A few months back, old rules against bicycling on Boston Common were suddenly back in force, leaving bike riders in downtown Boston with no good alternatives. At the time, I suggested the best thing to do would be to convert parts of the overly-wide one-way streets surrounding Boston Common and the Public Garden into segregated on-street bike lanes. I won’t pretend that my blog is all that influential but others have had the same idea.
Next Wednesday, the city will present a proposal for cycletracks around the Public Garden. The presentation takes place September 18, 2013 from 6-8 pm at the Firehouse at 127 Mount Vernon Street. If you care about improving bicycle access in the heart of Boston I suggest you attend this meeting and/or writing your support to the city. The Boston Cyclists Union also has a petition where you can offer your support.
Obviously, I support the cycletracks and think they will be a great improvement. If you read my previous post, you’ll also be aware that the city’s proposal is only a portion of what I’d hoped. The Walking Bostonian posted a great history of how the streets came to be like they are now and analysis of how they could better be used. The key quote is:
The proposed cycletrack is a better use of all this excessive street space than current conditions. But there’s an even better solution: Two-way complete streets. There’s simply no sense in having a high-speed one-way loop around the Public Garden. It’s incredibly irresponsible on the part of BTD. This aggressive engineering of multi-lane one-way streets here, and in adjacent blocks, is ridiculous, reckless and unjust.
While I’m in agreement that complete streets are the ultimate goal to making Boston a safer, more accessible, and equitable city for all types of commuters, I also stand by incremental improvements. My hope is that the cycletracks will be a such a success with bikers new and old (not mention regular motorists and others who may think they’ll be a nuisance) that expansion along Charles Street and to Columbus Avenue and elsewhere around downtown will follow naturally. One way or another the complete streets model will be the ultimate evolution of Boston’s streets.