John said has a point. What you said doesn't rebuke that point and only just implies your consignment to what the writer-on-the-sign implies.


Which one is more dangerous?

By on

Bikes or vehicles? I think the answer to that question (and there is only one right answer) proves that in an urban environment, cars, truck etc. should be viewed as an extreme hazard. That's just the way it is. If drivers have to go the long way or sit in traffic so that cyclists and pedestrians are safe, then so be it.

"If I want to go to a place that 25 miles away that is near a highway, car is going to be fastest."

Ok, just don't get all ragey when you get stuck behind me for a fraction of a tenth of a mile.


I think the answer to that

I think the answer to that question (and there is only one right answer) proves that in an urban environment

You bring up "urban environment" you are bringing up urban design. And urban design should not start with the line "Down with Automobiles". You know the mentality it implies and it's not just a concern for safety for all. For a bit past a half-century, urban design and engineering somehow forgot to factor all modes and all modes equally (though at least trains continued to get some consideration until the early 80's when they finish the last major extension - though large independent to other modes for Boston).

Thinking to an older UHub thread is a discussion of the pedestrian crossing in South Station have to have equal weight in designing that intersection as the cars that also traverse it. More recently we need to refactor our urban infrastructure for bicycles. For this example, it mean reworking that means predictable pedestrian crossing times that gives reasonable time to cross (Cambridge's practices is a good start). It means timing lights for cars in sync with light down the road. And, in my opinion for this area, it means cycle tracks (intersection itself is again lighting design with this in mind) as a bike is much less likely to get run over if there a small barrier in the way.

Design with all modes in mind, design with a concern for maximizing safety. Yes, this means recognizing vehicles are dangerous that part of designing safety. This does mean "Down with automobiles". Does not imply a mind for safety or efficiency, it implies a mentality to spike cars as much as possible for they are the enemy. "Down with bicycles" is just the same you would find more in comments on other websites.

Ok, just don't get all ragey when you get stuck behind me for a fraction of a tenth of a mile.

Needlessly hostile. It sounds like you're attacking me like I road-raged you off the road when all it is is an example of when a car is the best mode.

I asked a simple question...

By on

In an urban environment, which is more dangerous: a cyclist or a driver? The answer is obvious: the driver. They are most likely the individual with an overblown sense of urgency. They are the ones who could take out a cross walk full of people while they texting and distracting themselves. I've been hit by cyclists. All were complete accidents and I walked away with nary a scratch. As far as I'm concerned, it is time for drastic measures. Man people won't like it because their dependence on their vehicles will be affected, but immediate and drastic change is necessary to take the modern urban environment into the future. We can argue about how this needs to be done, or that needs to be done, and that these lights need to be timed and this crosswalk needs to be blah blah blah. Separate bike lanes cyclists is where to start. Also, speed bumps should be on city streets every 50-100 feet.

"Needlessly hostile."

You consider that hostile? Wow. We truly are in the age of thin skin.


You asked a simple question.

You asked a simple question. But obviously it is not an isolated question. That question was a rhetorical point towards how we consider our streets. Thus I started to talk about how should we consider our streets.

And my view to that is operating with an engineering mentality with tenants of safety and efficiency. Design our streets to (reasonably) minimize the chance of someone getting hurt or worse and balance design to handle our transit needs as best as reasonably possible. Again, "down with automobiles" implies a mindset to spike cars, not design to accommodate all modes as best possible. I could agree such a scenario we would have safety, but I wouldn't say reasonably nor efficiently (as in we can reach similar safety levels without resorting what would be categorized as "drastic"). I don't see we're are at a point where things are so bad that such an extreme mentality is a effective to forward both goals (thus the proxy example of speed bumps every 50-100 ft would be "drastic" and unnecessary - correct me if I'm wrong, but not even Europe needs that policy). Especially Boston, as it is probably one of the better places in this game on North American continent.


I used to think like you...

By on

I used to believe that a consensus could be reached, that we could all come to an agreement on the bikes vs. cars debate. But every time I witness the scratch and claw travesty that is Boston's rush hour, and the aggressive, nasty behavior displayed by too many people behind the wheel, the more I believe that someone needs to take a hard line. We can debate all day long, but we will get no where (just look at the Sullivan Square/Rutherford Ave. debacle in Charlestown. On that note, maybe if we'd done less "debating" and more acting, the Sullivan Square project could already be done and the poor guy recently killed might still be alive). For me it is simple: we draw a line. Those of us who choose to live in the city understand that we cannot go strutting arrogantly into the 'burbs demanding that they accept our way of life. Conversely, 'burbinites cannot come tearing into the city late for work, or impatient to get home, and expect us city folk to jump out of their way just because they have to be somewhere an hour outside the city. The urban lifestyle is a unique way of life, and we have to defend it.

P.S. Just to wave off the "yuppy" labelers, I grew up on the streets of South Philly. I know and love city life. It's in my blood.


The city is still oddly schizoid about this.

By on

It is as if one part is still living down the remembered shame of 'white flight' and the general rush to the 'burbs.

That would be the part that is still pitifully eager to accommodate motorism to the extent of leaving these Sullivan/Rutherford death zones relatively unrestricted.

It is akin to that hoarding instinct one finds among those seared by some period of deprivation.

Then the other side is trying to look forward and embrace this more civilized stuff.

And it tends to behave like a pillow, bearing the impression of whatever last sat on it.

The Big Dig was the ultimate motorism pot latch with some interesting crumbs thrown to the motorless.

One would hope the stinkpots are covered for a while and we can turn our efforts to motor mitigation and fine tuning.

I can tell just looking out my window at Hampshire st that bike lanes are still fairly mysterious to the many suburban charioteers hell bent on breakneck gallops through this tangled mess of colonial streets ineptly adapted.

It's their world, they imagine, and we gotta lotta nerve living in it.

I have doubt of your hardline

I have doubts of your hardline stance as the more effective path. Let's say this attitude was hypothetically inserted into Rutherford Avenue meetings with "down with automobiles" mindset and all what it implies as I expressed. Do you think it would have been able to get action to roll faster? Or more likely just start forcing the other to entrench even harder with their own hard line stance?

I suspect that it would only increase the likelihood of irrational spitefulness. Because few things than increase irrationality than sides starting to completely view each other as alien.

Perhaps I'm wrong. One person I do admire is John Silber (not that revealing that view is welcome here). Very known to look at "what gets done", hardline stances, refuses to take anything from anyone attitude. But a big part his accomplishments is because he was the president thus able to hamfist his way. As discussed once with someone, I was pointed that he was unlikely to accomplish anything if he was elected governor - despite being in the same party. The closest equivalent is the state not hosting meetings in the first place and do what the planners decide. Then the result would a total dice roll depending who is in charge... and yeah...

And finally, I don't thing are so bad things needs to be fought with extremes. And there's an issue of forcing sides to take clear sides while honest I don't see it that clear cut. As in plenty within Boston metro still own a car. Plenty of bikers still drive. Even not, plenty are on terms who do. Thus making "down with automobiles" difficult without impugning oneself and/or people one knows. Meanwhile Boston have been making plenty of progress without hard line stances and "down with automobile" mindset. You probably disagree, the best I can counter-argue is to look back to something like 2009 where the only bike lane within Boston was like 3 blocks in BU (love those 3 sad blocks though). Back then, Boston was deemed one of the hostile places to bike in the counter. I think if I look back in the achieves here I can find those posts. Now 5 years later, a lot have change with plenty more planned including cycle tracks.


Rhoninfire who do you think

By on

Rhoninfire who do you think you are!! How dare you be reasonable and logical on this topic!! Don't you understand that you are supposed to rant and rave and use selective facts and studies to spread your propaganda and vilify those who would dare dissent? Geez!



By on missed the point. The point is that vehicles in the city need to be brought into line. We've had enough of maniac drivers doing whatever they way and then acting like cyclists are the problem.

Someone's dead.

By on

Meanwhile, you guys are here being dicks on the internet over a some inconsequential Sharpie notes.

Awesome perspective, y'all.


As I've mentioned...

By on

..elements of the Herald commentariat wander over here when their meds kick in for a bit of dick waving and hippy punching before its time to growl in some dim gin mill best left alone.


Thanks for your bio Chris.

I hope your pharmacological needs stay met, your penis is safe, and your alcoholism is treatable. Just remember hippy punching is a crime and will land you in jail, where your access to your pills, the Herald website, and quality drinks may be hindered.


Twas just a suggestion

That white bike painters and installers attach a piece of white corrugated plastic board inside the frame area for mourners to write their condolences etc. with a sharpie.


Mortality Stats of Changing Times.

By on

In another post about how Boston is so much better in the new Luxury version, one booster noted "200 murders" in their litany of reasons why old shabby Boston sucked.

But I can't help but wonder if we've traded one mortality spike cause for another.

If you get murdered or flattened by a ditz in a motor thing you're still dead... right?

That seems like the useful stat query.