Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rough Road

The city of Cambridge has been repairing a water line on Main/ Broadway just before the Longfellow bridge (in an area I had previously reported a water leak/ ice floe).   It's annoying enough that the bike lane is blocked and that the road is narrowed to a single lane, but the water line seems to be right under the bike lane, so the patched area is right in the bike lane.  Sometimes they just fill the trench with gravel, and other times they have a really awful temporary patch.  The patched area was really rough- so rough that when I merged over one day last week my coffee mug went flying when I hit the first bump.   It doesn't help that I'm going pretty fast because I'm in the lane with cars breathing down my neck through the constriction.
Gravel fill

An asphalt patch- possibly worse
I called the city last week to inquire about the schedule of the repairs.  If the super bumpy patch was just temporary, it didn't necessarily make sense for them to fix it,  but if they thought it was "permanent"  it definitely needed to be fixed.  They told me that it was a temporary patch, and that the project would be going on until January, and that the final patch would go down then.   I told them that I was glad that it wasn't a final patch, but I that I was a bit worried that the weather would preclude a final patch before the spring, and that the current patch was dangerous for bikers.

The line seems to be right where the bike lane stripe wa
So today I rode through, and the temporary patch has ben replaced with a nice smooth patch for the portion that is "complete"  I don't know if that was just part of the plan, or if they just needed to be told that the temporary patch was dangerous to bicyclists.  I'm really glad that they fixed it before the project was completely over.  I only hope that they can re-stripe it before the weather gets too cold.


  1. We have a lot of local construction, too. While it is stressful to cyclists, mostly the motorists seem to realize the obstructions are not the cyclists' fault and are even more patient than normal.

  2. The city did something similar on my route up Garden St., water main work up the part of the lane I usually ride in. The surface is bumpy but not quite as bad as the bridge. I'd guess the bridge won't get repaved until the renovation is done.

    1. Moopheus, I STRONGLY recommend that you contact city of Cambridge and ask nicely if that's the final patch, and if not, when the final patch will be installed.
      I would mention that it's dangerous for cyclists, and if it IS the final patch, ask them to fix it, and if it ISN'T, ask them if there's any way they can get the final patch in before the snow hits.

      I really do think that Cambridge tries to fix things so that they're safe for cyclists- they just don't always know where the danger spots are, or what constitutes a dangerous spot.
      And I know that "dangerous" is subjective- but hitting a really bumpy area when you're going at speed can easily cause a crash, especially if it's wet or icy.

  3. That original patch looks treacherous. I can only imagine running over that in the dark, after a long day of work. Telling the city that it doesn't work for cyclists, that it is potentially dangerous, is the way to go, though. The new patch looks almost practicable, although it may not have to the cyclist in that photo.

    1. Actually JRA, that "patch" in the photo w. the cyclist was a different section of the same temporary patch. I didn't get final photos, but they patched it all the way to the curb so that there's not a seam running right down the middle of the bike lane. I didn't get photos of the new patch yet.
      I'm hoping that they will paint in a line for the bike lane though before it gets too cold.

  4. Cycler:

    You are an example of the Gospel of Matthew: "Ask and ye shall receive... ." Good work! I've had less success with Town of Milton over a pothole visible from space on Granite Ave. (a 4 lane, undivided commuter thoroughfare) even thought a local bike committee member put in a word for me. I think they are trying to pass the buck to Mass DOT. So I give credit to the PRC as well as you.