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BU Bridge Bike Lanes Complete! (Major Bike Advocacy Victory 3 years in the works)

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BU Bridge Bike Lanes Complete! (Major Bike Advocacy Victory 3 years in the works)

Old 12-28-11, 03:19 PM
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thehum
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BU Bridge Bike Lanes Complete! (Major Bike Advocacy Victory 3 years in the works)

*Title typo:Advocacy not Advcacy

It's been three years since discussion began to install bike lanes on the BU Bridge, and two years since plans for bike lanes were finalized and construction began. Last week bike lanes were finally painted down!


Some history:

October 2008: DCR hosts first public meeting to discuss possibility of bike lanes on BU Bridge. Buzzman calls for advocates to show up, me and other at BU Bikes show up to show BU student support:


Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
In several threads some Boston bike riders and commuters have expressed dismay over bike lane implementation on Comm Ave. They see it as either not enough, not necessary, no improvement etc...

Here is your opportunity to participate before infrastructure gets added. Let your voice be heard or at least listen as people try to figure out the best way to deal with the BU bridge and the intersections around it.

BU Bridge Rehab Project Public Meeting: Thursday, October 16, 2008

If you ride in Boston, then help us advocate for bicycling improvements as part of the upcoming rehabilitation of the BU Bridge. The bridge itself, and the complicated intersections on either side of it, are among the most dangerous places in Boston for bicyclists, yet thousands of cyclists must use this critical link between Boston and Cambridge every day.

At the meeting, representatives from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the agency’s design contractor, STV, will discuss plans to repair and rehabilitate the 80-year-old bridge, which carries an estimated 41,000 vehicles a day. Bids for the roughly $20 million project will be solicited this fall, and work is planned to begin next spring. The project will involve a total deck replacement on the bridge and is expected to be completed in about three years.

The most recent designs we’ve seen do not improve conditions for bicyclists, so this meeting is an opportunity to tell the DCR that they cannot miss this opportunity to make the bridge safer for bicyclists.

The meeting will be in the auditorium of the BU College of General Studies, 871 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, Room 129 on the lower level, from 6-8pm.



July 2009: DCR hosts 4th public meeting to finalize plans for bike lane designs. Construction begins in fall 2009:

Originally Posted by thehum View Post
Anyone on here attend the DCR's 4th meeting presenting the final plans for the BU Bridge reconstruction tonight?

DCR has not yet posted the latest presentation, so the following images are from past presentations. You can check out previous ones here

Bike related Highlights:
-The BU Bridge is being reconstructed to include bike lanes. Four lanes will become three as the fourth will become the bike lanes. The final selected lane redesign will look like this:
December

Last edited by thehum; 12-28-11 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 12-28-11, 07:06 PM
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The lane looks a bit skimpy to me. I suppose one has to work with what one has, but there doesn't appear to be much clearance between the guardrail and the SUVs, especially with all those grates.

At :42 of the first video there is an SUV driving in the tiny bike lane. Maybe you need some vehicle width restrictions on that bridge.
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Old 12-28-11, 08:36 PM
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So they did not widen the bridge to paint the bike lane?

Just squeeze a bike lane into the same previous road space to get those cyclist out of the motorist way no matter how close the bike lane encourages motorist to now pass cyclist.

And you guys advocated for that crap?
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Old 12-28-11, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Just squeeze a bike lane into the same previous road space to get those cyclist out of the motorist way no matter how close the bike lane encourages motorist to now pass cyclist.

And you guys advocated for that crap?
The last article says a lane of traffic was removed to make way for the bike lane.

That said, if cars need to cross the double yellow to safely pass a cyclist in a bike lane, the bike lane is too narrow and encourages unsafe passing.
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Old 12-28-11, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
So they did not widen the bridge to paint the bike lane?

Just squeeze a bike lane into the same previous road space to get those cyclist out of the motorist way no matter how close the bike lane encourages motorist to now pass cyclist.

And you guys advocated for that crap?
As degnaw pointed out, one 10-foot car lane was removed and split into two 5-foot bike lanes, which is pretty good considering most other bike lanes in Boston are 4-feet wide. I was at the public meetings where designs were discussed. widening of the bridge and separated bike-paths were considered, but apparently modifying this bridge was prohibited by certain historical preservation laws deeming it as a historical landmark restricting widening and other structural modifications. In the end, removal of a car lane in place of two bike lanes was the best option. Many cyclists here including myself agree that this was a better alternative than leaving the bridge a four car lane bridge, so that is what we advocated for.

It used to be a four-lane no-shoulder bridge that looked like this:


With that said, Boston drivers have become pretty accustomed to leaving space when passing, and since it's in a dense urban environment traffic never really exceeds 30mph, even on this relatively short bridge.

Last edited by thehum; 12-28-11 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 12-29-11, 12:27 AM
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I am not seeing 5 feet of bike lane. Looks 3 feet, maybe 3.5 feet at best.

I think Boston cyclist got hosed.
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Old 12-29-11, 12:29 AM
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looks like an improvement to me

Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
I am not seeing 5 feet of bike lane. Looks 3 feet, maybe 3.5 feet at best.

I think Boston cyclist got hosed.
It does look like they may have used some of the 5 feet somewhere else, but it's definitely at least 4 feet wide.
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Old 12-29-11, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
looks like an improvement to me


It does look like they may have used some of the 5 feet somewhere else, but it's definitely at least 4 feet wide.
Not all four foot wide lanes are equal. That concrete barrier and the drains prevent cyclists from using the full width of what they have been consigned to.
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Old 12-29-11, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
looks like an improvement to me
Where's the before video?

Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
It does look like they may have used some of the 5 feet somewhere else, but it's definitely at least 4 feet wide.
Is the "Cyclists may use full lane" sign at 1:04 in the first video intended to be ironic?

One of the posts above mentions that the intersections were the most dangerous part.... what's happened with those?
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Old 12-29-11, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by razrskutr
Where's the before video?
Um, post #5?

The bridge looks like it was a bridge with heavy traffic, lots of bicyclists and pedestrians and looking distinctly unfriendly to bikes and peds alike. The bike lane and reduction of general traffic lanes looks like a win-win-win for all traffic.

I predict traffic violations involving motorists will decline, there will be more and safer bicycle traffic across the bridge, and the pedestrians will appreciate less bikes on the walkways.

win-win-win all around.

Could the bike accommodations have been even better? sure.
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Old 12-29-11, 09:04 AM
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This BL is short in only taking a minute to cross the bridge, and with no opening doors or cross traffic to contend with, and with a protected sidewalk option for the less stalwart, definitely would work for me in light of some of our local cycling infrastructure designs.
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Old 12-29-11, 01:57 PM
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The bridge is much better now than it was before! The sidewalks literally had open holes to the river 60 feet below and the 4 travel lanes going into the approaches were more complicated than they needed to be. The bike lanes are 5ft when riding them, they just look smaller when observing as a pedestrian or viewing in a video, it's something odd that I've noticed about lanes on bridges. The Cambridge side was reconfigured to be much better with the exception of the continuation onto a state parkway outside the project scope. The Boston side intersection is still awful, but a little better and will be eventually addressed when that section of roadway deck over the highway is rebuilt sometime between 2015-2025. Having the bridge start out as 1 lane while entering tends to slow drivers down for the first half of the bridge. Where it goes to 2 lanes for a turn lane at the ends though, driver still are gunning it. Not entirely safe, but an improvement over dealing with drivers speeding the entire length of the bridge with no lane providing refuge for cyclists. For the VC promoters out there, people taking the lane were getting rear ended all the time (2-3x a month) on this bridge despite the presence of the reminder "May use full lane" signs. The Harvard Bridge, the next bridge down, with lanes rarely if ever has incidents.
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Old 12-29-11, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenway View Post
......Where it goes to 2 lanes for a turn lane at the ends though, driver still are gunning it.....

That's going to happen regardless even if there were no bike lanes, and even more so when approaching an intersection. At least the motorists have a second lane to move over to or at least move partially into when passing, giving more passing distance even though they're passing at higher speeds.
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Old 12-29-11, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Fenway View Post
The bike lanes are 5ft when riding them, they just look smaller when observing as a pedestrian or viewing in a video, it's something odd that I've noticed about lanes on bridges.
How wide are they when you do not include the dangerous storm grates?
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Old 12-29-11, 09:41 PM
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CB HI, have your follow cyclists in Hawaii given you a raft of awards for your brilliant ability to always know more than they do?
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Old 12-29-11, 09:50 PM
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The grates & access panels extend 2' into the lanes. Riding down the center of the lane one's tires will not contact the grates or panels. The conditions are no different than those on the Harvard Bridge lanes which do not have a notable crash rate for cyclists.
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Old 12-29-11, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by gcottay View Post
CB HI, have your follow cyclists in Hawaii given you a raft of awards for your brilliant ability to always know more than they do?
As you can see, with the 2 feet of grates & access panels, there is no more than 3 feet of usable bike lane. Add to that, the danger of wet grates and panels that are unmarked at night; they are crappy bike lanes.

But the the lovers of any bike lane no matter how dangerous, will just go to insults.
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Old 12-30-11, 11:05 AM
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CBHI the alternative was no bike lane and previously cyclists taking the lane were getting rear ended an average of 2 or 3 times per month on this bridge. I by no means believe Boston's on street cycle facilities are good, or even adequate, but this is a starting point, and expecting perfection for the get go is asking a bit much of a city and state which has a hard time even dealing with common potholes.
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Old 12-30-11, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Buzzman/2008
In several threads some Boston bike riders and commuters have expressed dismay over bike lane implementation on Comm Ave. They see it as either not enough, not necessary, no improvement etc...

Here is your opportunity to participate before infrastructure gets added. Let your voice be heard or at least listen as people try to figure out the best way to deal with the BU bridge and the intersections around it.
That is what I wrote in BF's 3 years ago. ^^^^^^^^

Interesting how the peanut gallery of out of towners, who do not ride this bridge, did not participate in the discussions, revel in discrediting the efforts to improve a dangerous situation because the final outcome, which was drawn by compromise, consensus and active participation by local cyclists, does not meet the ideal they might have in mind.

I suppose if we lived in a totalitarian state bereft of a democratic process where money was no object then either a separate bridge for cyclists could have been built or Boston drivers who harassed, tailgated, buzzed, blew horns at or hit cyclists who "took the lane" on this bridge could be magically tasered and forced to be courteous and respectful to cyclists.

Unfortunately, those two options never materialized and what we have is a modest improvement over a really intolerable roadway between two areas with a large number of cyclists interacting with an even larger number of motor vehicles driven by frustrated, aggressive drivers on an aging, crumbling inadequate infrastructure.

Maybe I'm reading more into the OP than was intended but the positive outlook on the whole thing is that cyclists can participate and, by so doing, made some changes. And while it may require compromise some improvements can occur through persistence and a willingness to work with others and not be so completely inflexible that NOTHING is accomplished.

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Old 12-30-11, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
And you guys advocated for that crap?
Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
But the the lovers of any bike lane no matter how dangerous, will just go to insults.
Haterz gonna hate...
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Old 12-30-11, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
That is what I wrote in BF's 3 years ago. ^^^^^^^^
Maybe I'm reading more into the OP than was intended but the positive outlook on the whole thing is that cyclists can participate and, by so doing, made some changes. And while it may require compromise some improvements can occur through persistence and a willingness to work with others and not be so completely inflexible that NOTHING is accomplished.
Exactly my point. Thanks for chiming in, and glad to see you're still around.

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Old 12-30-11, 05:05 PM
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I'm generally not in favor of poorly implemented bike lanes, but since they took out a travel lane for this I think it's pretty positive. I know if it was on my commute I would be a lot happier
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Old 12-30-11, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
Interesting how the peanut gallery of out of towners, who do not ride this bridge, did not participate in the discussions, revel in discrediting the efforts to improve a dangerous situation because the final outcome, which was drawn by compromise, consensus and active participation by local cyclists, does not meet the ideal they might have in mind.
When bad facilities get placed in one town, then they get used as examples in other towns as suitable.

How many cyclist here and town governments have raved about 'bike friendly' Portland. Then Portland's mandatory use law gets used to pass laws elsewhere. How about Portland's law that forces motorist to make improper turns across bike lanes that cross intersections (as opposed to proper merges like CA). Or Portland's door zone bike lanes.

And now NYC thinks that it is OK to put in crappy bike lanes and a mandatory use law.

What makes you think that cyclist in other cities have not gone through the same BS.

Speak up and stop cheering claimed 5 feet bike lanes that only have 3 useable feet.

I guess some of you think that only NYC cyclist should speak up about NYPD BS tactics against cyclist and the out of towners should just STFU.

Good efforts by cycling advocates is fine, but don't sell out all cyclist by accepting poor facilities and then cheering such a victory.
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Last edited by CB HI; 12-30-11 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 12-31-11, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
When bad facilities get placed in one town, then they get used as examples in other towns as suitable.

How many cyclist here and town governments have raved about 'bike friendly' Portland. Then Portland's mandatory use law gets used to pass laws elsewhere. How about Portland's law that forces motorist to make improper turns across bike lanes that cross intersections (as opposed to proper merges like CA). Or Portland's door zone bike lanes.

And now NYC thinks that it is OK to put in crappy bike lanes and a mandatory use law.

What makes you think that cyclist in other cities have not gone through the same BS.

Speak up and stop cheering claimed 5 feet bike lanes that only have 3 useable feet.

I guess some of you think that only NYC cyclist should speak up about NYPD BS tactics against cyclist and the out of towners should just STFU.

Good efforts by cycling advocates is fine, but don't sell out all cyclist by accepting poor facilities and then cheering such a victory.
As someone using the bicycle infrastructure currently in place in NYC on a daily basis I can attest that I am profoundly thankful to the advocates that have worked tirelessly to get things like the West Side Bike path and bike lanes in Manhattan. In comparison to riding here 20+ years ago without any infrastructure it is a world of difference. Ideal?- not at all. Better? Absolutely. And selling out all cyclists- methinks you doth protest too much, way too much!

Your take no prisoners attitude may serve you well in an on line forum but in the real world of face to face negotiations and planning I think you'd find yourself rapidly isolated and accomplishing little or nothing- unless your goal was to negate any change and to maintain the status quo.
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Old 12-31-11, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by buzzman View Post
As someone using the bicycle infrastructure currently in place in NYC on a daily basis I can attest that I am profoundly thankful to the advocates that have worked tirelessly to get things like the West Side Bike path and bike lanes in Manhattan. In comparison to riding here 20+ years ago without any infrastructure it is a world of difference. Ideal?- not at all. Better? Absolutely. And selling out all cyclists- methinks you doth protest too much, way too much!

Your take no prisoners attitude may serve you well in an on line forum but in the real world of face to face negotiations and planning I think you'd find yourself rapidly isolated and accomplishing little or nothing- unless your goal was to negate any change and to maintain the status quo.
There are examples of where nothing would have saved cyclist lives. I have seen bike lanes in many states that nothing would be preferable. Just because some bike lanes are useable does not mean all bike lanes should be accepted. Your sounding like Bek who is not opposed to any bike lane no matter how deadly.

When a cyclist hits the ground from riding over those unmarked drains and grates, your response will be better than nothing, at least you had a white line to keep you close to the storm grates. Would you or any of the others even apologies to the injured cyclist who got hurt in the bad bike lane that you compromised on?
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