Concerns of shopkeepers, elderly are being brushed off
I was glad to see Diti Kohli’s story prominently featured in the Globe (“In this street fight, it’s bikes vs. businesses,” Page A1, May 25).
I had heard about the removal of parking spaces in Porter Square from concerned retail store owners and worried that the entire shopping district would be lost without any meaningful debate or, for that matter, the knowledge of people who rely on so many stores and restaurants in the area.
What continues to bother me most, however, is the minimal regard that the Cambridge City Council and frankly, bicycling advocates have exhibited for the livelihoods of the shopkeepers, not to mention the needs of the elderly (and countless others, myself included) who do not ride bikes or who would prefer not to walk too far to shop in the affected areas.
The closing comment about the plan to expand bike lanes, by an advocate trying to bring all sides together, made the most sense to me: “Scrub the whole thing and start over.”
What is happening to the city he used to love?
I appreciated Diti Kohli’s article about the elimination of parking near Cambridge’s Porter Square. Harvard Square also has suffered greatly from the elimination of parking and the construction of protected bike lanes. Vacant storefronts along Massachusetts Avenue between Harvard and Central Square are commonplace. The lively Harvard Square ambiance we have enjoyed has been subdued, and the square, having become inaccessible to many, has lost its iconic character as a place to visit.
Cambridge is a diverse city of almost 120,000 people and a focal point for the biotech industry and cultural institutions that draw auto commuters from all over the Boston area and beyond.
Hundreds of residents and business owners have objected to the street plan imposed on them by the city. Does anyone in the government care? Judging by the lip service officials give, one has to wonder.
I was a Cambridge resident for more than 30 years but moved recently to the more livable Watertown. Unfortunately, my once-frequent forays into the Cambridge I used to love have been greatly reduced by the limits placed on the road network. One can only hope for a reasonable review and changes that benefit all of the myriad parties affected and not just a single group.
A. Paul Cravedi
Voices of pedestrians also need to be heard
In your coverage of the tensions surrounding dedicated bike lanes, you neglect one cohort with significant concerns: pedestrians. Bike lanes are a fine idea, but bike riders do not always observe traffic rules, such as one-way streets or traffic lights. Nor do they always remain in the streets, even in dedicated lanes; rather, they often ride their bikes onto the sidewalks. This makes it very difficult for pedestrians to walk in safety, and our voices should be heard in these discussions as well as those of cyclists, drivers, and business owners.
Kathryn Ruth Bloom
It’s a complex plan, but bicyclists get the brunt of the blame
There have been cycle lanes along Mass. Ave. in North Cambridge and Porter Square leading to Harvard Square for years. They have not been protected. City Council voted to make protected bike lanes. Instead of just doing that, the city has added bus lanes. Yet since there is such animosity toward cyclists, the reduced parking is blamed on them.
It is always important to step back and look at the full picture in times of controversy. To my neighbors and the City of Cambridge, I suggest we take a look at the full scale of what has happened on the streets, not blame cyclists for everything.