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Mon June 26: Next steps for the protected bike network

A year ago today, Amanda Phillips was tragically killed while biking through Inman Square. Since that time, thousands have spoken out and pressured Cambridge to implement of a protected bike lane network and the redesign of Inman Square. This hard work has paid off as the city has fast-tracked pilot protected lanes few key locations, most notably on segments of Cambridge Street, Mass Ave, and Brattle Street.

We’re asking the city to (1) install two or more protected bike lanes this year and (2) immediately begin work on a timeline for the expedited build out of a full network of protected bike lanes on all major city thoroughfares, so we don’t have to keep doing this. Read the full policy order here.

When: This Monday, June 26, 5:30pm
Where: 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139
What: Attend and speak in favor of Policy Order O-10

RSVP on Facebook

This is our LAST CHANCE before the Council’s summer break to show the city that there’s demand for an expedited network.

While we’re thrilled about the projects that have happened this year, they are only a start. We urgently need a fully connected network of protected bike lanes for people of all ages and abilities. City staff have said they are not planning any other projects this year and Monday’s City Council meeting is the last before a summer break so it is our last chance to push the city to take further action.

There is enough time to install additional protected bike lanes this year if planning for them starts now. We need to demonstrate that there is overwhelming community support for doing so.

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May 2: Come out to create a new Inman Sq that’s safe for everyone

Together, we’re making streets in Cambridge safer for all ages and abilities. As a result of our voices, we have seen some initial wins with pop-up lanes and great community support in favor of the city’s plans for Cambridge Street protected bike lanes. We need to continue this momentum this Tuesday, May 2 at the important Inman Square redesign meeting where the city will unveil the results of its months-long internal deliberations.

Cambridge St Update: 150 people showed up for the Cambridge Street protected bike lane meeting, and the tone was overwhelmingly positive, especially for making the street safe for the hundreds of CRLS students that bike or walk to school. Many bicyclists also emphasized the need to support local businesses and how this project can benefit them. The city has promised to begin construction in June, with one more public meeting between then and now, and we’ll keep you posted on how we can all make sure this project is a success.

Inman Sq Public Meeting: The other major project happening this Spring is the redesign of Inman Square, which will connect directly to the east end of the Cambridge Street protected bike lane. There is an important public meeting this Tuesday, May 2 where city staff will present their preferred design and solicit feedback. All four of the designs presented at the last meeting, particularly the bend options, need significant changes to be as safe for all users as they can be. Thus, it’s crucial for as many of us as possible to come out on May 2 in support of safe, protected bicycle infrastructure and traffic calming! We deserve safe streets for all ages and abilities and the final design must reflect this.

When: Tuesday, May 2, 6-8pm (6-7: presentation, 7-8: discussion)
Where: Cambridge Public Library (Main Branch), Lower Level (L2)
Please RSVP and share so that your friends find out about it too

CBS has put forward criteria for the redesign project based on safety, convenience, and environmental sustainability, and ranked the four proposed designs by the city. Read our full recommendation here. Members of Cambridge Bicycle Safety have spent the last several months talking with local residents, businesses, neighborhood associations, and transportation professionals to understand how best to meet the needs of the community with respect to Inman Square, and this recommendation reflects these conversations.

Current Inman Square:

All plans meet the basic goal of providing safer bicycle facilities in particular through the use of protected bicycle lanes. The Roundabout scores best on our metrics of safety, convenience, and environmental sustainability, with Bend Cambridge scoring second best.

Roundabout:

Bend Cambridge:

Here are the criteria we used and will continue to push for, and we provide more detail in the document.

Safety
★     Incorporate protected bike lanes
★     Reduce speed and frequency at which bikes, pedestrians and cars interact
★     Reduce length of crosswalks to minimize exposure of pedestrians and bicyclists to vehicles

Convenience
★     Reduce travel time through intersection at both peak and off-peak times
★     Reduce impact on neighborhood side streets
★     Enable pedestrians to cross the intersection in 60 seconds or less

Environmental Sustainability
★     Preserve existing mature trees and augment community open space
★     Reduce automobile emissions caused by stopping and starting at intersection
★     Alleviate heat island effect by reducing total area of asphalt paving

We hope to see you on May 2!

Sincerely,
All of us at Cambridge Bicycle Safety

(Wording updated May 1.)

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Tues Apr 25th: Cambridge St Protected Bike Lane Public Meeting

Do you want to see protected bike lanes on Cambridge St? We need your in-person support to make sure it happens!

On April 25, the City is holding its first public meeting for the Cambridge Street protected bike lane project. We need as many people as possible to show up and express support!

When: Tuesday April 25th from 6PM-8PM
Where: Cambridge Rindge & Latin School – Media Café, 459 Broadway (use main school entrance)

1. Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

2. Canvass with us at least once this week along Cambridge Street! Click here to sign up. The focus of the canvass is to inform neighbors about the project, building support for protected bike infrastructure at the local level. Talking points and materials will be provided.

This project is in no small part because of our community’s collective effort last fall and will be a model for future protected bike lanes and lay the groundwork for a much broader protected network. It’s essential that we work with the city to get this one right.

More details about the project below.

Sincerely,
The CBS core team

What is happening, and where?

Protected bicycle lanes are going to be installed on Cambridge St from Inman Square to Quincy St (near Harvard). The lanes will have a similar design to those on Mass Ave near the Harvard Law School and Lafayette Square, except that they will be longer and on both sides of the street. Here is an example cross-section:

and here is a photo of one of the similar lanes on Mass Ave.***

Detailed comments

Three design elements that Cambridge Bicycle Safety views as critical for safety for Cambridge Street and all protected bike lane pilots:

1. The protected bicycle lanes need to be physically separated from parked and moving cars along the entire length of the protected lane. This can be accomplished using a range of options from flex posts to pre-cast curbing and planters.

2. Vehicles such as buses, taxis/Uber/Lyft, and delivery vehicles should not need to, or be able to, block or stop in the bike lane. Floating bus stops–where the bus stops in the travel lane and picks up riders from a raised platform–and appropriate signage and physical barriers to prevent disruptive stopping in the bicycle lane should be included. Here is an example from the MassDOT separated bike lane design guide:

3. Designated loading zones need to be provided elsewhere to make sure that deliveries and passenger pickup/dropoff can take place. Loading zones are crucial for small businesses who depend on deliveries, and they are also important because they provide an alternative to stopping in the bicycle lane.

We’ve recently sent the city two memos outlining our suggestions for the spring projects. Read them here.

*** Although they aren’t the focus of this public meeting, two other short segments of protected bike lanes are also being added this spring, one on Brattle St from Harvard Square to Mason St, and one on Mass Ave from Trowbridge St to Bow St. Additionally, protected bike lanes are part of all the Inman Square redesign options. We’ll be writing more about these projects soon.

Inman Square Intersection Improvements Community Meeting

Location: Lower Level L2.
The City is developing plans to improve the intersection of Hampshire St and Cambridge St in Inman Square.  The next public meeting for this project will be held on Tuesday, July 25.
As we move towards a final concept for the project, this meeting will focus on the design of the Square’s pedestrian plazas and open spaces.   We encourage community members to attend to learn more about the design options for these important public spaces and to provide feedback.
At this meeting, City and design team staff will recap the project history to date, and present a discussion of opportunities and considerations relevant to the plaza design.  After the presentation, staff will facilitate an open discussion.

Meet City Council Candidate Sumbul Siddiqui

This will be a great opportunity to further learn about how our efforts align in the community, further emboldening our mission and helping to address her platform’s key objectives. It’s also been truly invaluable in understanding new perspectives on the projects we’re working so diligently to see completed.
Please RSVP to info@cambridgebikesafety.org if you can make it! Will love to see you there,

ISNA Meeting

During the meeting, we’ll be getting a report-out from the intersection committee, and deciding as a neighborhood what kind of official, joint response we’d like to send to the City regarding the present state of the design, if any.

Location is the Healy Building at 1493 Cambridge Street, on the 3rd floor, in the Learning Center A/B room(s).

Cambridge City Council Meeting

A year ago today, Amanda Phillips was tragically killed while biking through Inman Square. Since that time, thousands have spoken out and pressured Cambridge to implement of a protected bike lane network and the redesign of Inman Square. This hard work has paid off as the city has fast-tracked pilot protected lanes few key locations, most notably on segments of Cambridge Street, Mass Ave, and Brattle Street.

We’re asking the city to (1) install two or more protected bike lanes this year and (2) immediately begin work on a timeline for the expedited build out of a full network of protected bike lanes on all major city thoroughfares, so we don’t have to keep doing this.