We are disappointed to learn that the City of Cambridge plans to delay implementation of the Porter Square protected bicycle lanes. Cambridge Bicycle Safety has called for protected bicycle lanes on this short – but extremely dangerous – stretch of roadway for over five and half years, and before our founding, cyclists had been asking the City for protection for bicyclists here for much longer. The project area is very small, covering only 1,400 feet of Mass Ave, and there are ten times as many bicycle crashes in this area than in the average comparable-length stretch. Note that the stretches of Mass Ave to the north and south of Porter Square are part of a separate project, known as the MassAve4, with a separate completion timeline. This statement is about the recently announced delay for the the Porter Square Safety Improvement Project (highlighted in orange below), not the MassAve4 project (highlighted in blue).”
While we do not see eye to eye with the City on whether this delay is necessary, we appreciate the City’s continued support of the Cycling Safety Ordinance and their commitment to implementing the Porter Square protected bicycle lanes with only a short additional delay. We want to express our gratitude to the City staff responsible for implementing the ordinance; we deeply appreciate the hard work they have put into implementing these projects and understand that unexpected problems and delays arise with many projects.
We fully support a Porter Square project design that works as well as possible for everyone. Our roads need to be safe for all people, whether they walk, bicycle, take public transit, drive, or enjoy our public space in other ways.
Every street design project must also support our city’s independent businesses. We do not believe there is a conflict between small businesses and streets that support safe biking and other active and sustainable modes of transportation. Based on data from Cambridge and other similar communities, we think just the opposite is true: more shoppers and diners will be drawn to Cambridge when our streets better accommodate safer biking and more reliable transit. That’s why we’ve consistently advocated for designs that balance the goals of small business success and safe streets for all. We’ll be more public about this going forward.
For the Porter Square and MassAve4 projects, we have worked hand in hand with local businesses and neighbors through Mass Ave For All to develop a plan that works for everyone: check out the plans at www.massaveforall.com.
We look forward to a vibrant and safe Porter Square in the very near future.