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.

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.)

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, 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.

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.

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!”