Wednesday, November 2, 2011


A bunch of little stuff going on:

I've complained in the past about the Greenway not having bike lanes.   They're not completely in (and the old lines are not completely gone) but they're starting to put them in.   So far only on the water side (Atlantic Ave)  and I didn't explore to see how far they go.   Too much of the length is dashed,  and I'd really like to see a bike box at Seaport, because a lot of cars are turning right, and a lot of cars are gunning for the on-ramp to 93, and it would be great to have a head start through there.  Will try to get photos in the daylight.

Rode Minerva into work today.  I got replacement axle nuts for the 13/32 ones that were sent by mistake.  I put them on on Saturday, rode a couple of errands (including the paint store at which I picked up a gallon of paint)  and dodged some turkeys.  Bike rode great,  kool stop rear shoes are still awesome and grabby,  front drum brake is OK, still needs some adjustment.
This morning when I was hopping on Gilbert, I whacked the pie plate with my foot, and knocked it off somehow.  It didn't want to just snap back in,  so I wheeled G back into the shed, and hopped on Minerva. It's nice having a backup bike.  She looks so dignified in the corner of my office!

Unfortunately I neglected to grab a lock,  so when I got to WF to pick up breakfast, I took a chance and just brought Minerva in with me.  She's not much bigger than a cart,  they're pretty empty at that hour, and what the hey!   No one commented or even looked at me funny.

Got a new pair of old boots!   I had a pair of boots that I loved, but after two hard winters of almost daily wear they were coming apart at the soles.   I took them to my cobbler, and he said that it would be a lot of money and it wouldn't be a permanent solution to fix them.   Unlike 99% of the time when it seems that I discover I can't live without something only after it has been permanently discontinued, I found these online, ordered them Monday before work, and they arrived on Tuesday.  WOW.  They fit just like the old ones, and it's great to have them "back."  I'm looking forward to many miles ahead of them.  Oh, and I'm loving my dramatic print skirts I got from Boden.
Photo assisted by the small brown dog

Dueling meetings tomorrow night- I'm going to try to make at least one of them.
Brookline town hall, meeting about rebuilding the intersection of Rte 9 and the Emerald Necklace.  A notoriously poor connection for bikes and pedestrians,  They're rebuilding this area, and they need incentive to make the hard choices necessary to make it less of a highway and more of a neighborhood.  7pm,  Brookline City hall, info here.

Also a meeting about connecting the Fenway to the rest of the Emerald necklace at the Muddy River.  This is the kind of crazy rotary at the Landmark Center (the old Sears building).  The main project is to open the river, which is currently underground in a culvert, to the air.  There are some traffic changes though, and the Army Corps of Engineers, who is handling most of the project, isn't as progressive about non- motorized transportation as this busy urban district deserves.  Two meetings to handle shift change at the hospital.  Info here.

Finally, and I know this is a long, text heavy post.
New legislation just proposed by State Representative Will Brownsberger (Belmont/ Cambridge)  would mainly provide the same protections to bicyclists riding in a crosswalk as are provided to pedestrians (motorists must yield, $200 fine).   More importantly it hints at a protection for vulnerable users, that seems to declare that in any collision with a bicyclist, the driver may not use right of way as a defense in a civil suit.  Basically it's saying that cars always need to yield to bikes and peds no matte what.
I'm conflicted a bit about how it's stated in the law,  and suspect it's not going to make it through the process, but I firmly believe that stronger legal liability for drivers is a critical part of making cycling safer and more accepted here.  Velouria at Lovely Bicycle had an interesting post about cycling here vs in Vienna,  and a lot of it came down to the legal ramifications that drivers face if they hit a cyclist there make them much more polite and careful around cyclists.  We can build infrastructure all we like, but I think that the underlying liability issues, which I hope will come into focus as more people start to cycle, are critical to getting everyone who might enjoy biking to feel comfortable doing it.


  1. So, would Brownsberger's proposed bill have made me liable had today's situation I blogged about actually turned into a collision? If so, was that the intent?

  2. I have a Boston Bikes network plan meeting on my calender for Nov 16th at the BPL, but I can't seem to find the source for it.
    I'm in favor of the crosswalk proposal - far too many crosswalks in Boston give a walk signal with a simultaneous left turn signal for the parallel street a small sign indicates that cars must yield to pedestrians. Two of my favorite locations for crossing stress - Dartmouth at Columbus and Cedar at Columbus.

  3. The Muddy River meeting will be attended by several members of Muddy River Maintenance and Management Oversight Committee, the Fenway Civic Association, and Emerald Necklace Conservancy, which are pro-pedestrian and bike. It's be a long time battle to improve pedestrian safety and bicycle access around Landmark Center. The planned Boylston Street rebuild process has been dragging on since 2006, along with Audubon Circle. Both projects directly affect the traffic flow into the "missing link" Emerald Necklace parcel. Additionally the state's consistent failure to acquire the disused railroad right of way alongside the D line( to allow for a bicycle and pedestrian underpass beneath Park Drive and continuing to the new Yawkey commuter rail station) delays an opportunity to have an additional car free route option. There's been a significant push over the years to offer more transportation options for residents of the Fenway and commuters to the Longwood Medical Area, which the city and state has been slow to act upon.

    I'd be more concerned with the Route 9 meeting. There's been less of a long term concerted effort by local parties to really push to de-highway-ize this stretch of roadway and restore the tail end of the Riverway into an easily enjoyable park. The other issue is that this side of Brookline Avenue is the main traffic artery into the LMA. Many of the commuters from the west aren't going to give up their convenience for the sake of local residents having a safe and enjoyable environment. Can't say that Brookline appears to be as committed to viable bike infrastructure as Boston either. Their bike planning website and project list hasn't been updated in about 3 years last time I checked.

  4. @anon.
    Thanks for the info on the Muddy River project- I am less familiar with this part of the city, partly because I find biking in this area stressful and try to avoid it. Had to go to REI in the wintry mix last Saturday and it confirmed my desire to avoid it whenever possible!

    In terms of the benefits to commuters in from the 'burbs vs local needs, fortunately I think that the locals are much more likely to show up, and are both more invested in the results and should have more control over the outcomes.

  5. Hi,

    I have a question on one of your comments - you mentioned parking your bike in your office. What do you do in the winter? Do you ride year round, or can you walk or take the T in the winter.

    Unfortunately, bus service was limited at my old job, and almost non existent in my new one; I can't see bringing a slushy bike into an office full of people that have trouble with the idea of bicycling in very light rain, so I'm curious if you have suggestions.