Check Out Boston’s Bicycle Network Plan 30 Year Vision

Boston Bike Network Plan Is Now Online
 Plan includes a 30-year vision for 356 miles of bike facilities
 
The Boston Bike Network Plan is now available online. The plan features a comprehensive network of bike routes through the city, calling for 75 new miles in five years and reaching 356 miles within 30 years. At the heart of the plan is a 30 year vision featuring a primary spine of low stress protected facilities. At full build out nearly one-third of the bike network will be on protected facilities such as cycletracks.
 “This Bike Network Plan will improve the quality of life for every Bostonian and help keep Boston strong by improving our health, our air quality, and reducing congestion on our city streets.” says Mayor Menino.
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Tuesday Bike to the Polls: VOTE TODAY!

To all Bostonian riders, and especially those in Allston-Brighton: Ride your bike to the polls today. Give yourself some time. Pump up your tires. Check over your brakes and maybe grease up that chain (if it’s rusty). Find a nice route, maybe make a few detours to explore the neighborhood. Look for a bike rack near the polling place, and lock up securely. Carry your helmet inside — to show everyone how much fun you had on the way over. Wait your turn, then head on in and make your choices and your voice heard. Feel good about being a citizen in Boston, helping choose the next mayor. And, as a final step, proudly put your “I Voted” sticker on the back of your helmet.

Or, in any case, if you do two things today, 1) vote and 2) ride your bike!

SF-Bicycle-Coalition-BiketheVote-Home-Splash

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Allston gets a bike corral

Hey looky here! On Street Bike Parking! Allston Village got a bike corral!

bike corral space on Harvard Ave

Courtesy of the City of Boston, this awesome on-street bike parking rack is about the size of a normal car space, but fits ten bikes easy.

The corral is on Harvard Ave at the corner of Brighton Ave, right outside Refuge Cafe, in downtown Allston.  This should be a well used spot for centralized bike parking in Allston, freeing up precious sidewalk space and giving a central location for locking up. This spot was also the site of a few “Pop-Up-Parks” hosted by CommonWheels Bicycle Collective earlier this year.

Pop-Up-Park by CommonWheels

It seems the City is realizing that sometimes the public spaces reserved for on-street car parking can be used for some better purposes — even if it’s just one spot, it goes a long way toward creating a bit more vibrancy in our town.

Let’s see more of these in Boston, following in the footsteps of Cambridge and Somerville.  We’re glad to see this precedent set in our neighborhood.  Good job Boston Bikes, Boston Transportation, Public Works, and the whole City of Boston for turning a new leaf.

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Boston’s bike share has launched!

Have you noticed the goofy bikes locked up to futuristic stations all over Allston?  The ones with step through frames, huge bomb-proof tires, 3-speed internal hubs, and gaudy fenders?  Maybe you’ve see folks walking up to the station, removing a bike, and heading off down the street?

It’s the New Balance Hubway bikeshare system!

The City of Boston and Boston Bikes, along with a whole bunch of sponsors and partners (including New Balance, right here in Brighton) have succeeded in bringing us bike share! This is the same system that’s currently rolling strong in DC, and modeled off the huge successes in Montreal, Paris, London, Melbourne, Hangzhou, and other cities around the globe.  Boston has made a huge step toward becoming that “world-class” biking city the Mayor keeps talking about.

The rundown is this: Users of the Hubway will be able to rent bicycles from stations around Boston (61 stations once all are put down, with an amazing 600 bikes for use) all the way from Allston to Downtown to Southie to Roxbury Crossing.  Here’s the map

With a credit card, a rider can access a 24-hour or 3 day membership instantly at a kiosk, or can sign up online to be an annual member, and be given a code or key-fob to unlock a bike.  The rider will then have 30 minutes of free riding starting when the bike is released, and the bike can be returned to any station in the system throughout the city.  The cost then goes to $2 for the next half hour and continues to increase the longer the bike is in use, so the concept is to use the bike for short one-way trips around town, keeping the bikes in circulation and keeping the cost low for the user.

Check out the “how-it-works” page on the Hubway website.

The whole idea is that this is a new public transit system in Boston, bikes for the common rider.  It’s public transit that will catch on and grow and do wonders for increasing the amount of people biking on the roads.  Folks will think of the Hubway as a connector, leaving their car at home and coming into town by train or bus, grabbing a bike and scooting to wherever they need to quickly and comfortably.  Folks who don’t ride will be encouraged to ride, and they will see how easy, safe, fast, convenient, and FUN biking really is.

seriously, look at that SMILE

And, of course, along with the bike share system we’re going to get concerns about novice cyclists taking to the streets of Boston.  But that actually means there’s a great opportunity to educate Hubway riders about rules/tips for riding in Boston traffic.  New riders are likely to be cautious and slower riders who obey traffic laws, so we may see a change in how cyclists are perceived in this city.  And there are even classes put on by Hubway to teach urban cycling, in collaboration with MassBike and Boston Bikes.  You can sign up for a class HERE.

 

This is certainly a game-changer when it comes to biking in Boston, and we are proud that New Balance was fortunate enough to become the title sponsor, and that Harvard was wise enough to sponsor several stations in their campus, so that Allston could be well served, not just in the busy thoroughfares but also in the neighborhoods in Allston, North Allston, Brighton and beyond.  Check out the station map to see how close your home or work is to a Hubway station.

And have you tried it out yet?  Let us know what it’s like in the comment section.  This is something new for Boston, a grand experiment, so we’re interested in riders’ stories!

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Franklin Street in N. Allston gets the sharrow treatment

More bike infrastructure goes down, right at the tail-end of the thermo-plastic-torching season!  Allston-Brighton is now a 1/2 mile more connected to a bike network running throughout!

Franklin Street, which runs from the People’s Bank on North Harvard Street to Lincoln St near the Turnpike, got some freshly torched “sharrows”:

Notice the close proximity and prominence of the two sharrows, distinctly demarcating a two-way directional path for bicyclists.

The City, with Boston Bikes/BTD and Toole Design Group, is trying out a new treatment here by using a bunch of sharrows to create a “sort-of bikes boulevard” on a relatively quiet street in lower allston.  This stretch of sharrows connects N. Harvard Street to Lincoln Street, from the bike lane by Harvard to the footbridge over the Turnpike.

From the bike lane on North Harvard St, this is the approach to Franklin Street just south of Western Ave (to the right at the Dunklies)

The bike route along Franklin Street helps fill in the bike network that runs through North Allston — from Western Ave and N Harvard St — near other bike lanes, along Comm Ave at Packard’s Corner, and Cambridge/Washington Street into Brighton.

It’s great to see how many sharrows were put down, reminding drivers in Allston-Brighton that bikes will be a presence, in all sorts of ways, all over the street.

Remember, the markings are just a suggestion

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Fresh A-B BikeLanes down on Cambridge St, Washington St

While lanes are being ground up on the other side of town, (oh, why Charlestown!?) Brighton is getting some stripes freshly laid (just in time for Christmas).  We got these new beauties about a week and a half ago — The lanes go from Union Square in Allston, and head outbound on Cambridge Street through Brighton Center, and continue all the way down Washington Street just up until Oak Sq.

If you head out, you’ll see a few varieties of bike-lane experience on this stretch. Along with the traditional solid line 5-ft lane with bike dude, we have several “sharrows” especially in the middle of turning lanes, and dashed lines where lanes start, stop, and are crossed by bus-stops and intersections, .

The lanes act, in most part, to keep car traffic in line, and away from the curb — opening up a space for bikers to ride on the right.  This is great on Cambridge St, where the wide street allows for plenty of space to play with:

It’s a heavily biked and trafficked series of roads, connecting Allston Village to Brighton, Chestnut Hill, Newton, and beyond.  The lanes pass St Elizabeth’s hospital, the police station, and has the 57 bus, school buses from Jackson Mann School, ambulances, firetrucks, and cop cars regularly zooming past.

*  *  *

I captured some video of the friendly grunt workers, the BTD crew, working on behalf of the Boston Transportation Department and Boston Bikes, putting the finishing torches on the thermoplastic bike-dude.  This was great to see in person — if you haven’t seen this before, this is how the lanes and designs are put onto the pavement; one crew draws the lines and lays down stencil, while another crew follows behind heat-blasting the plastic down.  Cool Stuff!

I told the flamethrower-ers how this was a great thing to see as a biker and advocate, and I described how putting down lanes changes drivers’ habits overnight and really helps give acceptance of bikers on the roads.  One worker was talking about how the bike lane process, how it goes from plans, to designs, to pavement, but there are sometime hitches in the process, like a traffic island unaccounted for in the designs.  When they get to these places, he told me, they “fudge it” and make it work.  Hey, whatever works to get the lanes in — so far everything looks good to me.  And he also talked of traffic designers having to train the drivers to recognize the lines and follow the new lanes, something Bostonians aren’t necessarily used to.

I’m reminded of theHumble Cyclists post on the new “cycletrack” on Western Ave in North Allston.  Check out the video below, of the new lanes, and the special surprise at the end of the film:

Well, anyway you look at it, new paint means new traffic habits in Allston.  Great!  We still have yet to connect all the lanes to make a complete network through our neighborhood, but we’re well on our way with this new 1.6 mile addition.

And now I get to sit in my third floor office, overlooking Cambridge St, watching the traffic flow by — bikes, peds, cars, buses, semis, ambulanes, firetrucks, cop cars, skateboarders, scooters — a bit more orderly, and hopefully a bit safer.

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ANYONE AT BLOCK BETWEEN LANDRY’S & FORMER SKI MARKET AT ~ 11AM ON 10-15-10? IF YOU WITNESSED THIS ACCIDENT, PLEASE HELP!

A young male Hispanic cyclist was injured at ~11am on Comm. Ave. this morning on the inbound side about a half of a block after Landry’s in a collision with a white car driven by an older white gentlemen. I arrived after the first BPD officer on scene but before BFD, Boston EMS, etc. I spoke with both the cyclist and the driver, but I did not witness the collision. The cyclist was injured (seriously enough to be transported by ambulance to the hospital) and does not have health insurance. If ANYONE witnessed this collision, please contact ABbikes@gmail.com ASAP. The information you have may help the cyclist and/or help to make Comm. Ave. safer for cyclists in the future. Thanks and PLEASE ride safely out there!

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Bike Safety Day at D-14 Station

the local A-B police dpt is hosting a Bike Safety Day this Saturday, the 18th, where they will be giving away helmets, doing safety demonstrations, basic maintenance and “how-to’s” along with chatting up bikes and the neighborhood. If you can make it out, come on over — 301 Washington Street in Brighton — right where Cambridge St hits Washington across from St. Elizabeth’s Hostpital.

If you can come down, it’ll be a great chance to get to know the men and women serving to protect our streets.

<<edit: this takes places from NOON on, until 3 or 4>>

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ABbikes rocks it at the Allston Village Street Fair

Last Sunday was the Allston Village Street Fair — affectionately known as Allston Day — and our local friends and family turned out in droves! Thousands came out on a gorgeous day to hear bands, meet candidates, browse the vendors, and chat bike with a few kind tablers at the ABbikes table.

We even had the bike generator going, which was perfect for an impromptu side stage, so we became a street stage for three acts: Mornin’ Old Sport, “Brendan & Jeremy, Roomies”, and Timmy K.

Bicycle generated power for the band!

I’d like to send a very heartfelt “Thank You” to the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center in North Allston for the 25 helmets we were able to give away. And to International Bicycle Center for lending us a long cable to lock-up bikes for the valet. And to Boston Bikes for shipping me the first batch of new 2010 City of Boston Bike Maps (we handed out all 300). And to the Boston Cyclists Union for their petitions to improve bike conditions on Western Ave and Cambridge St. And to Josh Chadwick, Dave Pappas, Jess Robertson, John Shin and John B. for the help manning the table. And, of course, thanks to everyone who pedaled to keep the music going!

We’d also like to thank the The Parents and Community Build Group, Inc. (PCBG) and the Ringer Park Partnership Group, for setting up the whole event.  You can check out more news on the Allston Village Street Fair here for next year’s information.

 

I snapped photos of the eager helmet recipients — posted below. I tell ya, when people heard we had helmets to give out, they swarmed the table! We couldn’t give them away fast enough. It was great, though, to give helmets not only to the kids but to their parents as well, and go through a basic “how-to” for wearing the styrofoam hats. It’s true, we have great, great folks in our neighborhood.
Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.

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the headline reads “Man on Scooter Killed in Crash with Car in Brighton”

though not a bicycle accident, the sad and untimely death of Andrew McAfee, age 50, an emergency-room physician and epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is a reminder that all those who use 2-wheeled transportation are vulnerable to cars. Be careful out there folks!

News from: http://www.universalhub.com/2010/man-scooter-killed-crash-car-brighton

“This message was broadcast to all Brigham and Women’s Hospital employees this afternoon:
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Dear Colleagues,

It is with the greatest of sadness that we inform you of the untimely death of Andrew T. McAfee, MD, MS, a beloved member of our physician community, who was killed this morning in a motor scooter accident.

An attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine since 1994 and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Andy was a gifted clinician, teacher and scholar.

While Andy received many awards, his most cherished recognition was Outstanding Research Mentor, awarded by the residents in the Harvard-Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency.

Beginning in 2004, Andy served as Executive Director of Epidemiology for i3 Drug Safety in Waltham, while continuing his clinical career in the Emergency Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Most recently, he accepted an offer to rejoin Brigham and Women’s Hospital full-time as a member of the Department of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics. He was a gifted epidemiologist and held a Master of Science degree in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. His research focused on large scale evaluation of the safety and effectiveness of widely-prescribed pharmaceutical agents in adults and children.

Above all, Andy was a devoted husband to his wife, Jill Hahn, and their three children, Emma, Jordan and Elie, who were the center of his life and always foremost in his thoughts and decisions. Our hearts are heavy today in the wake of this inestimable loss and we join you in offering our support to each other and to Andy’s loved ones.”

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and the BPD report: http://www.bpdnews.com/2010/08/27/fatal-motor-scooter-accident-in-the-area-of-2609-beacon-street/

“At about 10:00am, on Friday, August 27, 2010, officers from Area D-14 (Brighton) responded to a radio call for a motor vehicle accident, involving injuries, in the area of 2609 Beacon Street. On arrival, officers located and observed an accident involving a motor scooter and a motor vehicle The operator of the scooter, a 50 year-old male, suffering from life threatening injuries, was transported to St. Elizabeth’s hospital where he later succumbed to injuries and was pronounced. The cause of the accident is under investigation. No citations have been issued at this time.”

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