Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Two important bike meetings next week UPDATE

Monday night, April 11, is the next meeting on the Longfellow Bridge project,  6:30 -8:30 at the Shriner's hospital auditorium, 51 Blossom Street, Boston.

I'm not really sure what the updated status of this is,  I know that the next step is to do an  Environmental Assessment which gets filed with the federal government, but I don't know which option/s  have been selected.

The other meeting  is on the East Arlington reconstruction of Mass Ave to include bike lanes.  My understanding is that Arlington is trying to get federal funding (through the state DOT)  to reconstruct the first 20 blocks of Mass Ave after you cross into Arlington from Cambridge.   Part of federal funding is the requirement to put bike accommodations in,  and the town did so.  Traffic counts suggest that it only needs to be three lanes at this point- two towards Cambridge, and one towards Arlington.   The plan is to move the center median, and create bike lanes,  improved pedestrian crossings (bump outs) and improved street furniture (benches, trash containers) and landscaping to create a more livable streetscape.

There is a very vociferous and well funded opposition who partly think that bike riding is only for yuppies, and feel this is a challenge to the dominance of the car that they cannot stand for.  A funny take on all this can be found here.

The East Arlington Livable streets Coalition is asking anyone who ever bikes through this area to show up and support the bike lanes.  The city wants to do the right thing,  we just need to show up and support them.  Tuesday night, Arlington Town Hall on Mass Ave,  7pm.

I saw a discussion of the Arlington meeting on the Boston Biker blog,  and MassBike is arguing that people who are not from Arlington should carefully consider whether they should attend.  The concern is that the opponents feel that this is a "we've lived here forever, and these yuppies move in from Cambridge and want to gentrify us out of town" issue  and that having an influx of non- Arlington bikers might be counterproductive.
I see the point,  but if you ride this area often, no matter where you're from, I think that you should still try to come and support the lanes- it's going to be a tough meeting with a lot of noise from the opposition.


  1. Thanks for posting about the East Arlington project. This has been worked on for a couple of years and gone through a few revisions. There is one group that is just opposed in general to the project. Their latest stunt has been to file a criminal complaint in Coakley's office:
    The re-design has taken into consideration ALL users, but bicyclists are the easy target. One of the lame arguments is that bikes are already accommodated because of the Minuteman Bike Path. Another argument is that cyclists are a very minor user group and just shouldn't get special treatment (disregarding current state law on bicyclists' usage rights on state roads like Mass. Ave.) But, from my recollection the anti-project group is also against the curb bump-outs for pedestrians and also were against an unrelated proposal to add bus shelters to a few MBTA stops.
    Anyway, if you commute in East Arlington (walk, bike, or bus) and want to have a better user experience please attend the meeting.

  2. There is also a meeting tonight in JP to discuss the Casey Overpass.

    MassDOT Public Information Meeting on the Casey Overpass – Wednesday April 6th 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
    Agassiz School Community Center 20 Child Street Jamaica Plain

    The purpose of this meeting is to provide the public with the opportunity to become fully acquainted with the proposed Planning Study for the Replacement of Monsignor Casey Overpass project. All views and comments made at the meeting will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible.