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Walsh: Comm. Ave. bike lanes part of broader plan to reduce traffic deaths

Boston Mayor Walsh announces a new traffic-fatality plan

Mayor Walsh, other city officials and an old parking meter today.

Mayor Walsh said today the dedicated bike lanes planned for Comm. Ave. between the BU Bridge and Packards Corner are only part of a long-term "Vision 0" plan to curb crashes and traffic-related deaths through a combination of street reconfiguration and tougher enforcement.

At a City Hall press conference today, Walsh said he will start a nationwide search for a city "active transportation director" to spearhead efforts over the next few years to make Boston streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. Boston's bicycle director, Nicole Freedman, is leaving to take on that very job in Seattle, which Walsh pointed to as an example of a city that is trying to make streets safer.

The new director will be in charge of a citywide master plan, he said. He added this will include not just major thoroughfares but neighborhood side streets. He said that as a state rep, he tried to get speed limits lowered on such streets and said the BPD flashing speed signs might get even greater use in those areas.

Walsh said the Comm. Ave. project is a perfect example of how to make streets safer, on a road that has high concentrations of pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and trolleys - but that is currently "one of the highest crash areas" in the city.

BTD Director Gina Fiandaca said the project could go out to bid this fall and take six to eight months to complete. DPW Director Mike Dennehy said he is already looking for specialized equipment to plow the lanes after snowstorms.

Walsh predicted the city will follow up with even more "cycle track" lanes elsewhere.

"For bicyclists, [the state of Boston roads] is pretty dangerous," he said, adding they have the same rights to use the roads as motorists.

At the same time, he acknowledged bicyclists and pedestrians need more education to follow traffic laws as well. "People aren't darting across 45th Street" in Manahattan, and they shouldn't be doing that on Boston thoroughfares, either, he said.

Walsh downplayed at-large Councilor Michael Flaherty's contention that the loss of 73 parking spaces along that stretch of Comm. Ave. will harm businesses there. Walsh said experience in New York, which already has several dedicated bike lanes, is that business actually increases, because it turns out bicyclists buy as much from small shops as motorists.

He said he doubted all of the 73 people parking in those spaces were really shopping, anyway - many probably use the spaces for long-term parking.

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many probably use the spaces for long-term parking.

The deuce you say.

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Compare Boston and Cambridge http://rwinters.com/

What Brookline weblinks and Somerville weblinks are there?... similar to UniversalHub and rwinters.com

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judging from his mention of "Vision Zero", a plan to deny human behavior, thinking its possible to thwart Darwin. Firstly, about a third of drivers in fatal crashes are drunk. A third of pedestrians getting killed are drunk, and 24% of bicyclists getting killed are drunk. So, right off, zero is an unattainable goal. Roads would need to be fenced off like railroad tracks are to make much improvement, and that's not practical or affordable.

Vision Zero seems to match the mindset of security theater, where huge piles of money are thrown at a problem. This time though risks to you and me on the street are much greater than from terrorists.

Citation on drunks: http://www.pedbikeinfo.org/data/factsheet_crash.cfm
Site is down for maintenance at the moment.

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You're car culture paradigm is going the way of the dodo Markky.

Just embrace it dude, the time of the car is ending. :)

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I think you may have been a little unfair, the time of the car is not ending. It probably shouldn't end either. These plans are good and significant steps in re-balancing the available modes of transit.

Fortunate or not, cars are likely to be a part of this mix for quite some time.

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Cars will be a huge part of our transportation future but I'm really excited for a future that doesn't focus on them as being the only answer. Markky, not so much.

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for it is with us.

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Tinfoil is on sale at StarMarket this week! Get it before FEMA/the EPA bans it!

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"So some people are killed. Big deal. People die all the time; it's a fact of life. It's more important that I'm not slightly inconvenienced while driving. "

Vision Zero is nothing like the mindless security theater. Vision Zero is also really cheap as it normally consists of road paint and in some cases some fancy jersey barriers.

For the record I'm opposed to the cycle track -- the Allston style bike-lane-in-driving-lane is better for everyone. But I'm really opposed to anyone who believes their personal convenience is more important then someone's life.

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Wait, what? I hate biking in that thing, drivers hate being behind me while I'm biking in it, and as a result of those two things, it does almost nothing to encourage more people to bike. How is that in any way better?

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It removes any legitimate question to drivers if bikes should be in the middle of the lane. (They should, least they want to get doored.) When a car double parks they still don't block the bike lane.

You are correct that it might not encourage people to cycle as much as a dedicated track but in the long run it's more usable and safer then a bike lane nearly always blocked by double-parked cars or a cycle track which is unusable due to snow or people considering it an extension of the sidewalk.

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And often drivers will buzz cyclists that take the lane here. I've been buzzed several times and that single stretch from Allston Center to Packards is the second most scary part of my commute, next to the BU Bridge.

Cars do double park but with the potholes on the road, it is difficult to navigate around the double parked car, avoid the pothole AND keep an eye for the car barreling by in the left lane.

Bike lanes or cycle tracks or removing a lane, I dunno what to do but the sharrows on this stretch are not protecting us, they just encourage drivers to speed up and pass us at a minimum distance of 3 inches.

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I mean the fully painted lane in the middle of the road.

It feels not less safe to me then riding in a bike lane which is entirely in the door zone and/or is useless with double parked cars and trucks.

A left painted bike lane down Comm Ave (like in back bay) would be better then this cycle track.

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The design on Brighton Ave is considered sharrows - sometimes called "super sharrows" or officially "priority shared-lane markings".

Source: http://www.boston.com/news/local/blogs/starts-and-stops/2013/11/20/bosto...

They're better than nothing, but a well-designed protected bike lane is many times better for both safety and convenience.

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Those are not lanes.

It just encourages unsafe passing, like this: http://imgur.com/R4cGvVn

EDIT: And look! I stopped at the red!

The dashed lines tend to imply "optional" in drivers minds, so they frequently ignore that on this stretch. Similar to when bike lanes approach intersections, dashed lines indicates that cars can pass through those portions.

The left lane down Comm Ave Back Bay is better, agreed. That stretch is very safe and there are fewer left turns along the BU stretch, so it would work.

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If you ride towards the right edge of the lane like that you inviting drivers to try passing without fully switching lanes. Not legally of course, but it looks like they can squeeze by so they try. You would probably be safer if you ride dead center or even a little to the left of center so there is no choice but to fully switch lanes to go around you.

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Thats why these sharrows are not safe. I drive too far to the right, I risk getting doored or buzzed. Ride more to the center and they tailgate me.

Damned either way.

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As swirly posted above, there's a wealth of research showing major safety benefits of cycletracks/protected bike lanes, whereas sharrows simply don't make a huge difference in anyone's behavior.

Regarding your two criticisms of cycletracks, the issue of snow removal came up at last night's meeting. BTD didn't have a specific plan yet, since they've been focused on construction details, but acknowledged the issue and promised they would. Cambridge certainly managed to plow most of its cycletracks quite well, so it's very doable.

And to keep pedestrians out of the cycletrack, the plan for Comm Ave has a number of details to differentiate it from the sidewalk. Most notably, it will usually be a few inches lower than the sidewalk and curb-separated. There will also be lots of street furniture between the cycletrack and the usable sidewalk.

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Pensacola, FL beckons to you, Marky.

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Check out this video of him from a few years ago!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0Lm9TPym9A4

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"Markk" in that video is right. At least he was cool about it. I bet the real Markk would be screaming BFM.

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Mark K- any thoughts on the poor old gentleman who was hit and killed in your town this week?

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Tried to explain that it would have been safer with four lanes of speeding traffic and no bike lanes, naturally.

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Presumably the victim's fault for not wearing bright clothing, not walking fast enough, not being in a nice safe car, etc.

Is there a link to Marky's droolings online? I'm a glutton for punishment.

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Markinarl are the ones that you are looking for.

http://patch.com/massachusetts/arlington/pedestrian-struck-arlington-0

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Those are some impressive contortions. I'm surprised he hasn't thrown his back out.

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Starting in 2009 a group of residents called the East Arlington Concerned Citizens Committee (EACCC) demanded that Selectmen include pedestrian activated traffic lights at busy crosswalks in the Mass Ave. where there weren't any. Despite 3,000 signatures from residents, our alternate plan for the street was ignored by selectmen, their traffic and bicycle advisory committees, and MassDOT. We fought for years for a safer, better road.

What they disliked most about our plan was that it advocated keeping 4 travel lanes with shared space for bicyclists as has been working well for decades. Since the Minuteman bike path is right nearby, more timid cyclists already have accommodation and there isn't a need for bike lanes. I remind people that Arlington isn't a college town, so bike lanes in Arlington make far less sense than on Comm Ave. through BU. Bike lanes in Arlington are to serve the traditional white, male, educated, professional commuting to work in Cambridge and perhaps Boston, and few others. Parents still much rather have their children ride on the bike path even if bike lanes were put on Mass Ave.

Advocates of bike lanes made bad claims that the travel lane forfeiture needed to make the two 5' bike lanes would make pedestrians safe. Plan designers even lied to residents about reduced pedestrian crossing distances (I've yet to file a complaint to the state to get their civil engineering licenses suspended for those lies), and claiming they made pedestrians safer. Just today I noticed Cambridge put a high intensity pedestrian activated crossing light on a two lane road (Concord Ave. by Alewife Gas), so narrow roads don't make them safe.

Anyway, the cost of putting in pedestrian crossing lights would not fit in the budget because priorities of the insiders was for sidewalk widening of already wide sidewalks, and adding $700,000 of landscaping to the one mile project. The widened sidewalks are to be taken up with shrub planters, sapling plantings, benches, bike racks, and forty $4,000+ cast iron, LED illuminated "pedestrian scale" streetlamps in an area with zero street crime.

Selectmen were in a little bit of a squeeze on putting in bike lanes. The Boston MPO and MassDOT have now adopted anti-car policies so that projects without bike lanes become unlikely to get funded. Bicyclists both within Arlington (like MassBike's former director) and state agencies had backed Arlington's project as key to their desire to expand bike lanes on major routes. If bike lanes were not part of this project next to a bike path, it wouldn't get funded.

I'm also upset at the double standard from Arlington Police (APD). They have STILL not released the name of the driver, only identifying her as 60 years old from Woburn driving a black Honda Civic. In December of 2013 when an elderly woman was killed crossing another unsignalized crosswalk on Mass Ave in east Arlington, Chief Ryan released the name right away. It also happens that that elderly driver had owned a gun shop in Arlington that was forced to close. APD seized his inventory of guns, and was sued for their return. So, there was bad blood and APD seems to have released his name out of vengeance.

The tragic cause of the crash can be found in accident data. Unsignaled crosswalks with no center median are more dangerous than no crosswalk at all. When jay walking, pedestrians don't automatically assume drivers see them and will stop. A little faded road paint pedestrians can see, but not drivers from a distance lure pedestrians into a sense of false security that is sometimes tragic.

So the science says to always augment unsignalized crosswalks with other more visible measures to alert drivers. They start with day-glow green-yellow retro reflective signs indicating the location of crosswalks, bump outs (which show little/no accident reduction), raised medians (showing 30-50% accident reduction, and finally high intensity pedestrian activated crossing signals (showing 69% accident reduction).
http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/provencountermeasures/

So, while I'm just getting to writing this, I am still angry at people who rather use policy agenda and debate than use science to increase safety and efficiency.

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I am still angry at people who rather use policy agenda and debate

Look in the mirror.

I actually agree with you about the intersection at Sabatino's. It's idiotic that there is money budgeted for planters and new streetlights but not for significant safety features at that crosswalk.

But nobody will ever take you seriously because you're such a strident crackpot.

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Orvis/Grafton is to get a raised median and bump-outs on either side. That will form a choke point for traffic, but the raised median there improves pedestrian safety.

The overhead street lighting still sucks at that location, like the others on Mass Ave in Arlington. When Cambridge put in new LED lighting, they made the ones on Mass Ave brightest of the three levels of light heads. Oh, and they got ones with wireless dimming control so they could be dimmed in the wee hours etc..

I hope the added sidewalk lighting casts some light on to crosswalks because the overhead ones are too dim and widely spaced.

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Just don't vote for Marty next time.

What's that you say? You don't live in Boston? Not that that's stopped anyone before, but... if you don't live in Boston then your sad, misguided, ignorant, autofascist opinion on the matter DOESN'T MATTER. Suck it. Go lose another election. Try running on the platform. Not politically, but but literally running on a red line platform somewhere.

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"they have the same rights to use the roads as motorists" minus the need for registering, inspecting, & requiring insurance.

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... and cause billions in property damage, well, we'll talk.

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The amount of injuries or deaths caused by cyclists amounts to less than a tenth of a percentage point. The rest are caused by drivers in motor vehicles.

Registration, inspection, and insurance were all required as a result of the massive injuries, deaths, and destruction

Cyclists don't plow through shop windowfronts, traffic lights, telephone poles, brick walls, etc.
Cyclists don't end up in people's living rooms, swimming pools, back yards
Cyclists don't drive into crowds and cause mass casualty events.
When a cyclist kills a pedestrian it's so rare that it ends up being a national news event - and in the space of 24 hours, roughly 110 people die because of drivers.

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And despite all those facts, you still opt to cycle through a city that, infrastructurally speaking, is a disaster for all modes of transportation.

Are you hoping to win the Darwinian lottery? Just to prove your point that cars are 2 ton pieces of steel being operated by distracted drivers at a speed more than necessary to be lethal when impacting another car, let alone a bicycle? Well, guess what, you're right!

I see no one putting a gun to your head forcing you to bike through this city, yet you do it anyway.

Good luck playing the lottery. I'll be rooting for you.

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So instead of trying to improve conditions to be more balanced for more than JUST cars, you're just going to write the whole situation off as being "terrible for all modes of transportation"? That won't get us anywhere, man. have you stopped to consider that if it becomes safer for people to use bicycles, then more people would and reduce traffic congestion?

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Nope, I think I'm entirely of the correct mindset.

Like I said, if you want to martyr yourself by cycling these Boston streets and getting smoked by a semi, be my guest.

For me, my innate desire for self preservation is a greater motivator than reducing traffic congestion is.

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So, why not just call it that? Its all about continuing to treat drivers as second class citizens, just above cigarette and crack smokers.

If it were a real concept, people would laugh at it for being in conflict with reality. People are fallible so accidents happen. Pedestrian deaths on subway and train lines are written off as suicides, yet anti-car people assume none happen on roads either. Very intentionally, or by getting drunk/drugged and playing in traffic.

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And ignore the intent of what (we think) he is saying...

He is correct. :)

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Use of the public roadways accrues to people, not vehicles.

You get those permissions to use a motor vehicle on a public way because "motor vehicle" not because "person".

Also, the vast majority of cyclists are licensed to drive, as the vast majority of people over 17 are licensed to drive.

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Cyclists aren't nearly the same risk but they should still have some accountability in the form of license plates for identification & insurance on par to their risk (cyclist + record). Cyclists make infractions just like drivers that can cause motor vehicle accidents and personal harm.

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and insurance is not necessary. But registration of bicycles is a perfectly logical and reasonable requirement.

As is the requirement that, if an adult cyclist stopped for a traffic violation is a licensed driver, that said violation should go on their record.

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What's not clear to me here is exactly what problem bicycle registration is supposed to solve. The rampant property damage expenses being incurred by bicyclists? Most bike accidents occur when the bicyclist is obeying the law, and when they aren't the result is rarely more serious than a minor inconvenience. Also, where would you start, exactly? Would 4-year-olds be required to take a test before riding alongside their parents?

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And we'll have to retrofit the Hubway stations with biometric sensors to make sure frob owners aren't sharing them with unregistered users.

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Go walk in the traffic lane of Morrisey Blvd and let us know how it turns out.

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Yes, cyclists have lower risks but they should be required to have and carry insurance on par with that risk.

Cycling is only going to increase and, in this capitalist society, insurers will eventually come knocking due to losses in car insurance revenue. Rather than debate the need for accountability (cyclist insurance and license plates), cyclist should push to assume the responsibility and dictate the initial policy before those insurers beat them to it.

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We require liability insurance for car drivers because they present a large enough risk that it matters. Cycling doesn't present a large enough risk to matter; it's not as if we would be risk-free to others if we neither drove nor biked, but we're not required to buy insurance for that small risk either. If I owned a dog, it might get loose and bite someone, but I am not required to own insurance for that risk (30-40 deaths per year, it's not nothing). A tree on my property my fall or drop a limb and kill someone (30-some deaths per year, again not nothing), but again, I am not required to purchase tree insurance.

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...but it's still broken.

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When you increase the number of bicycles on the road, you may actually increase bike deaths. Accident safety for bikes is nowhere near safety for motor vehicles. This is the elephant in the room which bicycle advocates never want to talk about.

All it takes is one minor accident on a bicycle and you can be permanently injured. Tom Menino is the poster child for that. Most of his life he zigzagged all around the city in a car and never got injured in a traffic accident. Late in life he discovered bicycling, got in one little accident, and even after multiple surgeries his knee never fully healed.

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Because the obesity epidemic from driving everywhere and not walking isn't killing millions of Americans each year.

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No, cars are safer because a steel cage offers more protection than a layer of Spandex.

And obesity doesn't kill millions of 20-year old Americans. It kills millions of 60-year old Americans. That makes a huge difference.

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Cars may be safer for the people in the steel cage, but they are far more dangerous to others, including those inside buildings.

Obesity does kill people who are younger, and has measurable mortality effects across the entire lifespan. Source

I'd need a comment space the size of an encyclopedia to discuss traffic-related pollution and mortality effects ... and the exposures to those in the cages are actually higher than they are for cyclists, particularly when cycletracks are employed.

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bicycle advocates don't seem to want to address is this: Does providing separate facilities for cyclists give them a false sense of security, thus increasing the probability of their being in a crash when they're riding on streets that don't have those facilities?

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They have had such facilities in place for much of the last decade. The results: safer for pedestrians, safer for cyclists.

http://www.peopleforbikes.org/statistics/category/...

(yes, advocacy organization, but they do provide links)

Also, a peer-reviewed assessment concluded that:

RESULTS:

Installation of bicycle lanes did not lead to an increase in crashes, despite the increase in the number of bicyclists. The most likely explanations for the lack of increase in crashes are reduced vehicular speeds and fewer conflicts between vehicles and bicyclists after installation of these lanes.

Source: Am J Public Health. 2012 Jun;102(6):1120-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300319

TL/DR: there have been MANY evaluations of such questions as you ask - nobody is avoiding them, they just haven't done your (very easily done) research for you.

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One article from last September... that terror must explain why the streets of New York are empty of pedestrians these days.

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Why don't you peruse the actual list of the 269 traffic fatalities in NYC last year and let us know how many New Yorkers were actually killed by bikes as opposed to cars? http://project.wnyc.org/traffic-deaths/ and THEN tell us who's terrorizing who?

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One ... ONE collision resulting in a fatality = "terrorism"? Try again.

Having actually cycled in NYC some, I'm surprised that it doesn't happen more often due to rampant pedestrian jaywalking (and the odd cow meandering blindly into a cycle track) alone.

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Are you forgetting our conversation from the summer? The one where I pointed out that 80+ pedestrians had already been killed in NYC that year?

So 1 death caused by bike compared to 80 caused by cars in the same period of time.

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Is exactly what they need - stick them in their bike lanes and ban them from traffic lanes. Hipster on a fixie is essentially just a slightly faster-moving pedestrian, he/she does not belong in a lane full of 5000lb chunks of metal flying around at 50mph. Ride in your dedicated lanes, and cross the road like pedestrians do - stop, get off your bike and walk.

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...she'd be a bicycle.

Bicycles aren't pedestrians, they're vehicles.

Now stop being a ninny.

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5000 pound chunks of metal flying around at 50mph doesn't belong anywhere in the city except a limited-access highway. Anybody found to be going 50mph on a normal city street should have their car impounded and license revoked.

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IMAGE(http://usa.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2014/08/Screen-Shot-2014-08-19-at-12.48.14-PM.png)

Your concern theoretically could happen, but worldwide we've seen the opposite effect. The Netherlands, home to a higher percentage of cyclists than anywhere in the world, is also one of the safest for all road users. Bike-friendly Denmark is also very safe, as is the rest of Northern Europe, with a high percentage of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.

Sweden, the inspiration for Vision Zero, has become one of the safest countries. Meanwhile, the US remains one of the most dangerous first world countries for traffic fatalities.

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This license is notoriously difficult to attain. Perhaps the US Driver's License should be equally difficult? Then we might see a decrease in car crashes.

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Licenses have always been difficult to obtain in Sweden (and indeed most of Europe). It wasn't until the infrastructure changes that came along with Vision Zero were introduced that fatalities really started to fall.

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Have you ever been to Finland, Italy or Portugal? Driving there is extremely dangerous.Especially in Italy. Yet they are listed safer than the US.

I call BS on that grid.

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It's where I learned how to cross the street. ;-)

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The graph provides little information when factors of vehicle ownership levels, cars vs scooter vs bicycle ownership, speeds traveled, vehicle miles traveled, infrastructure quality, driver competence, public inebriation levels, jaywalking levels, and who knows what else are rolled into one graph.

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Correlation does not imply causation.

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Remember that the mayor was hit by a car, not by another bicyclist. It is the presence of the cars in the system that creates the danger. Traffic fatalities were a relative rarity even in very populated areas until the car was introduced. There are really three ways we can change the system that will likely reduce fatalities: 1) Everyone drives (practically impossible: not everyone can drive), 2) Eliminate cars from the system entirely (not likely to happen any time soon) or 3) Redesign the system so that the cars drive more slowly and interactions with bicyclists and pedestrians are scarce and carefully controlled. #3 is what the new Comm Ave was designed to do, and the city should be applauded for making a bold effort on this front.

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great news

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In Cambridge, they went to all this trouble to build a great dedicated bike lane on Western Ave. It's not labeled, so it's jam packed with pedestrians walking on it like it's just an extra asphalt sidewalk. Most of the cyclists I see still use the road because the dedicated bike lane is too full of pedestrians (and their dogs and their strollers, etc.). This makes it more dangerous because the road was narrowed to make space for this dedicated bike lane.

I agree with bike lanes, but they need to be labeled as such!

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I'm very much in favor of cycling improvement but I don't think the cycle tracks are a good idea. In the winter they won't be plowed. (Not to say the current lanes are plowed but generally they are somewhat still usable.) The cycle track is seen an extension of the road and people jog in it, cart stuff in it, and generally make it unusable for cycling. Worst, unlike a double-packed car you can't ride around something once in the track.

They are a nice idea and people are protected from some risks but if they are unusable all it's done is made the road worse for all users.

The better plan is to slow down traffic speeds and use the bike-line-in-travel-lane like they have in Allston. This forces drivers to completely go around cyclists which cuts down on the dreaded right hook and car dooring.

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I basically agree with you, but the dedicated bike lanes around MIT seem to be used appropriately. They are labeled as bike lanes and pedestrians generally steer clear of them and know to look for bikes if they need to use them to pass someone or something.

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I commute to/from work down Vassar, on one of those sidewalk bike lanes. Overall I like them, but despite the copious signage, complemented with contrasting paving materials for bike and pedestrian lanes, I only have to leave the bike lane to avoid a pedestrian about once or twice a day, in the half mile stretch I use. The worst is when they are literally standing on top of the stencil that declares the lane for bikes. Of course, that's more an annoyance than anything. As far as actual danger goes, I am more concerned about the cars running the stop sign on their way out of the "West" parking garage.

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The plan being proposed for Comm Ave is *considerably better* than Western Ave. The lanes are separated from the sidewalk by trees and several feet of space, and on a completely different grade. As for snow removal, the transportation department indicated that they intend to acquire special snow removal equipment dedicated to dealing with the bike lane, and the lane itself is separated from the road by a curb, so it seems pretty unlikely that it will ever end up being just another storage space for snow that gets plowed off of the road.

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it didn't look like it was, the last time I went by there.

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You can bike on it from about Green St. almost all the way to Memorial Drive.

Maybe they just haven't labeled it yet? (I hope, I hope.)

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Maybe make it slightly more of a challenge to get and keep a driver's license? Someone smarter than me pointed out that when you're 16 you take a driving test and a chemistry midterm. Nobody expects you to still know the periodic table when you're 40 (I mean, obviously, some people do) but somehow the bare minimum knowledge of road laws you cram in high school, reinforced with years of, let's face it, probably terrible application in the real world, is enough for life.

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Here are my main fears:

Cars not using turning signal/running lights
Parked cars blocking view of oncoming traffic when turning onto a road
Trucks/busses riding besides me. Or as they should be called: 6-wheeled, 10-ton traveling death rectangles.
Cars opening their driver side doors
Pot holes

Many many many many many many times, the safest thing to do is just bike in a car lane, and I am glad that Walsh reminded everyone we can. Then you know its pot hole free (compared to near the curb), no ones opening their door into you, buses cant Indiana Jones crush you from the side, and cars cant side swipe you when turning without notice.

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Thankfully the new design for Comm Ave addresses all of these concerns:

- Dedicated signals at some intersections and extra curb sections at the corners at others to force drivers to cross the bike lane at a roughly 90 degree angle; also the bike lane crosses the side roads on a raised crossing in several places, forcing cars to further hesitate before right-hooking you.
- Curb bumpouts near the intersections make parking and even double parking all but impossible
- You'll be separated from the traffic lane by a row of parked cars and a traffic island for almost the entire length of the project (except at driveways and intersections).
- You'll be riding on the passenger side of parked cars, and you'll be separated from them by a pedestrian island--doors will not reach you
- Potholes take decades to form on dedicated bike facilities, hopefully we can get them repaved before that. ;-)

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I'm happy to give bicyclists this designated piece of the road. And in exchange, I'd like to have every bicyclist over eighteen registered with the state, and required to display prominent identifying, traceable tags on their bike similar to a license plate. You get the privs and you lose the anonymity.

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While we're at it, let's make all pedestrians register with the government and wear prominent ID numbers too and be required to wear helmets and wear high-vis all the time. And make them pay the additional taxes to cover all the additional costs of bureaucracy for registration.

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Jaywalkers are a nuisance. If I'm coming through an intersection on my bike on a full green light, I want to be able to take my go-pro footage to city hall and have them cited.

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They were doing 20 mph and hit me with a 30lb metal frame. Happens all the time.

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But I know a friend who had major elbow surgery after some idiot pedestrian walked out in front of him on his bike. She was uninjured, but tumbling over his handlebars onto the asphalt didn't do him any favors.

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Because of that annoying pedestrians have the right of way thingy?

http://massbike.org/resourcesnew/bike-law/

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Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way if they are NOT in a cross walk.

Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way if they are at a signalized intersection and do NOT have a "walk" light or (absent a pedestrian light) a green light.

Try again.

I have to deal with this a lot - Joe TeleCow munching on his electronic cud device blunders out against the light, then screams at me for "running red lights".

Except Joe TeleCow is the one proceding illegally against the light, and I am running a GREEN light.

Baaaaaahhhhhhh.

Step out in front of me while I have the right of way and I can't avoid you? I will sue you for damages. Count on it. Keep your ass on the curb when the red hand thingy is up or the light is red.

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hits me as I proceed off of the curb, in a marked crosswalk, with the hand thingy flashing green (like almost happened to me a few months ago), I will also sue for damages.

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Cool story, bro.

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to me...well heck--I'd be almost a bazillionaire.

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Pedestrians don't have the right of way if they're not in a crosswalk.

It's hard to stop when someone jaywalks in front of you with no warning.

You think he wanted to take a header into the street?

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And do you want to take it up with MassBike,org? See the section headed: "Your responsibilities: you MUST do these things" bullet item three. It reads:

You must give pedestrians the right of way.

That's a full stop, period, after the phrase right of way. Preceded by the word pedestrian.

http://massbike.org/resourcesnew/bike-law/

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https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter89/Sect...

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Sect...

There is currently legislation filed to clarify jaywalking as an offense, and raise fines to $25 or even $50 (if using headphones) from the current $1.

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/House/H3004

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That Mass Bike page is not a citation of the actual law. The actual law has been cited numerous times on the other Bike Lane thread. Laws for bicycles are the same as they are for motor vehicles.

Section 11. When traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way, slowing down or stopping if need be so to yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk marked in accordance with standards established by the department of highways if the pedestrian is on that half of the traveled part of the way on which the vehicle is traveling or if the pedestrian approaches from the opposite half of the traveled part of the way to within 10 feet of that half of the traveled part of the way on which said vehicle is traveling.

You're welcome.

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So can you clarify why bicyclists think it's ok to go straight through a red light?

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Which bicyclists would those be?

Ain't me. (with the exception of the briefly advanced walk lights before green lights in Cambridge, where every cop I have asked has said "go for it - please!")

I often mount up just before it goes green, but don't enter the intersection.

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Are not the norm in this question.

The intersection at Mass Ave and Beacon is rife with bicyclists roaring on across Beacon heading into Boston from Cambridge. (rife, I say!) (I'm there daily). It's a tough crossing because the bike lane changes to intermittent stripes because of the dedicated car right turn lane (at the bus stop), so there is that jog to keep an eye out for cyclists (and vice versa for them - so my blinker comes on early so they know what I'm doing). And many a bicyclists slow to see if anyone is coming down Beacon and then pedal right along.

Kenmore Sq is a tough one for cyclists - I wouldn't want to try it unless I had a motor - so much easier to swerve and speed up to avoid.

My whole route - especially in bicycle happy JP has many bicycle operators blithely riding through red lights.

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Why do so many people downtown block the box, insist on plowing through crowds of pedestrians who are walking with the light, or outright run red lights at speed in their motor vehicles?

I suspect that it is two things: 1) badly timed lights for the vehicles using the intersections and 2) massholes all around.

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Why do so many people downtown block the box,

I've been finding it getting better, but it does need more oversight by the police. No, red light cameras are not the answer.

insist on plowing through crowds of pedestrians who are walking with the light

That's reprehensible. Do not like.

outright run red lights at speed in their motor vehicles

Everyone knows red is the fastest color, just ask a motorcyclist! d&r
(ps, my moto is red, lol)

I suspect that it is two things: 1) badly timed lights for the vehicles using the intersections and 2) massholes all around.

1. Agreed
2. Assholes, not always massholes (and that's too easy/lazy an epithet for UHub commenters to throw around. You/We are all smarter than that). I see a lot of out of state plates performing similar idiotic moves (They think they're 'blending in'? Who knows).

I was thinking about this on my drive home last night and curious to where this conversation would go. The item that floated to the top of the pile was that the people on UHub, while a part of the Boston-area population, do not appear to be typical of what I see out on the roads. You (in general) say here you follow the rules and I choose to believe you. I believe you are the small minority.

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First of all, I've very rarely seen cyclists "roaring" through red lights. Stop-and-then-proceed is more like it; and some municipalities have even taken steps to legalize that for cyclists, citing safety improvements since cyclists don't have to contend as much with right hooks and other intersection issues.

That being said, let's talk about that whole area:

A) Some of the worst pavement along all of Mass. Ave--numerous potholes and divots from the high volume of traffic, especially heavy vehicles.

B) As you already mentioned, the "bike lane" on the Harvard Bridge, which I put in quotes because it's really just an often gravel-ridden, glass-ridden shoulder, gives way to a right turn lane, just past the bus stop. The 1, the CT1 and the LMA M2 Shuttle all stop there--basically up to 120 feet of bus (plus space in between them). If even one bus is in the stop the only way to go around it is to merge into the middle lane with cars zooming off the Bridge. Even before that is the little alley on the right where cars dart out right in front of you as you're coming off the Bridge. As crazy as it is when they fly out of the alley, it's even worse when they only make it partially out and wind up blocking the end of the bike lane.

C) If you make it past the bus stop and are stuck at the intersection, you're either on the far right--meaning, when the light turns green, you're contending with people turning right right in front of you--or you're wedged in between the turning lane and the middle lane, which is far from a pleasant experience.

D) The worst part of that whole area is even further back if you're coming from the Paul Dudley White Bike Path: after going up the ramp and narrowly missing a few joggers and cyclists riding on the sidewalk, if you're headed to Boston, you first have to cross the Storrow Drive offramp, mixing it up with impatient drivers, already ticked off because they had to detour to Cambridge due to the Longfellow Bridge construction, who often don't look right at all. Then your amazing options are:
1) Stay on the sidewalk all the way to Beacon Street, mixing it up with heavy pedestrian traffic.
2) Ride down the bike lane to Beacon Street, against the flow of bike traffic.
3) Cross four lanes of traffic and then deal with all of the other aforementioned problems.

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re: roaring: You're right - if you re-read my paragraph, you'll see I started out that way but tempered it by the end.

A. I do not envy you having to ride in the worst parts of the roads. And couple that with cars swerving to avoid the potholes makes it all very difficult for everyone and more dangerous for cyclists.

B. I hate that alley with a passion. It should be one way the other direction.

C. I'm surprised - I would have thought you'd feel a measure safer between the turning lane and gaily forward lane at that light. The buses make that tough. I wonder if moving the bus stops to the other side of the intersection easier on everyone. They would have to get in the right turn lane pre-crossing the intersection so they'd already be out of the line of traffic in preparation for the stop.

D. Wow, never thought about it. That sucks. And before anyone gives me shit about 'never thought about it', suck it. We all have things we've never thought about until they pertain directly to us. (yes, I guess I'm preemptively defensive. *shrug*)

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Then how do you suggest cars access it from the Boston side? Do you want them to go across to Cambridge and come back, or do you want them to turn left against traffic coming down off the bridge?

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They can get into that alley or Back St from Beacon St. Take the Charlesgate East on ramp to Storrow and pull a quick right turn. The egress at Mass Ave should be an ingress only with a no left turn sign from Mass Ave heading to Cambridge direction. Maybe an egress during certain hours. People can turn their cars around in the alley - there's plenty of room.

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So can you clarify why bicyclists think it's ok to go straight through a red light?

I haven't the slightest idea. I assume they're probably Mass. drivers and they're used to doing whatever the fuck they want.

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Most of the cyclists going through red lights I see are older homeless looking men on walmart hybrids who don't give a fuck anyway

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Cool story, bro.

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Do you have anything mature or revelent to add or just post millennial dismissel dreck? The people that disobey the light are mostly aloof idiots that appear homeless, not responsible cyclists

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U mad bro?

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U mad bro?

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When they said "six to eight months," did it sound like they meant that the whole project would be constructed in that time? Like the whole stretch of Comm. Ave from BU Bridge/Packard's Corner would be restriped, with the cycle track built and bus stops installed? Maybe that's not unreasonable, but it almost sounds too good to be true. At least, such are my expectations for a public works project in the City of Boston.

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I'm assuming that's a mistake. Either she meant that Comm Ave construction would start six to eight months after going out to bid, or she meant that coming up with a citywide master plan would take six to eight months.

Comm Ave construction will probably take two or three years.

edit: ABBQ is much better informed than I, please listen to him her instead

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Either she meant that Comm Ave construction would start six to eight months after going out to bid, or she meant that coming up with a citywide master plan would take six to eight months.

Construction bids are only good for 30 days after proposal/opening (the City can't hold onto them and wait to open them for 6-8 months. Besides, contractors would withdraw left and right).

I'd venture your second guess is closer to the truth, however master plans often take upwards of a year to design due to the herding of the cats that want/need to provide input.

Edit to add: Looking at the section again, it's not that long of a streetscape and it actually is feasible for the work to be done that quickly. It's concrete with granite curbing working within the already existing roadway. It will be hell on daily traffic, but it can be done. They might even require the work to be done at night - which does add to the cost, but in the overall picture they may find that worth it. The liquidated damages will also provide incentive to completing it on time. Now if they can provide remunerative rather than punitive incentives, you might find more contractors willing to bid. I don't know.

Think about this: MassDot had the Craigie Dam Drawbridge replaced in 11 months (http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/charlesriverbridges/CraigieDamBridgeCraig...). It's the metric tonne of forethought and preparation that allows projects to be completed that quickly.

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Oops, I meant possibly 6-8 months after accepting a bid, not after putting out a bid. I don't know too much about this area, but I thought that timeline was reasonably common, e.g. accepting a contractor's bid in the fall with the intention of them starting construction in the spring. Could that be it?

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Material costs change between fall and spring. No contractor in their right mind will put a bid in the fall for spring work. And certainly not for public work. Besides which, the specifications for public work include the current wage rates that they must use and that's only good for a specified amount of time. Wages may change between fall and spring, too.

Private work can be done a little differently.

Public bidding process in MA is a pain, but has rules and regs that must be followed. It can be tight - maybe 6 or 7 weeks, but more like an 8 week process.

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Kenmore to Amory Street took about 25 months according to bu.edu/cap/. August 2006 through September 2008, with a little work afterwards to finish up some items.

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Good to know, thanks!

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edit: ABBQ is much better informed than I, please listen to him instead

Or her. She is kind of in the business. :)

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fixed :)

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I was >< close to not saying anything, but ... meh!

Thanks!

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I would assume that means it will go out to bid in 6 to 8 months. They haven't even finalized all of the details of the design yet.

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should have dedicated bike lines all the way from Packard's Corner to Kenmore. They definitely should not end at the BU Bridge.

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As a driver, not sure why cycle tracks don't get more support. Whenever I have a cyclist in the road next to me, I am always paranoid about hitting them. What if they get doored, move quickly to avoid a pedestrian, etc and that causes me to swerve? Tracks would give me some peace of mind that we were separated.

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I have to give the mayor credit for going with a forward-thinking design that should decrease conflicts and increase safety for everyone, even if there will be some unfortunate tears from bicycle haters.

To the haters: No hard feelings. You have my sympathies for yet another setback. This must be galling when added to the never-ending bicycle traffic jams you have to sit in, the constant search for a parking spot that hasn't been usurped by bicycles, not to mention digging your vehicle out from under the unprecedented piles of bicycles that fell from the sky this winter. I do not envy you.

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First of all

CYCLISTS RIDE BICYCLES, BIKERS RIDE MOTORCYCLES. God that bugs me

Anyway, I support the idea and was in a video advocating for this but now it occurs to me from seeing a number of posts on Bikesnobnyc's blog of riding around manhattan's dedicated spots how this could be a problem. In New York, pedestrians don't give a fuck and will walk in protected lanes often. BU kids are irresponsible children and will use this as another pedestrian spot or place to wait. The second one of those new jersey/ct kids darts into the lane without looking and gets hit, you know their rich lawyer dad is going to go sue crazy on the cyclist.

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CYCLISTS RIDE BICYCLES, BIKERS RIDE MOTORCYCLES.

I've been doing my best to ignore that. But yes.

Actually, I don't consider myself a 'biker', but a motorcyclist.

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