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Bike lane traffic cones on Mass. Ave. bridge tossed into river by vandals

Traffic cones that had been set up to protect bike lanes across the Massachusetts Avenue bridge ended up in the frozen Charles River over the weekend.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Over the weekend, vandals threw dozens of traffic cones shielding newly widened bike lanes on the Massachusetts Avenue bridge into the Charles River.

In November, in a pilot program, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation turned the four-lane road spanning the Charles into a two-lane road with a buffer of cones between cars and the bike lanes on each side.

Jonathan Gulliver, the state’s highway administrator, tweeted Monday morning about the potential dangers the vandalism could bring.

“This creates a hazard for all road users and is polluting the Charles,” Gulliver said.

The cones have since been replaced. Gulliver urged anyone with information about this incident to contact law enforcement.


The bike lanes on the Massachusetts Avenue bridge are part of an effort to increase safety for bikers in one of the Boston region’s most difficult areas to navigate by bike. The configuration will remain in place at least through the winter months to measure the protected lanes’ impact on safety.

Transit and bicycle advocates have been pushing for changes to the bridge, citing drivers’ tendency to zoom past the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit.

Bicycles made up 17.6 percent of vehicles using the bridge in fall 2019 and reached around 25 percent during rush-hour times, according to a survey by the City of Boston conducted in September of that year.

Becca Wolfson, executive director of the Boston Cyclists Union, said she hopes the vandalism leads to a better plan to protect cyclists on the span.

“I hope it hasn’t discouraged anyone from riding a bike, and if anything it shows the state: Make sure you’re coming up with the more permanent designs with urgency so that they can’t be tampered with in this way,” Wolfson said.

Taylor Dolven of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Rose Pecci can be reached at rose.pecci@globe.com.