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Hubway cyclists make the North-South station link

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While much of downtown Boston is a dense warren of streets, difficult to adapt to bicycle traffic, one prime route has impressive amounts of space — but still manages to be unfriendly to biking. Even in winter, bicyclists travel frequently between North and South stations, where a long-discussed rail link has yet to move beyond the planning stages. Evidence from Hubway, the popular bike-sharing program that is now down for the winter, shows the mile-long stretch between the two rail stations to be the most popular lane for commuting by pedal. Kris Carter, interim director of the city’s Boston Bikes program, said cyclists generally seem to use bike lanes painted onto Congress Street or on the roads framing the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.

But on an afternoon of observation with Carter, both routes frequently were clogged. Bike lanes were constantly being swerved into or blocked altogether by delivery trucks, taxicabs, and double-parkers. This brings up an obvious need: a segregated track. The Greenway Conservancy’s chief operating officer, Jesse Brackenbury, said the organization would be open to discussing a bike lane if funding were available. Such a lane would reduce parkland, but would also add life to the Greenway, protect commuters, and enhance Boston’s reputation as a bicycle-friendly city.

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