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      CommentAuthorseanile mick
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2010 edited
     
    Hey guys, so, the city of Cambridge has plans to re-do Western Ave. However, they haven't figured out which concept to go with yet (they have 5 in mind).

    Here is the brochure with the whole project breakdown and the 5 concepts at the end.
    Brochure

    HERE is where you get to put you input in! (this also has the 5 concepts halfway down)
    Survey where you select and justify your preferences!



    Concept 3 seems to be the safest/best option, and a great deal of people, especially LivableStreets Alliance. But unfortunately, it's not looking good. The following is a letter from the LivableStreets Alliance and their comments on the different concepts:

    "After almost two years of exemplary community planning for the reconstruction of Western Avenue, it was extremely upsetting to learn at the recent public meeting that the city was suddenly thinking of vetoing one of the main options – the creation of a family-friendly bikeway separated from traffic because of what we believe are surmountable concerns about snow removal. It was also upsetting to learn that even if the proposed protected bikeway (aka a “cycle track”) was to be included, it would only be allowed to run for a few short blocks in the mid-section of the road rather than all the way from Central Square to Memorial Drive.

    We believe that not creating such a bikeway would be an embarrassing step backwards, not only from Cambridge’s commitment to multi-modal equality but also to its climate protection and public health goals – as well as it’s reputation as a national leader in all of these areas. Making snow removal into a show-stopper also means that Cambridge will never be able to move beyond its current “naked bike lane” approach to create the protected, family-friendly bike facilities that are required to convince the safety-concerned majority of our population to leave their cars at home for short trips.

    We understand the difficulty of snow removal with limited resources, so we would be happy to work with the city to think of possible solutions and help with the educational outreach needed to build support.

    COMMENTS ON WESTERN AVE. SURFACE LAYOUT OPTIONS:

    As LivableStreets Alliance has frequently stated, effective snow removal from both private and public sidewalks, roads, and bikeways is a vital concern – although we note that many people have somewhat unrealistic expectations of the speed with which this should happen after major snow storms here in the increasingly weather-volatile northeast. Still, we don’t think that the benefits of neighborhood livability, pedestrian safety, and expanding the number of people willing to use a bike instead of a car should be sacrificed because of what we believe are surmountable concerns.

    We understand that the city has limited resources for snow removal and that access for the disabled takes top priority. But even if it takes an extra day or two to get to the cycle track after a heavy storm – wouldn’t it be better to have it available for the other 360 (or even the other 350) days of the year? Since the whole idea of a cycle track is to make it easier for traffic-intolerant cyclists to use their bikes, and since those are the very people least likely to be on their bikes right after a big nor’easter, the bolder minority of cyclists biking on those 5 (or even those 10) days are likely to be willing to stay in the street – in fact, many of them might insist on staying in the street all year since you have to go much slower on a cycle track.

    Furthermore, although the concept of protected bike lanes would be demonstrated by even a couple of blocks, it is precisely in the area of heavier car traffic between Putnam and Memorial that a cycle track is most needed. It makes no sense to create a family-friendly route that simply dumps people back into a un-nerving position next to moving cars (albeit in a “regular” bike lane) before they can get either to the river basin bike paths or the Western Ave. bridge – which will hopefully soon have its own bike lanes leading to a cycle track on the Boston side!

    From a public health perspective, Cambridge has a long commitment to providing residents with a transportation infrastructure that facilitates “active transportation” – walking and cycling. In addition, new research shows that separating cyclists from heavy traffic by placing them on the other side of parked cars reduces their environmental exposure to highly-dangerous “ultrafine” pollution particulates (linked to respiratory disease, heart attacks, and perhaps neurological damage leading to dementia) by nearly 50%.

    After extensive neighborhood outreach, the Cambridge Community Development Department (CCD) prepared five “conceptual options” for Western Ave. As noted above, we are most in favor of Concept 4, with the cycle track, which preserves two car travel lanes, parking on both sides, moves the raised bikeway to the non-traffic side of one of the parking lanes with a buffer space between the cyclists and the less-used passenger doors, slightly expands the sidewalk, and shortens the distance that pedestrians need to travel to cross the street. Also as noted, we think this concept should be extended for the full length of the street – it is not right to force cyclists to bear the entire burden of the heavier traffic near the river. If the available street space is inadequate, the burden should be spread more evenly among all modes without compromising the safety of the most vulnerable.

    Should the raised cycle track concept be rejected, we would support Concept 2 – which also separates cyclists from traffic by moving the bike lane to the other side of the parked cars but leaves it at street level. As with Concept 3’s cycle track, this creates the kind of “protected bike lane” that must be used on heavily trafficked roads in order to make them accessible for mainstream use. And, again, we think it should be extended for the length of the road. However, it doesn’t narrow the pedestrian crossing distance as much. It also potentially raises snow removal issues – and if the earlier suggestions aren’t enough, what about posting signs forbidding parking on those blocks during any “plowable” snow fall which would allow regular plows to zip through the area rather than require the city’s limited number of smaller machines to do the job.

    We do not support Concept 1, which essentially recreates what currently exists – a “naked bike lane” sandwiched between the driver-door- side of active parking and heavy car traffic that will continue to scare away all but the most risk-tolerant riders, will not improve neighborhood cohesion, and won’t increase pedestrian safety.

    Concept 4 cuts car traffic to one lane along the mid-section blocks and greatly expands the sidewalk. In general, we prefer to have bike lanes placed on the left side of the street, next to the less-used passenger doors rather than next to the always-used driver doors – although in this case such placement might create problems along the Central Square and Putnam-to-the- River sections. This concept might be worth exploring if there were a long stretch of café’s or other stores along these middle blocks that might expand into the new sidewalk space, but these blocks are essentially residential and the empty space is likely to remain just that – empty and uninviting. As a result, other than constricting car traffic flow, we see little difference between this Concept and the current situation presented by Concept 1.

    Concept 5 also narrows the mid-section roadway to one car lane, but uses a very innovative “reverse angle parking” scheme to move all the parked cars to one side of the road without loosing any parking spaces and allowing the street-level bike lane to be located in the preferential position against the curb on the other side of the road. Reverse angle parking is very space-efficient, easier to use than parallel parking, and much safer to pull out from since the driver is already facing the street. It is used extensively in other cities, and proposed in Boston, but hasn’t yet been done in Cambridge; so it is likely to provoke neophobic reactions from people fearful of change. However, it is unclear from the rough drawings if parking a car under the Concept 5 layout requires temporarily blocking the one car traffic lane before backing in, which would make it likely that drivers would swerve into the adjacent bike lane to their right – this may not happen often enough to be a big deal, but it is potentially a very unsafe dynamic unless some way can be found to raise the bike lane an inch or two above the street (which may cause the snow removal issue to again arise).

    We think that Concept 3 provides the most benefits with the fewest tradeoffs. We urge Cambridge to continue moving towards its transportation, health, and environmental goals by creatively implementing protected bikeways on Western Ave. In the long run, the benefits to the city’s residents, and to our planet, are worth the effort. And we are eager to work with the city to achieve these goals."



    It is requested that you, "read the [above] letter put together by the LivableStreets Alliance Advocacy Committee and -- if you agree with its general points -- you write a personal or group letter IN YOUR OWN WORDS in support of the general positions it raises and then send it to the indicated city officials."

    Cambridge Community Development Staff:
    Jeff Rosenblum, Project Manager jrosenblum@cambridgema.gov
    Cara Seiderman, Ped/Bike Director, cseiderman@cambridgema.gov
    Susanne Rasmussen, Trans. Dept. Director, srasmussen@cambridgema.gov
    Sue Glazer, Acting Assist. City Mgr, sglazer@cambridgema.gov
    somebody turn the lights off on this place already.
    •  
      CommentAuthordora
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2010
     
    fuck yea!

    i voted for #4

    oh man i'd be so stoked if they did this

    next: CAMBRIDGE STREET I HATE ITMust be awful, being so fluffy.
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      CommentAuthorratattack
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2010
     
    ^why four? it's still bad infrastructure, putting the cyclist in prime dooring zone. i think i prefer #2. distinct bike lane, no parking on the inside of the lane. #3 is great and something that i loved in amsterdam, however i have a bad feeling that it might turn into a pedestrian boardwalk over a bike lane. who knows, though. just keep me out of the dooring zone!
  1.  
    Yeah dude, #3 is like that MIT Vassar street mess. People act all surprised and afraid when I use that thing. It's seriously never not been a situation where I awkwardly stop to avoid hitting a pedestrian.You said time was infinite, so why the watch wrapped around your wrist?
    • CommentAuthorgc
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2010 edited
     
    that garbage on vassar st makes it super easy to get right-hooked by cars driving into the stata center pkg lot when headed towards main st from mass ave.gone
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      CommentAuthorDan Roch
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2010
     
    They should just redo prospect at the same time.Everybody was saying we must have more leisure. Now they are complaning they are unemployed - Prince Philip during the recession in 1981
  2.  
    I just went to the survey page, and there isn't any "vote for 2" button or anything, you're supposed to rate them all. And 1,2&3 are competing against one another, and 4&5 are competing against one another.i mean that looks like a 10 cat bag, easy
    • CommentAuthorjerome
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010 edited
     
    In Montreal they do the 'cycle track' thing right, because it's like another street between the sidewalk and the road. Check it out:



    I miss those bike paths!

    edit: What the hell is that Hoschelaga cab doing? I realize it's maybe not the best photo to show themes of "safety" and "good planning" hahai didnt like my old username anymore so here's a new one.
    •  
      CommentAuthortone
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010
     
    letter from the LivableStreets Alliance: As noted above, we are most in favor of Concept 4, with the cycle track, which preserves two car travel lanes, parking on both sides, moves the raised bikeway to the non-traffic side of one of the parking lanes with a buffer space between the cyclists and the less-used passenger doors, slightly expands the sidewalk, and shortens the distance that pedestrians need to travel to cross the street...

    Concept 4 cuts car traffic to one lane along the mid-section blocks and greatly expands the sidewalk.

    The LivableStreets Alliance letter is confusing at best. According to the City of Cambridge site, concept 4 has only one car lane and doesn't even have a raised bikeway and move the bike lane to the non-traffic side of one of the parking lanes. I really don't get why they would support that concept. I put my favorable votes towards #2 and #3. On a side note, I found it interesting that the sewer system is 140 years old. I wonder if the replacement will last that long?We are the small axe.
    •  
      CommentAuthorratattack
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010 edited
     
    yeah, it's the "raised" that gets me. i've had enough trouble with BU student meandering down the comm ave bike lanes even though it's clearly the street and they have to get around parked cars to get there. in one case there they were, walking along, holding hands, and occasionally stopping to kiss. i thought they were going to their car, but no. and when i yelled, "hey! bike lane!" as i was approaching so they would, i dunno, notice me coming and maybe even get out of my way, the boyfriend lunged toward me and yelled at me to fuck off.

    if they're going to do a cycle track, it needs to clearly be road with a distinct barrier between traffic and the bikes, not a raised-connected-to-the-sidewalk-deal.
    •  
      CommentAuthortone
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010
     
    I went digging and found this LivableStreets letter [pdf]. They are supporting concept 3 as best, 2 as acceptable, 1 & 4 as unacceptable and 5 as innovative but unclear.We are the small axe.
  3.  
    I kinda think cycletracks are fucked.i mean that looks like a 10 cat bag, easy
    •  
      CommentAuthorhowl
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010
     
    I like concept 5 the best- no door zone, wider lane, no cycletrack to be clogged up with strollers & dog leashes.Troglodytarum is latin for troll
  4.  
    ^Concept 5 was my second choice- i'm just worried about cars being in the bike lane all the time. "Just stopping for a minute," or swinging around a car backing into or pulling out of a space. If they enforce that then it would be lovely. I picked 2 as my first choice.

    edit: I really like the Vassar St. cycletrack, when there aren't peds and/or bike salmons in it. Street-level should help the former, at least. I think it would be nice. But i also like yelling at peds.DFL and DTF :D:D:D:D
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      CommentAuthornerdo
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010
     
    Honestly, none of these options will do any good without consistent enforcement to prevent those free-for-all abuses you've all mentioned above. I'd like to hear what the city is requiring of the CPD in each of these scenarios.Worstcase I'll just zip tie on a seat... but i'd rather not. —Zev (who else)
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      CommentAuthordora
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010
     
    in NYC the new bike lanes are set up like #2 (i'm toolazy to look again, i'm pretty sure it's #2) and i hate them. the bike lane is sandwiched between the parked cars and the sidewalk so peds have to cross the bike lane to get to their cars, drivers cross the bike lane to get to the sidewalk AND, most importantly, when the passenger side door swings wide open, you have nowhere to go. it blowssss and make every intersection a huge clusterfuck. you're hidden behind a row of parked cars so cars turning don't see youu

    and i think the raised bike path on vassar is ok sometimes (when you're not dodging peds, like paul said) b/c vassar is a tiny side street. western ave is not. it'd be like the esplanade bike path every day, dodging stupid slow ass peds and other cyclists who don't know what they're doing. and on trash day, forget about it. there would be recycling bins and trash cans all over the fucking place.

    give me a huge sidewalk with more benches and trees, slow traffic down and limit it to 1 lane only, keep residential parking spaces and leave the bike lane on the street. wordMust be awful, being so fluffy.
    •  
      CommentAuthorStinky Cheez
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010 edited
     
    Oof... I don't think limiting Western Ave to one lane would help anyone... unfortunately for the people who live on them, River and Western are major thoroughfares, and the traffic has to go somewhere. I understand that one element of the concept is to reduce the # of people driving, and while there may be some reduction, I just don't see lane-reduction as realistic in the short-term.

    One thought that seemingly hasn't been considered, take some of the underused semi-industrial land in Cambridgeport via eminent domain, build a few parking ramps, and eliminate most of the street parking. Voila, you can have broader sidewalks, more space for bikepaths, and still manage to fit two lanes of traffic (implementing speed reduction techniques, apparently I speed on that stretch of road, sorry!).

    I have to say, the last option, with 1 lane of traffic and back-in parking, has got to be the stupidest thing I've ever seen. One question for those who've professed a love for option #5, how happy are you going to be when motorists regularly pull into the bikelane to avoid people backing into spots?

    Guaranteed result: insane clusterfuck.
  5.  
    Another problem with lane reduction is that it's "unelectable". If Livable Streets or whoever walks up and says "this is THE proposal" and there's a yes/no vote, you can't count on anyone to vote "for bikes" "over cars".i mean that looks like a 10 cat bag, easy
    •  
      CommentAuthordora
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010
     
    tiny:

    I have to say, the last option, with 1 lane of traffic and back-in parking, has got to be the stupidest thing I've ever seen. One question for those who've professed a love for option #5, how happy are you going to be when motorists regularly pull into the bikelane to avoid people backing into spots?

    Guaranteed result: insane clusterfuck.


    i toooooootally agree with you there. that'd be the WORSTMust be awful, being so fluffy.
    •  
      CommentAuthorNuggetross
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010 edited
     
    why doesn't option #5 have the parking spaces angled in the opposite direction, like beacon street going up towards coolidge corner? i don't see how backing into spaces would work with any sort of traffic.
  6.  
    beacon st has a dedicated area there for entering and exiting spots. without that, it'd be an even bigger clusterfuck 'cause now people have to back out of the spots and nobody would ever let them out.DFL and DTF :D:D:D:D
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      CommentAuthorNuggetross
    • CommentTimeJul 15th 2010
     
    ^yeah, you're right.
  7.  
    Community meeting on November 3rd. Links to the draft plan.

    edit: They're going with Option 3, two travel lanes, raised (sidewalk-level) cycle track, parking on both sides.
    DFL and DTF :D:D:D:D
  8.  
    I'm pretty sure the other day i got a snide comment about "riding on the sidewalk" from a ped walking in the Vassar St. cycletrack. MORE OF THE SAME!DFL and DTF :D:D:D:D
    •  
      CommentAuthordeadbolt
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2010
     
    ^ you're so awesome at Photoshop.Mattia: "I don''t usually watch porn with pickaxe, but when I do it, I make sure to be on the right website"
  9.  
    MS PAINT YO!

    I only use Photoshop when i need to skew something, or it's complicated and i really need layers like:

    DFL and DTF :D:D:D:D
  10.  
    you are so attractive to me.^YO NOT EVERYBODY GOES TO EAR SCHOOL OK
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      CommentAuthorjoeyfresh
    • CommentTimeOct 26th 2010
     
    I hear she's been practicing her kegels, too.We'll get you a cat, don't worry -t-honks
  11.  
    paul jameson:Yeah dude, #3 is like that MIT Vassar street mess. People act all surprised and afraid when I use that thing. It's seriously never not been a situation where I awkwardly stop to avoid hitting a pedestrian.


    Who do I call to yell about this? Is it too late?You said time was infinite, so why the watch wrapped around your wrist?
  12.  
    ELLA I WON'T TELL IF YOU DON'TDFL and DTF :D:D:D:D
  13.  
    oh and paul you could probably go yell at the meeting on 11/3DFL and DTF :D:D:D:D
  14.  
    Jersey barrier everywhere no cars only bikes weed in the middle of the street.Young, dumb, and full of cum.
  15.  
    Stop rubbing it in!
  16.  
    •  
      CommentAuthordeadbolt
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2010
     
    Chris:Jersey barrier everywhere no cars only bikes weed in the middle of the street.
    Mattia: "I don''t usually watch porn with pickaxe, but when I do it, I make sure to be on the right website"
    • CommentAuthorthehum
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2010 edited
     
    It's still unclear to me whether this "raised" cycletrack will be raised on the same plane as the sidewalk, like on Vassar St, or if the cycletrack will be its own separate lane, with a curb separating it from both the street and the sidewalk, like this:



    or this:

    theHum