About a week and a half ago, the City got to striping Allston Village up and down Harvard Ave. We now have a nice, fresh bike lane, that stretches from the southern end of Harvard Ave in Brookline (by that Staples that used to be a run-down Kung-Fu movie theater (damn you Staples…)) past Comm Ave and Brighton Ave, up to Cambridge Street. Or, just about to Cambridge Street… I’ve taken video of the lane, which you can see below.
The lanes are great, and right in the business district of a major thoroughfare in A/B, thus they bring a great amount of bicycle awareness so drivers will expect and hopefully respect bikers in the street. To me, that’s the big success of this style of bike lanes, making bikers feel welcome — regardless of the dangers of door zones, kamikaze pedestrians, double parkers, and cars that pull out suddenly. Still, it brings a warm feeling to my tummy to see that white stripe with the little painted bike dude in his little painted helmet. It makes me feel welcome on the streets, even if it doesn’t make me feel safer. And though these lanes may not get a noticeable amount of new bikers out (Allston is seemingly already at near bike-capacity), they do show that the City is providing for a neighborhood that has an obvious need for biking infrastructure.
Well, for those who haven’t gotten to ride it yet, I attached a little camera to my stem and rode the lanes so you could get an idea of the design. And there are few interesting aspects to these lanes. The City apparently did not want to tackle that intersection of Harvard and Cambridge, opting to have the lanes peter out at the approaches. They’ll have to keep that spot on the map marked as a big red X until they get their acts together and figure out how to make that crossing safe. And there are some Sharrows (arrows combined with bike-dude) when going north on Harvard Ave between Brighton Ave and Cambridge St. And there are several places where the lines are dashed, to allow buses to pull in, and turning cars. I guess they fit the lanes however they could, given the constraints of the street.
Check out these videos. There are the typical problems of merging cars and potholes, but you can see for yourselves. Let me know what you think of the new lanes: