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.

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.

Memos on the Spring Network of Protected Bike Lanes

Cambridge Bicycle Safety has written two memos on the city’s spring network of protected lanes.

The first memo, available here, outlines our recommendations about how to maximize the connectivity of the spring network of protected bike lanes the city is installing.

The second memo, a draft of which is available here, outlines our recommendations about design elements that we view as critical for safety for the Cambridge Street pilot and all protected bike lane pilots.

Top Twelve Reasons Protected Bike Lanes are an Urgent Priority in Cambridge

  1. Our current streets and proposed street designs are hazardous for current users.  Cambridge has seen three people killed while riding bikes over the past 2 years, along with numerous serious injuries.
  2. Protected bike lanes save lives and prevent serious injury, as documented in a recent Harvard School of Public Health study and a commentary in the American Journal of Public Health.   
  3. Cambridge could be liable for failing to redesign streets with a history of crashes, as recently decided in New York City and California.
  4. Over three thousand people signed a petition asking for protected bike lanes on major Cambridge roads, and the numbers of people cycling in Cambridge is increasing rapidly.  
  5. “I don’t want to die, and you don’t want to kill me.”  Current road conditions in Cambridge encourage “wildness” among people driving and cycling that is dangerous and stressful.
  6. Cycling is an affordable, fun, healthy, and efficient method to get around Cambridge, which is compact and flat.  Building a protected bicycle network creates transportation equity by making cycling a safe option for everyone.
  7. Hundreds of Cambridge teens are bicycling to school and after school activities and 25% of them report having been in a crash involving a vehicle.  
  8. Cambridge has officially adopted ordinances and policies that commit the city to reducing vehicle trips and increasing other modes of travel, including Vision Zero,  the Vehicle Trip Reduction Ordinance, the Growth Policy Document, and the Climate Protection Plan.
  9. The Cambridge Bicycle Plan maps out a vision for a street network that can provide safe passage for riders ages 8-80.  Many other cities are installing miles of protected bike lanes and we can learn from their successes.
  10. Improved infrastructure for people riding bikes, walking, and taking transit often also improves flow of car traffic, decreases stress on all road users, and increases property values.   Retail performance is typically not affected or is improved when on-street parking is replaced by protected bicycle lanes, which bring many more customers to the street.
  11. “Streets have been the same way for so long that people don’t really understand what’s possible.”  Vision and leadership can significantly improve safety and quality of life in Cambridge.  
  12. Cambridge has seen only a modest increase in bicycle infrastructure from 2000 to 2015 compared with other cities, according to data from 2000-2015 published in American Journal of Public Health (Dec. 2016).  Clearly more progress is needed.  For example while seven US cities increased bicycle networks by more than 100% since 2000, Cambridge — with only 27% growth – was second from the lowest.

Pucher and Buehler, American Journal of Public Health, Dec 2016

Bicycle Safety Work Plan to be presented at the January 30, 2017 City Council Meeting

The city council has received the report embedded below about the city’s updated work plan for implementing the spring network of popup protected bike lanes that the council repeatedly asked for last fall. This report will be discussed at the city council meeting on January 30.

Unfortunately, based on this report, the city does not appear to be committed to implementing a spring network of protected bike lanes as the council requested last fall. Instead, they only plan to complete a portion of Cambridge St and a small sliver of Mass Ave this spring, with no concrete plan for further work. We continue to be excited about the popup protected bike lane that’s been planned for Cambridge St, and we love riding in the two short segments that were installed on Mass Ave in December – but these need to be just the first steps in a concrete, accelerated work plan for a broad, connected network across the city.

Two cyclists died last year and the city’s lack of urgency is troubling. There are numerous reasons to install protected bike lanes on major thoroughfares; twelve of them are summarized here.

Here’s the report:

Nov. 7 Committee Motions

After the 8 policy orders were passed on Oct 17, we applied pressure on the city administration to implement them, including our petition delivery on Oct 31st.

Councillor Mazen called a meeting for Nov 2 to discuss the orders, at which the city delayed the pilot program until the Spring. Councillor Mazen submitted a motion to be voted on during Nov 7th’s meeting to have a pre-winter pop-up on one street and a comprehensive network of pop-ups in the Spring.

Contact your councillors BEFORE MONDAY NOV 7th to support the network of pop-ups and/or a pre-winter pop-up. Contact info here.

See minutes from Nov 2nd meeting here (included in Nov 7 council meetings’s full agenda, not agenda summary)

Mayor Simmons also has a policy order (#295) to demand a report by December 12, 2016 on progress and to have full implementation by November 1, 2017. While great to have a deadline on paper, we want much faster movement than this – implementation should be done in the Spring, not by next November.


Motion text below:
1. That the City Manager instruct the Traffic Department to move one popup pilot lane up in time to winter or pre-winter and use the time between now and spring to plan a much more comprehensive network of popups for spring, including Hampshire, Massachusetts Avenue, and other high traffic corridors and report back on this matter.

2. That the City Manager instruct the city’s Vision Zero process and team to engage professional bicycle leaders and experts in Cambridge and Greater Boston on an urgent basis in response to collisions and on an ongoing basis to keep these leaders more directly involved in this work and that this should be independent from existing advisory and report back on this matter.

3. That the City Manager is instructed to work with the Traffic Department and the Department of Public Works to re-open the discussion on protected bicycle infrastructure on Huron Avenue with the bicycle community, Huron Avenue businesses, and other stakeholders and report back on this matter.

4. That the City Manager work with Public Safety to consider higher frequency enforcement in key transit junctions and corridors and report and report back on this matter.

5. City manager work with the Traffic Department to make street markings and street signage more ubiquitous in an effort to market the rules of the road to the users of all transportation modes and report back on this matter.

Week of 10/31: Community Meetings

Three meetings this week, two of which are applicable to everyone (Monday and Wednesday).

Monday, October 31: Petition Delivery Party to City Council 5:15-6:30 PM
, Second Floor

ATTN: everyone!

We’re delivering the safe streets petition with over 3,000 signatures to city hall tonight. We’ll have a Honk! band on hand to help us celebrate while we demand that the city start implementing protected bike lanes on all major city thoroughfares. RSVP and share on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 1: Mt Auburn St Traffic Study Stakeholders Meeting 6 – 8:00 PM
West Cambridge Youth Center,

ATTN: 02138, users of Mt Auburn St

Protected bike lanes are being considered for Mt Auburn St in West Cambridge. This meeting is open to the public – show up to support better bike infrastructure! See here for details.

Wednesday, November 2: City Planning Meeting (Neighbhorhood & Long Term Planning) 5:15 – 7:00pm
, Second Floor

ATTN: everyone!

The city will be updating us on the following (from the policy orders passed 10/17):
(1) Pop-up pilot bike lanes on Mass Ave, Cambridge, Hampshire, Broadway
(2) Reconsidering Huron and Pearl Streets
(3) How the city can proactively implement the bike plan

We need as many people as possible to come to show that many people care about better bicycling infrastructure in the city and that we want to see them implementing it NOW. RSVP and share on Facebook

Safe Streets Petition Delivery Party!

We will be delivering the Petition for Safe Streets to the Cambridge City Council on Monday, October 31st.

Wear BLACK or your Halloween costume (or whatever you like). We will have the petition text printed on orange paper, green Safe Streets Now stickers, and Safe Streets for All signs. Schedule below. RSVP via Facebook.

And if you haven’t yet, sign the petition!

Continue reading “Safe Streets Petition Delivery Party!”