Safety

Boston Cyclist Union Still Fighting For Improvements To Longfellow

Anyone who has ridden over the new Longfellow bridge knows…its not good.  Even with the new “improvements” it still is pretty bad, especially considering how much better it could be.  But the BCU and a lot of other people are STILL FIGHTING!

Update from them below:

It’s been more than a month since you’ve received an update on the Longfellow, and a lot has happened!

The Boston City Council unanimously passed a resolution last month endorsing our proposed striping design, joining the Cambridge City Council, which passed a similar resolution in April. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone and Rep. Mike Capuano also endorsed the plan, with Capuano writing to MassDOT, “…the Boston Cyclists Union raises legitimate concerns, and I urge MassDOT to address them.”

Responding to mounting pressure and working with advocates, MassDOT has already committed to several safety improvements we have been asking for. This includes reducing the speed limit to 25 miles per hour, and installing a speed feedback board; narrowing inbound travel lanes by a total of one foot, while widening the bike lane from 5.5’ to 6.5’; installing flex posts on the inbound and outbound sides to physically separate cyclists from moving car traffic; and adding signage directing large vehicles to use the left inbound lane, to give additional comfort to cyclists in the bike lane. All of these changes to the original design are slated for completion in the first week of June.

These are all welcome changes that will make the bridge dramatically safer than it would have been under MassDOT’s original plan. We applaud MassDOT for listening to and heeding the voices of so many cyclists, advocates and elected officials, and for showing a commitment to working with us toward a safer solution.

What’s more, MassDOT is not done making improvements to the bridge. After hearing from us, many of you, and other stakeholders who have engaged with them over the past few months asking for safety upgrades to the bridge’s design, MassDOT is working hard to respond to our concerns. Yesterday, MassDOT met with stakeholders, who have engaged over the past few months with safety concerns over the bridge design, to discuss future plans to make the bridge even safer. Secretary Pollack committed to working with stakeholders to run a pilot on the inbound side of the bridge, testing out the narrowing of the bridge to one lane for cars with a wider, separated bike lane that would allow safe passing. We’ll be looking to you to give feedback as this change happens, to help secure the safer, wider lane permanently, so please continue to follow the progress and be in touch with us!

This is a huge victory, and it would not have been possible without you showing up and speaking up. Whether you canvassed for signatures, signed our petition online or in person, emailed or called your state rep or city councilor — YOU made a difference and are impacting a decade-old decision that many felt was unchangeable. We are accomplishing the impossible, all because we stood together to ensure MassDOT listened. This is our collective strength in action.

We look forward to seeing this project progress. We hope the flex posts and other design changes make you feel safer when the bridge reopens to full beneficial use, and we are eager to see what further improvements we can achieve by continuing to work together. Momentum is on our side.

PeopleForBikes rates 480 US cities to determine the best places for bikes

INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — PeopleForBikes recognized and awarded several cities at the second annual PlacesForBikes conference, which wraps up today in this Midwestern city. Through its new program, City Rankings, PeopleForBikes takes a data-driven approach to determine which cities are best for biking, and those that are improving the fastest

Moots and Ibis donate bikes to benefit advocacy and trail building

Each company has offered up a bike to be raffled by regional groups.

Ten major bike companies join Trek, Ford and Tome on bicycle-to-vehicle technology advisory board

INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Some bike and e-bike heavy hitters are joining Trek and Ford in helping create safety standards related to bicycle-to-vehicle communication.   For nearly a year,  Trek has been working with the software company Tome and Ford  on developing the so-called B2V technology, which uses artificial intelligence to evaluate and identify safety measures at specific vulnerable roadway locations.

Bike share association claims victory as Oklahoma bill dies in committee

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (BRAIN) — The North American Bikeshare Association is claiming another victory as an Oklahoma bill that would have pre-empted local control of dockless bikeshare did not make it to the House floor last week.

Colorado Legislature passes ‘Safety Stop’ bill

DENVER (BRAIN) — Colorado could become the third state with a law that allows bicyclists to treat some stop signs like yield signs and red lights like stop signs.

Today Is The Day: Porter For People Rally At 5:30pm!

From the email:

Today is the day. We are rallying in Porter Square to say two deaths in one square is too many, that these and other road fatalities were preventable with better infrastructure, and that we want #SafeStreetsNow. We want life-saving improvements to the current redesign of Porter Square and greater action to build out a city-wide protected network within 5 years.

Join us for an evening of action in the heart of one of Cambridge’s busiest intersections. The Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society Brass Band will be playing, and we will hear stories from a number of community members impacted by poor infrastructure. We will end with a massive people-protected bike lane on Somerville Ave and Mass Ave in a show of solidarity for vulnerable road users.

RSVP on Facebook

Details:
5:30 PM: Gather (mingling, kid’s crafts, displays, music)
6:00 PM: Rally begins
6:30 PM: People-protected bike lanes begin

Together, let’s make Porter Square a square for people.

BPSA, PeopleForBikes to examine ties as issues grow more complex

MONTEREY, Calif. (BRAIN) — It’s a tentative move couched in words like “cautious,” “respectful,” “tentative,” and “complex.” But the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and PeopleForBikes have agreed to examine whether the BPSA should move to combine forces with the industry’s leading advocacy association. “We are starting an examination of our relationship,” said Adam Micklin, the BPSA’s president, in an interview Wednesday at the Bicycle Leadership Conference

Do You Want Protected Bike Lanes On The Longfellow?

From Cambridge Bike Safety:

The Longfellow Bridge, a critical bike connector to Boston, is going to be restriped and reopened in May. You may be surprised to learn that in the final design, the inbound bike lane will be similar or worse than it is today: it will continue to have a dangerous 5 1/2-foot painted bike lane between fast-moving cars and trucks on one side, and the storm grates and detritus that builds up next to the crash barrier on the other side. The outbound lane will be slightly better, with a small 2-foot buffer separating bikes from one lane of car traffic with no protection.

According to Boston’s bike counts, one-third of AM rush hour commuters are on bicycles. Those families, commuters and visitors deserve a safe space to ride! We have been working to convince state officials to install pilot protected bike lanes by restriping both lanes, inbound and outbound, with buffers and flexposts to provide separation and permanent protection for the commuters, families, and other people traveling over this bridge on bikes.

To make this vision a reality we need to keep the pressure on state officials. Please take these two actions today to ensure help us transform the Longfellow Bridge from a highway to a safe, mulit-modal connector for everyone, including those walking and bicycling!

  1. Call or email your state representative’s and senator’s offices (look yours up here or find the list of Cambridge reps below) as soon as possible and tell them how important it is to you as a constituent that MassDOT update the design to include safe, protected bike lanes on the bridge in both directions. Please copy us or email us afterward (info@cambridgebikesafety.org and info@bostoncyclistsunion.org) so we can keep a count. Talking points are below.

  2. Sign this petition asking state officials to stripe a safe bike lane with a buffer on the inbound side of the Longfellow. If you’ve already signed, share the link with your friends by email or Facebook.

Background:

A group of advocates led by the Boston Cyclists Union, Cambridge Bicycle Safety, and others has been working to convince state officials to change their plans for the inbound side of the bridge, and use painted buffers and flexposts to provide separation and permanent protection for the commuters, families, and other people traveling over this bridge on bikes.

Specifically, we are asking MassDOT to keep the bridge to one travel lane inbound for cars, in order to install an inbound protected bike lane that would allow cyclists to cross the bridge safely.

  • With only one general travel lane, the protected bike lane can be designed to be quite wide, which will have two ancillary benefits: (1) emergency vehicles like ambulances will be able to safely use the bike lane/buffer when needed (with bicyclists pulling over to the side), (2) bicyclists will be able to safely ride side by side and pass each other on the steep climb up the bridge.

  • We know that one lane is all that’s needed, given that there’s only been one car lane over the past 5+ years of construction, and the traffic implosion that had been predicted never materialized. Also, designating only one travel lane for motor vehicles will reduce speeding.

  • Due to these benefits, the Cambridge City Council officially endorsed this proposed design, and two of our state representatives, Mike Connolly and Jay Livingstone, have publicly written to MassDOT asking them to improve safety by adopting this design. (It’s still important to call Mike and Jay to thank them, so they know this is something people really care about.)

  • Also important to note: the change we are asking for can easily be made, even at this late stage. It primarily involves simply painting different lane markings on the bridge, and does not need to delay the project.

For more information, see the Boston Cyclists Union’s post on the history of the Longfellow bridge project. MassDOT’s currently planned design is using data on mode shares from 9 years ago. In that time, Cambridge bike counts have doubled, and the Longfellow bridge has operated with one vehicular inbound travel lane for 5 years without incident. The bridge must be updated to reflect current trends and emphasize safe, healthy mobility with protected bike lanes in both directions.

Be sure to include Longfellow Bridge in the subject, and if possible add a personal story why this is essential for your safe commute and enjoyment of public spaces.

Sincerely,
The CBS Core Team

Write or call your statehouse legislators using the email addresses and phone numbers below. If you don’t know who they are, visit: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

Be sure to include Longfellow Bridge in the subject, copy us (info@cambridgebikesafety.org and info@bostoncyclistsunion.org), and if possible add a personal story why this is essential for your safe commute and enjoyment of public spaces.

House

Rep. Dave Rogers (24th Middlesex)
617-722-2370        Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov

Rep. Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex)
617-722-2692        Marjorie.Decker@mahouse.gov

Rep. Mike Connolly (26th Middlesex)
617-722-2060        Mike.Connolly@mahouse.gov

Rep. Jonathan Hecht (29th Middlesex)
617-722-2140        Jonathan.Hecht@mahouse.gov

Rep. Jay Livingstone (8th Suffolk)
617-722-2013        Jay.Livingstone@mahouse.gov

Rep. Denise Provost (27th Middlesex, Somerville)
617-722-2263        Denise.Provost@mahouse.gov

Senate

Sen. Patricia Jehlen (2nd Middlesex)
617-722-1578        Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov

Sen. Sal DiDomenico (Middlesex and Suffolk)
617-722-1650        Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov

Sen. Joseph Boncore (1st Suffolk and Middlesex)
617-722-1634        Joseph.Boncore@masenate.gov

Bike share organization expels Ofo because of Florida lobbying

UPDATED: Ofo says it voluntarily withdrew from NABSA.