Citizen's parking tickets in Allston

Somebody's had enough with Massholes parking in the bicycle lane on North Harvard Avenue and has taken to leaving "tickets" on the windshields of offending cars - some of which also had actual city-of-Boston parking violations. Offenses range from "parking like a jack-ass" and "too stupid to drive a car" to "driving a Kia or Hyundai."

Via Boston Biker.

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Another fumble by Menino

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This problem was brought to the city's attention a few weeks ago during a chat on Boston.com with Bostons bike czar, who said the city would get on it. Of course, it is not surprising that Menino has not enforced this rule, since similar problems around Jamaica Pond have been around for years and the mayor does nothing.
Menino wants the accolades for adding bike lanes (after 16 years of inaction) but, as always with him, the follow up is negligible.

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Seems to me the REAL fumble here was by removing all those

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necessary parking spaces in order to accommodate a handful of bike riders per hour. After all, it's not like those parking spaces sat unused all day.

If the City tried to add a traffic signal or an extra lane for cars, most everybody would immediately say "show us that the traffic demand justifies providing a signal or an extra travel lane".

But say "let's replace parking spaces with a bike lane", and everybody immediately says "Sure, let's do that. I don't see any problems".

I'm all for encouraging bike usage when it's appropriate and justified, but let's drop this 'entitlement' attitute that seems to be emerging.

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How are bikes not entitled

How are bikes not entitled to a share of the road? A wrongful entitlement attitude is one that suggests a single person surrounded by 1,500 pounds of steel should be granted 300 square feet of real estate in favor of other uses.

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By all means, share the road. But don't unfairly displace

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other road users in the process - which is what removing EXISTING parking spaces without providing a similar amount of parking elsewhere amounts to.

And to demand something (in this case a bike lane) without providing tangible evidence the need is truly justified (in this case, projected usage counts) sounds a lot like entitlement to me.

Unless you somehow feel it's fair and equitable to suddenly inconvenience a large number of drivers who relied on using those parking spaces every day to create a special lane for a handful of bike riders who are perfectly capable of riding in the normal traffic flow.

Now, if several hundred bike riders used the new lane on a daily basis, I might agree that removing the on-street parking was an acceptable move.

Always remember, "The needs of the many must outweigh the wants of the few"

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You make a false assumption

You make a false assumption that parking is some sort of right that can only be transferred. There is no law that dictates it is the best use of the land. People are starting to realize that everything but the car has been marginalized for decades. This isn't a case of a few bicycles usurping, it's a case of fixing a flawed policy that only benefits vehicular traffic and crowds out other uses.

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Get back to us with that count

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Count the number of bikers who use these lanes during the day on different days of the week over the next few weeks as it becomes used more and then get back to us with the ridership to see if it is more per day than the number of cars that used to park there. I'm going to guess it will be. Don't stop counting until you get a plateau for about a month in the number of users as it takes a while for people to find out about these new lanes when they go in because they've been using other routes that they felt safer biking and it's not like the local paper is any damn good at announcing useful and positive things like this.

Finally, remember that this was probably in the plans for when Harvard people would be coming over to Allston more frequently as the development of the new labs and buildings were drawn up. The recession has killed a lot of that development, but having these sorts of beneficial infrastructure in place BEFORE users of the new facilities get set in their ways is actually a GOOD thing.

Also, does anyone know if this bike lane goes all the way through to Cambridge St? That is another obvious candidate road for an intersecting bike lane considering the car lanes from Beacon all the way to Oak Square is more than wide enough to accommodate it without removing parking OR disrupting traffic.

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Funny. A study was done, and

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Funny. A study was done, and there IS tangible evidence that the space was not being used properly. Just because you didnt get the report in the mail doesnt mean it doesnt exist.

As someone else pointed out, they found that the cars parking there were not visiting local businesses, and those wishing to had alternate parking availale.

You assume that a study was made when the road was paved showing that x amount of parking spots were needed, and that as such, the removal should be done so only with substituion parking elsewhere. That is false. No study was done, someone just followed ancient guidelines that said all streets must always have parking. Fortunately, the city realized that these guidelines were wrong.

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Needs of the many

If a "handful" of bike riders use that lane each hour, then they are the many, compared to the single drivers who would have parked their boxes there all day.

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Parking

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This is a really busy route for bicyclists, as it's a key crosstown connection between Cambridge and Allston/Brighton. It's also a really busy route for buses and other motor vehicles.

The city studied who was parking along that stretch of N Harvard St over many months and determined it was people with out of state plates, people commuting in who work at Harvard (and should be using Harvard parking facilities), and people who ditch their car and walk to the T or bike into work from there.

Given the fact that with parking on both sides, the roadway is too narrow for bike lanes, carries so many bicyclists and motor vehicles, and since the parking isn't needed for residents or other local users, they opted to remove most of it and stripe bike lanes. Harvard wished for a left turn lane into the stadium, which is why that middle section doesn't have parking on either side.

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Thanks to everyone for the clarifications. It was I who

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made some poor assumptions when I posted my initial comments, which were largely based on my limited experience of driving on some streets in Cambridge that do have bike lanes - and that I almost never see bicyclists using.

Object lesson for the day "Do your homework first."

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Who's parking on North Harvard

"Out of state plates"

So? Do we want people to visit Boston or not? Call me queer, but I like it when people from other places come here and buy things. It's nice for our town to have money so that it can buy nice things as well.

"People commuting in who work at Harvard (and should be using Harvard parking facilities)"

This part of the study is useless unless it can be proven that said facilities are not consistently at capacity. They have to park somewhere to get to their jobs.

"People who ditch their car and walk to the T"

What, you want to force people to use the fucking abortion of a bus service in this neighborhood to get over there? You want to force people to pay out the ass to use Harvard Square garages?

All we had to do was widen the fucking sidewalk on one side and establish it as a bicycle lane. But instead, the shit for brains that runs this city fucked up again.

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Once again, they found that

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Once again, they found that the cars parking there were sitting all day contributing nothing, while suitable daily parking was available nearby. This isnt Newbury St, its mostly empty, except for the stadium.

And as mentioned, why cater to the eneds of 12 parked cars (12 people) when more than 12 bikes will use the lanes every day?

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Where can we leave tickets

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Where can we leave tickets for the many bicyclists who ride on the sidewalk right next to the bike lane? Oh, right--bicyclists don't have to obey laws, just make everyone do so.

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Right - that law doesn't

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Right - that law doesn't exist as you describe. Please provide better details, or read this.

http://www.cityofboston.gov/bikes/laws.asp

Within the State of Massachusetts, a cyclist's rights allow:
* Riding on sidewalks outside business districts, unless local laws prohibit sidewalk riding.

What I don't see is what laws Boston has enacted to restrict this, or what it considers to be a business district. Somerville has a nice PDF that specifies where bikes may not ride on the sidewalk. It's mostly in the big squares, and also has no-bike decals painted on the sidewalk ramps to indicate the restricted areas.

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again, common courtesy and common sense

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I suppose cyclists may have the legal right to speed down a busy sidewalk full of people, but that doesn't exactly show common courtesy or common sense. For what it's worth, I feel the same way about speeding joggers, having been body slammed more than a few times this summer while walking on sidewalks in Boston.

That aside, the arrogance of some cyclists who scoff at their responsibility to obey traffic rules and blow through countless stop signs and red lights does NOTHING for creating a more friendly attitude toward urban cyclists. To these special Massholes, thanks for endangering all of us!

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This gets back to a

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This gets back to a discussion/blog/etc. that I remember seeing earlier. All road users, bicyclists, pedestrians, and cars violate the law. Pedestrians jay walk, bicyclists run lights, and ride on the sidewalk in designated no sidewalk biking areas, and drivers frequently speed, make illegal turns on a no turn on red, and illegally park, double park, etc. Everyone violates rules, and everyone avoids punishment.. not just bikers. Should all laws be enforced? Probably, otherwise they shouldn't be laws, but police prioritize different offenses.

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Not a bad idea

Not a bad idea (I've considered something similar for vehicles blocking bus stops), but the self-righteous insults are unnecessary.

Boston's a crowded place -- it's certainly not uncommon for drivers to disregard No Parking/Standing zones, reassuring themselves with various excuses... "I'm not really in anyone's way; I'll only be a minute." Basically, people do what they can get away with.

An effort to educate, e.g. with fake tickets explaining the regs, penalties and real inconvenience/danger they're causing, would go a lot further in dealing with the problem, I would think. As an "offender", I would certainly appreciate, and heed, the more civil approach.

(That's one thing I've learned about New Englanders -- some tend to approach a conflict with guns blazing.)

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Attracting ME!-First drivers with honey & not vinegar

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I think fenwayguy is on to something. The ticket is, in my view, a thigh-slapper, and perhaps the driver of this "piece of crap" will laugh off the ticket on his trip back to Lincoln or Los Angeles. Or, perhaps, a polite notice on the car explaining the wrong behavior would be more effective.

Let's see, among the tempered, consensus-building words we have:

"car is a piece of crap"
tsk, tsk, Harvard folk "should know better"
"mentally handicapped driver"
"Jack-Ass"
"Stupid"
"Illiterate"
"Big Ugly crappy car"
"Total Bitch"

This language inclines toward division, not toward warm fellow-feeling among those who have to share the road.

On the other hand, I'm guessing, with a 5:15 pm time, this stretch of bicycle lane was parked up by plenty of other malefactors. An entirely blocked bicycle lane might make me hot under the collar, too.

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Oh, there's no denying

Oh, there's no denying you'd get a rush of self-righteous superiority and disdain, and have amusing stories for your biking friends, but as zbert commented when I posted similar snark about parking in the North End,

isn't life in the city (or anywhere for that matter) hard enough?

why make things even more miserable than necessary?

As I said, I like the fake-ticket idea, but give a person a little respect before you lay them out. (It could even be used to raise awareness on other problems, such as dooring, that many drivers have never thought about.)

If they respond like an entitled Masshole, it's their karma, not yours.

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This particular car had been

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This particular car had been parked in the bike lane for over 36 hours when I 'ticketed' it. As you can see, it had already received multiple notices and tickets. I believe all these slurs apply, unless of course the owner of this car is dead or in a coma somewhere. If so, I apologize.

By the way, this car is still parked in the bike lane today. If it is still there on my way home, I'll be calling the police, again, and this time I'll suggest they tow it.

BTW, I never ride on the sidewalk. Thanks.

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Re: this time I'll suggest they tow it

They're taking their sweet time about it, given that it's a posted tow zone. But then, that's never meant a whole lot in Boston. I believe they call it "selective enforcement" -- as opposed to actual enforcement.

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Bicyclists braying like it's some kind of religion

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I don't much like Will LaTulippe's posted comment, but it's got a kernel of truth in it.

Pro-bicyclists often bray about accommodating bicycles off the sidewalk like it's some kind of religious doctrine.

In many places in Europe the bicycle 'roadway' is usually more closely aligned with the pedestrian 'roadway' rather than with the automotive and truck 'roadway'.

I don't know the dimension of North Harvard, but, by spending more money and widening the sidewalks, it might have been possible to provide inbound and outbound bicycle lanes while still retaining the automobile parking.

As it is, bicycles receive far too few urban infrastructure investment dollars, but we are happy to get what a paint job can provide.

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Pedestrians in Europe

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stay the hell out of the bike lanes. Buses respect the cyclists in the lanes, too.

Wanna see how well this "on sidewalk" scheme fails? Try Vassar Street in Cambridge. Idiots meandering all over the dedicated bike lanes with their phones up their arses and their heads with them - even when trucks aren't parked on them.

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Sidewalk bike paths = fail

Yep, the Soutwhest corridor path is another such example. Pedestrians are all over that path, wandering left and right, on and off, side by side. And the irony is that the path is parallel to a sidewalk, which nobody uses!

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That only works if the

That only works if the pedestrian isn't on the phone/listening to an i-Pod, or simply clueless. In fact, I've noticed pedestrians who do hear it often take the wrong message, hearing the word left, they move to the left. Yes, it is possible to share the bike path safely, just as it is possible to share the road safely. This requires agreement and awareness by all users. If my choice is a path full of unaware pedestrians, acting unpredictably, against a street with predictable cars, I'll take the latter, realizing that neither is ideal.

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"Four simple words"

"I've noticed pedestrians who do hear it often take the wrong message, hearing the word left, they move to the left."

Yes indeed. I've done this myself. You know why? Because in most cases I don't HEAR "four simple words." I hear *one* word -"LEFT!" - from directly behind me as the cyclist hurtles past, and my startled and instinctual reaction is unfortunately to move in the direction ordered.

Whatever happened to bicycle bells? That's an easily recognized sound.

BTW, to those who insist that riding on the sidewalk is a cyclist's right - didja notice the part of the law where it says that you're required to yield right of way to pedestrians and GIVE WARNING? Like...with a bell, not inarticulate hollering. Thanks!

MGL, Chapter 85: Section 11B.
[First paragraph as amended by 2008, 525, Sec. 3 effective April 15, 2009.]

Every person operating a bicycle upon a way, as defined in section one of chapter ninety, shall have the right to use all public ways in the commonwealth except limited access or express state highways where signs specifically prohibiting bicycles have been posted, and shall be subject to the traffic laws and regulations of the commonwealth and the special regulations contained in this section, except that: (1) the bicycle operator may keep to the right when passing a motor vehicle which is moving in the travel lane of the way, (2) the bicycle operator shall signal by either hand his intention to stop or turn; provided, however, that signals need not be made continuously and shall not be made when the use of both hands is necessary for the safe operation of the bicycle, and (3) bicycles may be ridden on sidewalks outside business districts when necessary in the interest of safety, unless otherwise directed by local ordinance. A person operating a bicycle on the sidewalk shall yield the right of way to pedestrians and give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

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I'm right with you on all

I'm right with you on all this. I never shout "on your left," and frequently use my bell. Every bicycle should have one. That still doesn't help with the ear buds situation, but it's better than nothing. As for the sidewalk? I disagree with that law, because it encourages people to ride on the sidewalk, in spite of the clause you've pointed out. I don't think bikes belong on the sidewalk, with the exception of young children on residential streets. I do not consider it a safe situation for pedestrians to have to share that space with an adult cyclist. While it may be my legal right, it is not a safe choice. As my comments here and in various other cycling threads should indicate, my primary interest is safety, which is sometimes at odds with the law.

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"Sidewalk bike paths = fail" is counterfactual

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HenryAllen, "Sidewalk bike paths = fail" is just plain counterfactual; see the post above yours—they work just fine in Europe.

To get transportation working well in Boston, everybody's behavior has to change. Asserting that bus drivers and pedestrians in Boston are, irremediably, idiots, and worse, gets us about as far as the unhelpful 'parking ticket' that was the occasion of this thread.

As far as the pedestrian sidewalk in the Southwest Corridor that is situated directly adjacent to the six-lane, automobile traffic sewer known as Columbus Avenue, of course no one uses it. Why would any pedestrian in their right mind walk within two feet of 35 mph traffic, when she can walk on a nice path within the park itself.

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sidewalk bike paths

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Why would any pedestrian in their right mind walk within two feet of 35 mph traffic, when she can walk on a nice path within the park itself.

people walk on the bike path that is near Ward's and Leverett ponds (Jamaica Way) even though there is a dedicated Ped path within the park. Iphone,Ipod, dogleash stretching across the bikelane etc.
John

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